A Maltese Journalist Who Reported on the Panama Papers Has Been Killed by a Car Bomb

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM)

 

A Maltese Journalist Who Reported on the Panama Papers Has Been Killed by a Car Bomb

Oct 16, 2017

(VALLETTA, Malta) — A Maltese investigative journalist who exposed the island nation’s links to offshore tax havens through the leaked Panama Papers was killed Monday when a bomb exploded in her car, the prime minister said.

Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, had just driven away from her home in Mosta, a large town on Malta’s main island, when the bomb went off, sending the vehicle’s wreckage spiraling over a wall and into a field, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said.

Caruana Galizia’s death resulted from a “barbaric attack” that also amounted to an assault on freedom of expression, Muscat said. He described her as “was one of my harshest critics, on a political and personal level” as he denounced her slaying.

One of the topics the veteran reporter examined was what the documents from the 2016 leak said about Malta. She wrote that Muscat’s wife, the country’s energy minister and the government’s chief-of-staff had offshore holdings in Panama to receive money from Azerbaijan.

Muscat and his wife, Michelle, denied they had companies in Panama.

Caruana Galizia filed a police report two weeks ago saying she was receiving threats, law enforcement officials told Malta news outlets on Monday.

The slain journalist had been a regular columnist for The Malta Independent, writing twice weekly for the newspaper since 1996. She also wrote a blog called “Running Commentary,” which was followed by in Malta.

A half hour before she was killed, she posted to her web site an item about a libel claim the prime minister’s chief of staff had brought against a former opposition over comments the latter made about corruption.

Caruana Galizia herself had been sued for libel over articles she wrote for her blog. Opposition leader Adrian Delia sued her over a series of stories linking him to a prostitution racket in London. Economy Minister Chris Cardona claimed libel when she wrote that he visited a brothel while in Germany on government business.

Monday evening’s Parliament session was scrapped, except for briefings about the bombing given by Muscat and Delia, who called the reporter’s slaying a “political murder.”

Muscat said he has asked the U.S. government and the FBI for help investigating the car bombing.

Caruana Galizia is survived by her husband and three sons. One son, Matthew, was on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists team that won the Pulitzer Prize for its work on the Panama Papers scandal.

The leak exposed the identities of rich and powerful people around the world who allegedly had offshore holdings in Panama.

Caruana Galizia’s family has asked the Courts of Malta to have the magistrate assigned to conduct the inquiry into the journalist’s death replaced.

The family said the magistrate, Consuelo Scerri Herrera, “in her personal capacity, had launched judicial procedures against (Caruana Galizia) regarding comments she had written.”

Caruana Galizia for many years was a harsh critic of Malta’s Labor party and government. More recently she had expanded her criticism to include the opposition Nationalist Party.

Her slaying drew swift denunciations in the tiny EU nation.

“Daphne played a vitally important role in unearthing serious allegations of money laundering and corruption in Malta, including those involving senior figures in the Maltese government,” said Sven Giegold, a Greens member in the European Parliament.

Italian newsweekly L’Espresso, which has also written about alleged corruption linked to Malta, said the reporter’s murder demonstrated that a well-documented expose’ “is perceived as a danger by the powerful and by organized crime.”

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani in a tweet called the development a “tragic example of a journalist who sacrificed her life to search for the truth.”

100 Years Since Her Execution, Was Mata Hari a Sexy Spy or a Sexy Scapegoat?

(I FOUND THIS ON GOOGLE PLUS, THOUGHT THAT SOME OF YOU MIGHT LIKE IT SO I RE-BLOGGED IT OVER HERE FOR YOU.)(Terry Westbrook Lienhert)

 

FEMME FATALE

100 Years Since Her Execution, Was Mata Hari a Sexy Spy or a Sexy Scapegoat?

At nearly every turn, Margaretha Zelle MacLeod made the wrong choices. Yet she managed to create a persona that continues to dance on the crowded stage of popular culture.

PARIS—Her name lives on a century after they stood her in front of a firing squad on Oct. 15, 1917, and watched her die: Mata Hari, treacherous spy, devious liar, a wicked woman to the core. Or was she something else entirely? Was she isolated and vulnerable, spinning an identity and a living from illusion and sexuality, little more than a victim of male bias and scapegoat for military failure?

Nothing about Mata Hari was simple and clear, not then, not now. Rising from the ambiguity are a thousand legends and interpretations, each projecting onto her a tale of their own, in books and films, now even on Twitter and Facebook. Margaretha Zelle MacLeod, a middle-class Dutch divorcée from Leeuwarden, died, but Mata Hari, femme fatale and exotic dancer, has become eternal. She might consider that her greatest success.

