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FILE PHOTO: Detained Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone are escorted by police as they leave after a court hearing in Yangon
FILE PHOTO: Detained Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone are escorted by police as they leave after a court hearing in Yangon, Myanmar, Aug. 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo

April 24, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States criticized Myanmar on Wednesday after the Asian country’s high court upheld the sentencing of two Reuters journalists, expressing deep concern about freedom of expression and urging that the two be reunited with their families.

“Burma’s Supreme Court decision yesterday to uphold the sentencing of Pulitzer-prize winning journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, despite serious irregularities in the case against them, sends a profoundly negative signal about freedom of expression and the protection of journalists in Burma,” the State Department said in a statement, using the country’s former name.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by David Alexander and Richard Chang)

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The Latest on the court appearance of the college teacher charged with attempting to burn down St. Patrick’s Cathedral (all times local):

1:15 p.m.

A defense attorney says the college teacher accused of trying to burn down St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan suffered a “psychotic episode” last week.

Attorney Christopher DiLorenzo asked a judge Wednesday to order Marc Lamparello to undergo a psychological evaluation.

DiLorenzo told The Associated Press that “it is clear that Mr. Lamparello suffered from a psychotic episode, and the events leading up to and including the event at St. Patrick’s Cathedral support this conclusion.”

Lamparello faces charges of attempted arson and reckless endangerment.

A prosecutor said Lamparello was planning to burn down the cathedral and carried gasoline cans, lighter fluid and lighters into the church.

Authorities say he booked a flight to Rome for the following day and planned to stay at a hotel 20 minutes away from the Vatican.

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12 p.m.

A prosecutor says a college philosophy teacher accused of entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan with gasoline cans, lighter fluid and butane lighters had also booked a hotel just 20 minutes from the Vatican.

Police said previously that Marc Lamparello had booked a flight to Rome for the next day.

Assistant District Attorney David Stuart said Wednesday that Lamparello was “planning to burn down St. Patrick’s Cathedral” when he was arrested last week. The prosecutor made no further remarks about the Rome plans.

Lamparello made his initial court appearance from a hospital. The judge ordered him to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

The New York incident happened just days after flames ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

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More than 1,000 indigenous Brazilians gathered outside Congress Wednesday for an annual three-day campout to protest what they see as rollbacks of indigenous rights under President Jair Bolsonaro.

Tents dotted the lawn in front of the National Congress, where indigenous leaders sang, danced and sold crafts while wearing traditional feathered headdresses with their faces painted red and black.

The event, known as the Free Land Encampment, began its 15th edition with a sense of animosity toward Bolsonaro, whose policies indigenous leaders are calling the biggest setbacks to their peoples’ rights in recent history.

“This government came in immediately attacking us and our rights in a way we haven’t seen before,” said Paulo Tupiniquim, executive coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous People of Brazil, which organized the event. “We are here to show that we will resist and will not accept our rights being taken away.”

The government has called in National Guard forces for security at the encampment as a “preventative measure.”

At the same event in 2017, police shot tear gas at the indigenous protesters who retaliated by shooting at them with bows and arrows.

“We are not violent. Violent are those who attack the sacred right to free demonstration with armed troops,” the organizers wrote in a statement protesting the National Guard presence. “They’re trying to take the right to come and go from Brazilians who have walked these lands since long before 1500” the statement read, referencing when European colonizers first came to Brazil.

Before becoming president, Bolsonaro promised that if he were elected, “not one more centimeter” of land would be given to indigenous groups and likened indigenous people living in reserves to caged animals in zoos.

On his first day as president, Bolsonaro transferred the authority to designate indigenous land and to grant environmental licenses for businesses on indigenous reserves from the government’s indigenous affairs agency to the agriculture ministry. Activists say the move will practically paralyze land allocations and facilitate operations for agribusiness and mining.

