Sunday, June 17, 2018 1:10 am
Venezuela nightclub stampede leaves 17 dead
CARACAS, Venezuela – Seventeen people were killed at a crowded nightclub in Venezuela's capital Saturday after a tear gas device exploded during a brawl and triggered a desperate stampede among hundreds gathered for a graduation celebration, government officials said.
Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said the incident at the Los Cotorros club in the middle-class neighborhood of El Paraiso left eight minors dead and five injured. Eight people were detained, including two teens believed responsible for setting off the tear gas canister.
More than 500 people were believed to be inside the club when the fight broke out. Julio Cesar Perdomo said his injured son told him the tear gas was launched from inside a bathroom and that partygoers tried to flee but found the club's door closed. Pictures posted by Reverol on Twitter show a narrow staircase leading to a metal door.
Jesus Armas, an opposition councilman who lives in the neighborhood, said the Interior Ministry should explain how a civilian was able to obtain tear gas canisters that should only be utilized by state security forces. He also urged authorities to investigate whether the club had permission to hold several hundred people inside.
Taliban celebrating cease-fire attacked
A suicide bomber blew himself up in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing 21 people and wounding another 41, most of them believed to be Taliban fighters who had gathered to celebrate a three-day cease-fire marking the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr, a police official said.
Nangarhar provincial Police Chief Ghulam Sanayee Stanikzai said the devastating explosion came as previously unthinkable scenes of unarmed Taliban fighters celebrating Eid, often alongside Afghan security forces, played out in cities throughout the war-shattered country on Friday and again on Saturday.
Within hours of the explosion, President Ashraf Ghani announced he would extend a nine-day cease-fire that was to expire today and which he had unilaterally announced last week.
Violence shadows talks in Nicaragua
Armed assailants set fire to a house and gunfire erupted at a street barricade in Nicaragua's capital Saturday, leaving at least eight people dead and casting a pall over talks aimed at ending weeks of unrest.
The violence raised tensions as representatives from civil society groups and President Daniel Ortega's government met for the second day of negotiations aimed at resolving the country's two-month-old political crisis.
Government officials blamed “delinquents” for Saturday's deaths while civil groups alleged that police and other government employees were behind the two attacks.
Greece's leaders targeted for deal
Greece's left-led coalition government survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Saturday brought over a deal to end a decades-old dispute with neighboring Macedonia concerning the latter's name.
Lawmakers voted 153-127 in the 300-member parliament against the motion brought by the conservative main opposition party over the deal to rename the former Yugoslav republic North Macedonia. In the agreement, Athens would drop its objections to the country joining NATO and the European Union.
Thousands of protesters rallied outside parliament during the debate, waving Greek flags and chanting anti-government slogans. Scuffles broke out, with riot police firing tear gas to stop protesters from breaching police lines.
Python swallows woman whole
A 23-foot-long python has swallowed a woman in central Indonesia, a village official said Saturday.
The victim, 54-year-old Wa Tiba, went missing while checking her vegetable garden near her village on Muna island in Southeast Sulawesi province on Thursday evening, according to the village chief, Faris.
The family and villagers launched a search for the woman, and found the snake with a bloated belly about 50 yards from where her belongings were found.
“When they cut open the snake's belly they found Tiba's body still intact with all her clothes,” Faris said. “She was swallowed first from her head.”
UK lets boy take oil for seizures
The British government changed course Saturday in a case concerning banned cannabis oil, saying an epileptic boy can be treated with it after his mother said he needed it to survive severe seizures.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said he has agreed to urgently issue a license to allow Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old from Northern Ireland, to be treated with the oil on the advice of doctors who say the boy faces a medical emergency.
Border Force agents seized it from Charlotte Caldwell, the boy's mother, Monday when she tried to bring it into London's Heathrow Airport from Canada, where she obtained it legally. She said Billy began the treatment in the United States legally two years ago and has been seizure-free for more than 300 days.
Pope: Abortion akin to Nazi deeds
Pope Francis denounced abortion on Saturday as the “white glove” equivalent of the Nazi-era eugenics program and urged families to accept the children that God gives them.
Francis spoke off-the-cuff to a meeting of an Italian family association, ditching his prepared remarks to speak from the heart about families and the trials they undergo. He lamented how some couples choose not to have any children, while others resort to pre-natal testing to see whether their baby has any malformations or genetic problems.
“The first proposal in such a case is, 'Do we get rid of it?'” Francis said. “The murder of children. To have an easy life, they get rid of an innocent.”
Francis has repeated the strict anti-abortion stance of his predecessors and integrated it into his broader condemnation of what he calls today's “throw-away culture.”