“Mata Hari and Madame Zelle MacLeod are two completely different women,” she wrote in a June 5, 1917, letter to Captain Pierre Bouchardon, the military judge investigating her case, which is part of the Mata Hari dossier held at the Service Historiques de la Défense archives outside Paris. “Today with the war, the passport, I am obliged to live and sign Zelle, but that woman is not known to people. As for me, I consider myself to be Mata Hari.”

“At 16, she had an affair with the 51-year-old headmaster. She was expelled; he continued his career.”

If it weren’t for her obsession with money, her fame might have been short-lived, her name obscure to us today. But she had found herself alone and empty-handed more than once, and it had marked her deeply. Add to that obsession a lifelong pattern of poor decisions and woeful attachments, landing in the middle of cultural and national strife, and the fate of Mata Hari seems nearly a tale foretold.

When she was 13, her fairly successful father declared bankruptcy and abandoned the family, her mother suffered a breakdown, and Margaretha was left to care for three younger siblings. At 16, placed in a teacher-training school, a path to earning a living, she had an affair with the 51-year-old headmaster. She was expelled; he continued his career. It was perhaps her first lesson that in the wake of scandal, the woman takes the blame. She walked right by it.

In 1895, she found a husband. According to A Tangled Web, the latest Mata Hari biography by British archivist Mary W. Craig, Rudolf MacLeod was a 39-year-old lieutenant of Scottish descent in the Dutch colonial service, posted in today’s Indonesia. In order to advance in rank, he would need a wife, but as he had syphilis, permission to marry would be denied. He sneaked around the rules, advertised in a local newspaper and was answered by 18-year-old Margaretha Zelle. She agreed to marry him six days after they met. She got more than she bargained for.

Within three years, they had two children, a boy and a girl, and a disintegrating marriage in an isolated outpost of central Java. MacLeod drank, gambled, kept mistresses, and worst of all, he beat her, violently and regularly.

For distraction, she watched the Javanese servants dance in the garden, soon learned the sinuous, sensuous moves, and danced with them. The family was transferred to North Sumatra, and within a month, the children fell ill, and the boy died, at age 2. MacLeod raged; she stayed out of his way, and learned new dances. In 1902, they were sent back to the Netherlands, where she filed for divorce, based on abuse.

“She was a harbinger of a new style of dancing and expression that would come to define the Belle Epoque.”

Given custody of their daughter, but receiving none of the court-appointed support from MacLeod, Margaretha began frequenting houses of ill-repute. MacLeod had her followed, and took their daughter away from her. She moved to Paris, broke and alone, tried modeling, acting, and finally dancing. Her big break came in 1905 when Emile Guimet asked her to perform at his Musée Guimet, before an elite audience, and the press raved about the seductive Javanese dancer in breastplates and headdress, filmy veils and discreet bodystocking, just a glimpse away from nudity. She took the stage name Mata Hari, Malay for “eye of the sun.”

She was a harbinger of a new style of dancing and expression that would come to define the Belle Époque. Those were the years when Vaslav Nijinsky danced in tights, with a sensuality never before seen at the Paris ballet, in Afternoon of a Faun, while barefoot Isadora Duncan launched modern dance, and Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” upended the idea of music composition. Mata Hari was part of the creative excitement, and parlayed her reputation for exotic sensuality into finding wealthy lovers to support her in grand style.

When her husband’s second marriage ended in divorce, she tried to get custody of her daughter, but her lifestyle encouraged the court to consider MacLeod the more stable household. Both her children likely were infected at birth with syphilis; her daughter died in 1919, at age 21, of a cerebral hemorrhage, according to Craig. At the time of her arrest, Mata Hari had among her toiletries a mercury-based ointment, the only treatment then available for syphilis symptoms. Both the disease and the treatment could cause brain damage: Was she affected?

Mata Hari was highly paid for her dancing, but entirely profligate in her spending. She gave a series of performances at the Olympia in Paris in autumn 1906, for a fee of 10,000 FF ($50,000 today). She also was named in the first of a series of lawsuits for unpaid bills, for 12,000 FF in jewelry she ordered, but did not cover. This would become a habit. As soon as she had some money, she threw it at clothes, furs, jewelry, carriages. She believed that creating a successful illusion of beauty and mystery did not come cheaply.

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“I am a dancer, and after the war, I may be obliged to take theater engagements in Berlin or Vienna, as in Paris. I am not married. I am a woman who travels a great deal. I am to be excused for losing the notion of money,” she wrote in late May to the French judge. “Sometimes I lose, sometimes I win.”

The gamble she took in 1915 would turn out to be of the highest stakes, although she did not realize it until nearly the end. She was living in Berlin in the summer of 1914, waiting for a performance scheduled for September at the Metropol Theater, entertaining several lovers, including the chief of police. The eruption of the war in August took everyone by surprise, but as a foreigner in Berlin, it also froze her bank account and confiscated her goods. Among them were furs that she later said were worth 80,000 FF. That was a loss she would not let go.

