Honduran leaders accused
The former boss of Honduras’ Los Cachiros cartel on Friday testified that he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to the current and former presidents of Honduras in exchange for protection from extradition to the US and other favors. Devis Leonel Rivera Maradiaga said in a Manhattan court that he gave then-Honduran president Porfirio Lobo between US$500,000 and US$600,000 in 2009 and that Lobo helped him launder the proceeds from drug trafficking. Rivera Maradiaga also said he paid a US$250,000 bribe to Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, without specifying the date.
Migrant boat sinks
A small boat carrying African migrants off the coast of the country’s south sank on Friday, leaving two people dead and one missing, authorities said. The boat was traveling off the southern border state of Chiapas when it listed to one side, pitching its occupants into the water, the state prosecutors’ office said in a statement. A 39-year-old man was found dead washed up on the shore, it said. A second body was later located a few hundred meters from the first. A search operation “managed to rescue eight migrants alive,” the office said, adding that one person was missing. All were from Cameroon, which has seen a growing exodus of refugees amid an increasingly violent conflict between its French and English-speaking communities.
Killer sentenced to death
A man who prosecutors said was driven by vengeance when he fatally shot six members of his ex-wife’s family in Texas, including four children, was on Friday sentenced to death, a decision the lone survivor of the attack has said would help her let go of “hurt and anger.” Jurors sentenced Ronald Lee Haskell after deliberating for little more than four hours. The jury had to choose between life in prison without parole or a death sentence. The same jury last month convicted Haskell of capital murder in the 2014 killings of Stephen and Katie Stay at their home in suburban Houston.
Lost dog found after 12 years
A toy fox terrier that disappeared from its family’s south Florida home in 2007 was this week found almost 2,000km away in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and reunited with its owner on Friday. The 14-year-old dog named Dutchess was found hungry, shivering and in serious need of a nail trim under a shed on Monday, Humane Animal Rescue said. The property owner took the dog to a Humane Animal Rescue location, where staffers located a microchip and traced the dog back to its owners in Boca Raton, Florida. The dog’s owner, Katheryn Strang, drove to Pittsburgh for an emotional reunion with Dutchess. Boca Raton is about 1,800km from Pittsburgh.
Bus crash kills at least 11
An overloaded bus plunged down a hill, killing at least 11 people and injuring 108, an official said yesterday. The packed bus was ferrying passengers — who had been celebrating the Hindu festival of Dashain — from Sindhupalchowk to neighboring Kathmandu. However, the crowded vehicle slipped and fell more than 50m at a bend. “Six people were killed instantly and five more passed away on the way to hospital or while being treated,” district official Goma Devi Chemjong told reporters.
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,
The dramatic quietening of towns and cities during lockdown in Britain has changed the way the Earth moves beneath our feet, scientists said. Seismologists at the British Geological Survey (BGS) have found that their sensors are twitching less now that human activity has been curtailed, leading to a drop in the anthropogenic din that vibrates through the planet. The fall in the human hum that rings around the world means that, in theory at least, the scientists should be able to detect smaller earthquakes in the UK, and more distant tremors in Europe and in countries further afield than their equipment usually