An explosive device has been found under a car of a police officer in Northern Ireland. Army explosives experts were called to the scene and used a robot to confirm it was potentially dangerous, before neighboring houses were evacuated. Dissident republicans have been blamed for planting the device. Assistant chief constable George Hamilton said: “It was clearly intended to kill the police officer. His family and neighbors were also put at risk of serious harm”.
A group of men armed with rifles have robbed a gem-cutting factory in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul and taken nine people hostage, before escaping into the woods. About ten robbers used explosives to make their way into the plant, but then ran into police as they were coming out. Three of the robbers were killed, including the gang leader. Two policemen were also injured during the assault, police officials said. The remaining criminals abducted nine people and fled into a wooded area. Police have surrounded the forest and are chasing the gang with the help of helicopters.
A viable bomb has been found under a police car in the east of Northern Ireland’s capital. The device was said to be “clearly intended to kill the police officer” who owned the car, Sky News reported. The bomb appears to have fallen of the vehicle as it was being reversed out of a drive. A number of houses had to be evacuated while the device was examined and taken away for defusing. Police accuse dissident republicans, who do not support peace agreements in Ireland, for the attempted attack. Responsibility for the incident, however, has not yet been claimed.
Swiss authorities have frozen $300 million held in Credit Suisse bank accounts by the sons of deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, it was reported in the newspaper Le Matin Dimanche on Sunday. The funds belong to Alaa and Gamal Mubarak who are currently in prison in Egypt. The money was deposited at Credit Suisse in 2005, after Switzerland tightened up its rules governing transactions by depositors who have been politically exposed. The brothers are accused of using their position as the siblings of Hosni Mubarak to purchase villas, luxury cars and stakes in key Egyptian companies.
An explosion at an Egyptian Coptic church in Misrata, Libya's third largest city, has taken lives of two Egyptian nationals and wounded two others, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said Sunday. Those killed had been working at the church in preparation for traditional New Year's Eve mass. An anonymous Libyan official told the AP the bomb was a type of device that typically requires a detonator. The incident is under investigation.
Gunshots wounded at least two people Sunday at demonstrations in western Iraq when bodyguards protecting a senior Sunni politician opened fire to disperse protesters. These were the first casualties in a week of rallies when tens of thousands of protesters were demanding that the politician quit the Shiite-dominated government.
Biologist Rita Levi-Montalcini who continued to carry out underground research despite fascist persecutionб has died at her home in Rome, the city’s mayor has announced. She helped unlock the mysteries of the human cell and became known as ‘Lady of the Cells’. She became one of Italy’s leading scientists and shred the prize for her groundbreaking research in the United States.
Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil said his country will resume talks in January with the International Monetary Fund over a US$4.8 billion loan. Negotiations were suspended during this month's political turmoil over the now-adopted constitution. Kandil said that the economic situation was "difficult and critical," but that there was no truth to talking about Egypt going bankrupt.
The UN’s special envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi has said that although a solution to the Syrian conflict is still possible, it is getting more complicated by the day. Brahimi was in Moscow for a weekend of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, focusing on Syria. Brahimi said that if a Syrian-led solution is not found the country could be catapulted into a dire sectarian conflict.
Israel's former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was formally indicted on Sunday on charges of breach of trust and fraud. Lieberman resigned earlier this month after he was informed of the pending charges. He is accused of advancing a former ambassador after he relayed information to the foreign minister about a criminal investigation into his business dealings. Lieberman denies wrongdoing.
A passenger train has plowed into and killed five elephants of a herd crossing railroad tracks in the Rambha forest area, about 180km (110 miles) south of Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa state. JD Sharma, chief conservator of the state's wildlife department, accused the railroad authorities of ignoring his department's warning that trains should slow down because a herd of elephants was moving in the area. Dozens of elephants have died in India in recent years after being struck while crossing railroad tracks that often run through national parks and forests.
British media are reporting that former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has left hospital after an operation to remove a bladder growth. The 87-year-old former Conservative leader was admitted to hospital last week to have the operation. Thatcher, Britain's first female prime minister, has been in fragile health since she suffered a series of small strokes more than a decade ago.
A suicide bomber driving a vehicle packed with explosives rammed into a bus carrying Shiite Muslim pilgrims in southwest Pakistan on Sunday, killing 19 people, including four women, Pakistan's Geo TV said. 25 others were wounded. Pakistan has experienced a spike in killings over the last year by radical Sunni Muslims targeting Shiites, who they consider heretics.
A suicide bomb attack targeting a bus convoy has killed at least 17 Shia Muslim pilgrims in southwestern Pakistan, local officials report. A vehicle packed with explosives drove into a bus heading to neighboring Iran. Pakistan has experienced a surge of attacks on Shiites carried out by radical Sunni Muslims, who consider Shiites heretics.
Taliban militants have put 21 paramilitary troops to death following their capture, report government officials. The troops were allegedly bound and blindfolded and shot one-by-one by the militants. The force men were kidnapped by the Taliban after insurgents attacked checkpoints close to the city of Peshawar in the troubled northern region of Pakistan.
The US Senate is holding last-minute talks to prevent America from tumbling over the ‘fiscal cliff’. A combination of spending cuts and tax hikes could result in a ‘self-inflicted’ wound for the economy, said President Obama, who rounded on lawmakers during the week for their failure to act earlier. Senators, thus far, have failed to reach any palpable conclusion in talks that began on Saturday.