In her own words, she was an international woman. She spoke several languages, she traveled around Europe constantly, she had lovers in every country, it seemed. With the advent of war, borders were secured, passports required, questions asked. Ambiguity and mystery were no longer assets, but instead brought her rapidly to the attention of the authorities. She was a woman with no fixed home, no husband, no steady source of income.

“I am not married. I am a woman who travels a great deal. I am to be excused for losing the notion of money.”

“I should have realized before leaving but I thought things were like the year before, and unfortunately, everything has changed,” she wrote on July 6, to her maid in the Netherlands. “People are meaner, difficulties and formalities are insurmountable. Traveling has become an impossibility for a woman like me.”

Her prolific sex life also made her vulnerable to charges of treason. At that time, sexuality outside the norm—and the excess of Mata Hari’s affairs shocked even somewhat-liberal France—was considered to reflect the whole of a person’s moral character. With war, the focus was on patriotism. For a woman whose primary support came from her sexual relationships, it was not an enormous leap for the authorities to believe that she might sell her country as well. And nearly all of Mata Hari’s lovers were military officers. The investigating judge of the Third Military Court of France, Captain Bouchardon, listed them in his report on the case: a Dutch colonel, a Belgian commandant, a Russian captain as main lovers, but also passing through officers from Montenegro, Italy, two from Ireland, three or four English, and at least five French.

“I like officers,” she responded when he questioned her. “I have liked them all my life. I would rather be the mistress of a poor officer than of a rich banker.”

The crux of the case against her was that she took 20,000 FF from the German consul in Amsterdam in the summer of 1916, when French soldiers were dying at a rate of some 40,000 a month under German artillery barrages at Verdun. She admitted that the consul asked her to spy for him, and swore she did not do it. She took the cash, dumped the invisible ink, and moved to Paris. It was revenge for losing her furs, she insisted through five months of interrogation.

“Mata Hari saw an opportunity to recompense herself, that is all,” she wrote in the June 5 letter to Captain Bouchardon. “But I beg you to believe me. I have never committed an act of espionage against France. Never. Never.”

There was another payment though, 5,000 FF, that came to her through a man suspected of being a German agent. And then the French intelligence services got copies of German telegrams describing the movements of their Agent H-21, actions and contacts that matched Mata Hari’s to the minute and the letter. She suggested to Bouchardon that the Germans were playing with them, trying to distract them from finding an actual agent at work. In fact, the telegrams were sent in a code the Germans most likely knew was broken, according to A Tangled Web.

Bouchardon asked repeatedly in interrogations about the 20,000 FF payment. What had she done with it? “During my stay in France from June to December 1916 I must have spent 15 to 16,000 FF, but I cannot be precise because I never count. I put the 20,000 from [the German consul] toward debts I had in Holland, especially those resulting from a lawsuit by my upholsterer,” she said, according to the June 12 transcript.

Bouchardon and his team did not accept her cavalier attitude toward money. “We have investigated quite a few espionage cases,” he said, according to a transcript of a June 1 interrogation. “We know the German prices and we can tell you that, in relation to their usual fees, that seems a colossal sum.”

There was the money, and then in December 1916 an incriminating meeting with the German military attaché in Madrid. Mata Hari was arrested in February 1917, and put on trial in July. A panel of seven military judges took two days to find her guilty and sentence her to death; an appeal and plea for clemency both were rejected. She was kept at the Conciergerie prison during the trial; a previous occupant to await trial there was Marie Antoinette. “The situation of a foreign woman like me is extremely delicate at this time in France,” she wrote on July 6 to her maid in the Netherlands.

Bouchardon brought a priest and two nuns to the prison to get her before dawn on Oct. 15. She put on a black cape trimmed with fur, a black felt hat, and black heels, according to a news story filed by Henry Wales of the International News Service. They drove her to Fort de Vincennes, east of Paris, and stood her in front of a post. She declined a blindfold, and stared evenly at the 12 soldiers as they fired.

Fort de Vincennes today houses the archives of the Service Historique de la Défense, including her 1,300-page dossier (accessible online here). Mata Hari was one of 126 persons executed for espionage by France during the First World War; at least two others also were women, caught out by a female double-agent. (Purported photographs of Mata Hari’s execution are from a film re-enactment; no pictures were taken at the time.)

Mata Hari’s life was over, but her fame had only begun. In 1931, she was portrayed by screen goddesses Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, in films based loosely on her story. Hundreds of books have been published, biographies, novels, historical fiction, non-fiction, erotica, even a comic-book series. She has a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, and videos on YouTube. Mata Hari restaurants and bars are sprinkled across France and Germany. She even has an exhibit for this centennial of her death, at the Fries Museum in her hometown, Mata Hari: the myth and the maiden, from Oct. 14 through April 2018.

