SCORES DIE IN GHANA GAS STATION BLAST
At least 96 people were killed in an explosion at a gas station in Ghana’s capital Accra last night, The Accra City Times reports. Local radio station JOYFM put the death toll at more than 100. Most of the victims had sought shelter at the gas station as torrential rains completely submerged parts of the city. The blast is believed to have been linked to the downpour. Ghana President John Mahama was on site this morning, and the death toll is expected to rise.
Buddhist followers release lanterns into the air at Borobudur temple during celebrations for Vesak Day in Magelang, Indonesia. Vesak is observed during the full moon in May or June and celebrates the life of Buddhism’s founder Siddhartha Gautama.
ISRAEL BOMBS GAZA AFTER ROCKET ATTACK
Israeli forces carried out several airstrikes in Gaza this morning in retaliation for rockets fired from the Palestinian territory yesterday. The raids reportedly hit two Hamas training camps, but no casualties were reported. Read more from The Jerusalem Post.
“Scandals, lawsuits, and bankers chase him. What of it!” French news weekly Marianne writes in this week’s cover story. “Nicolas Sarkozy has but one goal: take back ultimate power on the ‘Republican’ ticket.” The former French president has rattled observers across the political spectrum with his initiative to rebrand his center-right UMP party the “Republicans.”
Read the full article, Extra! Sarkozy's Republican “Hold-Up.”
MUBARAK TO BE RETRIED
This morning an Egyptian appeals court ordered a third trial of former President Hosni Mubarak over the 2011 killings of protesters, Al Jazeera reports. The 87-year-old defendant had been cleared in a November 2014 retrial after originally being jailed for life over the death of 800 people during the revolution.
ON THIS DAY
Today's 57-second shot of history features Angelina Jolie, the Pulitzer Prize and some hot air balloons!
“NO COVER-UP” AFTER CHINA SHIPWRECK
Chinese authorities pledged today that there would be “no cover-up” of the investigation into Monday night’s deadly ship sinking on the Yangtze River that claimed at least 75 lives. Another 370 people are missing and presumed dead, Reuters reports. "We will never shield mistakes and we'll absolutely not cover up," Ministry of Transport spokesman Xu Chengguang said during a press conference yesterday. Search teams have rescued just 14 survivors since the shipwreck, which was caused by a tornado. It could wind up being China’s worst ship disaster in almost 70 years.
MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD
FIFA OFFICIAL ADMITS TAKING BRIBES
Chuck Blazer, a former top FIFA official, has admitted that he and other members of the executive committee accepted bribes in connection with the choices of the host countries for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups. The revelation comes from a newly released transcript of a 2013 U.S. court hearing in which he pleaded guilty to 10 charges, the BBC reports. Meanwhile, South African sports minister Fikile Mbalula has denied the government bribed FIFA officials with $10 million, as U.S. investigators charge, The Guardian reports.
Once the world's murder capital, Ciudad Juarez — the Mexican city that borders El Paso, Texas — has seen crime plummet. But deeper problems still persist, writes Philippe Boulet-Gercourt for L’Obs: “Some worry that the current peace in Ciudad Juárez may be nothing but a fleeting moment, and warn that other Mexican cities would be wrong to take it as a model. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has softened the rhetoric of ‘war against traffickers’ of his predecessor, preferring to show to the world the economic progress and modernization of his country rather than images of the army fighting against drug dealers. But in reality, Mexico's policy hasn't really changed: beheading drug gangs by eliminating their ‘heads.’”
Read the full article, Miracle Of Ciudad Juarez: A Symbol Of Mexico's Violence Is Reborn.
DOZENS DEAD IN UKRAINE FIGHTING
At least 24 people have been killed in the past 24 hours in eastern Ukraine, as pro-Russian rebels launched a new “major offensive” yesterday near the city of Marinka, the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) reports. According to Edouard Bassourine, spokesman for the so-called “Donetsk People's Republic,” 14 rebels and five civilians have been killed. Yuri Biryukov, a close advisor to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, said five government soldiers were also killed. After attempting to take government positions in Marinka with tanks and artillery, they were beaten back by Ukrainian forces after 12 hours of fighting, Reuters quoted Ukraine's Defense Ministry as saying.
BLATTER RESIGNS, THE WORLD REACTS
Get a glimpse of global reaction to Sepp Blatter’s FIFA resignation in our “Babel” video.