Weekly Global Newscast | May 26 - June 2, 2019


Three Explosions Hit Kabul Killing One And Injuring 17

Three explosions struck the Afghan capital, including a magnetic bomb attached to a bus carrying university students that killed at least one person.


‘The bus explosion wounded 10 people, Nasrat Rahimi, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said. Two roadside bombs were detonated about 20 minutes later, wounding seven more people, including five security forces in the same residential area of western Kabul.” In total, one Afghan civilian was martyred and 17 others, including a local journalist and five Afghan forces, have been slightly wounded”.’ Reuters reported for Al Jazeera.

‘Two people were killed and dozens more wounded in Kabul on Sunday as a wave of bombings hit civilian targets — including a university school bus — across the Afghan capital. The yellow bus had been heading to Kabul Education University in the western part of the city on Sunday morning when it was hit by a sticky bomb — a growing menace in Kabul, where insurgents and criminals use magnets to slap explosives on vehicles. The device had been placed under the bus, interior ministry spokesperson Nasrat Rahimi said. In the immediate aftermath, as people rushed to help victims, two more bombs that had been planted by the side of the road went off, he added.’ Associated Press reported for The Express Tribune.

Pakistan’s Military Sentences Officer to Death for Espionage

Pakistan’s military sentenced one army officer to death and another to 14 years “rigorous imprisonment” for espionage and leaking sensitive information to foreign spy agencies. A civilian doctor was also given the death penalty.


‘Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has endorsed punishment to two senior retired army officers and one civil officer “on the charges of espionage/ leakage of sensitive information to foreign agencies prejudice to the national security”, a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Thursday. “The officers were tried under Pakistan Army Act (PAA) and Official Secret Act by separate Field General Court Marshal (FGCM) for separate cases,” said the statement issued by the military’s media wing. The following details, quoted verbatim, list the names of the three individuals and the punishment accorded to them: Retired Lieutenant General Javed Iqbal — awarded 14 years rigorous imprisonment Retired Brigadier Raja Rizwan — awarded death sentence Doctor Wasim Akram (Employed at Sensitive Organisation) — awarded death sentence ISPR also released a video statement of Major General Asif Ghafoor confirming the arrest of the two officers and their court-martial. “Reports started circulating in the media that two senior army officers were under arrest. Yes they are. There are two officers who are under military custody on the charges of espionage,” the ISPR director general confirmed in the video. “The army chief has ordered a field general court martial which is under process.” Maj Gen Ghafoor said that both were separate cases and not linked to one another in any way “and there is no network as such”. “Please keep in mind that if we have been able to get them and identify the issue, it is a success. “These things do happen […] when the court martial process is complete, I will share whatever results emerge with you.” It is pertinent to mention here that around 400 officers of every rank have been given various punishments, including dismissal from service, during the last two years. Earlier in February, the ISPR DG had said that the arrests of the accused officers indicated a robust accountability system in place in the armed forces.’ Associated Press reported for Pakistan Today.

‘A Pakistani general has been sentenced to life for spying by a military court that also gave death sentences to a brigadier and a civilian official. The trio were charged with espionage and leaking “sensitive information to foreign agencies”, Pakistan’s army said in a statement. It added that Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa “endorsed” their sentences. The army did not reveal who they were convicted of spying for or what information was shared. However most observers would naturally point to the CIA, says the BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad. The US and Pakistan have a long history of military co-operation and officers come into frequent contact, he says.’ Associated Press reported for BBC.

Middle East & North Africa

Tunisia PM Chahed Elected President of New Party Tahya Tounes

Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has been elected the president of Tahya Tounes party, a secular party founded earlier this year, confirming expectations he will run in this year’s presidential election.


‘The new party was formed in January after months of wrangling within the ruling coalition’s Nidaa Tounes party, resulting in the resignation of dozens of leaders. The fragile coalition, which also includes the self-defined Muslim democrat party Ennahdha, is struggling to pass economic reforms demanded by foreign lenders. Tahya Tounes party (Long Live Tunisia) has ministers in Chahed’s government and dozens of legislators. The party said it is seeking a comfortable win in the next election to pursue stalled economic reforms. Elections are due by the end of this year, with Ennahdha, Tunisia‘s largest party, favoured to win, according to polls.’ Associated Press reported for Al Jazeera.

Sub Saharan Africa

‘Bloody Massacre’: Sudan Forces Kill At Least 30

Sudanese protesters say more than 30 people have been killed after security forces stormed the main protest camp in the capital Khartoum in the worst violence since the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir, drawing global condemnation. The Sudanese Professionals’ Association (SPA), which spearheaded nationwide protests that started in December, said Monday’s crackdown amounted to a “bloody massacre”.