At nearly every turn, Margaretha Zelle MacLeod made the wrong choices. She did not learn the lessons that were offered or pick up on the clues that were given, until it was too late. Yet she managed to create a persona that continues to dance on the crowded stage of popular culture. Mata Hari may or may not have been a spy, but she remains a legendary figure.

Security Guard Set Fire To Nursery School: 4 Children 1 Teacher Dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TIME.COM AND THE BBC)

 

Four Children and a Teacher Killed After a Security Guard Sets Fire to Brazil Nursery School

Oct 05, 2017

Four young children and a teacher have been killed in what is believed to be an arson attack at a nursery school in Brazil.

Authorities said the suspect is a security guard who allegedly set fire to the daycare center, in Janauba, a town in southeastern Minas Gerais state, the BBC reports.

A further 25 people — mostly children aged between four and five — were hospitalized with burns, with some requiring specialist care at a burns unit in the state capital.

One parent whose son died in the attack told local media that the family was about to move to another neighborhood, according to the BBC.

“I woke up early to drop him at the nursery,” Jane Kelly da Silva Soares told the local O Globo newspaper. “When I saw him again he was already dead in hospital.”

The guard, identified by authorities as 50-year-old Damiao dos Santos, set himself alight at the scene and later died of his injuries in hospital. Police are still looking into the causes of the attack.

Local media reports that dos Santos was sacked from his post in September, upon returning from his annual leave reportedly with a health condition.

President Michael Temer tweeted: “I’m very sorry about this tragedy involving children in Janauba. I want to express my sympathy to the families.”

Janauba’s mayor has declared a seven-day mourning period.

[BBC]

Death toll from Jhal Magsi blast climbs to 21

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE PAKISTANI NEWS AGENCY ‘DAWN’)

 

The death toll from Thursday’s deadly suicide bombing in Jhal Magsi rose to 21 after another victim succumbed to his injuries at Larkana Hospital on Friday, DawnNews reported.

Several people, including a police constable, had died on Thursday in the attack, which occurred at the entrance of the Dargah Pir Rakhel Shah in Fatehpur, a small town in the Jhal Magsi district of Balochistan.

A First Information Report was lodged against unidentified persons by Station House Officer at the Gandawah police station, an officer who wished to remain anonymous told Dawn on Friday. Security agencies and police are investigating the incident.

Deputy Commissioner Jhal Magsi Asadullah Kakar said on Friday that the victims of the blast, including the police constable, had been buried in different parts of the district amid tight security.

Currently, nine people are under treatment in the Larkana Hospital while 14 are admitted at Gandawah District Headquarters Hospital. A dozen patients, who had received minor injuries, were discharged from Gandawah Hospital after receiving treatment. One injured woman had been shifted to the Aga Khan Hospital in Karachi.

The deputy commissioner assured that the hospitals are taking “good care” of the injured.

The bombing was the second deadly attack on a shrine in Pakistan in 2017. In February this year, another suicide bomber had killed more than 80 people and injured more than 250 in an attack targeting the busy Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, Sindh.

This was also the second attack on the Pir Rakhel Shah shrine. On March 19, 2005, at least 35 people were killed and many injured when a suicide bomber exploded himself at the shrine. The dead had included devotees from different sects who frequented the shrine seeking spiritual relief.

Deadly Stabbings In Marseille, France, Treated As Terror Attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Deadly stabbings in Marseille, France, treated as terror attack

 Story highlights
  • Knife-wielding man killed two women in attacks, according to local media
  • Saint-Charles is same train station where 4 Americans were attacked with acid

(CNN)A knife-wielding man killed at least two women Sunday at the Saint-Charles train station in Marseille, France, before police killed the suspect, according to CNN affiliate BFM, which cited the city prosecutor’s office as its source.

The incident is being treated as a terror attack and has been handed over to a special prosecutor in Paris, the prosecutor’s office told CNN.
Military police killed the suspect. Authorities are investigating whether he had links to terror organizations.
French Interior Minister Gérard Collomb tweeted that he was on his way to the scene.
The Saint-Charles station is the same one where four Americans studying abroad fell victim to acid attacks last month. The Boston College students, three of whom were studying in Paris and one in Copenhagen, were treated for burns and released.
The attacker was a 41-year-old mentally unstable woman, police said. She was arrested and hospitalized, according to CNN affiliate BFM.
There was no reason to believe the acid attacks were terror-related, police said.

Sri Lanka Condemns Mob Attack Against Rohingya Refugees by Buddhist Monks

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF GLOBAL VOICES)

 

Sri Lanka Condemns Mob Attack Against Rohingya Refugees by Buddhist Monks

Rohingya refugees escaped to Bangladesh after the recent crackdown in Myanmar. Image by Syed Rajowan (এস রেজওয়ান). Used with permission.

