‘Pink Panther’ gang busted
Police on Friday said they had arrested five alleged members of the so-called “Pink Panther” gang of jewel thieves in Barcelona. A special operations unit from the Catalan police was waiting when the thieves, one armed with a pistol, tried to rob a jewelery store on the city’s famous Passeig de Gracia avenue, a police statement said. The operation was part of a larger investigation with different crime units in Spain and with the collaboration of the Serbian and German police, the statement said. Police were able to recover the jewelery the gang was trying to steal.
Rights leader warrant lifted
A judge lifted an arrest warrant on Friday for the 87-year-old president of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group in a highly politicized embezzlement case. The investigating magistrate had ordered Hebe de Bonafini’s arrest on Thursday, but hundreds of supporters massed outside the group’s offices to prevent police from removing her. The judge agreed on Friday to allow her to be questioned without being jailed. A date was not set. De Bonafini had twice refused to submit to questioning in a case involving the alleged diversion of nearly US$14 million in public funds earmarked for a low-incoming housing project registered under the Mothers’ name.
Man charged in knife attack
A 19-year-old man on Friday was charged with the murder of a 64-year-old US woman in a knife attack that wounded five others in Central London on Wednesday, London Metropolitan Police said. The man, Zakaria Bulham, was also charged with five counts of attempted murder in relation to the individuals injured in the attack, police said. Bulham, a Norwegian man of Somalian origin, began attacking people on Wednesday evening in Russell Square, a park near the site of a 2005 suicide bombing. He was arrested on the same day. At the time, police said there was no evidence the attack was terrorism-related.
Stiglitz quits committee
Nobel Prize-winning US economist Joseph Stiglitz has resigned from a committee of international experts named to help reform Panama’s financial services sector after the Panama Papers scandal, the government said on Friday. Stiglitz and respected Swiss criminal law professor Mark Pieth quit the committee over “internal differences,” said a statement from the government, without giving further details. The Panama Papers scandal erupted in April, when media outlets around the world published details on dodgy offshore financial dealings gleaned from millions of leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
Filipina arrested for IS links
Authorities have arrested a Filipina accused of pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) and planning to launch an attack in the state, news agency KUNA reported on Friday. The woman, born in 1984, entered the country in June as a housekeeper and has been in contact with the Islamic State’s affiliate in Libya, the Ministry of the Interior said in a statement published by KUNA. Security forces monitored one of the e-mail accounts run by the woman and found messages in which she had contacted the Libyan militant group and had been using “a fake name and nickname to evade monitoring,” the ministry said.
Australian scientists have raised questions over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in establishing herd immunity, calling for a pause on its widespread rollout as the country recorded one new case of the virus yesterday. Opposition to the vaccine casts a cloud over Australia’s immunization plans, with 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab already on hand. “The question is really whether it is able to provide herd immunity. We are playing a long game here. We don’t know how long that will take,” Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology president Stephen Turner said. Turner added
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000km Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird yesterday said he discovered that the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 last year had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on Oct. 29. Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe — after US president-elect Joe Biden — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention
China has possibly committed “genocide” in its treatment of Uighurs and other minority Muslims in its western region of Xinjiang, the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China said in a report on Thursday. The bipartisan commission said that new evidence had last year emerged that “crimes against humanity — and possibly genocide — are occurring” in Xinjiang. It also accused China of harassing Uighurs in the US. China has been widely condemned for setting up complexes in Xinjiang that it describes as “vocational training centers” to stamp out extremism and give people new skills, which others have called concentration camps. The UN says that
The Polish Supreme Court on Friday quashed a lower court’s green light for the extradition of a businessman to China for alleged fraud, a charge he has denied, saying that he is being targeted for supporting Falun Gong. Polish authorities took Chinese-born Swedish citizen Li Zhihui, now 53, into custody in 2019 on an international warrant issued by China for alleged non-payment in a business deal, Krzysztof Kitajgrodzki, his Polish lawyer, told reporters. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the case would return to a lower appellate court for review. Kitajgrodzki told reporters that it was still not a given that his client