Church says Bibles burnt
A major church in the predominantly Christian Papua Province said a riot in the provincial capital last month was sparked by the military burning Bibles, contradicting the police account of events. A report by the Evangelical Christian Church in Papua said a priest and another man from a local congregation took photographs of burned Bibles at a military base in Jayapura, and took several away as evidence. It said they tried to calm the crowd that gathered outside the base on May 25 after reports of Bible burning spread on social media. At the time, police said soldiers burned rubbish and distributed photographs of a burned book on theology that they annotated with text: “This is not the Bible.” Three protesters suffered gunshot wounds when police dispersed the crowd.
Five attackers linked to IS
Five of the men who launched an attack in the heart of the capital previously fought for the Islamic State (IS) group, the country’s Intelligence Ministry said yesterday, acknowledging the first such assault by the extremists in the Shiite power. The attacks on Wednesday on the parliament and the tomb of its revolutionary leader killed at least 17 people and wounded more than 40, stunning its people. The ministry described the attackers as “long-affiliated with the Wahhabi,” an ultraconservative form of Sunni Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia.
Ex-homeless gives to shelter
A man who was homeless for years has donated US$10,000 to a shelter that once supported him. The act of kindness has triggered a slew of additional donations for Shelter House in Thunder Bay, Ontario, which had to close an outreach program on April 1 when it ran out of funds for the operation. The Street Outreach Services program involved staffers driving around to check on the homeless, intoxicated and others at risk on the streets, and take them to hospitals, detox facilities and shelters. Alexandra Calderon, a development officer at the shelter, said a member of the First Nations who had used the facility and the outreach program extensively walked in and said he wanted to give back. Calderon said her first reaction was to urge him to keep the money, but he wanted to make sure his friends are safe. Both Calderon and the man, who wished to remain anonymous, then broke into tears. “He was so proud to do it,” Calderon said. “It’s such a moving donation because it comes from somebody who has nothing.” Calderon said the man has his own apartment and was at the shelter in early April during a news conference at which Matawa First Nation chief executive officer David Paul Achneepineskum pledged US$10,000 per year for the next five years to the organization on behalf of the First Nation.
Actor held over rehearsal
An actor who was rehearsing in the toilet of a train was quizzed by police as a possible terrorist threat after a guard overheard the words “weapon” and “gun,” transport authorities said. The 35-year-old had shut himself away to practice his lines for an English-language stage role. However, a passing train guard who overheard his soliloquy raised the alarm, telling his bosses there was someone talking about weaponry in the bathroom. The high-speed train, en route to Paris from Marseille, made an unscheduled stop in the city of Valence where security forces took the man for questioning at a police station. He was later released without charge.