‘At least 30 people have died after Sudanese security forces launched a massive crackdown against protesters at a central Khartoum sit-in. Heavily armed paramilitaries attacked the site of a sit-in in the capital that has been the centre of a campaign to bring democratic reform shortly after dawn on Monday, firing teargas and live ammunition. Witnesses reported that the security personnel belonged to the feared Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a paramilitary force that was heavily armed by Omar al-Bashir, the former president. Bashir’s repressive 30-year rule ended in April when he was ousted by the army following months of massive pro-democracy demonstrations in Khartoum and elsewhere. Factions within the military appear to have decided to put an end to the pro-reform protests after months of negotiations with civilian leaders and activists for transition to democracy. Pro-reform campaigners remained defiant despite the violence. “This is a critical point in our revolution. The military council has chosen escalation and confrontation … Now the situation is us or them; there is no other way,” said Mohammed Yousef al-Mustafa, a spokesman for the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, which has spearheaded the protests. A medical association said that at least 30 people had been killed, including an eight-year-old child, but activists say the true number is likely to be much higher with bodies still unrecovered from the protest site attacked in the early morning.’ Jason Burke and Zeinab Mohammed Salih write for The Guardian.

‘A long-feared confrontation between security forces and protesters occupying part of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, erupted on Monday, as heavy gunfire was heard around the city and a doctors’ group affiliated with the protest said at least 30 were killed. A broad swath of Sudanese society has staged a sit-in in Khartoum since April 6, just days before the military toppled President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who had led the country for 30 years. Tens of thousands of protesters had remained in place since his ouster to demand civilian control over the transitional period in this North African country of 40 million people. The transitional military council, or TMC, has pushed back on those demands, insisting on retaining ultimate authority during an interim period it says will eventually lead to a civilian-led government.’ Max Bearak writes for The Washington Post.


Conservatives Sweep Greek Local Elections

Greece’s conservative opposition New Democracy (ND) party swept local elections on Sunday, winning in most regions and the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki, routing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s ruling left just a month before they face off in general elections.


‘Conservatives triumphed in 12 out of 13 Greek regions last night and captured the majority of cities in local elections held only a month before voters are expected to elect a new parliament. The results were a devastating blow to the leftist Syriza party led by Alexis Tsipras, who became prime minister in 2015 promising to end the biting austerity demanded by Greece’s international creditors. In Athens, Costas Bakoyannis, 41, of the conservative New Democracy party and the nephew of the conservative leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, won over 65 per cent of the vote in a run-off. His opponent, Nasos Iliopoulos of Syriza, won about 34 per cent.’ Anthee Carassava writes for The Times.

‘Conservative-backed candidates have won 12 of 13 of Greece’s regions and captured the majority of Greece’s cities, confirming a trend seen in last week’s first round as well as the European Parliament election, which took place on the same day. In Athens, Costas Bakoyannis, son of former conservative mayor Dora Bakoyannis and nephew of opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has been elected with over 65% of the vote against a candidate backed by the ruling left-wing Syriza. Although there were a few hiccups, such as the election in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, of a dissident conservative over the official one, Mitsotakis’ New Democracy party confirmed its position as the top party and the favorite to win a snap national election on July 7.’ Associated Press reported for Fox News.


Virginia Beach Shooting: 12 Killed By ‘Disgruntled City Worker

At least 12 people were killed in Virginia Beach – a city in the US state of Virginia – on Friday when a gunman opened fire at a municipal centre, in the latest mass shooting in the country.


‘Police on Saturday identified the gunman as DeWayne Craddock, who fired indiscriminately at his workplace colleagues, sending coworkers scrambling for cover before police fatally shot and killed him, authorities said. Several others were wounded in the shooting – the worst since a high school shooting left at least 17 people dead in 2018. Virginia Beach police chief James Cervera said the gunman entered the municipal centre and “immediately began to indiscriminately fire upon all of the victims”. Police entered the building and got out as many employees as they could, then exchanged fire with Craddock, who was killed, the chief said. Cervera added the suspect was armed with a .45-calibre handgun equipped with a “sound suppressor” device and was reloading his weapon with extended ammunition magazines as he moved through the building. The police chief declined to comment on any possible motive but said additional weapons were recovered at the scene and from the suspect’s home.’ Associated Press reported for Al Jazeera.

‘A section of the compound was still blocked off by law enforcement vehicles and FBI personnel could be seen walking around. On Sunday night, hundreds gathered to remember the dead. City and state officials were among the mourners at Piney Grove Baptist church. Rabbi Israel Zoberman of Virginia Beach was among the speakers. A son of Holocaust survivors who escaped Poland in the second world war, he said the city had “lost its beautiful but also blinding innocence”. The vigil closed with the lighting of 12 candles alongside a framed photograph of each victim. A woman read each name aloud as she lit the candles. Four people were severely wounded in the shooting. Police have sought not to add to speculation over why the 40-year-old gunman, DeWayne Craddock, acted as he did. Police have not announced that he left any note, internet message or manifesto. Police said he had no specific target, shooting indiscriminately, including a first victim in a vehicle in the parking lot. He was shot and fatally wounded by police after a gun battle in the halls of the 1970s-era municipal building, having at one time shot through a closed door and wall. Virginia Beach’s police chief, James Cervera, described the gunman as “disgruntled” but declined to say more about what may have precipitated the attack.’ Associated Press reported for The Guardian.


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