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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Greek Neo-Nazi Lawmaker Tries to Hit Athens Mayor

Greek police used tear gas to stop an event staged by the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Athens on Thursday. Intended as a food distribution event “for Greeks only”, party members would distribute supplies in Syntagma Square, in front of the country’s parliament, to those with ID cards that could prove their nationality. The event was illegal as the party had not sought permission from the Athens municipal government to stage it. Athens Mayor Giorgios Kaminis had said on Wednesday that the planned activity was “arbitrary, racist and illegal” and that city authorities would take “all adequate measures to prevent it from being realised”. After the event was broken up by police, one Golden Dawn MP, Giorgios Germenis, verbally abused and attempted to hit mayor Kiminis inside a building. He was apparently carrying a weapon and struck a young girl instead of his intended target. He was later escorted away from the building by security officials. “Raw violence in the form that we saw today and coming from an elected lawmaker will not be tolerated”, said mayor Kaminis after the attempt.

UN Says Somalia Famine Killed 260,000 People

A report by the Food Agriculture Organisation, the UN food agency, and the US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fews Net) has shown that nearly 260,000 people died during a famine that struck Somalia from 2010 to 2012. This amounts to 40,000 more deaths than occurred during the 1992 famine. “By nature, estimating mortality in emergencies is an imprecise science, but given the quantity and quality of data that were available, we are confident in the strength of the study. It suggests that what occurred in Somalia was one of the worst famines in the last 25 years”, said Fews Net official Chris Hillbruner. The UN first declared a famine in Somalia in June 2011, but Western aid agencies were prevented from taking action by the militant Islamist group al-Shabab, who controlled the areas struck by the emergency and denied there was an ongoing famine. An estimated 10 percent of all children under five died in southern and central Somalia as a result of the famine. “The report confirms we should have done more before the famine was declared”, said Philippe Lazzarini, UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Somalia.

Classmates of Boston Bombing Suspect Charged with Obstructing Justice

Two university colleagues of suspected Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were charged late on Wednesday with conspiring to obstruct justice for allegedly throwing away a backpack containing fireworks, while a third man was charged with lying to federal investigators. The colleagues were identified as Kazakh nationals Dias Kadyrbayev, aged 19, and Azamat Tazhayakov, also aged 19. Robel Phillipos, a 19-year-old US citizen, was also a classmate of Tsarnaev at the University of Massachusetts campus at Dartmouth and lied about visiting the suspect’s dorm room in the aftermath of the bombings. The group allegedly entered Tsarnaev’s room to remove a laptop and a backpack filled with fireworks that had been emptied of their gunpowder, as well as a jar of Vaseline. They had earlier texted the suspect to tell him he looked like the man being shown on television as one of the suspects, and Tsarnaev had texted them back to say that “I’m about to leave, if you need anything from my room take it”.

Five Dead After Becoming Infected With SARS-like Virus in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabian Health Ministry stated late on Wednesday that five of its citizens had died from a new SARS-like virus, with another two still in intensive care after being infected by the novel coronavirus, or hCoV-EMC. The health ministry released a statement, cited by the official Saudi Press Agency, saying that it was taking “all precautionary measures for persons who have been in contact with the infected people and has taken samples from them to examine if they are infected”, but it not disclose how many people had been sought for samples. Of the 23 cases detected in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany and the UK, 16 have resulted in deaths. The new virus is different from SARS, which broke out in southern China and ended causing 775 deaths between November 2002 and July 2003, in that it causes rapid kidney failure. While it has admitted not to know how the disease is transmitted, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has yet to recommend travel restrictions to try to contain the disease.

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