Brazil officials say 11 dead in ‘massacre’ at Belém bar

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE US TODAY NEWSPAPER)

 

Brazil officials say 11 dead in ‘massacre’ at Belém bar

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RIO DE JANEIRO – A gang of gunmen reportedly attacked a bar in the capital of Brazil’s northern Pará state Sunday afternoon, killing 11 people.

The state security agency confirmed late Sunday only that six women and five men died in the incident in the Guamá neighborhood of the Pará state capital, Belém.

The G1 news website said police reported that seven gunmen were involved in the attack, which also wounded one person. The news outlet said the attackers arrived at the bar on one motorcycle and in three cars.

“A massacre is confirmed,” Pará state spokeswoman Natalia Mello said.

In late March, the federal government sent National Guard troops to Belém to reinforce security in the city for 90 days.

Brazil hit a record high of 64,000 homicides in 2017, 70% of which were due to firearms, according to official statistics.

Much of Brazil’s violence is gang related. In January, gangs attacked across Fortaleza, bringing that city to a standstill with as commerce, buses and taxis shut down. Rio de Janeiro experiences daily shootouts between rival gangs and also police that often kill innocent bystanders.

Rio de Janeiro, the country’s second biggest city, experiences daily shootouts between rival gangs and also between police and criminals, battles that often result in the deaths of innocent bystanders. Fogo Cruzado, a group that monitors shootings in the Rio metropolitan area, says there were 2,300 shootings in Rio and its suburbs during the first 100 days of this year.

One of new President Jair Bolsonaro’s main campaign promises was that he would loosen Brazil’s strict gun laws, arguing that because criminals are well-armed with illegally obtained guns, “upstanding citizens” should have the right to defend themselves with legally bought guns.

Bolsonaro has made good on that campaign promise with two presidential decrees that make buying guns easier, though federal prosecutors are seeking to get the courts to block that move.

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Authorities: Teen mauled to death by dogs he often cared for

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ABC NEWS)

 

Authorities: Teen mauled to death by dogs he often cared for

A 14-year-old Massachusetts boy was mauled to death by dogs that he regularly cared for, a prosecutor said Friday.

The teenager killed Thursday night at a property in Dighton was identified by Bristol District Attorney Thomas Quinn III at a news conference as Ryan Hazel, of the neighboring town of Rehoboth.

The owner of the property, who was not home at the time, is cooperating with investigators but no foul play is suspected, Quinn said.

Dighton Police Chief Robert MacDonald appeared to be visibly shaken.

“Things like that should never happen to anybody, let alone a 14-year-old boy,” he said.

Ryan was brought to the home by his grandmother at about 6 p.m. Thursday, Quinn said.

She waited in the car because he usually took no more than 45 minutes to complete his tasks. She became worried when he took longer than normal, so she called his parents, who called a neighbor.

The neighbor went to the property, found the boy and called 911 at about 8 p.m.

Ryan had “traumatic injuries to various areas of his body,” and was pronounced dead at the scene, Quinn said.

Police found four dogs running free on the property and seven in kennels. The four that were free were Dutch shepherds and Belgian malinois.

Animal control took custody of all 11, at least one which acted aggressively, Quinn said.

There had been no prior complaints to police about dogs at the property, MacDonald said.

Ryan was a student at Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton, according to a statement from Superintendent Alexandre Magalhaes.

“We are saddened by this loss in our school community, and as we come together, our leadership team will make every effort to provide assistance to our students, families and fellow employees as needed,” he said.

The towns are about 35 miles (56 kilometers) southwest of Boston.

Brunei Sultan backtracks on death penalty for gay sex

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS)

 

Brunei sultan backtracks on death penalty for gay sex

AFP

AFP

 In this file photo taken on April 3, 2019, Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah delivers a speech during an event in Bandar Seri Begawan.

Brunei’s sultan has announced death by stoning for gay sex and adultery will not be enforced after a global backlash, but critics yesterday called for harsh sharia laws to be abandoned entirely.

In a speech late on Sunday, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said a moratorium on capital punishment that already applies to Brunei’s regular criminal code would also extend to its new sharia code, which includes death by stoning for various crimes.

The code, which also punishes theft with the amputation of hands and feet, fully came into force last month in the small sultanate on Borneo island, making it the only country in East or Southeast Asia with sharia law at the national level.

