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German angst over Greece, Marine killer’s motive, Treemail

German angst over Greece, Marine killer’s motive, Treemail


Photo: Arapahoe Co. Sheriff's Department/ZUMAPRESS

GREEK BAILOUT: NEW FUNDING, GERMAN ANGST

The European Central Bank (ECB) is set to increase its aid to Greek banks by 900 million euros for a week, after the Greek parliament approved a new bailout program.

  • “It’s uncontroversial that debt relief is necessary, and I think that nobody has ever disputed that,” the BBC quoted ECB President Mario Draghi as saying at a press conference in Frankfurt yesterday. “The issue is what is the best form of debt relief within our framework, within our legal institutional framework. I think we should focus on this point in the coming weeks.”
  • This means banks could reopen in Greece Monday for the first time in three weeks.
  • Meanwhile, Germany’s parliament is debating today whether to allow Greece’s bailout deal negotiated among the Eurozone countries. It is expected to be approved despite heavy opposition from the left.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned of “predictable chaos” if the deal is rejected, Die Welt reports.
  • Speaking to The Guardian, German philosopher and sociologist Jürgen Habermas attacked Merkel’s hardline stance with Greece, saying he feared that “the German government, including its social democratic faction, have gambled away in one night all the political capital that a better Germany had accumulated in half a century.”


MOTIVE UNCLEAR FOR KILLER OF 4 MARINES

FBI officials said the motive of the gunman who killed four U.S. Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, yesterday is still unclear and that it has found no link to any terror group, but local prosecutors are investigating the attack as “domestic terrorism.” The gunman who attacked a recruitment center and a naval reserve center was identified as 24-year-old Mohammad Yusuf Abdulazeez. He is also dead, although it’s still not clear whether he was killed by police or committed suicide, USA Today reports. Three other people were injured, including one in serious condition.


AURORA SHOOTER FOUND GUILTY

James Holmes, the gunman who killed 12 people and injured 70 during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises in an Aurora, Colorado, cinema in 2012, was found guilty of first-degree murder yesterday, The Denver Post reports. The trial will now enter the sentencing phase, during which prosecutors will seek the death penalty.


VERBATIM

“The government announces the liberation of Aden province,” Khaled Bahah, vice president of Yemen’s exiled government in Riyadh, wrote today on Facebook. It means the country’s second-largest city is now under control of Saudi-backed fighters, after four months of clashes with Houthi rebels. “We congratulate the people of Aden and the Republic of Yemen as a whole for what has been achieved in the last two days,” Bahah also wrote on the first day of the Eid al-Fitr.


49 KILLED IN NIGERIA MARKET BLASTS

At least 49 people were killed yesterday when a double explosion struck a busy market in Gombe, northeastern Nigeria, France 24 reports. The first bomb exploded outside a shoe shop and was followed about two minutes later by another nearby. The market was particularly busy with shoppers preparing for Eid al-Fitr celebrations marking the end of Ramadan. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the terror group Boko Haram has executed similar bombings in busy urban locations over the past few years.


$19 MILLION

Hillary Clinton has spent almost $19 million in the first three months of her presidential campaign for the 2016 election,The Washington Post reports. That represents 40% of the $47 million Clinton raised in the first quarter, a year and a half before the election.


MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD LOYALISTS KILLED

Six supporters of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood were killed during clashes with Cairo residents today, according to the state news agency MENA, although Reuters quotes a health ministry official as saying that they were killed during clashes with police.


WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

Lance Armstrong has shown again he doesn’t know how to say he's sorry (in any language), and clearly doesn’t know when he's not bienvenu. The “welcome” has indeed been overwhelmingly nasty and negative for a much-hyped charity ride just two years after reluctantly admitting to doping, and stripped of his record seven Tour de France titles. He rode on the Tour de France route ahead of official cyclists to raise money for leukemia research. Check out the mean tweets his presence inspired.


VIDEO SHOWS REBELS SIFTING MH17 WRECKAGE

As services are held today to mark the first anniversary of the MH17 plane crash in eastern Ukraine, in which 298 people were killed, a new video shows pro-Russian separatists sifting through the wreckage and luggage of the plane’s crew and passengers. In the 17-minute footage, obtained and released by News Corp Australia, the militiamen dressed in camouflage appear confused that the aircraft, which is believed to have been shot down by a pro-Russian surface-to-air missile, is not military.


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD


POLAR BEARS CAN’T ADAPT TO WARMER TEMPS

Scientists have found that polar bears are unable to cope with food losses caused by warmer summers in the Arctic and are simply starving, Science reports. The publication’s authors believe the plight of polar bears, which have been listed as a threatened species in the U.S. since 2008, will be grim.


ON THIS DAY


Happy birthday to both David Hasselhoff and Disneyland. We give you today’s shot of history.


