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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Italian Cargo Ship Crashes in Genoa

A cargo ship slammed into the control tower at the busy Genoa commercial port in Italy last night. At least seven people have died, according to Luca Cari, spokesman for the Genoa firefighters. Four others were injured and another two people are still unaccounted for. Officials believe the missing personnel might be trapped in a submerged elevator car that was pushed into the Ligurian coast harbor when the Jolly Nero, an unusually tall roll on-roll off container carrier, collided directly with the control tower rather than with the dock. Stefano Messina, an official for the Genoa based company that owns the ship, is quoted as saying nothing like this has happened in the 92 year history of the company, “There aren’t words to express the dismay and profound condolences for the victims of this tragedy and their families. We are devastated,” Messina said through tears. The crash occurred as the Jolly Nero cargo ship was leaving port accompanied by tugboats around 11 p.m. last night, during a shift change at the port making the accounting of harbor personnel more difficult. “This event is unbelievable because we had the best weather navigation conditions,” said Luigi Merlo, president of the Genoa port authority. Police are questioning the captain of the ship.

Zimbabwean Politician Jailed for Insulting Mugabe

Solomon Madzore, head of the youth wing of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, will spend another week in jail after referring to President Robert Mugabe as “a limping donkey” who should be put out to pasture. Madzore denies the charges and has posted bail, but yesterday state persecutors used a contentious appeal law to stop a court order to release him. Madzore faces several months in prison if convicted. Arrests for insulting the President are common in Zimbabwe, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, more than 60 people have been arrested for the crime in the past 2 years. yesterday also saw the arrests of two journalists, Dumisani Muleya and Owen Gagare, after they published allegations that generals and security chiefs were meeting with Tsvangirai to speak about reforms in the armed forces the PM says are needed before the the coming elections. “This is a clear abuse of state machinery and an act of systematic harassment and intimidation of journalists who are merely doing their job. This has always been a common feature of Zimbabwe under president Robert Mugabe and his Orwellian Zanu-PF regime since they came to power in 1980,” said Muleya after he was released from jail. Rights groups say there has been an increase in arrests and intimidation of media staff and Mugabe’s opponents as the southern African nation prepares for elections to end the dubious power-sharing coalition that saw Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader become Mugabe’s prime minister after violent and disputed elections in 2008 allowed Mugabe to retain power.

Boko Haram Raid Kills 55

At least fifty-five people were killed in a coordinated Boko Haram raid on government facilities in the remote Nigerian town of Bama. Approximately 105 prisoners were freed in the raid, as more than 200 members of Boko Haram attacked Bama’s police station and military barracks. Several other government buildings were razed. Military spokesman Musa Sagir told reporters, “Some of the gunmen attacked the military barracks but they were repelled. Ten of them were killed and two were arrested. But the gunmen broke into the prison, freeing 105 inmates, and killed all prison warders they could see except those who hid in a store where cooking utensils were kept.” Thirteen members of the Islamic separatist group were killed as they assaulted the government positions, while the militants killed 22 police officers, 14 prison wardens, two soldiers. Four civilians, an elderly woman and three children, also perished in the fire fight. Last month, Nigerian military forces clashed with a small group of Boko Haram members in the nearby town of Baga, at least 200 people died in that fight as fires started by the government’s forces swept through town destroying thousands of homes. More than 3,000 people have have been killed by Boko Haram’s activities in Nigeria since the group’s founding 2009.

UK Priest’s Kidnappers Convicted 40 Years Later

Two former officers in the Chilean navy have been found guilty of the abduction of English priest Michael Woodward in 1973. The priest, a member of the liberation theology group Movement for United Popular Action (MAPU), was arrested shortly after conservative Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet rose to power. Woodward was kept abroad the Esmeralda (BE-43), a sailing ship used to house more than a hundred prisoners as they were tortured by agents of Pinochet’s regime. His body was never recovered. Jose Manuel Garcia Yeres and Hector Palomino Lopez were convicted of kidnapping and given three years of house arrest. Six other former naval officers were acquitted. The Chilean Government was ordered to pay $100m in reparations to Woodward’s family. Investigations by spearheaded Wooward’s sister, Patricia Bennetts, revealed the father’s fate. Woodward was kidnapped, tortured for 10 days, and then shot in the chest. Contentious amnesty laws passed as Pinochet stepped down from power prevent any of Pinochet’s officials for being held accountable for crimes committed while Pinochet was in power, but in the late 1990′s Chilean Judge Juan Guzmán Tapia successfully argued that since many kidnapping victims’ bodies had not been recovered, the kidnapping can be said to be ongoing.

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