Tag Archives: correspondent

Top Pakistan Taliban commander Asmatullah Shaheen ‘shot dead’

A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has been shot dead in a militant stronghold near the Afghan border, security sources and relatives say. There have been reports of militant infighting in tribal areas in recent months Asmatullah Shaheen was ambushed as he drove through a village near Miranshah in North Waziristan, reports said. Three aides in the vehicle also died. It is unclear who killed them. There has been no word from the militants. Shaheen was briefly the TTP (Pakistani Taliban) interim leader after its chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed last year. Mehsud died in a US drone strike in November and was later replaced by a new leader, Mullah Fazlullah. Since then, there have been a series of attacks in which unidentified gunmen have targeted militants in the tribal areas, puzzling observers about who could be behind them. The attacks have taken place against a backdrop of continuing militant violence across Pakistan and a limited military operation against Taliban strongholds, despite attempts between the two sides to hold peace talks. Those talks broke down last week after a Taliban faction said it had killed 23 security force personnel in retaliation for the killing of militant fighters by the army.

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Museveni signs Uganda anti-gay bill

Uganda’s leader has signed into law a bill toughening penalties for gay people but without a clause criminalising those who do not...

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Dave Lee Travis to face a retrial over sexual assault claims

Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis is to face a retrial on charges of indecent and sexual assault, the Crown Prosecution Service has said. Dave Lee Travis, pictured outside court with his wife Marianne today, is set to face a retrial over one charge of indecent assault and one of sexual assault The 68-year-old, from Mentmore, Buckinghamshire, was found not guilty earlier this month of 12 counts of indecent assault. However, the jury at Southwark Crown Court was unable to reach a verdict on the two outstanding charges. Speaking outside court, Mr Travis said the “nightmare is now going to go on”. Appearing before Judge Anthony Leonard, prosecutor Miranda Moore QC told the court: “The prosecution is seeking a retrial for two outstanding counts.” The BBC’s home affairs correspondent, Danny Shaw, who was in court, said the prosecution and defence agreed there would be a two-week trial, for which a date was to be set. Mr Travis was given bail and is due back in court on 28 March. Reading a short statement outside court, Mr Travis said: “All I can say is that this whole thing started when I was 67 and I just hope it’s going to end by the time I am 80.” Former BBC presenter Travis was accused of indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another in alleged incidents dating back to 1976 when he was at the height of his fame. The outstanding charges relate to an allegation of indecent assault against a woman in the early 1990s along with an alleged sexual assault on a journalist in 2008. BBC

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Deadly attack hits rally in Thailand

Gunmen have opened fire on an anti-government rally in eastern Thailand, killing a five-year-old girl and wounding dozens of other people. Attackers threw grenades and sprayed the crowd with bullets Attackers threw explosives and shot at demonstrators at a rally called by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee. The incident took place at a night market in the Khao Saming district of Trat province late on Saturday. Tensions across Thailand have escalated since a wave of anti-government protests began in November. The demonstrators want Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to resign to make way for an appointed interim government, but she has refused. On Tuesday several people were killed in clashes that erupted in Bangkok, when police began clearing protest sites. The latest attack occurred about 300km (180 miles) south-east of the capital. Officials said the five-year-old girl had been standing at a noodle stall when the attackers, in two pick-up trucks, opened fire at the PDRC rally. She died from a gunshot wound to the head. At least 30 other people are believed to have been injured. Another child is said to be in a critical condition. PDRC spokesman Suwicharn Suwannakha said the attack happened during a speech by a party leader, Thai newspaper The Nation reported. He said he first heard the explosions and gunfire and then saw chairs in front of the stage scattered. “It was chaotic. I saw two pick-up trucks speed away,” he said. No group has so far said it carried out the attack

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Germany arrests three suspected Auschwitz guards

Three men aged 88, 92 and 94 have been detained by German authorities on suspicion of being guards at the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. The homes of a number of men were raided in three German states, months after prosecutors investigating Nazi-era war crimes announced they were recommending charges against 30 people. The three men taken into custody have been sent to a prison hospital. More than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz. The three men detained all live in the south-western state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and are suspected of involvement in murders that took place between 1942-45. They were taken to Hohenasperg prison hospital in Ludwigsburg, reports say. Raids also took place in the states of Hessen and North Rhine-Westphalia, although none of the suspects was arrested. The decision to take action against alleged Nazi guards followed the conviction in May 2011 of John Demjanjuk. A court decided that by being a worker at a concentration camp he was guilty of being an accessory to murder. This meant that courts did not have to prove active participation in killing to find a suspect guilty of murder, BBC Berlin correspondent Stephen Evans reports. Demjanjuk, who died in 2012 aged 91, had denied being a guard at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. He had been sentenced to five years in jail for being an accessory to the murder of 28,060 people but died in a home for the elderly while the case was pending appeal. Agencies

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Virginia gay marriage ban overturned by US judge

A US federal judge in Virginia has ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Gay marriages are legal in 17 US states and Washington DC It is the first time that a southern state has had a voter-approved prohibition on gay marriage overturned. The ruling will not apply pending a possible appeal. Same-sex marriages are legal in 17 US states, most of them in the north-east, and Washington DC. Such unions have been approved either through legislation, court rulings or voter referendums. ‘Adding momentum’ The ruling by Judge Arenda Wright Allen in Norfolk followed a legal challenge on same-sex marriage by a gay couple. The judge agreed with them that the ban infringes on their constitutional rights and their fundamental freedom to marry. Many expect the case – or one like it – to go all the way to the US Supreme Court, the BBC’s Beth McLeod in Washington reports. Virginia is the first state in the old confederacy – a group of southern states that are traditionally seen as socially conservative – to have its ban overturned. The decision adds momentum to a growing acceptance of gay marriage in the US, our correspondent adds. Earlier this week, a federal judge in Kentucky – another southern state – ruled that it must recognise same-sex marriages performed elsewhere in the US. However, the judge did not rule on the legality of same-sex marriages inside Kentucky, effectively meaning that the current ban remained in place. BBC

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KTLA anchor Sam Rubin confuses Samuel L. Jackson with Laurence Fishburne on live TV

Actor Samuel L Jackson has scolded a US TV host who mistook him for fellow movie star Laurence Fishburne. Blunder: Los Angeles entertainment anchor, Sam Rubin, pictured left, confused Samuel L. Jackson, right, with Laurence Fishburne on live TV Monday morning, making for an incredibly awkward interview KTLA reporter Sam Rubin began an interview with the actor by asking about his recent Super Bowl commercial. He was referring to an advert for the new Kia sedan – in which Fishburne reprised his role from The Matrix. “We don’t all look alike! We may all be black and famous but we don’t all look alike,” said Jackson. “There’s more than one black guy doing a commercial.” He continued: “I’m the ‘What’s in your wallet?’ black guy. He’s the car black guy. “Morgan Freeman is the other credit card black guy. You only hear his voice, though, so you probably won’t confuse him with Laurence Fishburne,” said the star, who was appearing live from Atlanta. Rubin, from his studio in Hollywood, apologised on numerous occasions and tried to steer Jackson onto a discussion about the revival of Robocop – the original reason for the interview. “Let’s talk about Robocop,” he said. “Oh hell, no,” replied Jackson. “There must be a very short line for your job,” he continued. The actor continued to rib Rubin for his mistake, asking if he would have trouble telling apart his co-stars Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton. “You do know who they all are though, right? Just in case they have some of them on the show. Do some work. Do some research. Make sure you don’t confuse them with those other white actors,” he said

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