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29 April, 2012

23:30

Gunmen kill five at Nigerian church

­Five people have been shot dead by unidentified gunmen at a church in the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri, witnesses say. The shooting follows an attack on a university in the city of Kano, in which at least 16 people were killed after gunmen on motorbikes hurled explosives at a lecture hall where church services were being held. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although they bear a striking resemblance to those perpetrated by militant Islamist sect Boko Haram, which has been responsible for a slew of attacks on Christians throughout Nigeria.

22:39

Tilting Brazilian oil rig evacuated

About 100 workers have been evacuated from a tilting oil platform belonging to US firm Transocean as a precautionary measure, Rio de Janeiro’s port captain said in a statement. No oil leakage has been reported and the tilt was said to have been discovered during maintenance. In November, over 3,000 barrels of oil leaked from an oil rig owned by Transocean and Chevron.

20:07

Seven killed in New York van crash

­Seven people, including three children, have been killed after a van crashed into a highway guardrail and plunged more than 100 feet into a train yard used by the Bronx Zoo. The van was traveling along the Bronx River Parkway when it lost control, hit the highway median, crossed four lanes and smashed into the guardrail, police officials say. The accident shut down the southbound lane of the parkway, resulting in major traffic delays.

18:30

Al-Qaeda and Taliban discussed operations against NATO

­Osama bin Laden, other al-Qaeda bosses and Taliban commanders had a close working relationship and held discussions on joint anti-NATO operations in Afghanistan. This is according to documents found in the house where Bin Laden was killed in a raid on May 2, 2011, The Guardian reports. The communications show a three-way conversation between bin Laden, his then-deputy Ayman Zawahiri, and Taliban commander Mullah Omar. Some communications in the documents date back several years, but others are said to be dated only weeks before bin Laden was killed. Zawahiri became the leader of al-Qaeda following Bin Laden's death.

18:24

Gaddafi-era Libyan Oil Minister found dead in the Danube

­Austrian police discovered the body of former Libyan Oil Minister Shukri Ghanem in Vienna's Danube River Sunday. The body did not appear to show signs of a violent incident, though an autopsy to determine Ghanem's cause of death will be carried out in the coming days. Ghanem served Libya's late leader Muammar Gaddafi as head of the country's national oil company until 2011. Lately he had been working as a consultant for a Vienna-based company.

17:34

Egypt's military council to announce cabinet reshuffle

­Egypt's ruling military council is to announce a another shuffle of Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri's cabinet within 48 hours, local media report citing an Egyptian MP. This comes as the country's parliament has suspended sessions for a week, supposedly over tensions with military rulers after repeated calls for a full government dismissal. Military officials have yet to comment on the report.

17:20

British ICRC staff member found beheaded in Pakistan

­The beheaded body of a kidnapped British doctor, a staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the British Red Cross, was found by the roadside in Pakistan’s southwestern city of Quetta. Khalil Rasjed Dale, 60, was kidnapped on January 5 while on his way home from work. The ICRC has condemned the killing. British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement that the incident was a “senseless and cruel act, targeting someone whose role was to help the people of Pakistan.” The Pakistani Foreign Office promised to bring the killers to justice. Dale is the third Westerner beheaded in Pakistan. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in 2002; and a Polish geologist, in 2009; were killed in the same way.

15:27

Al-Qaeda's Yemen-based wing releases 73 detainees

An Al-Qaeda linked group has freed dozens of soldiers in southern Yemen. They were all captured during a major assault on March 4th, when 185 soldiers were killed. The 73 freed were "driven in two buses from [the military stronghold of] Jaar to Aden," the group said. The release was authorized by the group’s leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi, after negotiations with tribal elders and religious scholars who visited Jaar.

14:50

First acknowledged Thai-Cambodia border clash in a year wounds one

Cambodia says one soldier was wounded after troops exchanged fire with Thai security officials along their border. Local military officials claim their soldiers were attacked by Thai forces while on patrol. Thai army officials insist their troops only returned fire after being shot at by illegal loggers from the Cambodian side. This is the first publicly acknowledged clash since repeated combat on the border ended a year ago.

14:33

Egypt's parliament suspends sessions as tensions with Cabinet grow

Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament has suspended its sessions for a week, the legislature's speaker Saad el-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood announced on Sunday. This comes in protest to the ruling military's failure to heed its repeated calls for the dismissal of the government. The move is believed to intensify tensions between the generals and the Brotherhood, which controls just under half the seats in parliament.


13:52

US missile strike hits northwest Pakistan

­Suspected US missile strike in northwest Pakistan has killed from two to six militants, according to different sources, in the town of Miran Shah in North Waziristan. Pakistani intelligence officials said two missiles hit an abandoned girls' school. This comes amid US attempts to rebuild its relationship with Pakistan, which opposes the missile attacks and demands they stop.

13:31

Head of UN Syria mission arrives in Damascus

Norwegian General Robert Mood has arrived in Damascus on Sunday, two days after his appointment as chief military observer in Syria. The 54-year-old Norwegian is a veteran of several Middle East conflicts, and was the head of a UN peacekeeping operation in Lebanon in the 1980s and the head of the UN Truce Supervision Organization in 2009-2011. The first UN observers from an extended 300-strong mission are expected to arrive in Syria on Monday, said a spokesman for the UN mission, Neeraj Singh. The observers from the advance team are now permanently stationed in major protest centers in the cities of Homs, Hama, Deraa, Idlib, and Damascus.

