Pope revives sexual abuse panel

  by Olivier Baube Agence France Presse VATICAN CITY, Holy See (AFP) — The Vatican said Saturday it has renewed its anti-pedophile panel as Pope Francis acts to quell the global scandal over the sexual abuse of children by priests. The panel had come under fire from two high-profile members, former sex abuse victims who quit at what they saw as a lack of reform and obstruction at the highest level of the Catholic Church. […]

13 killed in minister’s quake zone helicopter crash

  by Joshua Howat Berger Agence France Presse   MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — A 7.2-magnitude earthquake that rattled Mexico on Friday triggered a tragedy when a minister’s helicopter killed 13 people during a crash-landing on the way to the epicenter. The UH-60 Black Hawk military helicopter landed on its side, crushing a van. There were no reported casualties from the quake itself, which damaged buildings. The chopper was carrying Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and […]

Mexico minister survives helicopter crash that kills two on ground

  MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — A helicopter carrying the Mexican interior minister and a governor crashed near the epicenter of a powerful earthquake in the country’s south on Friday, killing two people who were on the ground, officials said. Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and Alejandro Murat, governor of the state of Oaxaca, were on their way to survey the scene of the destruction left by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake when the accident occurred, the […]

Cameroon separatists prepare for guerrilla war

by Célia Lebur  IKOM, Nigeria (AFP) — For the first time in his life, Victor Obi believes that the only way to win freedom in Cameroon is with a gun. “I don’t want to die, but the only future is our independence, and they will not give it to us,” said the student, whose name has been changed for his own safety. The 25-year-old is camped out in a small Nigerian village just kilometres from his home […]

Trump visits Florida school shooting survivors, FBI admits it missed tip

  by Leila Macor / with Andrew Beatty in Washington Agence France Presse POMPANO BEACH, United States (AFP) — US President Donald Trump on Friday visited a Florida hospital to offer comfort to those wounded in a mass school shooting, after the FBI admitted it mishandled a tip about the troubled teen behind the massacre that left 17 dead. The arrival of Trump and his wife Melania came at the end of a difficult day […]

Search for Taiwan quake victims ends as toll rises to 17

  TAIPEI, Taiwan (AFP) — Rescuers Sunday ended their search of a Taiwan building partially toppled by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake as the last trapped pair were presumed dead, bringing the final death toll to 17. Thousands of emergency workers had combed through rubble at the foot of the 12-storey Yun Tsui apartment block since the quake struck the eastern city of Hualien late Tuesday. It was left leaning at around a 50-degree angle by the quake, […]

Strong 7.2 magnitude quake shakes Mexico

  MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AFP) — A strong earthquake shook a large swathe of southern and central Mexico on Friday, triggering the quake alarm system in Mexico City and causing buildings to sway. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries from the quake, which measured 7.2 in magnitude, according to Mexico’s National Seismological Service and the US Geological Survey. Panicked residents flooded into the street, fearing a repeat of two earthquakes last September […]

Light pollution threatens Chile’s dark skies

by Miguel SANCHEZ Agence France-Presse PARANAL, Chile (AFP) – It seems nothing can escape the inexorable spread of light pollution — not even the giant telescopes probing the heavens above northern Chile, a region whose pristine dark skies, long considered a paradise for astronomers, are under increasing threat. The Atacama desert, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) north of the capital Santiago, provides ideal conditions where astronomers study the stars in darkness so profound they appear like diamonds on […]

Trump visits Florida hospital to pay respects after shooting

POMPANO BEACH, United States (AFP) – US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited a Florida hospital Friday to offer their respects to the victims of a mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at a nearby high school. The first couple visited Broward Health North Hospital, where a White House official said they would thank medical staff “for their life-saving assistance.” The pair are also expected to visit the Broward County sheriff’s office “to meet […]

Brazil’s Temer gives army full control of Rio security

by Jorge Svartzman Agence France-Presse RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Brazil’s President Michel Temer on Friday handed the military full control of security in Rio de Janeiro in an increasingly desperate fight to tame runaway gang violence. Army patrols are already used in Rio’s gang-ruled favelas, but a decree signed by Temer will now give the military full control of security operations in Rio state, which the president said had virtually been seized by organized crime gangs. The […]

US indicts 13 Russians for election interference

by Andrew Beatty Agence France-Presse WASHINGTON, United States – US Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday indicted 13 Russian nationals and three companies accused of running a secret campaign to tilt the 2016 presidential election. The unsealed indictment details a stunning operation that began in 2014 and aimed to sow social division inside the United States, influence US politics “including the presidential election of 2016.” Mueller alleges the campaign — under the direction of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a […]

FBI warned about Florida school shooter but failed to act

by Leila Macor with Chris Lefkow in Washington Agence France-Presse PARKLAND, United States – The FBI admitted Friday that it had received a detailed warning from a tipster over a month ago that Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz might be planning such a massacre — and that it failed to take any action. The stunning admission by the top US law enforcement agency came two days after Cruz, a 19-year-old with a long history of troubling behavior, killed […]