French police have opened an investigation into the disappearance last month of Meng Hongwei, the Chinese head of the international police organization Interpol, sources close to the inquiry told European news outlets on Friday. Meng was last seen leaving for China from Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon, southeast France, in late September, the source said. His wife reported him missing.
Interpol’s website notes that Meng has served as Vice Minister of Public Security in his native China. The organization released a statement saying the whereabouts of its leader was a “matter for the relevant authorities in both France and China.”
French police said the case was being handled by the public prosecutor in Lyon, but there was no immediate comment from that office.
An official at the global police organization told The Associated Press that Meng did leave France and arrive in China at the end of September, and that there had been no news of him since.
Chinese newspaper the South China Morning Post quoted unnamed officials as saying Meng was the subject of an investigation in China and that he was “taken away” for questioning by authorities “as soon as he landed” in the country. The Post said it was unclear what Meng might be under investigation for.
News of Meng’s apparent disappearance comes on the heels of an announcement by Chinese officials that Hollywood star Fan Bingbing, who also vanished without a trace several months ago, has been ordered to pay millions of dollars in alleged back taxes and penalties. The announcement of the fines this week by Communist Party officials shed no light on her current whereabouts.
PALU, Indonesia — Indonesian authorities were still desperately working on Tuesday to get food and other aid to victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck last Friday. Drone video has revealed the widespread destruction from the twin natural disasters, and the confirmed death toll reached almost 1,300 on Tuesday morning.
That number was still expected to climb as some of the hardest-hit areas are reached, and as CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy reports, more than 60,000 people have been forced from their homes.
Tracy was in the hard-hit town of Palu on Tuesday where rescuers were frantically digging through mud and rubble, searching for survivors.The situation in Palu is desperate. There is very little water, electricity or gas. As the town digs a mass grave for victims, survivors have resorted to looting stores for food and thousands are flocking to the damaged airport, hoping to get out.
When Tracy and his team arrived in Palu on Tuesday, they saw thousands of people camped out on the airport tarmac, desperately hoping that one of the cargo planes bringing in aid will deliver them from the hell that is now their home.
Tracy spoke to one woman who had been waiting outside with her 8-month-old baby girl for three days. She said she was finally expecting to board a plane on Tuesday, and she was “absolutely delighted and thankful to God” for it.
As Tracy asked her how her family was coping, the ground started shaking as another aftershock hit the battered region.
For the beleaguered residents who have just been through a nightmare, it is extremely frightening to have the ground start shaking again — especially as they sit under a structure at the airport to try and shelter from the sun in the 90 degree heat.
It has been four days since the earth violently shook when the massive 7.5-magnitude quake struck, triggering a tsunami nearly 20-feet-tall which smashed right into Palu.
Heavy machinery has finally arrived to aid the rescue effort, said Tracy, but it was quickly turning into a grim recovery operation, rather than a rescue mission.
In one part of Palu, the earthquake shook the ground so violently it basically turned the soil into quicksand and swallowed everything on top of it. Rescue workers told Tracy that they believed as many as 70 bodies could be buried under the rubble at the one site alone.
But there are still signs of hope. On Monday night a 38-year-old man was pulled alive from the rubble of a building in Palu. He was able to talk to the rescuers who spent three hours extricating him from the huge slabs of concrete.
Sadly that kind of story was becoming increasingly rare by Tuesday. One rescue worker showed Tracy the big sheet of white paper on a wall, where they note the victims found in their small search area. On Tuesday they found seven more bodies.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — A strong earthquake struck Indonesia’s popular tourist island of Lombok on Sunday, killing at least three people and briefly triggering a tsunami warning one week after another quake in the same area killed more than a dozen.
The latest quake caused people to flee their homes and move to higher ground. Authorities said the quake may have caused some damage. Najmul Akhyar, district chief of North Lombok, told MetroTV that there was an electrical blackout so he was unable to assess the entire situation, but that at least three people had been killed.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.0 quake struck early Sunday evening at a depth of 6 miles. Its epicenter was about 1 mile east-southeast of Loloan.
Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency issued a tsunami warning after the quake struck. The warning was lifted later Sunday.
National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho told KompasTV that the quake strongly jolted Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province, and may have caused damage there.
He said the quake was also felt in parts of neighboring Bali island.
Iwan Asmara, an official from the local Disaster Mitigation Agency, said people poured out from their houses in panic to move to higher ground, particularly in Mataram and North Lombok district.
A magnitude 6.4 quake hit Lombok on July 29, killing 16 people.