13:05

­20 dead, many more wounded in head-on bus collision in India

Police officials said a head-on collision between two buses killed 20 passengers and injured at least 18 others in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday. The wounded have been taken to a local hospital for treatment. India has the highest annual road death toll in the world, according to the World Health Organization, with accidents caused by speeding, careless driving and poor roads. Around 345 people a day died on the country's roads in 2010, according to the last statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau.

12:45

At least 15 killed in attack on Nigeria university

At least 15 people have been killed and many more wounded after gunmen attacked a university in Nigeria’s second largest city of Kano. The armed men reportedly attacked a lecture hall used by Christian worshippers. Witnesses on campus said they saw at least 15 body bags removed from the scene. The victims, although yet unidentified, are expected to be mostly students. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, but Islamist sect Boko Haram has killed hundreds in bomb and gun attacks this year, some of which have targeted churches.

11:36

Sudan declares emergency in combat-torn border zone

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir declared a state of emergency in some areas bordering South Sudan, a state-linked media website said on Sunday. This follows a week of cross-border clashes between the two rival countries.

09:46

Series of blasts and gunfire strike Nigerian university

­At least 3 explosions and ongoing gunfire have been reported at Bayero University campus in the Nigerian city of Kano on Sunday. The blasts rocked an area near a theater used by Christian students for religious services. Residents also reported hearing gunfire. Details were not yet clear, including whether there were casualties. No one has claimed responsibility so far. In January Kano already became a scene of bloodshed with some 180 killed in attacks carried out by the Islamist group Boko Haram.

09:20

Russian oligarchs hit UK Rich List Top Three

­Steel and mining magnate and Arsenal’s shareholder Alisher Usmanov and oil tycoon and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich have made it into the top three of The Sunday Times Rich List 2012 - the rating of the UK’s richest people. Usmanov with  £12.3 Billion (slightly over US$20 Billion) ended up second, Abramovich with £9.5 Billion (around US$15.5 Billion) is third. Indian-born steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal with £12.7 Billion (US$20.6 Billion) tops the list – again. The rating is compiled by The Sunday Times annually onusing open-access information and the paper’s own sources.

09:18

French TV reporter missing after FARC raid

­A France 24 journalist is missing in Colombia after a police anti-drug operation on Saturday. The officers tried to destroy cocaine laboratories which are the main source of income for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) rebel group. The Defense Ministry says four security officials have been killed, a foreign journalist and four soldiers are missing after the raid. The troops from the anti-narcotics brigade were confronted by a large, and heavily armed, guerrilla unit, it’s been reported. The journalist, identified as Romeo Langlois, was accompanying a military and police patrol. Colombian authorities have launched a search operation for the missing. The group has been at war with the government for half a century, and is believed to have about 9,000 fighters.

08:18

Grenade blast kills one, injures 15 in Kenya

A hand grenade thrown at a church congregation killed at least one person and wounded at least 15 people, Kenyan police reported. The attack happened in a working class area of the capital Nairobi.

03:57

Bus crashes north of Tokyo killing 7, injuring over 30

­Seven passengers have died after a bus ran into the wall lining an expressway north of Tokyo, reports Japanese broadcaster NHK. Police say the deaths were caused by cardiac arrest. All the survivors were hurt; at least nine people sustained serious injuries. The bus, carrying 45 passengers and a driver, had left a town in central Japan on Saturday night and was en route to Tokyo Disneyland. It crashed around 5am on Sunday near a junction on the Kan-etsu expressway in Fujioka City, Gunma Prefecture.

03:02

British military setting up rooftop missile battery in upscale London neighborhood

­The British military has sent leaflets to residents of the upscale east London neighborhood of Bow Quarter saying it will be installing High Velocity Missile (HVM) systems on rooftops to protect the 2012 Olympic Games this summer. The move appears to be part of a plan set forth by Defense Secretary Philip Hammond last November, who said Britain would be installing surface-to-air missiles in London to safeguard Olympic events from an aerial attack. In 2008, China also installed missile systems in Beijing during the Olympics.

02:22

Saudi Arabia takes in Bin Laden family ‘on humanitarian grounds’

­Saudi Arabia has allowed the family of late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to enter its territory on “a humanitarian, legal and administrative basis,” Reuters quotes local media as saying.  Earlier this week the family was deported from Pakistan, where the world's most wanted man was killed by US Special Forces almost a year ago. A Saudi official said bin Laden’s wives and children arrived in the kingdom on Thursday, but did not specify how many family members had arrived. Previous reports suggest that three widows, seven children and four grandchildren had been deported. “It is not appropriate to intrude on the privacy of the bin Laden family in the kingdom in any way,” stressed the official.

00:25

Mali’s junta rejects West African transition plan

­The military junta that seized power in Mali last month will not agree to extend the rule of an interim civilian government, junta leader Amadou Sanogo said during a meeting with mediators from the ECOWAS regional bloc. Sanogo stressed, though, that the junta will stick to an earlier plan signed with ECOWAS, which calls for power to be transferred to a civilian government for forty days with elections scheduled afterwards. The meeting was marred by soldier protests, during which armed servicemen chanted anti-ECOWAS slogans and said they would not cooperate with the regional bloc's mediators. Mali has been torn apart by Islamists and secessionists since the coup.