Twenty hurt during strike
At least 20 people have been injured in clashes between police and activists near the capital, Dhaka, on the second day of a national strike called by opposition parties. ATN Bangla TV station said clashes occurred in Narayanganj District after opposition supporters brought out a procession that was intercepted by police yesterday. Witnesses said about a dozen homemade bombs have exploded in parts of Dhaka. An alliance of 18 parties is enforcing the 36-hour strike demanding the release of more than 160 opposition politicians arrested in the past two weeks. A truck driver was killed in the strike on Tuesday.
Jordan boycotts meeting
Jordan’s ambassador said he was boycotting a controversial meeting on international criminal justice organized by the president of the General Assembly because it would not include victims of the Bosnian war and would likely attack the war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Prince Zeid al-Hussein said that while assembly president Vuk Jeremic, a former foreign minister of Serbia, was presiding over yesterday’s assembly meeting, he and Liechtenstein’s ambassador would be hosting a press conference for two victims groups including the Mothers of Srebrenica. Among the main speakers at the high-level assembly session is Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, an ultranationalist and disciple of Vojislav Seselj, a firebrand right-wing politician whose trial is under way at the Yugoslav tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
Trash import vote planned
The government pledged on Tuesday to hold a historic referendum on whether to scrap waste imports, a money-making program opposed by environmentalists who say the country is already buried under its own trash. A law passed in 2011 allows the import of non-radioactive waste for destruction or recycling in factories, but litter clogs rivers and piles up on the side of roads, and activists say the government cannot be trusted to track the imported garbage. Bowing to a petition signed by 64,000 people, the president’s office set Dec. 22 as the date for the vote.
Hollande’s camel replaced
Authorities will give French President Francois Hollande another camel after the one they gave him in thanks for helping repel Islamist rebels was killed and eaten by the family he left it with in Timbuktu, an official in Mali said. An official said on Tuesday a replacement would be sent to France. “As soon as we heard of this, we quickly replaced it with a bigger and better-looking camel,” said the official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media. “The new camel will be sent to Paris. We are ashamed of what happened to the camel. It was a present that did not deserve this fate.”
Gunmen rob security van
Kalashnikov-toting gunmen robbed a security van on Monday, blocking traffic with a blazing truck, firing into the air and setting off a smoke bomb before escaping with cash and gold. The highly organized robbery happened on a busy stretch of motorway between Milan and Como, which was closed to traffic for several hours. The amount stolen, including gold ingots, was initially estimated at 10 million euros (US$13 million) by media, citing officials close to the investigation. The security firm, Battistolli, later said that amount was “absolutely exaggerated,” adding that the amount was still being calculated.
Senator ‘plotted’ smear
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnel presided over a meeting of his top staff at which they discussed how to attack a potential challenger, actor Ashley Judd, as suicidal and emotionally unbalanced, Mother Jones reported on Tuesday. The magazine published a secret recording of a meeting that took place on Feb. 2, at a time when Judd was thought to be preparing to run against the senator. The 12-minute tape reveals Judd was discussed in brutal terms. “This is the Whac-A-Mole period of the campaign ... when anybody sticks their head up, do them out,” McConnell says at the start. A male voice says: “This sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced ... you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s.” McConnell’s campaign manager Jesse Benton said the FBI had been asked to investigate whether the recording had been a criminal act.
Six-year-old dies in shooting
A six-year-old boy who was accidentally shot in the head by a four-year-old playmate has died from his wounds, New Jersey authorities said on Tuesday. Toms River police Chief Michael Mastronardy said Holt was pronounced dead at 5pm on Tuesday, nearly 24 hours after the shooting. Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said the four-year-old boy got the .22 caliber rifle from his home and it discharged accidentally on Monday evening. The children were about 15m apart. Coronato said it was too early to know whether anyone would be charged.
Train avoids hitting puppy
Officials say a 78-year-old man tied a puppy to train tracks in the California desert, and an engineer had to use emergency brakes to keep from crushing it. The train was near Mecca on April 2 when the engineer saw a man walking away from the tracks and stopped. Union Pacific Special Agent Sal Pina responded to the scene, untied the dog and detained the man, who said his family did not want the dog and didn’t know what to do. Pina says the man appeared confused. Riverside County animal control said the 10-month-old poodle-terrier is fine and up for adoption.
Beyonce’s Cuba trip legal
Pop diva Beyonce and hip-hop star Jay-Z’s trip to Cuba was part of a cultural exchange and did not violate the government’s economic embargo on the island, a US Treasury official said on Tuesday. “It is our understanding that the travelers in question traveled to Cuba pursuant to an educational exchange trip organized by a group authorized by OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] to sponsor and organize programs to promote people-to-people contact in Cuba,” Alastair Fitzpayne, the Treasury’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs, said in a letter to Republican lawmakers who had questioned the trip.
Elephant shot in drive-by
An elephant in the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus was injured in a drive-by shooting in Mississippi on Tuesday and police were searching for suspects in the attack. The 39-year-old Asian elephant named Carol was resting in an enclosure outside the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo when it was hit in the shoulder with a shot fired from a passing vehicle. The elephant will be taken to Missouri for several weeks of treatment and is expected to make a full recovery, a circus spokeswoman said.