On Tuesday, September 26, a violent mob led by a group of radical Buddhist monks broke down gates and entered the walled multi-storied United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) safe house for Rohingya refugees in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, sparking widespread condemnation in Sri Lanka.

The monks allegedly threatened a group of 31 Rohingya refugees including 16 children and 7 women, calling them terrorists. Authorities quickly escorted the refugees into protective custody and relocated them to a safer place.

BBC journalist Azzam Ameen tweeted:

31 Rohingya refugees at Mt. Lavinia to be taken to Boossa detention camp by Police for their safety after a mob stormed their UN safe house

Sri Lanka has mostly stayed silent regarding the recent Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. Only a few days ago Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe announced the country will not accept any Rohingyas as refugees and existing refugees will eventually be resettled in a different country.

Only a few hundred Rohingya refugees currently stay in Sri Lanka and the majority came to Sri Lanka by boat and air following the disturbances in Myanmar in 2012. Others were rescued by the Sri Lankan navy last May from Sri Lanka’s northern shores and kept in a UN safe house in Mount Lavinia until their resettlement.

According to international reports, the hardline nationalist group Sinhale Jathika Balamuluwa showed the attack live on their Facebook page with over 30,000 followers. The video showed the monks and a few civilians entering the safe house chanting “do not allow terrorists into this country.”

Several others uploaded footage of the Buddhist monk-led attack against Rohingya refugees on Youtube by users such as sonakar.com:

All the refugees escaped the attack without injury, but two police officers were wounded and admitted to hospital.

The government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya people among the country’s ethnic groups and denies them citizenship. They are often described as the “most persecuted minority group in Asia.” Authorities and Buddhist nationalists consider Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even though they have roots in the Rakhine state that go back centuries.

Since August 2017, about 400,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh after Myanmar’s military crackdown on insurgents belonging to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). ARSA was accused of attacking several police and military outposts which then led to the burning of Rohingya villages and attacks on civilians.

Some Sri Lankan Buddhist monks share similar extremist views with their ultra-nationalist counterparts in Myanmar when it comes to minority Muslims and created a Facebook page to express those views. Sri Lankans also offered sympathy to Myanmar on the Rohingya issue specifically:

However, the attacks were strongly condemned by the Sri Lankan government. Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said:

“This is not what the Buddha taught. We have to show compassion to these refugees. These monks who carried out the attacks are actually not monks, but animals.”

And via a tweet by Azzam Ameen, the minister also lamented:

“2 million Sri Lankan’s went to other countries as refugees, ashamed that we can’t even look after 30 people temporarily” Minister Rajitha

The minister committed to taking disciplinary action against officers who failed to control the mob. Other government officials expressed condemnation but the President and Prime Minister have yet to issue a statement:

Statement in English by the Minister of Finance and Media @MangalaLK on the   in 

Ordinary citizens also denounced the attacks on social media:

“I condemn these actions as a Buddhist who is very proud of the fact that Buddhism is a religion of non violence & Compassion”. My statement on Rohingya refugees in  .  https://www.facebook.com/MangalaLK/ 

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Attack & eviction of Rohingya children & adults by Bud Monk led goons in : SHAME! On Sri Lanka. Esp Sinhala – Buddhists, Police & Govt

WHO is in charge of  law & order? @SagalaRatnayaka or saffron-robed thugs who attack  refugees with impunity? @UNHumanRights http://in.reuters.com/article/sri-lanka-rohingya/protesters-force-rohingya-refugees-to-flee-sri-lanka-safe-house-idINKCN1C12RP?feedType=RSS&feedName=southAsiaNews&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+reuters%2FINsouthAsiaNews+%28News+%2F+IN+%2F+South+Asia+News%29 

Photo published for Protesters force Rohingya refugees to flee Sri Lanka safe house

Protesters force Rohingya refugees to flee Sri Lanka safe house

Sri Lankan monks and hardline nationalists protesters forced 31 Rohingya Muslim asylum seekers to flee a United Nations safe house in the capital Colombo on Tuesday, police said.

in.reuters.com

Veteran Sri Lankan journalist Latheef Farook condemned Sri Lanka’s silence on the ongoing persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar:

Sri Lanka and its Foreign Ministry had never failed to promptly condemn explosions and bombings in far-away Western capitals but terrorizing a half million men, women and children into fleeing their generational places of birth, closer home in our Asian neighborhood, has not struck the conscience of good governance, the professionals, the academics, the civil society and women’s organizations in Sri Lanka.

Sam Kosai, of Yangon, Myanmar expressed his frustration with the irony of a violent Buddhist attack against Rohingya refugees in Sri Lanka:

Our brothers in Sri Lanka joined Burma to give Buddhism shame and a bad name. Bravo! Well done! Being Facist alone is no fun. The more the merrier.