The move sparked anger from governments and rights groups, the United Nations slammed it as a “clear violation” of human rights while celebrities led by actor George Clooney called for Brunei-owned hotels to be boycotted. In a televised address, the all-powerful sultan made his first public comments about the furore and took the rare step of addressing criticism, saying there had been “many questions and misperceptions” regarding the sharia laws.

“Both the common law and the sharia law aim to ensure peace and harmony of the country,” he insisted, according to an official translation of his speech.

Some crimes in Muslim-majority Brunei including murder and drug-trafficking were already punishable with death by hanging under the regular criminal code, which is enforced alongside the sharia code, but no one has been executed for decades.

Scope for remission

Hassanal said that “we have practiced a de facto moratorium on the execution of death penalty for cases under the common law. This will also be applied to cases under the (sharia penal code), which provides a wider scope for remission.”

But rights groups said the announcement did not go far enough.

“It really doesn’t change anything,” Matthew Woolfe, founder of rights group The Brunei Project, said. “This announcement does nothing to address the many other human rights concerns about the (sharia code).”

The maximum punishment for gay sex between men under the sharia code is death by stoning, but perpetrators can also be sentenced to lengthy jail terms or caning. Women convicted of having sexual relations with other women face up to 40 strokes of the cane or a maximum 10-year jail term.

Whipping and jail terms, as well as severing of limbs for theft, under the new code were not affected by the sultan’s announcement.

It was not clear how far other sharia punishments would be enforced.

The sultan also vowed in his speech that Brunei would ratify the United Nations convention against torture which it signed several years ago.

41 People confirmed dead in plane fire in Moscow’s airport

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S SHINE NEWS NETWORK)

 

41 people confirmed dead in plane fire in Moscow’s airport

Xinhua

Video from AFP.

Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed Monday that 41 people were killed after an SSJ-100 passenger plane en route to the northwestern Russian city of Murmansk caught fire before an emergency landing Sunday at the Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow.

“41 people died,” Elena Markovskaya, representative of the committee’s Moscow Interregional Investigation Department for Transport, was quoted by Tass news agency as saying.

The committee reported 37 survivors from the 78 people aboard the airliner in an earlier statement.

The plane reportedly took off from the Sheremetyevo Airport at 6pm local time (1500 GMT) and made an emergency landing after circling over the Moscow region for about 40 minutes.

It was “engulfed in flames” before the emergency landing, Tass news agency quoted a source as saying.

It was previously reported that the fire could be caused by lightening strike.

The committee has opened a criminal case on violation of safety regulations for air transport and started further investigation of the accident, according to the statement.

Investigators began to interview the victims, eyewitnesses, airport staff and the airline carrier, as well as others responsible for the operation of the aircraft, it said.

The causes and circumstances are being verified and an explicit conclusion will be made after a comprehensive study of the data and documentation is completed, the committee said.

Xinhua

An SSJ-100 passenger plane catches fire at Sheremetyevo airport outside Moscow on May 5.

Poway And The Struggle For Americas Soul

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

If you’re a Jew in America today, there’s a good chance you’re concerned. First, the largest hate-driven massacre of Jews in American history occurs in Pittsburgh. Then, precisely six months later, with an almost identical fingerprint of hatred, a deadly attack on a synagogue in Poway, California.

Whose problem is this?

The Jewish people are no weaker for these attacks. Synagogues are not about to empty out because of a handful of disturbed, poisoned minds—and much to the contrary. As for those whose lives were taken, all very special Jews, all missed terribly: Don’t call them victims. There’s an honored title in Jewish tradition for any Jew who lost his or her life simply for being a Jew: A Kadosh. A holy Jew. Jews don’t die as victims, we die with dignity. That is why we are still alive.

My contention is that this is not a Jewish problem. It’s the World’s problem. Both these attacks, along with many other violent crimes of hatred in recent years are symptoms of a malicious disease spreading unabated in America, in Europe, and in the world at large.

But that’s a problem that we, as Jews, are going to have to assist in healing. For our own best interest, as well as for the interest of this country, and for the entire world.

America is suffering. According to FBI figures, hate-crimes rose 17% last year, with similar increases over the previous two years. All this while other forms of violent crime continue to decrease. Something’s wrong.