Bolsonaro’s health minister sparked protests across the country last month when he proposed eliminating the federal indigenous health care program and putting indigenous health care needs in the hands of municipalities. Indigenous groups say that the current program is designed to attend to their specific needs in indigenous languages.

“The government is completely anti-indigenous,” Joenia Wapichana, an indigenous congresswoman, told The Associated Press at the protest. “The government is not open to us. He is open to those who defend mining and land grabbing, which is his intention.”

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The Latest on the search for a missing 5-year-old Illinois boy (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

Officers have removed several items from the home of an Illinois couple whose 5-year-old son has been missing for nearly a week.

Photos and video show the officers leaving the Crystal Lake home of Andrew Freund Sr. and JoAnn Cunningham on Wednesday with a shovel, mattress, brown paper bags and plastic storage tub.

Searchers have been scouring the area for the couple’s missing son, Andrew “AJ” Freund. Authorities say the boys’ parents reported him missing last Thursday and told officers they last saw him at bedtime the night before.

Police say Cunningham has been refusing to cooperate with detectives. They say they don’t believe the boy was abducted and that he didn’t leave the home on foot. State child welfare officials have taken custody of the couple’s 4-year-old son, Parker.

Authorities plan to give an update on the investigation at a 1 p.m. news conference.

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9:25 a.m.

The FBI and police in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake are planning a news conference as they search for a 5-year-old boy who has been missing for nearly a week.

The Crystal Lake Police Department says the news conference will take place at noon on Wednesday at City Hall. The agencies have been searching for Andrew “AJ” Freund since his parents reported him missing last Thursday. The couple said they saw him at bedtime the night before and couldn’t find him in the morning.

Police searched for AJ in a park on Tuesday and said they planned to use sonar to search ponds in the community, which is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) northwest of Chicago.

Authorities say they don’t believe the boy was abducted or wandered away.

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The family of the 5-year-old boy who was thrown off a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America earlier this month won’t comment on a pastor’s statement that the child miraculously showed “zero evidence” of a brain injury.

Stephen Tillett, an attorney for relatives of Landen Hoffman, said during a news conference Tuesday he was not authorized to confirm or deny comments made by Pastor Mac Hammond in a video posted to Facebook, the Star Tribune reported.

FAMILY OF BOY THROWN FROM MALL OF AMERICA BALCONY THANKS SUPPORTERS FOR PRAYERS

Hammond, pastor of the Living World Christian Center in Brooklyn Park, Minn., where the boy’s grandparents attend services, said the boy’s grandfather told him an MRI indicated no brain damage, spinal cord injury, nerve damage or other life-threatening internal injuries.

Landen Hoffman, the 5-year-old boy who was thrown nearly 40 feet from the third story balcony at the Mall of America, is said to be making a miraculous recovery.

Landen Hoffman, the 5-year-old boy who was thrown nearly 40 feet from the third story balcony at the Mall of America, is said to be making a miraculous recovery. (Christian Broadcasting Service)

According to Hammond, the grandfather told him one of the attending physicians said, “This is truly a miracle. It’s like he fell off a bicycle instead of off the third floor of the mall.”

Tillitt said he couldn’t confirm or deny Hammond’s comments, as it would invade the Hoffmans’ privacy, but he clarified that the bicycle remark referred to the boy’s facial injuries, not his overall condition.

MINNESOTA TODDLER TOSSED FROM BALCONY HAVING MIRACULOUS RECOVERY, PASTOR SAYS

“The family is in a position where any comment to confirm or deny would be intruding on the realm of the privacy they want,” Tillitt said. “To start going into details of any kind, confirming or denying, means that the privacy has been intruded upon.

“This is a young child whose health is now becoming public, and the family realizes that what’s public today will be public in 20 years.”

This undated photo provided by the Bloomington, Minn., Police Department, shows Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, who was arrested in connection with an incident at the Mall of America where a 5-year-old boy plummeted three floors Friday, April 12, 2019, after being pushed or thrown from a balcony. 

