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Monday, April 15, 2013

Explosions During Boston Marathon Kill Two

At least two people are dead and dozens are injured in what appears to have been a bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. About three hours after the winners crossed the line, there was a loud explosion on Boylston Street near Copley Square. Another explosion, about 100 meters earlier along the marathon path occurred a few seconds later. Victims were rushed to nearby hospitals. Dr. Alasdair K. Conn of Massachusetts General Hospital, which is treating several of the victims, said many of the injuries are gruesome. “This is like a bomb explosion we hear about in Baghdad or Israel,” he said. Most of Mass General’s 19 patients are recovering but six were severely injured and required immediate resuscitation. Authorities have found at least two other undetonated devices in the area, and many hotels and public areas were evacuated as a precautionary measure. “We’re treating this as an ongoing event at this time,” said Boston’s police commissioner Edward F. Davis. Davis also announced that there was an explosion at the nearby JFK Library that police are treating as possibly related, although no one there was injured. In an emergency White House announcement U.S President Barack Obama asked for patience: “We still do not know who did this or why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts, but make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”

Mubarak Cannot Be Held For Causing Revolt Deaths

An Egyptian court ruled that Hosni Mubarak can no longer be held in detention for causing the deaths of protestors during the revolt that saw him toppled from power. He will, however, remain in custody due to several other charges still pending. Mubarak was sentenced to life-in-prison last June for causing the death of at least 850 people during the 2011 revolt, but in January of this year he was granted a retrial by Egypt’s Court of Cassation due to procedural errors in the original case. Mubarak and his two sons, Gamal and Alaa, will also be re-tried for corruption charges of which they were previously acquitted during the 2012 trial. The judge presiding over the trial, Mustafa Hassan Abdullah, has recused himself citing “unease” and has referred the case to different court, which is expected to appoint a new panel to hear the retrial later this year.

Maduro wins Venezuelan Presidency

Hugo Chavez’s chosen successor Nicolas Maduro won a narrow victory in Venezuela’s presidential election yesterday over Anti-Chavista leader Henrique Capriles. Maduro, who has been the interim president since Chavez’s March 5 death, held a significant advantage in opinion polls, but officials said he won just 50.7 percent of the votes. Capriles has asked for a recount, to which Maduro has agreed saying, “let 100 percent of the ballot boxes be opened. We’re going to do it; we have no fear.” It’s not immediately clear if such a recount would be legal. “These are the irreversible results that the Venezuelan people have decided with this electoral process,” said Tibisay Lucena, the head of the electoral council, late Sunday night as she announced the result. Already the slim victory has some within the Chavista camp doubting Maduro’s capacity to lead the country. National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, Maduro’s main rival within the movement, tweeted: “The results oblige us to make a profound self-criticism.” The weak victory has resulted in scattered protests around the Caracas. Maduro’s administration will inherit many issues from Chavez including a $30 billion deficit (10 percent of the country’s GDP), a shortage of energy, a business credit drought, a rampancy of violent crime, and a scarcity of many consumer goods.

Co-ordinated Carbomb Attack in Iraq

A series of co-ordinated attacks ripped through Iraq today during rush hour today. More than 55 people are dead and 200 people have been injured by 20 car bombs in Bahgdad, Tuz Khurmatu, Kirkuk, Nasariyah, Fallujah, Tikrit, Samarra and Hilla. According to Iraqi Army Major-General Hassan al-Baydhani, three additional car bombs were defused in Baghdad before they detonated. These bombings, coming days before Iraqis head to the polls on the 20th for the first time since 2010, are the worst since the height of the Iraqi insurgency in 2007. Though violence on the whole has decreased since then, Bombings and assassinations remain common through Iraq; indeed yesterday, ten were killed in similar attacks, and 65 were slain on March 19th, ten years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Gitmo Inmates Strike Against Indefinite Detention

Inmates at Guantanamo bay revolted Saturday against their guards. Four prisoners received non-serious injuries, and no guards were harmed during the insurrection. According to Navy Capt. and military spokesman Robert Durand, detainees fought guards with makeshift weapons that included broomsticks and mop handles when troops arrived at 5 a.m. to remove them from a communal wing of the prison. Authorities opted to move the detainees into single-occupant cells in response to a mass hunger protest against their indefinite confinement. A New York Times op-ed by a prisoner who has been on hunger strike since February 10th cites frustration with the bureaucratic tape surrounding the cases of those imprisoned at the U.S. base in Guantanamo bay as the prime reason for his strike. “I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial. The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen. This makes no sense. I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one” he said. At least 43 of the prisoners at Gitmo are currently on a hunger strike, but lawyers and officials say many more might be striking in a manner that avoids detection in order to deter force feeding.

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