Soldier gets 5,160-year term
A court on Wednesday sentenced a former soldier to 5,160 years in prison for the massacre of 171 people in what is considered one of the worst atrocities in the country’s 36-year civil war. Prosecutors said Santos Lopez participated in the 1982 mass killings of nearly all of the men, women and children in the farming village of Dos Erres. Lopez was accused of being part of an elite unit that was sent to Dos Erres to find members of a guerrilla group that had ambushed a military convoy. When the patrol failed to find the guerrillas or guns, they pulled villagers from their homes and raped many of the young girls, prosecutors said, adding that to cover up the rapes, they killed nearly everyone living there.
Martinelli’s sons arrested
Two sons of former president Ricardo Martinelli, who is accused of collecting bribes worth millions in the wide-ranging Odebrecht scandal, have been arrested in the US, officials said on Wednesday. “US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested unlawfully present Panamanian nationals Luis Martinelli-Linares and Ricardo Martinelli-Linares during a targeted enforcement operation ... on Nov. 20,” a statement issued to the media said. “Both men lawfully entered the US; however, their visas were revoked in 2017 and they have been unlawfully present in the US since that time.” Brazilian construction company Odebrecht has agreed to pay the government fines totaling US$220 million and cooperate with authorities. Andre Campos Rabello, Odebrecht’s former chief in Panama, had told a court that both sons took bribes amounting to US$6 million from 2009 to 2010.
Nuke use review requested
A group of lawmakers on Wednesday asked the Kremlin to review the nation’s rules for the use of nuclear weapons, amid tensions with the West. Participants in the hearings organized by the Federation Council’s Committee on Defense and Security suggested that the Security Council should draft a new version of the nuclear doctrine. Media reports cited the proposals as saying that the revised doctrine should in particular spell out a response to an attack on the country with hypersonic and other strategic nonnuclear weapons. The current military doctrine stipulates that Russia can use nuclear weapons in response to a nuclear attack on it or its allies, or an aggression involving conventional weapons that threatens “the very existence of the state.”
Amtrak train cars separate
A New York City-bound Amtrak train became disabled on the night before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year, when two of its cars separated. Train 68 was heading from Montreal when the train experienced what Amtrak called a “mechanical issue” just before 7:30pm near Albany, New York. Chuck Reeves, a software engineer from Troy, New York, was on his way to his parents’ home on New York’s Long Island and had boarded the first car behind the locomotive in Albany. Shortly after the train pulled away, he said that he and other passengers heard a pop and a hiss, smelled electrical burning and felt a rush of cold air. “Everyone started turning around,” only to see there was no more train behind them, he said. The train soon slowed to a stop and a conductor left the detached cars behind and boarded his car, he added. Another train was brought in to take passengers on the rest of their journey.
Car rams into schoolchildren
A car at about noon yesterday rammed into a group of schoolchildren crossing a street in front of an elementary school in Huludao, Liaoning Province, killing five people and injuring 18, state media said. Police took the driver into custody and are investigating the cause of the incident, China Central Television said on Sina Weibo. Unverified videos circulating social media show a car veering onto the wrong side of the road and plowing through the line of students. Other footage shows at least two small children lying unconscious and bleeding on the street. Victims of the crash are undergoing medical treatment, the broadcaster said.
Man killed by isolated tribe
Authorities yesterday said that it might take “some days” to recover the body of an American man killed in a hail of arrows shot by a tribe untouched by modern civilization. John Allen Chau, 27, was attacked as he set foot last week on the remote North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal that is off-limits to visitors, police said. Regional police chief Dependra Pathak said that authorities sent a helicopter to the area and then a ship to identify where the incident took place. “We maintained a distance from the island and have not yet been able to spot the body. It may take some more days and ... [reconnaissance] of the area,” Pathak added. North Sentinel is home to the Sentinelese people, believed to number only about 150. “We have to take care that we must not disturb them or their habitat by any means. It is a highly sensitive zone and it will take some time,” Pathak said. Police said a murder case had been registered against “unknown” tribespeople and that six fishers and one other person who allegedly helped Chau get to the island were arrested.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and