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.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
SURGE CONTINUES: India recorded its steepest spike of more than 57,000 new virus cases in 24 hours, as Vietnam went from no virus deaths to reporting three South Korean prosecutors yesterday arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect as part of an investigation into allegations that the church hampered the government’s COVID-19 response after thousands of worshipers were infected in February and March. Prosecutors in the central city of Suwon have been questioning 88-year-old Lee Man-hee, chairman of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, over charges that the church hid some members and underreported gatherings to avoid broader quarantines. The Suwon District Court granted prosecutors’ request to arrest Lee over concerns that he could temper with evidence. Lee and his church have steadfastly denied the accusations, saying they are