LARGEST-EVER WINGED DINOSAUR FOUND

Researchers say they have dug up the fossil of the largest-ever winged dinosaur in northeastern China, The Guardian reports. The skeleton, which is said to be remarkably well preserved, belonged to a 2-meter-long prehistoric, carnivore raptor covered in feathers, a cousin of the velociraptor, that lived 125 million years ago.


TREEMAIL

In Australia, you can now send emails to trees.

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Paying tribute to the victims of the attack in Kongsberg

Terje Bendiksby/NTB Scanpix/ZUMA
Carl-Johan Karlsson

The bow-and-arrow murder of five people in the small Norwegian city of Kongsberg this week was particularly chilling for the primitive choice of weapon. And police are now saying the attack Wednesday night is likely to be labeled an act of terrorism.

Still, even though the suspect is a Danish-born convert to Islam, police are still determining the motive. Espen Andersen Bråthen, a 37-year-old Danish national, is previously known to the police, both for reports of radicalization, as well as erratic behavior unrelated to religion.

Indeed, it remains unclear whether religious beliefs were behind the killings. In an interview with Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, police attorney Ann Iren Svane Mathiassens said Bråthen has already confessed to the crimes, giving a detailed account of the events during a three-hour interrogation on Thursday, but motives are yet to be determined.

Investigated as terrorism 

Regardless, the murders are likely to be labeled an act of terror – mainly as the victims appear to have been randomly chosen, and were killed both in public places and inside their homes.

Mathiassens also said Bråthen will undergo a comprehensive forensic psychiatric examination, which is also a central aspect of the ongoing investigation, according to a police press conference on Friday afternoon. Bråthen will be held in custody for at least four weeks, two of which will be in isolation, and will according to a police spokesperson be moved to a psychiatric unit as soon as possible.

Witnesses have since described him as unstable and a loner.

Police received reports last year concerning potential radicalization. In 2017, Bråthen published two videos on Youtube, one in English and one in Norwegian, announcing that he's now a Muslim and describing himself as a "messenger." The year prior, he made several visits to the city's only mosque, where he said he'd received a message from above that he wished to share with the world.

Previous criminal history 

In 2012, he was convicted of aggravated theft and drug offenses, and in May last year, a restraining order was issued after Bråthen entered his parents house with a revolver, threatening to kill his father.

The mosque's chairman Oussama Tlili remembers Bråthen's first visit well, as it's rare to meet Scandinavian converts. Still, he didn't believe there was any danger and saw no reason to notify the police. Tlili's impression was rather that the man was unwell mentally, and needed help.

According to a former neighbor, Bråthen often acted erratically. During the two years she lived in the house next to him — only 50 meters from the grocery store where the attacks began — the man several times barked at her like a dog, threw trash in the streets to then pick it up, and spouted racist comments to her friend. Several other witnesses have since described him as unstable and a loner.

The man used a bow and arrow to carry the attack

Haykon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix/ZUMA

Police criticized

Norway, with one of the world's lowest crime rates, is still shaken from the attack — and also questioning what allowed the killer to hunt down and kill even after police were on the scene.

The first reports came around 6 p.m. on Wednesday that a man armed with bow and arrow was shooting inside a grocery store. Only minutes after, the police spotted the suspect; he fired several times against the patrol and then disappeared while reinforcements arrived.

The attack has also fueled a long-existing debate over whether Norwegian police should carry firearms

In the more than 30 minutes that followed before the arrest, four women and one man were killed by arrows and two other weapons — though police have yet to disclose the other arms, daily Aftenposten reports. The sleepy city's 27,000 inhabitants are left wondering how the man managed to evade a full 22 police patrols, and why reports of his radicalization weren't taken more seriously.

With five people killed and three more injured, Wednesday's killing spree is the worst attack in Norway since far-right extremist Anders Breivik massacred 77 people on the island of Utøya a decade ago.

Unarmed cops

As questions mount over the police response to the attack, with reports suggesting all five people died after law enforcement made first contact with the suspect, local police have said it's willing to submit the information needed to the Bureau of Investigation to start a probe into their conduct. Police confirmed they had fired warning shots in connection to the arrest which, under Norwegian law, often already provides a basis for an assessment.

Wednesday's bloodbath has also fueled a long-existing debate over whether Norwegian police should carry firearms — the small country being one of only 19 globally where law enforcement officers are typically unarmed, though may have access to guns and rifles in certain circumstances.

Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism expert and professor at the Swedish Defence University, noted that police in similar neighboring countries like Sweden and Denmark carry firearms. "I struggle to understand why Norwegian police are not armed all the time," Ranstorp told Norwegian daily VG. "The lesson from Utøya is that the police must react quickly and directly respond to a perpetrator during a life-threatening incident."

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