Like Bali, Lombok is known for pristine beaches and mountains. Hotels and other buildings in both locations are not allowed to exceed the height of coconut trees.
Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. In December 2004, a massive magnitude 9.1 earthquake off Sumatra triggered a tsunami that killed 230,000 people in a dozen countries.
Thailand cave rescue: Operation underway to bring boys out of cave — live updates
Last Updated Jul 8, 2018 1:37 AM EDT
A Thai governor said Sunday the operation to bring the trapped 12 boys and their coach out of a cave has begun. The acting Chiang Rai governor told reporters “today is D-Day” with 13 foreigner and five Thai divers taking part in the rescue.
Thai officials said Saturday they are worried that heavy monsoon rain could soon make the job even more difficult and they may need to quickly rescue the boys and the soccer coach from a partially flooded cave by helping them make risky dives to safety.
The boys, ages 11-16, and their 25-year-old coach became stranded when they went exploring in the cave after a practice game. Monsoon flooding cut off their escape and prevented rescuers from finding them for almost 10 days.
Narongsak Osottanakorn, who is in charge of the rescue mission, said Saturday conditions were currently “perfect,” BBC News reports.
“Now and in the next three or four days, the conditions are perfect [for evacuation] in terms of the water, the weather and the boys’ health,” said Narongsak, governor of the Chiang Rai province, where the caves are.
“A really, really tricky dive”: A look at some of the rescue’s challenges
The rescue operation to save 12 boys and their coach from a cave will be “really, really tricky,” said Sink or Swim Scbua instructor Brent Clevenger in an interview with CBSN on Saturday. Clevenger said the biggest concerns look like the tight passageways, strong currents and low visiblity.
It’s estimated that it will take the divers several hours to reach the boys, and then several hours to return. Each rescue is estimated to take about 11 hours, officials said.
As Clevenger noted to CBSN, a diver will need to change tanks, making it a “really, really tricky dive for an experienced diver on his own.”
Clevenger also said another concern will be the oxygen levels. If carbon dioxide builds up and oxygen runs low, it could potentionally cause panic, unconsciousness and even death. On Thursday, a former Thai Navy SEAL died who was part of the rescue mission died from lack of oxygen, authorities.
Of course, the boys are only now learning to dive, and Clevenger said he normally teaches boys to dive in shallow water, so they can stand up if they panic. In this case, the boys will be going through passageways where they can’t stand up. And even if the boys are with expereinced divers, the narrow passageways will make it hard for the expereinced divers to check on any boy who might be panicking.
“I think the best rescue option is to teach them to dive, try to get multiple divers watching one boy at a time and just do the best with it,” Clevenger said. “I would say there’s not a good option, there’s just a bset option that we have, but like I said, there’s no good option at this point.”
Rescue mission could take days
The rescue operation began at 10 a.m. local time, and it will take at least 11 hours for the first person to be rescued, Chiang Rai acting Gov. Narongsak Osottanakorn said. The rescue mission could take several days.
Both the trapped group and their families had been informed of the plan, BBC News reports.
The boys will be medically evaluated when they are out of the cave. There are 13 ambulances and helicopaters ready to transport the boys to local hospitals if necessary. The nearest hospital is 15 minutes away by helicopter, BBC News reports.
Narongsak said the boys are ready and willing to be brought out. “Their hearts are strong and determined,” he said.
“Today is D-Day,” Thai governor says
A Thai governor says the operation to bring out the boys and their soccer coach from deep inside a cave where they have been trapped for two weeks has begun. The acting Chiang Rai governor has told reporters “today is D-Day” with 13 foreigner and five Thai divers taking part in the rescue.
He says the divers went in at 10 a.m. and the boys will gradually come out accompanied by two divers each. He says the earliest they will come out is 9 p.m. Sunday (10 a.m. ET). The only way to bring them out is by navigating dark and tight passageways filled with muddy water and strong currents, as well as oxygen-depleted air.
Experienced cave rescue experts consider an underwater escape a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving, as the boys are. The path out is considered especially complicated because of twists and turns in narrow flooded passages.
But the governor supervising the mission said earlier that mild weather and falling water levels over the last few days had created optimal conditions for an underwater evacuation that won’t last if it rains again.
Dozens of divers arrive at cave
Dozens of divers arrived at the Tham Luang cave on Sunday morning and officials set up more tarpaulin sheets blocking off the divers’ operating area.
Officials ask media to clear out
Thai authorities asked media to clear out of the area around the entrance of the cave. “Everyone who is not involved with the operations has to get out of the area immediately,” police announced via loudspeaker, AFP reports.