Jews are an obvious target. Like the canary in the coal mine, we tend to get hit the hardest. And yes, these are acts of rabid antisemitism. But if we want to solve anything, we need to take a broader perspective. Muslims, Christians and others have been under siege as well. Just a few days before the Poway shooting, a young war veteran plowed into a crowd crossing the street in Sunnyvale, California. He told police he thought they were Muslims.

Is there a medicine for this plague?

In the sixties, seventies and eighties, violence was increasingly on the rampage in America in a way not seen since the days of the Wild West. Ideas for quick fixes and long term solutions abounded. The Rebbe’s prescription, unique and counterintuitive, was this: Fix the education system. How? Introduce a moment of silence every day into the school curriculum, and take it seriously.

Why do I think that’s a good fit for today’s plague of hate-driven violence?

Think about it: America is divided over gun law restrictions, yet there is one point that enjoys universal consensus: Gun restrictions alone are not enough. Because the problem is not the gun. The problem is the mind of the person that holds the gun.

What has the American school done for the mind of that criminal?

We taught him how human beings first appeared on the planet. Did we teach him to be a human being? Did we teach him to respect another human being?

We taught him to use his mind to solve problems with numbers. Did we teach him to apply his mind—rather than his fists—to solve problems with people?

We taught him anatomy. Did we teach him that a human life is more than the sum of blood, guts and bones? Or did we, perhaps inadvertently, teach him that the notion of a human soul has no place in the educated mind?

We taught him about laws and prisons. Did we teach him that even if you’re so smart that you don’t get caught, you’re still wrong? Did we give him a conscience?

Did we ever demonstrate to him that these are the things that really matter in life—more than math, more than science, even more than the niftiest technology? Did we ever give him a chance to stop and think about himself, about his life, about his family, about everything that bothers him in life? Is there a space and time for thinking about life in his school?

That’s all that a moment of silence in school is about. And, yes, it works wonders. Ask those who work in schools where it’s been implemented. They will tell you that a moment of silence means that a child will go home and ask Mommy and Daddy what he should think about. It means that a child will share with his teacher the troubles he’s going through. It means the school becomes a place not just for the child’s mind, but for his heart and his soul.

Or take it from this 2013 report on the Moment of Silence program at Paul Robeson High in Brooklyn, N.Y., that described it as “an ongoing, transformative experience.”

“…The Moment of Silence provided the students an opportunity to become more mindful and reflective of their experiences inside and outside the classroom. The students have become more introspective in their writing and have a greater appreciation, empathy, and understanding of their peers . . . Students have also gained a greater understanding of educational objectives.”

Jews have to adapt to the times. The knee-jerk reaction, reinforced through thousands of years of history, has been to huddle down and strengthen the internal steel grid when under attack. But America in 2019 is not Shushan, not Rome, not medieval Spain, not Poland.

It’s that attitude that prompted some Jews to believe that if Judaism were to be safe in America, G‑d had to be kicked out of public school. They failed to realize that, in the times we live in, the opposite is true. A moral society demands a notion of an objective, supreme Judge, an “eye that sees and an ear that hears”—even if you don’t get caught by the police or the media. When that notion is lost, so is America’s soul. And that’s when the madness begins.

A moment of silence doesn’t impose prayer or belief in a Creator on anyone. But it opens the child’s mind to search for meaning, and hopefully, for G‑d’s presence in the world. And there’s a good chance the child will talk to parents and grandparents and discover that they once had faith in their lives.

True, anti-semitism never died, even in America. But here we have a voice, a well-respected voice, and therefore a responsibility to our host country. Isn’t this why we were given a Torah? Isn’t this is the core mission of our people here in this world—to be a light to the nations, who will finally come to realize that the world has a Creator who cares about how we treat His world?

We can use our voices to heal America. Let America’s schools nurture the humanness of America’s children. Let children know the meaning of silence, just enough silence that they can hear their own hearts pounding inside. Let America have a soul again.