This undated photo provided by the Bloomington, Minn., Police Department, shows Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, who was arrested in connection with an incident at the Mall of America where a 5-year-old boy plummeted three floors Friday, April 12, 2019, after being pushed or thrown from a balcony.  (Bloomington Police Department via AP)

Landen remains under sedation in intensive care, with more testing to come, Tillitt said.

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A GoFundMe page created by a friend of the Hoffman family has raised nearly $1 million for Landen’s healing process.

Emmanuel Deshawn Aranda, 24, of Minneapolis, has been charged with attempted premeditated first-degree murder for the April 12 incident. He is being held in lieu of $2 million bail at the Hennepin County Jail.

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

U.S. President Trump arrives at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One as they arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

April 24, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An architect of a still-secret U.S. plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict took to Twitter again on Wednesday to disclose another element that it would not contain – a confederation with neighboring Jordan.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, had already tweeted “False!” on Friday to what he said were reports that the proposal would give part of Egypt’s Sinai desert to the adjacent Palestinian enclave of Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamist Hamas group.

On Wednesday, Greenblatt denied that the plan envisages a confederation involving Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which administers limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank.

“@KingAbdullahII & #Jordan are strong US allies. Rumors that our peace vision includes a confederation between Jordan, Israel & the PA, or that the vision contemplates making Jordan the homeland for Palestinians, are incorrect. Please don’t spread rumors,” Greenblatt wrote.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, another main architect of the peace proposal, said on Tuesday it would be made public after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan ends in June.

Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka and spoke at a Time magazine forum in Washington, did not say whether the plan called for a two-state solution, a goal of past U.S. peace efforts.

Palestinian leaders have called for the establishment of an independent state alongside Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who won a fifth term in an election two weeks ago, laid down a series of conditions for Palestinian statehood in a major policy speech in 2009.

But U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in 2014, partly over the expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied territory Palestinians seek for their state.

In a last-minute election campaign promise that angered Palestinians, Netanyahu said he planned to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he was again chosen as Israel’s leader.

The U.S. proposal, which has been delayed for a variety of reasons over the last 18 months, has two major components. It has a political piece that addresses core issues such as the status of Jerusalem, and an economic part that aims to help the Palestinians strengthen their economy.

Palestinian leaders have said Trump cannot be an honest broker after he broke with long-standing U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moved the American embassy to the city last May.

(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Two Kentucky day care workers face charges over an online video that shows one of them scaring a toddler with a doll.

WKYT-TV in Lexington reports Wendy’s Wonderland worker Tasha Cox is accused of filming Diana Willett waving a doll at a 2-year-old girl when Willett knew the child was afraid of dolls and small animals.

The video was shared on Facebook and shows the girl hiding under a table, crying and shoving the doll away as the singing caregiver waves it close. The caregiver later comments that the girl won’t stop crying.

Wayne County sheriff’s deputies say they learned of allegations Friday. Willett was arrested Monday and charged with criminal child abuse. Cox was arrested and charged with failure to report the abuse. It’s unclear whether they have lawyers.

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Information from: WKYT-TV, http://www.wkyt.com

Source: Fox News National

A deadly Easter attack left 11 dead and 30 wounded after a disgruntled police officer drove his truck into a group of children in yet another Easter tragedy, this time in Gombe, Nigeria.

Earlier this month, Islamist militants massacred 17 Christians and injured eight in an attack on a church in Nasarawa state. The attack occurred during an infant dedication when armed militants opened fire in the church, killing the baby’s mother and several children.

These tragic events come just as the terrorist attack in Sri Lanka highlights the dangers that remain from asymmetric terrorism and violence against Christians in ethnically and religiously divided societies.

“There are some similarities between violence in Sri Lanka and Nigeria,” Professor Max Abrahms, a terrorism expert at Northeastern University, told Fox News. “Both have experienced substantial political violence which has traditionally been nationalist but has increasingly been infused with more narrowly religious-motivated extremist attacks.”

