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Nepal Death Toll, Baltimore Burning, The Anti-Barbie

Nepal Death Toll, Baltimore Burning, The Anti-Barbie

NEPAL DEATH TOLL COULD REACH 10,000

As the Nepalese continue digging through rubble in search for survivors four days after its deadliest earthquake in decades, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said today that the death toll could reach 10,000, Reuters reports. Confirmed figures this morning put the number at 4,349 people killed and more than 7,000 injured.

  • "The death toll could go up to 10,000 because information from remote villages hit by the earthquake is yet to come in," Koirala said.
  • According to a UN report, eight million people have been affected by Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake and over two million live in 11 districts that were severely struck. More than 1.4 million people are in need of food assistance, water, shelter and medication, the same report says.
  • International aid has started arriving in the Himalayan nation, but distribution is slow because access is difficult, and there has been heavy rain and aftershocks.
  • In the capital Kathmandu, thousands of people are still sleeping outside, on streets, roads and in parks.
  • With hospitals overflowing and water scarce, authorities fear potential waterborne diseases. The government has ordered additional mass cremations to prevent the spread of diseases.

BALTIMORE BURNING

Photo: Lloyd Fox/TNS/ZUMA

Tuesday's front page of The Baltimore Sun reads "RIOTS ERUPT," appearing above images of clashes and burning cars as the city descended into chaos yesterday after two weeks of tensions over the alleged police killing of Freddie Gray. The violence began just hours after the funeral for Gray, the 25-year-old Baltimore man who died April 19 while in police custody, becoming the latest symbol of police violence against young black men in the United States. Read more on our 4 Corners blog.


INDONESIA SET TO EXECUTE 8 FOREIGNERS

Indonesian officials have rejected last-ditch international clemency pleas for nine prisoners — eight foreigners and one Indonesian — sentenced to death for drug trafficking, instead ordering their executions by firing squad to proceed, The Jakarta Post reports. The prisoners, the so-called “Bali Nine,” saw their families in prison today for what could be the last time. Although authorities in Jakarta have refused to communicate the exact execution date, it is believed they will be carried out early tomorrow. ABC published photos of coffins arriving at Cilacap port, near the prison island, as well as the crosses that would be used, inscribed with the date 29.04.2015.


VERBATIM

"It is a matter of the utmost gravity that those who looked to them for protection and were granted shelter there had their hopes and trust denied," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement today, denouncing Israeli attacks on UN schools that killed 44 Palestinians and injured at least 227 others last year during the Gaza war, Al Jazeera reports. A UN inquiry also said Palestinian fighters “probably” fired at Israeli forces from schools in at least two cases, which Ban Ki-moon called “unacceptable.”


BOSNIAN POLICEMAN KILLED IN ATTACK

A gunman shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) attacked a police station in the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik last night, killing one officer and wounding two before he was shot dead, Sarajevo-based daily Dnevni Avaz reports. A police spokeswoman said the attacker, identified as 24-year-old Nerdin Ibric from a nearby village, opened fire in the building with an automatic weapon while police officers were changing shifts. Zvornik is located in the country’s Serb-dominated region, the Serb Republic. Regional Interior Minister Dragan Lukac characterized it as the “worst terrorist attack that could happen in the Serb Republic.”


800,000

China became the second-largest wine-growing country last year, with close to 800,000 hectares of vines, Les Échos reports. The country, now behind global leader Spain, overtook France, which nevertheless remains the biggest producer.


BOKO HARAM KILLS 21 IN NIGERIA

Suspected Boko Haram gunmen killed 21 people who were trying to return home to recover abandoned food supplies in northeastern Nigeria, a local official and a victim’s relative quoted by the Nigerian daily Vanguard said today.


ON THIS DAY


American engineer Dennis Tito became the first space tourist 14 years ago today, self-funding an eight-trip in orbit. Time now for your 57-second shot of history.


BAGHDAD CAR BOMBS KILL 20

Three car bombs targeting busy commercial areas in Iraq’s capital Baghdad killed at least 20 civilians yesterday, Al Arabiya reports. The deadliest of the three attacks was in the upscale Mansour district of western Baghdad, where a car packed with explosives blew up, killing at least 10 people and wounding 27, police and medical sources said.


MY GRAND-PÈRE’S WORLD



SEWOL FERRY CAPTAIN GETS LIFE

A Gwangju High Court in South Korea sentenced Lee Jun-seok, the captain of the Sewol ferry that sank last year, killing 304 passengers, to life imprisonment for murder today, The Korea Times reports. The city’s district court had previously issued the captain a 36-year prison sentence, but that was annulled during the hearing with 15 other members of the Sewol crew.


WORLDCRUNCH TO-GO

Over the past four years, nearly 150,000 Syrian refugees have declared political asylum in the European Union, most of them resettling in Germany and Sweden, Syria Deeply reports. Thousands more have attempted to make the journey to Europe, wagering their savings and their safety for the chance to be smuggled to the Western continent by land or sea. Among those who make it to Europe, some have managed to adapt and settle down, while others find the social and cultural differences difficult to overcome. Syria Deeply met with some young Syrians who have recently made it to Europe to seek asylum. They shared their personal perspectives on the homeland they've left behind, and what it would mean to build a new life in Europe.

Read the full article, Syrian Refugees In Europe, Between Hope And Longing.


THE ANTI-BARBIE

The Official expand=1] Amy Schumer Doll has just been released, and it’s nothing like a Barbie.

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Society

Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.


The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.

Hollandse-Hoogte/ZUMA

Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

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