Chabad shooting victim named as Lori Gilbert-Kaye, said to have shielded Rabbi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Chabad shooting victim named as Lori Gilbert-Kaye, said to have shielded rabbi

Friend says 60-year-old mother jumped between gunman and rabbi at Poway Chabad center; Israeli girl and her uncle injured in rampage

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was killed in a shooting at a San Diego County synagogue on April 27, 2019 (Facebook)

Lori Gilbert-Kaye, who was killed in a shooting at a San Diego County synagogue on April 27, 2019 (Facebook)

The US woman killed in a shooting at a San Diego County synagogue was named late Saturday as Lori Gilbert-Kaye, a 60-year-old mother.

Gilbert-Kaye was attending Passover services at the synagogue when a gunman opened fire with an assault rifle on worshipers at the Poway, California, synagogue, local authorities said.

Three other people were injured, including Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 57, who was leading services at the time and was shot in both hands.

The other two were Noya Dahan, 8, a girl originally from Sderot in Israel who was hit by shrapnel in the face and leg, and her uncle Almog Peretz, 31, who was shot in the leg as he ushered children in a playroom to safety, according to media reports. Israel’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the two were injured, adding that the consul in Los Angeles, Avner Saban, had spoken with the girl’s mother and offered help.

Authorities said all three were in stable condition.

Gilbert-Kaye was described in media reports and by fellow congregants as a mother of one.

Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of Chabad of Poway, California. (Facebook)

Her friend Audrey Jacobs, a community activist, said Gilbert-Kaye had jumped in front of Rabbi Mendel Goldstein — Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein’s son — “to take the bullet and save his life.”

“Lori you were a jewel of our community a true Eshet Chayil, a Woman of Valor,” Jacobs wrote on Facebook. “You were always running to do a mitzvah (good deed) and gave tzedaka (charity) to everyone. Your final good deed was taking the bullets for Rabbi Mendel Goldstein to save his life.

“Lori leaves behind a devastated husband and 22-year-old daughter,” she added.

Witnesses said the injured rabbi continued his speech calling for unity and peace despite suffering gunshot wounds to both index fingers.

“The rabbi said, ‘We are united,’” said congregation member Minoo Anvari, who said her husband witnessed the shooting.

“He prayed for peace,” she said, according to the Chabad website. “Even in spite of being injured he refused to go to the hospital until he spoke. And he finished his speech and he then left the synagogue.”

“We are strong; you can’t break us,” Anvari said.

Rabbi Goldstein also serves as a Jewish chaplain at the local San Diego police department.

He underwent surgery and would have to remain hospitalized for several days, according to Dr. Michael Katz, trauma chief at Palomar Medical Center, according to the San Diego Jewish World.

According to Jacobs’ Facebook post, the family of the injured Israeli girl and her uncle “moved to San Diego from the Israeli city of Sderot to get away from the terrorism and the constant attacks on their community.”

Sderot has been targeted by thousands of rockets fired by terror groups in the Gaza Strip over the last 15 years.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore addresses the media in front of the Chabad of Poway Synagogue after a shooting on April 27, 2019 in Poway, California. (Photo by SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP)

Rabbi Yonah Fradkin, executive director of Chabad of San Diego County, said in a statement that “in the face of senseless hate we commit to live proudly as Jews in this glorious country. We strongly believe that love is exponentially more powerful than hate. We are deeply shaken by the loss of a true woman of valor, Lori Kaye, who lost her life solely for living as a Jew.”

“Lori Gilbert-Kaye is a Jewish heroine, and will be remembered as a heroine in Jewish history,” said Israel’s minister of diaspora affairs, Naftali Bennett. “She sacrificed her own life, throwing herself in the path of the murderer’s bullets to save the life of the rabbi. But it is clear that such heroism and good deeds are not only characteristic of dear Lori in death, but that this was the way she lived her life — constantly doing charity and good deeds for those in need.”

Police have named the suspect in the shooting as John Earnest, 19, from San Diego, and have said they are reviewing an anti-Semitic white nationalist manifesto allegedly posted by a user with the same name.

“We’re looking into digital evidence and checking the authenticity of an online manifesto,” the office of San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said.

Earnest surrendered to police after leaving the synagogue and calling to report the shooting, according to authorities.

Gore declined to say what the motive for the crime was, but Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and others have said it appeared to be a hate crime.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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Fiery 28-Vehicle Pileup Closes I-70 Just West Of Denver Co.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR NEWS)

 

Colorado Highway Crash: Fiery 28-Vehicle Pileup Closes I-70 Near Denver

A chain-reaction crash on I-70 in western Denver killed multiple people and shut down the highway near Colorado Mills Parkway in both directions Thursday.

