Wed, May 22, 2019 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

NEW ZEALAND

Man charged with terrorism

The man accused of shooting dead 51 Muslim worshipers in the Christchurch mosque attacks was formally charged yesterday with terrorism for the first time, police said. In addition to the terror charge, Brenton Tarrant also faces 51 charges of murder and 40 of attempted murder over the March 15 attacks. “The charge will allege that a terrorist act was carried out in Christchurch,” police said in a statement. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has characterized the killings as a well-planned “terrorist attack” since the day that Tarrant, a self-described white supremacist, allegedly carried them out, but until now, the charges against him were less expansive, as the country’s Terrorism Suppression Act was only introduced in 2002 and is untested in the courts.

AUSTRALIA

Suicide bids follow election

At least four refugees in offshore Pacific camps have attempted suicide since the conservative government’s shock re-election on Saturday, according to refugees, advocates and police. Many refugees had prayed for a more lenient policy from the Labor Party, who had been strongly tipped to win, but an unexpected victory by Scott Morrison’s center-right coalition dashed hopes and set off a wave of self-harm, including several hospitalizations. Men fleeing violence or persecution in Sudan, Iraq and Iran have attempted to hang or set fire to themselves, said Ian Rintoul of the Refugee Action Coalition. “Offshore detention is slowing strangling the life out of its victims,” he added.

JAPAN

FM’s ‘bacon’ tweets confuse

Bemused followers of Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Kono were left scratching their heads yesterday after a bizarre tweet about bacon. “Ah, bacon is in fact ^%?+*.!%....” he tweeted in Japanese to his 513,000 followers, prompting confusion and many times the number of retweets and likes than he usually gets. On Sunday, he tweeted that his son had greeted him by “screaming bacon with all his might” when he returned home in the early hours. By late yesterday, his account had reverted to the more mundane, with the minister announcing his attendance at a meeting of the OECD in Paris. There was no further comment on the bacon affair.

RUSSIA

IS fighters on border upsets

Federal Security Service Director Alexander Bortnikov is raising alarm about Islamic extremists massing on Afghanistan’s northern border. On a visit to Tajikistan yesterday, he said that about 5,000 fighters of an Islamic State (IS) group affiliate have gathered in areas bordering on former Soviet states in Central Asia. Bortnikov, in comments carried by Russian news agencies, called for tighter border control to prevent a spillover. Some experts have said that the Kremlin is exaggerating the number of extremists to justify the government’s outreach to the Taliban.

SAUDI ARABIA

Missiles headed off in Mecca

The government on Monday said that it intercepted two missiles in the province of Mecca fired by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis, who earlier denied having targeted Islam’s holiest site. The Houthis denied that their missiles were targeting Mecca. “The Saudi regime is trying, through these allegations, to rally support for its brutal aggression against our great Yemeni people,” Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on Facebook. Many Muslims visit the city during the holy month of Ramadan, which is underway.

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