Two 16 Year Old Young Men Face 23 Murder Charges For allegedly Lighting School Fire

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Two boys face 23 murder charges for allegedly lighting school fire

Police and rescue personnel work at an Islamic religious school cordoned off after a deadly fire on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, September 14, 2017.

(CNN)Two teenagers have been charged with 23 counts of murder in Malaysia for allegedly lighting a fire that killed 21 children at an Islamic school in Kuala Lumpur in September.

Two adults also died in the blaze that engulfed Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah Tahfiz religious school in the early hours of September 14.
The two suspects, both aged 16, haven’t entered a plea, according to state news agency Bernama. In Malaysia, a murder charge carries an automatic death sentence, but in cases involving juveniles, the maximum penalty is prison.
The boys were also charged with drug-related offenses, as were four other suspects. One 16-year-old was released without charge due to lack of evidence, deputy public prosecutor Othman Abdullah said.
Two days after the fire, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced special funding of RM30 million ($7 million) to upgrade religious schools across the country.
Authorities have conducted fire safety inspections at 104 of 402 registered religious schools in the state of Selangor, according to Bernama.
Several were found to have faulty wiring and no fire extinguishers, Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Azmi Osman was quoted as saying.
Authorities are also inspecting a number of unregistered schools, he said.

Family members cry outside the school.

‘So many involved’

Sharifuddin Musa’s son Mohammad Shahir was inside the building when it was allegedly set alight.
The 11-year-old survived the blaze but is still in intensive care. He suffered internal injuries, broken bones and burns to 20% of his body in the fire, Musa told CNN.
Musa was at the court Thursday to find out “who was involved” in the crime.
“We want to know the details. We want to know what is the action to be taken against the perpetrators. I will follow the proceedings.
“I’m very sad because there are so many involved,” Musa said.
He said his son still wants to study at the religious school.
“We see that since he studied there, there have been a lot of changes in him. He is happy and has many friends. We can see that he could manage himself better at the school. So the family is encouraging him.”

Trapped, burned alive

As the fire engulfed the building, witnesses reported being awoken by cries for help from children who appeared trapped by metal window grills.
“I saw children kicking on the grill, but they couldn’t get out. My friends and I rushed over and tried to reach them, but we couldn’t get in,” one witness, Shahirman Shahril told CNN.
When emergency responders arrived, “almost 90% of the building was already on fire,” a fire and rescue department official told reporters.

A forensic police officer investigates burnt windows at an Islamic religious school following the fire.

Many of the victims were found piled on top of each other, while others were discovered in front of the main door, fire and rescue department official spokesman Soiman Jahid told reporters.
One of two fire exits in the building had been blocked by renovations taking place on the second floor, Jahid told CNN.
“The firemen could hear cries for help from inside the building,” spokesman Soiman Jahid said. “The first team from (the) fire station managed to save five of the children from the lower level.”

People console each other outside an Islamic religious school following the fire.

School shouldn’t have been open, official says

The building where the fire erupted was new and had been used as a religious school specializing in Quranic studies, said Deputy Inspector General of Police Noor Rashid Ibraham.
But the school’s license had been under review by authorities, and the facility should not have been in operation, said Malaysia’s minister of urban well-being, housing and local government, Noh Omar.
The charges came shortly after a fire partially gutted another religious school in Serembam, around 20 miles south of the capital on Thursday.
Local press reported that the fire department received the distress call at around 1.50 a.m. local time (1.50 p.m. Wednesday ET).
All 37 students housed in the school’s hostel managed to escape, and three had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

EU slams ‘reprehensible’ Hamas praise for Har Adar terror attack

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

EU slams ‘reprehensible’ Hamas praise for Har Adar terror attack

US peace envoy says ‘shame on Hamas’ for praising shooting by Palestinian worker, who killed a border cop and 2 security guards

Israeli security forces and emergency personnel gather at the scene of a terror attack at the entrance to the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Menahem Kahana)

Israeli security forces and emergency personnel gather at the scene of a terror attack at the entrance to the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Menahem Kahana)

The United States and European Union condemned Tuesday’s “horrific” terror attack in Har Adar, in which a Border Police officer and two security guards were shot dead by a Palestinian from a nearby village.

Both Washington and the 28-nation bloc singled out Hamas for criticism, with the latter saying the terror organization’s praise for the deadly shooting was “reprehensible.”

“There can be no justification for such a crime and attempts by Hamas to glorify the attack are reprehensible. Violence and terror will only achieve more loss and pain and must stop,” the EU said in a statement late Tuesday afternoon.

The Hamas terror group had praised the attack, saying, “Once again Jerusalem proves that it is at the heart of the conflict with the occupation, and that there is no way to get it out of the equation of the conflict.”