Hyoung Chang/ News Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A highway crash killed “multiple” people and started a large fire on Interstate 70 along the western edge of Denver Thursday, in a disaster that police say was triggered by a semi that slammed into a group of cars that were stopped in traffic. The exact number of fatalities is still unknown.

The crash took place around 4:50 p.m. local time and involved at least 24 cars and four semis, according to Ty Countryman of the Lakewood Police Department, in an update on the crash Friday morning.

Witnesses reported a chain-reaction of collisions, followed immediately by a large fire. The truck that police say started the crash was carrying a flatbed full of lumber. ‘2×4’s’ were strewn across the road like match sticks. Diesel fuel also spilled on the roadway, fire officials said.

The intense fire melted aluminum and burned as hot as 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit, said Josh Laipply, chief engineer at the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Six people were taken to the hospital, including the driver of the semi. That driver, who sustained minor injuries, is now in police custody and is being charged with multiple counts of vehicular homicide, Countryman said. Police did not identify the driver, other than to say he’s not from Colorado.

Parts of I-70 remain closed Friday morning — and highway officials say it isn’t likely to open until sometime Saturday. The closure caused long delays in the morning commute, with investigators still combing the area, and workers trying to clean up debris in the eastbound lanes where the crash took place. Westbound lanes are also closed, with motorists using a detour to avoid a bridge where the greatest damage occurred.

Police are still assessing the scene, trying to identify the dead and account for everyone who was involved. It wasn’t until late Thursday night that police investigators could gain access to the worst area of the crash.

“We are trying to put together the vast amount of cars to the vast amount of people that we’re trying to get a hold of,” Countryman said.

Transportation officials are also evaluating the damage to the bridge, caused by the intense heat of the fire.

One firefighter was injured while responding to the accident, “hit by debris when potentially a tire exploded,” the West Metro Fire department said.

Images from the scene showed a blooming cloud of black smoke hanging over the road. In the struggle to get water to the crash site and combat the flames, a group of nearby residents helped firefighters carry a long fire hose to a hydrant in an apartment complex.

Soon after the crash, videos circulated online showing what witnesses say was the semi in question, barreling down the highway at speeds as high as 80 mph and possibly out of control, moments before the crash.

In a news briefing near the scene last night, Countryman said the police have seen those videos, adding, “if the driver’s out of control, that’s certainly a big concern that we have. The question is, why is he out of control?”

In an update Friday morning, Countryman said the police have probable cause to believe the driver was at fault. He added that there was no evidence that the driver was under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

Investigators are working to examine the mechanical condition of the driver’s semi, Countryman said.

Venezuelan refugees feared drowned en route to Trinidad

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWS)

 

Venezuelan refugees feared drowned en route to Trinidad

More than 30 people set sail on fishing vessel Jhonnaly Jose that capsized in heavy seas

Looking westwards off the shore of Trinidad across the Gulf of Paria towards Venezuela
 Looking west from Trinidad across the Gulf of Paria towards Venezuela. The captain of the Jhonnaly Jose was found clinging to oil drums. Photograph: Josh Surtees/The Guardian

More than 30 Venezuelans are missing, feared drowned, after their boat sank attempting to reach Trinidad in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The fishing vessel, Jhonnaly Jose, had left the port city of Guiria but capsized in rough seas near the uninhabited Patos Island, 3 miles (5km) from the Venezuelan coast.

The boat’s official manifest recorded 25 passengers, but sources say additional passengers boarded unlogged. Most of the passengers were women.

Nine survivors have been found by the Venezuelan and Trinidadian Coast Guards. Two, including the captain, Francisco Martinez, were found clinging to floating oil drums as daylight broke over the Gulf of Paria. The stretch of water that separates the Caribbean island from the South American mainland is just 7 km at its narrowest point.

Venezuelan authorities released the names of 23 people confirmed as travelling on the boat, all aged between 17 and 28. Most are likely to have been fleeing the ongoing social and economic crisis. The accident happened at night on a popular route for refugees and migrants who pay traffickers to reach Trinidad. Passage costs $250 (£194), paid to boatmen who sail under cover of darkness, docking in quiet coves or jetties.

