The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, January 21, 2022 1:00 am

World

Aid flights able to land in Tonga

Associated Press

The first flights carrying fresh water and other aid to Tonga finally arrived Thursday after the Pacific nation's main airport runway was cleared of ash left by a huge volcanic eruption.

New Zealand and Australia each sent military transport planes that were carrying water containers, kits for temporary shelters, generators, hygiene supplies and communications equipment. The Australian plane also had a special sweeper to help keep the runway clear.

U.N. humanitarian officials report that about 84,000 people – more than 80% of Tonga's population – have been affected by the eruption, U.N. spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said, pointing to three deaths, injuries, loss of homes and polluted water. Communications remain limited after Saturday's eruption and tsunami appeared to have broken the single fiber-optic cable that connects Tonga with the rest of the world.

The deliveries were dropped off with extra precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Tonga has reported just a single case since the pandemic began.

Stampede leaves at least 29 killed

At least 29 people, including 11 children and a pregnant woman, died in a stampede of worshippers at a Christian ceremony in a densely populated area of the capital, Monrovia, officials said Thursday.

The stampede erupted when a gang of thugs armed with knives attacked some of the hundreds attending the ceremony about 9 p.m. Wednesday, police spokesman Moses Carter told The Associated Press.

One person has been arrested, he said. The Rev. Abraham Kromah who was holding the ceremony and who runs a church in the New Georgia township of Monrovia was also brought in for questioning about the incident, police said.

Munich abuse report names Benedict

A long-awaited report on sexual abuse in Germany's Munich diocese on Thursday faulted retired Pope Benedict XVI's handling of four cases when he was archbishop in the 1970s and 1980s. The law firm that drew up the report said Benedict strongly denies any wrongdoing.

The findings were sure to reignite criticism of Benedict's record more than a decade after the first, and until Thursday only, known case involving him was made public.

The archdiocese commissioned the report from law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl nearly two years ago, with a mandate to look into abuse between 1945 and 2019 and whether church officials handled allegations correctly. The law firm examined church files and spoke to witnesses.

US charges Belarusians with piracy

U.S. prosecutors charged four Belarusian government officials Thursday with aircraft piracy for diverting a Ryanair flight last year to arrest an opposition journalist, using a ruse that there was a bomb threat.

The charges, announced by federal prosecutors in New York, recounted how a regularly scheduled passenger plane traveling between Athens, Greece, and Vilnius, Lithuania, on May 23 was diverted to Minsk, Belarus.

Ryanair said Belarusian flight controllers told the pilots there was a bomb threat against the jetliner and ordered it to land in Minsk. The Belarusian military scrambled a MiG-29 fighter jet in an apparent attempt to encourage the crew to comply with the flight controllers' orders.

UN: Food in Tigray region almost gone

The United Nations says food distribution in Ethiopia's blockaded Tigray region has reached its “all-time lowest” while more than 50,000 children are thought to be severely malnourished, the latest sign of growing crisis amid efforts to end the country's 14-month war.

Thursday's update by the U.N. humanitarian agency says food aid stocks and fuel are “almost entirely exhausted” in the region of some 6 million people, where a government blockade was imposed in late June to keep supplies from reaching Tigray forces battling Ethiopian and allied troops.

Norway mass murderer seeks parole

A prosecutor in Norway said Thursday that a far-right extremist who killed 77 people in 2011 still is “a very dangerous man” and therefore a poor candidate for release after 10 years in prison, as Norwegian law permits.

On the final day of a three-day parole hearing, prosecutor Hulda Karlsdottir said in her closing argument that Anders Behring Breivik “has not shown any genuine remorse in court” and his behavior there is part of a “PR stunt.”

Breivik professed white supremacist views and flashed Nazi salutes on the hearing's opening day, while claiming to have renounced violence. He repeated again Thursday, as he was given the last word as the hearing closed, that he was refraining from violence.

Deaths from 'superbugs' on rise

Antibiotic-resistant germs caused more than 1.2 million deaths globally in one year, according to new research that suggests that these “superbugs” have joined the ranks of the world's leading infectious disease killers.

The new estimate, published Thursday in the medical journal Lancet, is not a complete count of such deaths, but rather an attempt to fill in gaps from countries that report little or no data on the germs' toll.

Antimicrobial resistance happens when germs like bacteria and fungi gain the power to fight off the drugs that were designed to kill them. The problem is not new, but attention to it has grown amid worries about a lack of new drugs to fight the germs.


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