The American Embassy did not single out Hamas in a joint statement with its consulate in Jerusalem: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms today’s horrific attack in Har Adar.‎ We also condemn statements glorifying terrorism and call on all to send a clear message that terrorism must never be tolerated,”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims who were killed and we hope for a quick and full recovery of the injured,” it added.

Also condemning the terror attack was US President Donald Trump’s envoy for Middle East peace Jason Greenblatt, who arrived in the country hours before the shooting, as part of the White House’s continued efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

“My family & I are horrified by the attack in Har Adar. Shame on Hamas & others who praised the attack. All must stand against terror!,” tweeted Greenblatt, who also said he was praying for the victims of the attack and their families.

My family & I are horrified by the attack in Har Adar. Shame on Hamas & others who praised the attack. All must stand against terror! (1/2)

The ambassadors of Canada, France, the UN, and the US condemned the attack earlier on Tuesday.

US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tweeted: “Once again, Israelis confront the cruel and evil brutality of unprovoked terrorism.”

In the attack, the assailant arrived at the rear entrance of the settlement northwest of Jerusalem and opened fire on a group of security personnel, including Border Police officers and the community’s private guards, who were opening the entrance to Palestinian workers, according to police.

Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, who carried out a terror attack in the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017 (Facebook)

The terrorist, identified as Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, a laborer from the nearby Bayt Surik village, was shot and killed by security forces at the scene, police said.

The 37-year-old approached the entrance to Har Adar just after 7 a.m. as part of a group of Palestinians who work in the settlement. The Shin Bet domestic security service said he did not have a known history of involvement in terrorist activities.

He “aroused the suspicion” of officers on the scene, who called for him to stop. The terrorist then took a pistol out of his shirt and shot at the Israelis, before being gunned down, police said.

The three Israelis killed in the terror attack were named as border policeman Solomon Gavriyah, 20, and civilian security guards Youssef Ottman, 25, from Abu Ghosh and Or Arish, 25, a resident of Har Adar.

The three were all buried on Tuesday.

From left to right: Solomon Gavriyah, Youssef Ottman and Or Arish, three Israelis killed in a terror attack outside the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017 (Courtesy)

Following the attack, the IDF imposed a closure on Bayt Surik, raided Jamal’s home, arrested his two brothers and sent additional troops to the area around Har Adar, which lies along the “seam line” between the West Bank and Israel proper.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced earlier that Israel would demolish the terrorist’s home and rescind the work permits held by the terrorist’s relatives.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

READ MORE:

Three Israelis killed In A Terrorist Attack, One Seriously Wounded

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Border cop, 2 security guards named as victims of Har Adar shooting attack

Policeman Solomon Gavriyah of Be’er Yaakov, Youssef Ottman of Abu Ghosh, and local man Or Arish were checking Palestinian laborers when terrorist opened fire

From left to right: Solomon Gavriyah, Youssef Ottman and Or Arish, three Israelis killed in a terror attack outside the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017 (Courtesy)

From left to right: Solomon Gavriyah, Youssef Ottman and Or Arish, three Israelis killed in a terror attack outside the settlement of Har Adar on September 26, 2017 (Courtesy)

The three Israelis killed in a terror attack at the Har Adar settlement Tuesday were named as border policeman Solomon Gavriyah, 20, and civilian security guards Youssef Ottman, 25, from Abu Ghosh and Or Arish, 25, a resident of Har Adar.

A third civilian — the head security officer of Har Adar — was seriously injured in the attack. He underwent surgery at the Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem in Jerusalem after suffering two bullet wounds and his condition was later described as stable and moderate.

According to police, the assailant arrived at the rear entrance of the settlement northwest of Jerusalem and opened fire on a group of security personnel, including Border Police officers and the community’s private guards, who were opening the entrance to Palestinian workers.

Gavriyah was from the central Israeli community of Be’er Yaakov. He was posthumously promoted to staff sergeant. Police said in a statement that he had joined the Border Police for his mandatory national service and had recently been serving as a policeman in the Jerusalem seam area along the boundary with the West Bank.

He will be buried at 5 p.m. in the Be’er Yaakov military cemetery. He is survived by his parents, two sisters and a brother.

Israeli security forces at the scene where a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on security personnel at the Har Adar settlement, outside of Jerusalem, killing three and seriously injuring one. September 26, 2017. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Ottman was a resident of the Arab Israeli community of Abu Ghosh, close to Har Adar. He was expected to be buried later in the day in his hometown.

Arish’s funeral was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Givat Shaul cemetery in Jerusalem.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan tweeted that he had spoken with the mayor of Abu Ghosh about Ottman’s death.

“I spoke just now with Abu Ghosh Mayor Issa Jaber and I gave my condolences over the murder of security guard Youssef Ottman. The cursed terrorist carried out his plot this morning, but our way will win,” Erdan wrote.

In an interview with The Israel Project, Jaber described Ottman as “a quiet guy who got along with everyone.”

