Bus, tram and metro drivers took to the streets of the Belgian capital on Saturday in protest after their colleague was beaten to death, Reuters reports. The victim had been called to investigate a collision between a bus and a car earlier on Saturday when he was attacked. The inspector, a 56-year-old man of Albanian origin, died of head injuries later in the day. The suspected assailant was reportedly arrested on Saturday afternoon.
At least two Palestinians have been injured in an air strike by an Israeli drone. The Saturday attack came on the southern town of Rafah in the Gaza strip. According to Palestinian officials, the two were hit by a rocket while riding a motorcycle, but their medical condition is moderate. Israeli media say the IAF aircraft was attempting to strike a terror cell which was aiming to fire rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who has ruled the country since 1980, has struck a ‘secret’ pact to hand over power to his defense minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Telegraph reports. The deal is said to have taken place in April 2008 when Mugabe was lagging behind his opponent during the first round of the presidential elections. "Mnangagwa was told that he had to deliver victory for Mugabe by whatever means or he would go down with the old man,” a source close to senior defense chiefs told The Telegraph. “After that, the two are glued together so tightly that unless Mnangagwa commits a cardinal sin he is assured of the succession." Mugabe is planning to stand for office one last time in this year’s presidential election, the report suggests. His opponents, meanwhile, are pushing forward constitutional amendments designed to guarantee fair elections and want the elections to be postponed. Mnangagwa, one of the most powerful figures in the ruling Zanu-PF party has built up a reputation as a tough and ruthless politician as he helped Mugabe battle against white rule in the 1970s. He also participated in the suppression of the rival Zapu party in 1980s, during which thousands of civilians were killed.
One of China's best-known dissidents and a leading astrophysicist, 76-year-old Fang Lizhi, who inspired student protests in the 1980s, died on Friday. He fled to the US after China's 1989 military crackdown on the pro-democracy movement and worked as a physics professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson during his exile. Fang was expelled from the Communist Party and fired as vice president of the University of Science and Technology after the authorities decided his speeches had ignited the unrest. Before Fang Lizhi and his wife were allowed to enter the US, the couple were hiding in the US embassy for over a year, facing death sentences in China.
Rescuers have so far not found any survivors at the scene of a massive avalanche on the Pakistani-Indian border in the Himalayas. The avalanche hit the mountain headquarters of a border battalion, burying at least 117 soldiers early on Saturday. Officials estimate the base was covered by more than 20 meters of snow, and dozens of bodies have already been recovered.
The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan have called on North Korea to abandon the launch of a missile into the orbit in mid-April. South Korean foreign minister Kim Sung-hwan said any such blast would constitute “a violation of a UN Security Council resolution." North Korea insists the missile has no military purpose, and will merely deliver a research satellite into the orbit.
Joyce Banda, 61, was sworn in on Saturday as Malawi's new president, becoming the first female president in southern Africa. Prior to this, she served as Malawi's vice president during the rule of President Mutharika, who died on April 5. The Malawi government officially confirmed Mutharika's death only on Saturday. Banda was expelled from the president’s party two years ago after a dispute about who should become his successor.
Ford Motor Company is recalling more than 140,000 Focus cars, built from August 1, 2010, through October 18, 2011. Federal Safety regulators discovered that a seal in the motor of the passenger side windshield wiper was missing in some of these cars. Due to this problem the water can get inside the motor and short-circuit it, increasing the risk of a car crash during rain. Ford claims there have been no incidents connected to this problem so far. The company is expected to begin repairs and replacements of malfunctioning wipers late in May.
Police are searching for a gunman behind a series of four shootings in which three people were killed and two others wounded in Tulsa on Friday. Investigators believe that the shootings were linked and may have possibly been racially motivated, because the attacks happened in quick succession within three miles of one another, and because all five victims were black. "There is no forensic evidence to link at this point," local police said as cited by the Tulsa World. "Timing and location lead us to believe they may be connected." So far police do not believe the victims knew each other or were somehow connected. All five victims were out walking when they were shot. The local leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) said he was very concerned that someone was evidently "targeting black people to shoot" and addressed the community in an effort to calm unrest and promote safety.
A swimmer has stopped the annual Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge University rowing crews. Almost two-thirds of the way into the race, with the crews almost level, a man in the water forced the competitors to stop for safety reasons. The race was restarted further back up the course, with a delay to allow the water to settle sufficiently. Cambridge went on to win the event after an Oxford rower broke an oar soon after the restart. The swimmer is likely to be a protester, although his cause is not yet known. He was fished from the water by a police launch. The Boat Race was first held in 1829 and has been rowed annually since 1856, with the exception of the two world wars.