BRITISH AID WORKER KILLED BY NIGERIAN KIDNAPPERS DURING ATTACK ON HOLIDAY

Nigeria, often overlooked by U.S. policymakers usually more concerned with the Middle East, Russia and Europe, is home to one of the world’s most deadly Islamic terror groups.

The United Nations estimates that 1.7 million people are internally displaced from Boko Haram’s insurgency and the group has killed more than 15,200 people since 2011, according to some estimates.

The United Nations estimates that 1.7 million people are internally displaced from Boko Haram’s insurgency and the group has killed more than 15,200 people since 2011, according to some estimates. (YouTube)

Boko Haram is looking to transform Nigeria into an Islamic state based on Sharia law. The group also declared its allegiance to ISIS in 2015 with one branch called the Islamic State West African Province. U.S. intelligence estimates that Boko Haram commands between 4,000 and 6,000 dedicated militants who have attacked schools, burned down entire villages, and abducted hundreds of people in their brutal campaign of terror across Nigeria.

The United Nations estimates that 1.7 million people are internally displaced from Boko Haram’s insurgency and the group has killed more than 15,200 people since 2011, according to some estimates.

Although Nigerian security forces have made inroads in stemming the violence from Boko Haram, the insurgency remains a threat to Nigerians.

“The group, which has now split into two factions (one of which is recognized as a branch of the Islamic State) has been gaining momentum against Nigerian security forces — which have been hampered by corruption and low morale — and conducting increasingly deadly attacks in Northeastern states,” Thomas Abi Hanna, Global Security Analyst at Stratfor told Fox News.

Violence in Nigeria, and against Christians, has risen in recent months, with at least 280 people from Christian communities killed by Fulani militants throughout Nigeria between February and March 2019. It’s not clear to what extent the deadly violence is due to religious affiliations, but the uptick does highlight the growing concern within Nigeria’s Christian communities.

“Religion is not necessarily the primary driver of attacks on Christians though, as there are also ethnic, political, territorial disputes and other factors which contribute to these tensions,” Hanna explained. “Attacks related to any of these issues can feed into one another and exacerbate ongoing tensions across the board.”

Nigeria is divided between a Muslim majority north and a Christian majority south. Because of this religiously-based geographic separation, the country’s political parties formed an unwritten power-sharing agreement during the transition to democracy in 1999 that major offices, most notably the president and vice president, should rotate between the north and the south.

OFF-DUTY NIGERIAN POLICE OFFICER PLOWS INTO CROWD AT EASTER CELEBRATION, KILLING 8 AND INJURING 30

Abubakar Shekau, from a November 2018 propaganda video; he is understood to control one of the two factions of Boko Haram that split in 2016.

Abubakar Shekau, from a November 2018 propaganda video; he is understood to control one of the two factions of Boko Haram that split in 2016.

However, this arrangement can lead to heightened tensions as it did in 2009, when then-President Umaru Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim, died, allowing his southern Christian Vice President Goodluck Jonathan to become president. The north’s opportunity in power was cut short and the swap led to mass electoral violence with the death of 800 people once Jonathan was re-elected in 2011.

Nigeria is also one of Africa’s poorest countries, despite its vast natural resource wealth, making it ripe for terrorist and other insurgent groups to fill the vacuum left by a government that fails to meet the needs of its people.

Not only is Islamist terror a major concern for Nigerians, violence between herders and farmers has eclipsed the threat posed by Boko Haram and has killed more people than the Islamist insurgency while also increasing the north-south religious divide.

SRI LANKA’S LEADER CALLS FOR OFFICIALS’ FIRINGS AS EASTER SUICIDE BOMBERS REVEALED TO BE ‘WELL-EDUCATED PEOPLE’ WHO STUDIED ABROAD

“Christians have been targeted in attacks related to both of these ongoing conflicts which have killed and injured thousands, displaced hundreds of thousands, and become a major political issue,” Hanna said.