People comforting each other at the scene where a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on Israelis at the Har Adar settlement, outside of Jerusalem, killing three., and seriously injuring one on September 26, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

He said that Ottman came from an established and successful family and that he was survived by his parents and siblings, including a sister who was married last week.

“The whole family was celebrating and suddenly, what happened happened,” Jaber said.

Ottman, he recalled, didn’t finish high school and found work as a security guard in nearby Jewish settlements.

“[Ottman] always extended a helping hand to everyone and especially to the Palestinian workers who came in and out of the community where he worked,” Jaber added.

“As human beings we condemn every act of violence on any side; it doesn’t matter if it is Jewish or Arab,” he said.

Nimr Mahmoud Ahmed Jamal, who carried out a terror attack in the settlement of Har Adar on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 (Facebook)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, a laborer from the nearby Bayt Surik village, was shot and killed by security forces at the scene, police said.

The 37-year-old approached the entrance to Har Adar just after 7 a.m. as part of a group of Palestinians who work in the settlement. The Shin Bet domestic security service said he did not have a known history of involvement in terrorist activities.

He “aroused the suspicion” of officers on the scene, who called for him to stop. The terrorist then took a pistol out of his shirt and shot at the Israelis, before being gunned down, police said.

 Gavriyah, the slain Border Police officer, had been lightly injured in the hand during a terror stabbing in the area a year ago.

The seriously injured victim was identified as Har Adar’s security coordinator. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and was fully conscious when he was taken to the hospital.

The head of general surgery at Hadassah Hospital, Alon Pikarsky, who operated on the man, said after the operation that, considering his wounds, the victim was lucky.

Emergency services respond to a suspected terror attack outside the Har Adar settlement near Jerusalem on September 26, 2017. (Magen David Adom)

“The surgery passed well. The injured 33-year-old was hit by a bullet in the shoulder and a bullet in the waist. The bullet hit his spleen and diaphragm and after we dealt with those organs the orthopedic team took out the bullets. He is completely stable, breathing on his own, and is recovering at the moment in the intensive care unit at Hadassah. He really was very lucky.”

Police said Jamal, the terrorist, was a father of four who possessed a legal work permit, making him one of only a few Palestinians with such a document to commit a terror attack in recent years.

Jamal’s wife had recently left him and the Shin Bet said he suffered from “significant personal and family problems.”

Man Beat Woman, Threw Her Off A 77 Foot Cliff, Then Murdered 5 Yr Old Son Over Dad’s $200 Debt

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF LEXINGTON KENTUCKY WKYT)

 

Detective: Man beat woman, murdered Jackson Co. child over $200

WATCH Detective: Man beat woman, murdered Jackson Co. child over $200

WATCH Detective: Man beat woman, murdered Jackson Co. child over $200

WATCH Detective: Man beat woman, murdered Jackson Co. child over $200
By WKYT News Staff |
 
     

JACKSON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) – A detective with Kentucky State Police testified in court on Monday about their case against a man accused of murdering a five-year-old boy.

Kentucky State Police charged Lonnie Belt with the killing of five-year-old James Spoonamore. Police found the boy’s body a few days after hikers came across his severely beaten mother over a cliff.

ORIGINAL STORY: KSP: Boy reported missing in Jackson County found dead

The detective testified that Belt was upset that Jessica Durham’s husband stole $200 from him. The detective told the court that Belt planned to take Durham and her son back to his house and hold them until he got the money he was owed. Detective Charles Brandenburg told the court that on September 8, Belt tricked Durham into thinking her husband was at his home.

“So she went to the end of the hallway, where David was supposed to be, the bedroom. She went into the bedroom. David was not there. She was struck in the back of the head with a metal object by Lonnie,” Brandenburg said.

“She went on to say, when she got back in the vehicle she was blindfolded and tied up, and her head was bleeding. Her small child, her 5-year-old son was in the back seat,” Brandenburg testified. “She could hear him say, ‘Mommy you’re bleeding, Mommy you need a doctor.'”

The detective went on to say that Belt took Durham to different sites on that Friday, beating her repeatedly. Eventually, police say Belt took Durham to the woods and kicked her off a cliff. She fell 77-feet. According to the officer, Durham was there for nearly 24 hours before hikers found her.

Belt told detectives that he killed five-year-old James Spoonamore because he witnessed the assault.

“He finally admitted to taking James, putting him in a car and driving him to a separate location, in the same wooded area, across Sparks Ridge Road, where he hit James in the back of the head with a metal object multiple times.”

Investigators said they have not been able to locate the hollow pipe Belt allegedly used in the attack.

Police charged Lonnie Belt with murder, assault, kidnapping an adult, kidnapping a minor, and tampering with physical evidence.

At the end of testimony, the judge decided there was enough evidence to send the case to a grand jury.

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