A militant from an Al-Qaeda-linked group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, has been captured on Friday, after a fierce gun battle in Almar district of Afghanistan’s Faryab province. The captured operative allegedly financed and coordinated suicide attacks against Afghan officials and security forces in Afghanistan, and also prepared suicide vests. He became the third IMU operative who had been neutralized over the past two weeks. Another IMU militant was captured in Kishim district of Badakhshan province, while the group’s leader Makhdum Nusrat was killed on March 26. Meanwhile, in a separate incident in the east of the country, three employees of an Afghan construction company have been killed by a roadside bomb, while a fourth worker was seriously injured, local police said.
At least 11 people died and another 50 were injured as the double-decker bus traveling from Bolivia to Argentina fell off a cliff. In total there were 69 passengers onboard including the driver and two assistants. Among those in the bus there were five Argentines, three Peruvians, three French, one Spanish national and one British national. The local Pablo Soria Hospital admitted 40 patients, four of whom were placed in intensive care. The bus belonged to Bolivian company Potosi.
No one has been reported missing to authorities after the crash of US Navy F-18 jet in Virginia Beach, according to Fire Department Battalion Chief Tim Riley. But he stressed that some residents had still not been accounted for. Rescue crews did an initial search of the five buildings and firefighters combed through the debris of a partially destroyed complex. "If there is anybody there, chances of survivability would be low,” he added.
A group of tribesmen and uniformed troops loyal to ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh used a pickup truck-mounted anti-aircraft machine gun to destroy an airport tower, Yemeni government officials reported. The attack may be linked to the recent dismissal of several allies of the ousted leader by the country’s new president. Among them is Saleh’s half brother, Air Force commander Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, who refused to leave his office.
Hamas group has hanged three men on Saturday in Gaza – one Gazan, found guilty of collaborating with Israel and two convicted murderers. The Interior Ministry has not revealed their names, but issued a statement denouncing a man who helped Israel a “traitor”. One of the murderers was convicted of kidnapping a boy, raping him and then killing him. The ministry said the families of the murder victims had refused to offer an amnesty to the killers. The executions were therefore carried out "in accordance with our religion, rulings of the Palestinian law and in preserving the rights of citizens and achieving the security of the community", the statement concluded.
Under the constitution, Malawi's vice-president is taking charge of the country following the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika. Joyce Banda held the news conference in the capital Lilongwe, were she declared 10 days of official mourning. President Bingu wa Mutharika died of a heart attack on at the age of 78.
A "catastrophic mechanical malfunction" caused an F-18 jet to crash shortly after takeoff, according to US Capt. Mark Weisberger, deputy commander of Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic. "In the case of a catastrophic malfunction, we do have emergency procedures. There's no indication the air crew was able to do anything but have a forced ejection," he added. The F-18 crashed into apartments in Virginia Beach, next to an elementary school, on Friday. Both pilots safely ejected. Weisberger said the crew comprised a student pilot in the front seat and an "extremely experienced" instructor in the back seat. Five civilians on the ground were treated at local hospitals. Reportedly, all but one had been released.
Some 150 Pakistani soldiers are feared to have been buried by an avalanche in the north of the country, local TV reported. The incident happened near Siachen Glacier close to the Pakistan-India border.
UN General-Secretary Ban Ki Moon has strongly condemned Damascus for continuing attacks on civilians despite government’s commitment to pull all soldiers and heavy weapons. "(Ban) strongly condemns the latest escalation of violence," the statement released by his office late on Friday said. "He deplores the assault by the Syrian authorities against innocent civilians, including women and children, despite the commitments by the Government of Syria to cease all use of heavy weapons in population centers." Ban said that the situation in Syria was rapidly deteriorating affecting more than 1 million people, with an alarming number of refugees streaming into neighboring countries. He added that April 10 deadline endorsed by the Security Council "is not an excuse for continued killing.''
Five people are facing charges of causing intentional injury after buying a 17-year-old boy's kidney, Reuters reports. The teenager, who lives in one of China’s poorest provinces, Anhui, later used the money to buy an iPhone and an iPad. The boy is now suffering from renal deficiency. The five suspects, including a surgeon, removed the kidney in April 2011 – four years after China banned the selling of human organs. The person who allegedly arranged the transplant received about US $35,000, while the donor was paid just US $3,500. The boy later admitted to his mother that he had got the money for the Apple devices by selling his kidney.
Egypt's former vice president and former intelligence chief says he intends to run as a candidate in next month's presidential election. Omar Suleiman served under Hosni Mubarak, before Mubarak was ousted from office last year. He says he will run if he receives 30,000 signatures needed. Suleiman, 75, had previously ruled himself out of the race, but changed his mind after hundreds of demonstrators urged him to do so.
Some 300 people, including members of police and soldiers in a convoy of about 50 vehicles, protested on Friday in Libya's second biggest city Benghazi, Reuters reports. They called on militias to lay down their weapons as the country’s new government tries to impose its authority on numerous armed groups. Demonstrators were chanting "Army and police, we want nothing else" and "No militias, no brigades, one army, one flag." It has been six months since militia ousted the country’s former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, and yet their heavily-armed units still occupy government buildings and recognize no authority but their own commanders.