CONFUSION AND FIGHTING IN BURUNDI
Violent broke out this morning in the Burundi capital of Bujumbura between soldiers loyal to President Pierre Nkurunziza and forces who claimed to have staged a coup.
The situation is very uncertain in the capital, as reports suggest the attempted coup is still ongoing, RFI reports.
- But Gen. Godefroid Niyombare, who was part of the president’s government until yesterday, announced that Nkurunziza, who is currently abroad, had in fact been ousted.
- Coup leaders claimed today to be in control of most of the capital. “We control virtually the entire city,” coup spokesman Venon Ndabaneze told AFP. “The soldiers who are being deployed are on our side.”
- But the head of the loyalist army forces said that his soldiers were still occupying key points in the city and that the coup had failed.
- In late April, Nkurunziza announced he would run for a controversial third term. Although it was approved by the country’s Constitutional Court, a peace agreement signed in 2000 that put an end to a 10-year civil war between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority, outlines a two-term limit.
EXTRA! PRINCE CHARLES’ MEMOS TO OFFICIALS
After a 10-year legal battle, the contents of 27 secret letters written by Prince Charles to British ministers were published today, revealing the extent of his attempts to influence the government. On the front page of its Thursday edition, The Times ran a picture of the Prince of Wales in front of the so-called “black spider memos” (so known because of his scrawled handwriting). Read more in our Extra! feature.
AT LEAST 72 DEAD IN PHILIPPINE FACTORY FIRE
Photo: Rouelle Umali/Xinhua/ZUMA
A fire that engulfed a footwear factory in the Filipino town of Valenzuela City has killed at least 72 people, local authorities confirmed today. AP reports that they plan to open a criminal investigation, as angry relatives and workers describe poor safety standards such as iron grills on the factory’s windows that prevented the workers’ escape. The blaze is believed to have been caused by welding equipment used to repair a broken gate. “Someone will definitely be charged because of the deaths,” The Telegraph quoted national police Chief Leonardo Espina as saying. “It doesn't matter if it’s an accident. People died.”
ON THIS DAY
Sixty-seven years ago today, Israel was founded as an independent state. Time now for your 57-second shot of history.
TALIBAN GUNMAN KILLS 14 IN KABUL
At least 14 people — including nine foreigners — were killed in an attack led by a Taliban gunman on a hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, that started Wednesday and lasted into the early hours of Thursday morning, a government official confirmed. The Taliban claims it targeted the Park Palace Hotel, popular with foreigners, because it had information that foreign dignitaries would be present, NBC News reports. Local authorities initially said that three attackers were involved, but the Taliban and criminal investigation chief Farid Afzali Kabul later said there was only one gunman, who was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, a pistol, hand grenades and a suicide vest. The attacker was killed, and more than 40 people were rescued in the police operation.
Transportable and cheap, a made-in-Italy DNA kit prototype promises to allow molecular analysis directly in the field, sending collected data instantly across the world. Four Italian researchers decided to fly to Tanzania to test the kit, La Stampa’s Anna Martellato reports. “The DNA Field Lab means the possibility to carry out biological measurements in the highest biodiversity areas on our planet,” she writes. “It's a fundamental step, in a time when the funds needed to safeguard the diversity of life on our planet are not enough. The goal of these four ‘Indiana Joneses of genetics’ is to discover small wild animals and decode their DNA — an operation that usually takes several months, but now takes just half a day.”
Read the full article, New Portable DNA Kit Aids Global Pursuit Of Biodiversity.
AMTRAK TRAIN TRAVELING TWICE LEGAL LIMIT
The Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia Tuesday evening, killing seven people and injuring at least 200, was traveling at 106 mph, twice the speed limit, shortly before the crash, USA Today reports.
- Investigators say the engineer slammed the brakes, slowing the train down to 102 mph at the moment of the accident. According to Reuters, the train derailed at a left-hand curve in northern Philadelphia where the speed limit is 50 mph.
- The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has yet to determine what caused the train to derail, but investigators said they would interview the train’s 32-year-old engineer, reported to be among the injured, in the next 24 to 48 hours.
- The NTSB also said the accident could have been prevented with the installation of an advanced and automated safety system called “positive train control.”
- On CNN, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter suggested it was a case of reckless driving but added that he didn’t want to prejudge. “We know what happened. We don't know why.”
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
MORE THAN 125 DEAD IN SECOND NEPAL QUAKE
The 7.3-magnitude earthquake, the second in less than three weeks, that struck Nepal Tuesday has killed at least 125 people and injured more than 2,500, Nepalese police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam said today.
“It’s time that Pistol and Boo buggered off back to the United States,” Australian Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said of Johnny Depp’s two Yorkshire terriers, who the actor is believed to have brought into the country by private plane, bypassing quarantine rules. Joyce has given Depp until Saturday to get the pampered pooches back home, or risk their being euthanized.