Lonely Dilma, Hijackass, Pope’s Fiat

Lonely Dilma, Hijackass, Pope’s Fiat


Htin Kyaw has been sworn in as Myanmar’s first elected civilian president in more than 50 years. In his first address as president, the 69-year-old, a close aide to Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, promised “national reconciliation” and a new Constitution guaranteeing a federal democracy and “the lifting up of people’s lives.” The Myanmar Times reports that Suu Kyi, who said she would rule from the sidelines since she’s barred from being president herself, will be in charge of foreign affairs, the president's office, education, and energy and electric power.


The threat of impeachment is moving dangerously close for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff after her Workers’ Party coalition partner, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), decided to abandon the government yesterday afternoon. According to Folha de S. Paulo, it only took the party three minutes to reach the decision, after 13 years of partnership under Lula and Dilma. The newspaper writes that even former leader Lula, who has been eyeing a controversial comeback, believes the defeat of his protege to be “imminent.” For a Latin American perspective on the woes of the leftist government, Andres Hoyos writes in Bogota daily El Espectador that the days of lining one’s pockets may be over.


The death toll of Easter Sunday’s suicide explosion in Lahore, Pakistan, rose to 74 after two more victims, aged 17 and 18, succumbed to their injuries, Dawn reports this morning. The authorities launched a wave of arrests after the brutal killings, but with the release of 5,005 of the 5,221 suspects detained, the newspaper says the government “appears to be groping in the dark.” The remaining 216 have been retained for further interrogation.


Photo: Ben Innes

“It has to be the best selfie ever,” Ben Innes, a British passenger who was on the EgyptAir flight hijacked yesterday, told The Sun about his picture with the hijacker. The 26-year-old health and safety worker explained he wanted to take a closer look at the fake explosives belt Mustafa, the hijacker, was wearing. But Innes, whose picture features on the front page of several British newspapers this morning, is being sharply criticized: He doesn’t seem to know what a selfie is.


Reagan, Alaska, the Queen Mother and “Slowhand” â€" all in today’s 57-second shot of history.


Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s apparent lack of humor or respect for freedom of speech has landed with a thud in Germany. The Turkish president summoned the German ambassador in Ankara over a song about him in a German satirical TV show. The Turkish government reportedly demanded that the clip never be broadcast again. There has been no official reaction from German government officials. Writing in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, politics editor Oliver Georgi slams Berlin’s “fatal silence” and believes that those who have criticized the German-brokered EU-Turkey deal in the migrant crisis “see their worst fears becoming reality,” namely that Germany is being “blackmailed” by the increasingly authoritarian Erdogan.


With half of the world's food tossed out, how can we be less wasteful? For starters, looking for smart new ways to earn money by decreasing waste, Lien Hoang writes for KBR. “A team of Malaysian researchers has been trying to find a use for chicken skin, which contains high levels of elastin â€" similar to collagen â€" and can be turned into such beauty products as anti-aging lotions and cosmetics. It can even be used to make health drinks.”

Read the full article, A Profit-Minded Quest For Reducing Food Waste.


The Archdiocese of New York is hoping to raise funds by selling the car used by Pope Francis during his visit to the Big Apple in September. The highest bid so far for the Fiat 500 Lounge stands at $130,000, well above its list price. And in case you were wondering: Yes, it features the BeatsAudio Premium Sound System.


Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump defended his campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after he was charged with battery for allegedly grabbing a reporter who had approached Trump. “I would have loved to have fired him, but I stick up for people when they are unjustly accused,” Trump said. Meanwhile, the real estate mogul dropped his promise to back the Republican nominee if he fails to win, saying he has been “treated very unfairly.” The Washington Post notes that his opponents feel just the same.



Unicorns really did exist, a long, long time ago, scientists found. We just didn’t think they looked like that.

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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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