“From the situation assessment, we need to use the area to help victims,” police said.
An investigation by an Australian TV news program suggests the pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared with 239 people aboard more than four years ago, deliberately crashed into the Indian Ocean.
Investigators are still searching for the aircraft, but these findings raise the possibility that one of the greatest aviation mysteries in modern history may not have been a catastrophic accident, but instead a possible mass murder-suicide.
“60 Minutes Australia” brought together an international group of aviation experts who say that the disappearance of MH370 was a criminal act by veteran pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
“He was killing himself; unfortunately, he was killing everybody else on board, and he did it deliberately,” said Canadian Air crash investigator Larry Vance.
Boeing 777 pilot and instructor Simon Hardy reconstructed the flight plan based on military radar, and says Captain Shah flew along the border of Malaysia and Thailand, crossing in and out of each country’s airspace to avoid detection.
“It did the job,” Hardy said, “because we know, as a fact, that the military did not come and intercept the aircraft.”
Hardy also made a strange discovery: Captain Shah likely dipped the plane’s wing over Penang, his hometown.
“Somebody was looking out the window,” he suggested.
“Why did he want to look outside Penang?” asked reporter Tara Brown.
“It might be a long, emotional goodbye — or a short, emotional goodbye,” Hardy replied.
Two experts from the “60 Minutes Australia” investigation also disagreed with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s scenario of the “death dive” with no one in control.
“I think someone was controlling the aircraft until the end,” said Hardy.
They argue instead that Captain Shah flew Flight MH370 another 115 miles than originally thought. “This was a mission by one of the crew to hide the aircraft as far away from civilization as possible,” Hardy said. “Which puts us way outside the search area that is currently being done.”
The wreckage uncovered so far may be further evidence that the pilot actually had control and that it was not a high speed crash. As Larry Vance noted of one wing component recovered from the shore of Africa, “The front of it would be pressed in and hollow. The water would invade inside and it would just explode from the inside. So this piece would not even exist.”
“They are very compelling,” aviation analyst Henry Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, told CBS News transportation correspondent Kris Van Cleave. “What I find very compelling is the hypothesis that the pilot did this deliberately, and did one of the most heinous acts in modern commercial aviation.”
CBS News spoke to multiple family members of the MH370 victims, and some say that this is nothing new and that without forensic evidence, they will not be convinced.
Captain Shah’s family tells CBS News that “pointing a finger toward him does not make them expert investigators — they have to find the plane.”
Malaysia Airlines has not yet responded to our requests for comment.
To watch the full “60 Minutes Australia” report, “MH370: The Situation Room,” click here or watch below:
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BERLIN — German authorities say six people were detained in connection with what police and prosecutors allege was a plan to carry out an attack on Berlin’s half-marathon Sunday. “There were isolated indications that those arrested, aged between 18 and 21 years, were participating in the preparation of a crime in connection with this event,” prosecutors and police wrote in a joint statement.
Berlin police tweeted that six people were detained in cooperation with the city’s prosecutor’s office.
The German daily Die Welt first reported that police foiled a plot to attack race spectators and participants with two knives.
The main suspect allegedly knew Anis Amri, a Tunisian who killed 12 people and injured dozens more when he drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, Die Welt reported.
One of the apartments Berlin police raided before the race started Sunday was also searched after the Christmas market attack, the newspaper said.
Special police forces detained four men in connection with the race plot, the paper said — different from the six that police reported.
Die Welt reported that the main suspect, who was not identified, had prepared two knives to use in the attack. It also wrote that in one of the searched apartments, dogs trained to find explosives barked when they were taken into the dwelling’s basement.
The local daily Tagesspiegel reported that the main suspect had been under observation for two weeks around the clock. After a foreign intelligence service tipped off German authorities that he was planning to attack the half-marathon, police raided apartments and two vehicles in the Charlottenburg and Neukoelln districts of the city.
The half-marathon was being guarded by some 630 police officers, German news agency dpa reported.
In a separate incident Saturday, a 48-year-old German man drove a van into a crowd outside a popular bar in Muenster, killing two people and injuring 20 others before shooting himself to death.
On Sunday, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said the government would do everything it can to protect citizens. “We have again experienced that absolute security is unfortunately not possible,” he said, Reuters reports.
WASHINGTON — The FBI prepared a secret 20-page analysis of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. containing explosive allegations about King’s political ties and sexual activity, just a month before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
One section of the document, which was among files related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy released on Friday, alleges that King was attracted to former member of the Communist Party in America. It notes that two previous aides were party members and eight others, who helped shape King’s organization in its early stages, had communist affiliations.
