Gunmen kill tourists
Police say militants have killed a German tourist and an Afghan civilian in a relatively stable area in the center of the country. Deputy provincial police chief Abdul Rashid Bashir said the German man was riding in a vehicle with three Afghans when they were ambushed late on Saturday afternoon by two armed gunmen on a motorbike in Dawlat Yar District of Ghor Province. After a small argument, the gunmen fatally shot the German and an Afghan man. The two other civilians were wounded in the attack. Bashir says the group had traveled from Herat Province in the west and was heading to Bamiyan Province.
Land sales probe promised
Officials promised an investigation into land sales to defuse days of large, sometimes violent protests by villagers in the south who say they are being pushed off farmland for property development, state media and villagers said yesterday. Government officials struck a compromise with leaders from Wukan village on Saturday, promising a full investigation of all land sales if locals would halt the protests, according to a report in the official Southern Daily posted late on Saturday on the Web site of Shanwei city, which oversees Wukan. The strategy appeared to work. While villagers gathered to protest for a fourth day on Saturday as negotiations took place, no one congregated to do so as of midday yesterday, villagers contacted by telephone said. However, locals said they remain angry and expect the government investigation to expose what they say is an unfair transfer of farmland to build factories. “We want our land returned to us,” said a woman who took part in the protests and would only give her surname, Yang.
Head of gang chapter killed
Police say the head of a California chapter of the Hells Angels was killed in a gun battle between two rival motorcycle gangs at a Nevada hotel-casino. Sparks deputy police chief Brian Allen said Jeffrey Pettigrew died late on Friday in the shootout with members of the Vagos club at John Ascuaga’s Nugget. Two Vagos members were hospitalized and were in a stable condition. Pettigrew was in charge of the Hells Angels’ chapter in San Jose. The town of Sparks is on edge amid fears of retaliation. Sparks Mayor Geno Martini says a drive-by shooting just hours after the fatal gunfight was apparently such an attack. Martini has declared a state of emergency to help speed up state assistance if backup law enforcement is needed.
‘Ladies in White’ heckled
About 300 activists backing the nation’s communist government shouted down 35 relatives of political prisoners, some of whom were roughed up, a journalist witnessed on Saturday. A crowd of university students and members of the Union of Communist Youth massed outside the Havana home of “Ladies in White” leader Laura Pollan and blocked group members from marching to attend mass nearby. The Ladies in White, mainly the wives and mothers of political prisoners, won the European Parliament’s Sakharov prize in 2005. The women were targeted for more than three hours with shouts and insults. “These are the same people as ever,” Pollan told reporters. “They are not the ‘enraged Cuban people’ [as the government calls the pro-regime activists] — they are not spontaneous. They are brought in here.”
Journalist found decapitated
The decapitated body of a female journalist was found on Saturday in the northeast of the country near the US border, along with a message attributed to an organized crime gang, state prosecutors said. The victim found in the city of Nuevo Laredo was identified as Maria Elizabeth Macias, the 39-year-old chief editor of the newspaper Primera Hora, prosecutors in Tamaulipas state said in a statement. Next to the body was a note “attributed to a criminal group,” the statement said, without offering further details. Two weeks ago, the half-naked bloodstained bodies of a man and a woman were found hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, along with messages threatening those who report drug violence on social networks.
Banned journalist deported
The country deported a French journalist on Saturday who had been placed on a banned list for allegedly insulting the country, security sources said. They identified the journalist as Marie Edmee Josette Duboc and said she was held at Cairo’s airport terminal after flying in from Paris on Friday evening when officials found her name on a list of people banned from entering the country. “The journalist had deliberately tried to discredit Egypt,” one security source said without giving any further details. “Thus, she had been put on the list of those banned from entry.”
Rifle assembly plant opens
The army has opened a plant to assemble Galil assault rifles for export, particularly in Latin America, the Defense Ministry said on Saturday. “The weapons and munitions factory will be able to assemble 2,000 Galil ACE [assault rifles] a month for the international defense market,” a statement said.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Dark matter, mysterious invisible stuff that makes up most of the mass of galaxies, including the Milky Way, is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature. Research published this week revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed. “Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or we have made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter,” Yale University astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, a coauthor of