The conflict is intertwined with Nigeria’s underlying ethnic, religious, political and territorial disputes, as the herders are nomadic and from the Muslim north while the farmers are mainly Christians.

Deadly clashes over land and resources killed more than 2,000 people in 2018, according to a report by Amnesty International. A massive population boom in Nigeria along with the effects of climate change dried up grazing land, forcing herders and farmers into extremely close quarters with tensions rising due to resource scarcity.

The ongoing farmer-herdsman crisis has sharpened ethnic and religious tensions and increased political polarization in Nigeria. The Nigerian government and security forces have struggled to solve political disputes over land while the security forces have been unable to contain extremist violence.

A State Department spokesperson told Fox News: “In public and private messaging, we have urged the Nigerian government, and community and religious leaders, to work together for an immediate end to violence, the swift and voluntary return of members of displaced communities, and for perpetrators to be brought to justice.

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“U.S. Mission staff, including Ambassador-at-Large for Religious Freedom Sam Brownback, have traveled to the affected states to engage with government officials, religious and traditional leaders, and civil society.”

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A suspected burglar was shot dead by a Washington state homeowner Monday, who pulled the trigger while still on the phone with a 911 operator reporting the break-in, officials said.

The King County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter the incident happened around 2:30 a.m. in White Center, located south of Seattle, after the homeowner woke up to find the suspect inside his home.

“Initially he thought there were three suspects,” King County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Abbott told Q13 News. “So far the investigation is proving that not to be true, it just appears to be one suspect that acted alone at this time.”

DRIVER PLOWS INTO GROUP OF PEOPLE IN CALIFORNIA, INJURING 8 BEFORE SMASHING INTO TREE, POLICE SAY

At some point, with the 35-year-old homeowner on the phone with 911, he opened fire on the intruder, killing him.

“You have every right to protect yourself or your family if you’re in fear for your life or safety, and it appears that’s what happened in this instance so far,”  Abbott told Q13 News.

Police said a K9 tracking team went out to search for a possible second suspect, but no one else ended up being located.

MICHIGAN MAN WHO STABBED DOG GETS SENTENCE TRIPLED BY JUDGE

Neighbors told dQ13 News they already feel uneasy about crime reports in the area, and wonder how the homeowner is holding up after the shooting.

“I’m not glad he did it, but you got to do what you got to do,” neighbor Dale Matthews said.

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The shooting remains under investigation by police.

Source: Fox News National

ATP 1000 - Monte Carlo Masters
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 20, 2019 Spain’s Rafael Nadal during his semi final match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

April 24, 2019

By Richard Martin

BARCELONA (Reuters) – World number two Rafa Nadal dropped a set at the Barcelona Open for the first time in four years before advancing to the last 16, beating Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-7(7) 6-4 6-2 on Wednesday.

The Spaniard surrendered a 5-3 lead in the first set and then spurned two set points in the tiebreak, which Mayer, ranked 63 in the world, edged thanks to an impressive crosscourt forehand winner.

Nadal, who has won the Barcelona Open a record 11 times, had not lost a set in the tournament since a round of 16 game against Fabio Fognini in 2015, winning 30 sets in a row until he met Mayer.

Nadal was in danger of losing two consecutive matches on clay for the first time in his career following defeat in the Monte Carlo Masters semi-final to Fognini, but he bounced back immediately by breaking his opponent in the second set opener.

Nadal, who was playing on a court named after him, broke the Argentine twice more in the decider to set up an all-Spanish third round tie with David Ferrer.

Ferrer beat Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-3 6-1 while Argentine Guido Pella beat six-seed Karen Khachanov in straight sets.

Lucky loser Roberto Carballes Baena beat compatriot Nicola Kuhn in three sets after Fognini withdrew from the tournament following injury concerns after practicing earlier in the day.

Grigor Dimitrov was in action against Fernando Verdasco while Pablo Carreno Busta was playing Benoit Paire later in the day.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Toby Davis)

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