It’s unclear whether the FBI verified any of the allegations contained in the document, which is dated March 12, 1968.
The analysis said that in the early 1960s, the Communist Party was trying to get a black labor coalition to further its goals in the United States. It referenced a May 1961 issue of a communist newspaper that stated, “Communists will do their utmost to strengthen and unite the Negro movement and ring it to the backing of the working people.”
The FBI said King and his organization were “made-to-order” to achieve these objectives.
The FBI’s surveillance of King is well-known and the analysis includes several pages about his sexual life. One document said a black minister who attended a workshop to train ministers in February 1968 in Miami “expressed his disgust with the behind-the-scene drinking, fornication and homosexuality that went on at the conference.”
“Throughout the ensuing years and until this date, King has continued to carry on his sexual aberrations secretly while holding himself out to public view as a moral leader of religious conviction,” the FBI report said. The report alleges King had extramarital affairs with a number of women and was suspected of fathering a daughter out of wedlock.
A total of 676 records were released on Friday by the National Archives, the latest batch of never-before-seen files that are expected to be rolled out over the coming weeks.
Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up the sex crimes of the Rev. Fernando Karadima, such accusations against Barros are “all calumny.”
The pope’s remarks drew shock from Chileans and immediate rebuke from victims and their advocates. They noted the accusers were deemed credible enough by the Vatican that it sentenced Karadima to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for his crimes in 2011. A Chilean judge also found the victims to be credible, saying that while she had to drop criminal charges against Karadima because too much time had passed, proof of his crimes wasn’t lacking.
“As if I could have taken a selfie or a photo while Karadima abused me and others and Juan Barros stood by watching it all,” tweeted Barros’ most vocal accuser, Juan Carlos Cruz. “These people are truly crazy, and the pontiff talks about atonement to the victims. Nothing has changed, and his plea for forgiveness is empty.”
The Karadima scandal dominated Francis’ visit to Chile and the overall issue of sex abuse and church cover-up was likely to factor into his three-day trip to Peru that began late Thursday.
Karadima’s victims reported to church authorities as early as 2002 that he would kiss and fondle them in the swank Santiago parish he ran, but officials refused to believe them. Only when the victims went public with their accusations in 2010 did the Vatican launch an investigation that led to Karadima being removed from ministry.
The emeritus archbishop of Santiago subsequently apologized for having refused to believe the victims from the start.
Francis reopened the wounds of the scandal in 2015 when he named Barros, a protege of Karadima, as bishop of the southern diocese of Osorno. Karadima’s victims say Barros knew of the abuse, having seen it, but did nothing. Barros has denied the allegations.
His appointment outraged Chileans, badly divided the Osorno diocese and further undermined the church’s already shaky credibility in the country.
Francis had sought to heal the wounds by meeting this week with abuse victims and begging forgiveness for the crimes of church pastors. But on Thursday, he struck a defiant tone when asked by a Chilean journalist about Barros.
“The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak,” Francis said. “There is not one shred of proof against him. It’s all calumny. Is that clear?”
Francis had defended the appointment before, calling the Osorno controversy “stupid” and the result of a campaign mounted by leftists. But The Associated Press reported last week that the Vatican was so worried about the fallout from the Karadima affair that it was prepared in 2014 to ask Barros and two other Karadima-trained bishops to resign and go on a yearlong sabbatical.
According to a Jan. 31, 2015, letter obtained by AP from Francis to the executive committee of the Chilean bishops’ conference, the plan fell apart and Barros was sent to Osorno.
Juan Carlos Claret, spokesman for a group of Osorno lay Catholics who have mounted a three-year campaign against Barros, questioned why Francis was now accusing the victims of slandering Barros when the Vatican was so convinced of their claims that it planned to remove him in 2014.
“Isn’t the pastoral problem that we’re living (in Osorno) enough to get rid of him?” Claret asked.
The reference was to the fact that – guilty or not – Barros has been unable to do his job because so many Osorno Catholics and priests don’t recognize him as their bishop. They staged an unprecedented protest during his 2015 installation ceremony and have protested his presence ever since.
Anne Barrett Doyle, of the online database BishopAccountability.org, said it was “sad and wrong” for the pope to discredit the victims since “the burden of proof here rests with the church, not the victims – and especially not with victims whose veracity has already been affirmed.”
“He has just turned back the clock to the darkest days of this crisis,” she said in a statement. “Who knows how many victims now will decide to stay hidden, for fear they will not be believed?”
