Oil pipeline bombed
The Cano Limon oil pipeline in eastern Arauca Department was bombed on Wednesday, state-run oil company Ecopetrol said, the 11th time it has been attacked this year. Explosive devices were detonated along the pipeline in a rural area of Arauquita municipality near the border with Venezuela. An Ecopetrol representative said that it would not be clear until yesterday whether any oil spilled. The pipeline was not pumping at the time of the bombing. There have been more than a dozen attacks on Colombian pipelines in the year to date, 11 of them on Cano Limon. There were more than 80 attacks on the 780 pipeline last year, which kept it offline for most of the year. Although Ecopetrol does not usually name groups responsible, oil infrastructure bombings are regularly carried out by leftist National Liberation Army (ELN) rebels, considered a terrorist organization by the US and the EU. The ELN opposes multinational companies, saying that they seize natural resources without benefiting Colombians.
Authorities liberate refugees
Mexican authorities on Wednesday said that military personnel rescued 34 Central Americans from a home in violent northeastern Tamaulipas state, but no arrests were made because the people who were watching over the migrants fled. The eight Guatemalans, 25 Hondurans and one El Salvadoran who were rescued are likely not the same group of people as the 22 passengers kidnapped by armed men from a bus in northern Mexico last week, a state spokeswoman said. “Military personnel rescued 34 people of Central American nationality, of which 19 are adults and 15 minors... At the same address four vehicles, three high-caliber weapons, magazines and cartridges were found,” state authorities said in a statement.
Crime boss shot dead
The reported crime boss of the New York mafia’s Gambino family, Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, was gunned down in front of his Staten Island home late on Wednesday, police and media said. Cali, 53, was fatally shot multiple times to his torso shortly after 9pm in front of his home, police said. Media, including the New York Post, reported that Cali was shot at least six or seven times and also run over by a blue pickup truck driven by the shooter, citing unidentified police sources. The Gambino crime operation is one of the five historic Italian-American mafia families in New York and makes its money through violence and extortion, Reuters has previously reported. Charges against members of mafia operations, including Gambino family operatives, have included murder, loan sharking, gambling and illegal drug distribution, reports have said. The New York Daily News in 2008 reported that Cali was among 62 people arrested on federal racketeering charges and he later pleaded guilty to conspiring to extort money. He served a 16-month sentence.
Lamb on the lam in NY
A wayward lamb running around a New York City bridge briefly held up traffic before its rescue. The animal was first seen trotting eastbound along the shoulder of Gowanus Expressway at about 9:30am on Wednesday. New York City Police Officer Dominick Gatto said he was on duty when a motorist informed him about the lamb on the lam. Gatto and other police officers chased down and caught the animal, taking it to the Animal Care Center in Staten Island.
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