HOSTAGES HELD ON HIJACKED PLANE IN CYPRUS
A Cairo-bound commercial jet that was re-routed to Cyprus this morning was hijacked over what appears to be a personal matter involving a woman, The Guardian reports. The hijacker is reportedly still holding seven hostages in the plane that landed at the Cypriot city of Larnaca 7:50 a.m. local time. The man reportedly threw a letter from the plane, asking it to be delivered to his Cyprian ex-wife. Reuters reports that the hijacker has made a political demand for unspecified female prisoners in Egypt to be released. Meanwhile, one Egyptian minister said of the hijacker, "He's not a terrorist, he's an idiot."
TALIBAN TAUNTS PAKISTAN'S PM
Taliban fighters who killed at least 72 people and injured hundreds more during an Easter bombing in Lahore, Pakistan, mocked Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a tweet this morning, saying that war had "reached his doorstep," Hindustan Times reports. "Terrorists cannot dent our resolve," Sharif said in a televised address yesterday. "Our struggle will continue until the complete elimination of the menace of terrorism." A Taliban spokesman tweeted in response that Sharif "repeated old words to give himself false assurances."
PALMYRA IN BETTER SHAPE THAN EXPECTED
Photo: Yin Bogu/Xinhua/ZUMA
The Syrian government's antiquities director says the condition of the ancient city of Palmyra, which has been recaptured from ISIS, isn't as bad as expected and that many of its sacred antiquities survived, The Wall Street Journal reports. "80% of the ruins are in good shape," Syria's antiquities chief told AFP yesterday. Still, satellite images and ISIS videos posted online show the destruction of the Temple of Bel, which dated back to A.D. 32, and the Arch of Triumph, which was built under the Roman emperor Septimius Severus between A.D. 193 and 211.
BRUSSELS DEATH TOLL REACHES 35
The death toll from last week's terror attacks in Brussels has now reached 35, Radio Luxembourg reports. Meanwhile, Belgian police have released video footage of the third suspect in an appeal for information about the man.
ISIS PLANS ATTACK ON TURKEY'S JEWISH CHILDREN
According to information obtained from six ISIS members who were arrested in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep last week, the terror group is plotting to murder Jewish children at nurseries, schools and youth centers in Turkey, The Times reports this morning.
FIDEL CASTRO LASHES OUT AT OBAMA
In an excursive 1,600-word letter titled "Brother Obama," which was published yesterday in the official Communist Party newspaper Granma, former Cuban President Fidel Castro lashed out at Barack Obama after his recent visit to Cuba. The 89-year-old Castro, who has not been seen in public since last summer, chided the American president for his youth and for failing to recognize the major accomplishments of Cuba's Communist revolution. Despite thawing relations between the two Cold War enemies, "We do not need the empire to give us anything," Castro wrote.
In the Paris neighborhood of Belleville, home to a thriving Chinatown, prostitutes with no other prospects work to support families here or in China. And now, new dangers loom, Florence Aubenas reports for Le Monde. "â€˜At first, we could not imagine we would sell our bodies,' says a petite blonde. â€˜But at the age of 40, a woman is worth nothing.' In Paris, other girls — mostly French — have dubbed these women the â€˜proletarians.' Almost all come from northeastern China. In the late 1990s, a series of governmental reforms were initiated there during which everything closed for months. â€˜We had nothing,' the blonde says. In the sock factory where she was working, employees were advised to â€˜take something, sell it on the sidewalk' because they weren't coming back. Meanwhile, at the other end of China, a new economy was built through textiles, electronics and enlisting battalions of rural youth. One working class replaced another."
Read the full article, In Paris, Chinese Prostitutes Driven Into The Shadows.
POLICE FAMILIAR WITH CAPITOL SHOOTER
The 66-year-old Tennessean Larry Russell Dawson, who was shot by police and hospitalized yesterday after wielding a gun at the Capitol Visitors Center, is known by the police after a series of legal issues dating back 20 years, The Tennessean reports.
MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
U.S. OFFICIALS UNLOCK IPHONE, DROP APPLE CASE
The U.S. Justice Department announced yesterday that it had succeeded in unlocking the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters and that it was dropping its case against Apple. The development ends a high-stakes legal battle, but it leaves the broader issue over encryption unresolved, Reuters reports.
ON THIS DAY
Quick, what was the first country to ban smoking in bars? Find out in today's shot of history.