Indeed, Catholic officials for years accused victims of slandering and attacking the church with their claims. But up until Francis’ words Thursday, many in the church and Vatican had come to reluctantly acknowledge that victims usually told the truth and that the church for decades had wrongly sought to protect its own.
German Silva, a political scientist at Santiago’s Universidad Mayor, said the pope’s comments were a “tremendous error” that will reverberate in Chile and beyond.
Patricio Navia, political science professor at Diego Portales University in Santiago, said Francis had gone much further than Chilean bishops in acknowledging the sexual abuse scandal, which many Chileans appreciated.
“Then right before leaving, Francis turns around and says: ‘By the way, I don’t think Barros is guilty. Show me some proof,'” Navia said, adding that the comment will probably erase any good will the pope had won over the issue.
Navia said the Karadima scandal had radically changed how Chileans view the church.
“In the typical Chilean family, parents (now) think twice before sending their kids to Catholic school because you never know what is going to happen,” Navia said.
GUATEMALA CITY — Guatemala’s president announced on Christmas Eve that the Central American country will move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, becoming the first nation to follow the lead of U.S. President Donald Trump in ordering the change.
Guatemala was one of nine nations that voted with the United States and Israel on Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a non-binding resolution denouncing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
In a post on his official Facebook account Sunday, Morales said that after talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he decided to instruct Guatemala’s foreign ministry to move the embassy.
Guatemala and Israel have long had close ties, especially in security matters and Israeli arms sales to Guatemala.
No other country has their embassy for Israel in Jerusalem, though the Czech Republic has said it is considering such a move.
“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Mr. Trump said in his announcement.
For more than two decades, Mr. Trump said that previous presidents had signed a waiver to delay moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but said that “we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.”
“While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver,” he said. “Today, I am delivering.”
Mr. Trump said that he also directed the State Department to begin the process of moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but he will sign a waiver that will delay the move in order to avoid significant funding cuts. Officials said that it was not possible to move the embassy to Jerusalem immediately, however, and it could take “a matter of some years.”
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim the city’s eastern sector, which was captured by Israel in 1967 and is home to sensitive religious Jewish, Muslim and Christian sites. Many governments have long said that the fate of Jerusalem must be resolved through negotiations.
Trump’s announcement has set off weeks of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces that have left 12 Palestinians dead.
Netanyahu has predicted others would follow the U.S. lead. He has made great efforts to reach out to Latin America in recent years as part of a campaign to counter longstanding support for the Palestinians at the United Nations.
In remarks at his weekly meeting of the Likud party faction in the Knessert, Netanyahu thanked Guatemala’s president.
“God bless you, my friend, President Jimmy Morales, God bless both our countries, Israel and Guatemala,” Netanyahu said.
Television host and journalist Charlie Rose apologized for his “inappropriate behavior” after eight women accused him of sexual harassment in a Washington Post report Monday.
“It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior,” Rose said in a statement to the Post. “I am greatly embarrassed. I have behaved insensitively at times, and I accept responsibility for that, though I do not believe that all of these allegations are accurate. I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.”
In response to the Post‘s report, CBS News — where Rose co-anchors CBS This Morning and contributes as a correspondent to 60 Minutes — suspended him, according to the Associated Press. Bloomberg TV and PBS — the latter of which has distributed Rose’s eponymous talk show since 1993 — said they would immediately halt distribution of the program. “PBS was shocked to learn today of these deeply disturbing allegations,” the network said in a statement.
The eight women who spoke to the Post said that Rose, 75, made unwanted sexual advances towards them from the late 1990s up until 2011. Of those women, who ranged in age from 21 to 37 at the time of the alleged incidents, five detailed their accusations under the condition of anonymity. Three spoke to the paper on the record. The women’s allegations include that Rose groped their breasts, buttocks and genital areas, along with inappropriate phone calls and Rose walking around naked in their presence.
“It has taken 10 years and a fierce moment of cultural reckoning for me to understand these moments for what they were,” Rhea Bravo, a former intern and associate producer for Rose’s PBS show, told the Post. “He was a sexual predator, and I was his victim.”
“It makes me a little upset to see him on television,” Kyle Godfrey-Ryan, a former assistant for Rose during the mid-2000s, said. “Everything I experienced with journalism there made me not want to stay.” She added that Rose fired her once he learned that she had confided to a mutual friend about his behavior.
Rose is one of the numerous individuals in media, entertainment and politics to be accused of sexual harassment or assault since news of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assaults broke. Other prominent journalists have been accused in recent weeks, including MSNBC’s Mark Halperin and, as of earlier Monday, New York Times White House correspondent Glenn Thrush.
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