Mass burials under way
Mass burials for 89 victims of Saturday’s bomb attack targeting Shiite Muslims began yesterday after three days of nationwide protests at the government’s failure to tackle sectarian violence. Tensions were running high as up to 4,000 mourners gathered in Quetta, and some pelted a government official’s car with stones, prompting security forces and then protesters to fire into the air. Soldiers from the paramilitary Frontier Corps and police were deployed in all markets and on roads in Quetta as the burials took place.
New video targets Obama
The government has released a new propaganda video showing US soldiers and US President Barack Obama burning in the flames of a nuclear blast. The footage was uploaded on YouTube on Monday by the government’s official Web site, Uriminzokkiri. The video showed images of Obama waving and preparing to deliver his State of the Union address — superimposed against a background of rising flames. It ends with an animated sequence of a nuclear bomb being detonated in an underground bunker and the message: “The whole world is now watching. The US must answer now.” Meanwhile, the government is rewarding the scientists and workers behind its Feb. 12 nuclear test with a visit to Pyongyang to enjoy “the greatest privileges,” the Korean Central News Agency said yesterday. The agency promised a “joyful and delightful time” at the city’s open-air ice rink and roller skating center.
Antarctica collision reported
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says a Japanese whaling boat has collided with two anti-whaling ships and a refueling boat near Antarctica. Society founder Paul Watson says he was aboard the ship Steve Irwin yesterday when the Japanese boat Nisshin Maru collided with it and with the Bob Barker. Watson says the Nisshin Maru was trying to pull alongside a refueling tanker and the anti-whaling boats were trying to prevent it. He said the Nisshin Maru also collided with the tanker.
Probe into photo launched
The army says it has launched an investigation after a soldier allegedly posted a picture on Instagram of a Palestinian child’s head in the crosshairs of his sniper rifle. The picture shows a child sitting with his back to the sniper’s telescope, with its crosshairs on the left side of his head. Local media said the image was uploaded by 20-year-old sniper Mor Ostrovski to Instagram last week, though security sources say he has denied taking the picture.
Pineapple farm attacked
Officials say more than 100 New People’s Army guerrillas stormed one of the world’s largest pineapple plantations, killing a guard, burning farm equipment and seizing firearms. Police yesterday said two other guards were shot and wounded by about 100 guerrillas who barged into a residential, recreational and office complex on the Del Monte Philippines plantation late on Tuesday in Manolo Fortich town in Bukidnon province. The guerrillas blocked traffic in two nearby towns to prevent troops from responding to the attack, police said.
The government resigned from office yesterday after nationwide protests against high electricity prices. Prime Minister Boiko Borisov had tried to calm protests by sacking his finance minister, pledging to cut power prices and punish foreign-owned companies, but protests continued on Tuesday. Twenty-five people were taken to hospital after protesters clashed with police. “I will not participate in a government under which police are beating people,” Borisov said as he announced his resignation yesterday.
Gunman kills three people
A gunman killed three people in California on Tuesday, including at least one execution-style, in a series of shootings and carjackings before taking his own life, police said. At least two other people were injured as the gunman fired randomly on other vehicles on a freeway, before he shot and killed himself near the city of Orange, south of Los Angeles. The suspect was identified as 20-year-old Ali Syed, who was unemployed, had no criminal record, and was living at home with his parents and taking a class at a local college.
Shotgun is enough: Biden
Vice President Joe Biden told Americans on Tuesday that a few blasts of a shotgun should be ample for self defense, as he pushed White House gun reform plans. “If you want to protect yourself, get a double-barreled shotgun,” Biden said, on a Facebook forum hosted by Parents Magazine as he related advice he once gave to his wife, Jill, as their home in Delaware was in a secluded area. “’Jill, if there is ever a problem, walk out on the balcony, flick that double-barreled shotgun and fire two blasts outside the house.’ You don’t need an AR-15 [semi automatic rifle] ... it is harder to use, and in fact you don’t need 30 rounds to protect yourself. Buy a shotgun,” Biden said.
Gas blast sparks blaze
A gas explosion that sparked a massive, block-engulfing blaze in an upscale Kansas City shopping district injured 14 people, a city official said on Tuesday, adding that it is believed that an accident involving a utility contractor may have caused the blast.
Montreal City Hall raided
Quebec’s anti-corruption squad on Tuesday raided Montreal City Hall, asking employees to leave the building as they searched through files. A spokeswoman for the anti-corruption unit confirmed evidence was being gathered of alleged fraud and breach of trust there, as well as at eight other locations, including the offices of several boroughs.
Diamond robbers hit airport
Heavily armed robbers disguised as police made off with US$50 million worth of diamonds in a spectacular heist on the tarmac at Brussels airport that lasted about five minutes. The Monday night robbery at Zaventem Airport just before 8pm was “one of the biggest” ever, said a spokeswoman for the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the global dealers’ syndicate. The raid saw a gang of eight hooded thieves pull up on the runway in two black vehicles with blue police-like markings, Brussels prosecutors’ spokeswoman Anja Bijnens said. They forced their way through security barriers and sped towards a Swiss passenger aircraft about to take off on the runway, forcing open the cargo hold to reach gems that had already been loaded, she said.