Passenger ferries travel between the two countries about once a week, but many Venezuelans are forced to cross illegally on fishing boats because they don’t have passports to enter through official ports and are often refused entry. Getting passports and official documents issued in Venezuela is almost impossible because of the collapsing civil administration. Some claim the regime of President Nicolas Maduro deliberately withholds passports and blame the bureaucratic delays on corruption or attempts to stop Venezuelan citizens fleeing the country.

According to government figures, 3 million Venezuelans have left since the crisis began. Per capita, there are more Venezuelans living in Trinidad and Tobago than any country in the region, except the microstates of Aruba and Curacao. The United Nations high commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) and the Trinidadian government estimate that 40,000 Venezuelans are living in Trinidad, of whom 10,000 have registered as asylum-seekers with the UN refugee agency.

Refugees in Trinidad currently have no employment rights, which forces them to work illegally. Many are exploited, paid shockingly low wages and some resort to sex work to supplement their incomes. Sex trafficking rings have been uncovered by the Trinidadian police.

However, the Trinidadian government recently announced an amnesty on all Venezuelans living in the country – including those who entered illegally – that will allow them temporary work permits. The scheme, like those in other Latin American countries hosting Venezuelans, will require registration with the government within a two-week timeframe.

Trinidad’s minister of national security, Stuart Young, has said that after one year refugees will be expected to return to Venezuela. Concerns have been expressed about how the government will handle the data and whether it will be shared with the Maduro regime.

The governments of Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago have close ties, largely because of commercial deals over the offshore oil reserves that bolster both countries’ economies. The diplomatic situation has coloured Trinidad’s approach to the refugee crisis, with the prime minister, Keith Rowley, thus far refusing to recognise Venezuelans living in Trinidad as refugees.

Early unconfirmed reports from local news agencies stated that at least two children were on board the Jhonnaly Jose when it set off.

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37 people beheaded by Saudi Arabian government in mass execution

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE JOURNAL TIMES)

 

37 people beheaded by Saudi Arabian government in mass execution

  • Updated 
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Saudi Arabia
In this March 31, 2019 file photo, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman attends the opening session of the 30th Arab League summit in Tunis, Tunisia. Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said Tuesday, April 23, 2019, that 37 Saudi citizens have been beheaded in a mass execution that took place across various regions of the country. King Salman ratified the executions for terrorism-related crimes by royal decree. (Fethi Belaid/Pool Photo via AP, File)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded 37 Saudi citizens, most of them minority Shiites, in a mass execution across the country for alleged terrorism-related crimes. It also publicly pinned the executed body and severed head of a convicted Sunni extremist to a pole as a warning to others.

The executions were likely to stoke further regional and sectarian tensions between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Saudi dissident Ali Al-Ahmed, who runs the Gulf Institute in Washington, identified 34 of those executed as Shiites based on the names announced by the Interior Ministry.

“This is the largest mass execution of Shiites in the kingdom’s history,” he said.

Amnesty International also confirmed the majority of those executed were Shiite men. The rights group said they were convicted “after sham trials” that relied on confessions extracted through torture.

It marked the largest number of executions in a single day in Saudi Arabia since Jan. 2, 2016, when the kingdom executed 47 people for terrorism-related crimes in what was the largest mass execution carried out by Saudi authorities since 1980.

Among those executed three years ago were four Shiites, including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death sparked protests from Pakistan to Iran and the ransacking of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran. Saudi-Iran ties have not recovered and the embassy remains shuttered.

King Salman ratified by royal decree Tuesday’s mass execution and that of 2016. The king, who has empowered his son Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has asserted a bolder and more decisive leadership style than previous monarchs since ascending to the throne in 2015.

Coordinated attacks in Sri Lanka kill more than 200 people

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

In pictures: Coordinated attacks in Sri Lanka kill more than 200 people

Updated 9:43 AM ET, Sun April 21, 2019

Relatives of a victim of a blast at St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade, react at the police mortuary in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Sunday.

Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

A series of bomb blasts struck luxury hotels and churches across Sri Lanka early Sunday. More than 200 people were killed and 560 injured in the coordinated attacks, which have put the entire country on lockdown.

The first wave of bombings struck at the heart of the country’s minority Christian community during busy Easter services at churches in the cities of Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa.

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