Airstrikes kill at least 18
Airstrikes on areas in the last major rebel stronghold in the northwest on Saturday killed at least 18 people, including women and children, and wounded others as a three-month truce crumbles, opposition activists said. The airstrikes on Idlib Province have intensified over the past few weeks, as the government appears to be preparing for an offensive on rebel-held areas east of the province to secure the main highway that links the capital Damascus with the northern city of Aleppo.
Four shot in capital
Four people were shot and killed in the capital on Saturday, just steps from an entrance to the official residence of the president, authorities said. Officials said a man entered an apartment building near the National Palace seeking to urinate in the courtyard and was confronted by residents. He pulled out a gun and began shooting, hitting five people, officials said. A police officer killed the shooter, while three of the building residents died, authorities said. Residents who declined to give their names said that their street in the capital’s historic center is far from safe, despite being a stone’s throw from the palace.
Tribe members killed
Two indigenous men, members of the Guajajara tribe in the northeast, were shot dead on Saturday, and two others were wounded, not far from where a prominent tribesman who defended the Amazon rainforest was also killed last month, authorities said. Tribes have faced violence especially from illegal loggers and miners. Magno Guajajara, a spokesman for the tribe, said that they did not know why the two men had been shot. He identified them as Firmino Guajajara and Raimundo Guajajara. The men were on a highway, coming back from a meeting, when the shots were fired from a passing vehicle, he said. “They were shooting at everyone,” he said by telephone. Authorities said they were investigating, but did not say if anyone had been detained.
‘Miracle’ missionary dies
German evangelical preacher Reinhard Bonnke, who claimed to perform miracles on stage and had a huge following in Africa, died on Saturday aged 79, his church said. Bonnke, the founder of the Christ for All Nations church, first visited Africa in the 1960s and preached across the continent for decades, often at open-air events. The obituary on his Web site said Bonnke had drawn 1.6 million people to one gathering in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2000, and that he had converted 79 million people during his career. Bonnke, who lived in the US, claimed to raise the dead, and to cure the deaf, blind and disabled — often attracting criticism and anger from skeptics, other faiths and more traditional Christian churches.
Defendant poisons himself
A man has been hospitalized in critical condition after apparently trying to poison himself in a courtroom when a judge pronounced him guilty of rape and kidnapping that led to death. The dramatic gesture came at the end of a high-profile trial into one of the country’s bigger cold cases: the 2002 killing of Elodie Kulik, a young woman. DNA evidence later led police to Willy Bardon, who was convicted on Friday. One of his lawyers on Saturday told Europe-1 radio that his client was desperate and convinced of his innocence.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference