Monday 19 March 2018

While you were sleeping: Stories you may have missed overnight

San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan (C) speaks at a news conferenece, informing the media, that the couple Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, were responsible for the shooting rampage REUTERS/Alex Gallardo
San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan (C) speaks at a news conferenece, informing the media, that the couple Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, were responsible for the shooting rampage REUTERS/Alex Gallardo
An undated photo of San Bernardino shooting suspect Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, identified by American media

In the US, California gunman Syed Rizwan Farook had been in contact with known Islamic extremists on social media, a US intelligence source has said.

And Farook and his wife had enough bullets and bombs to slaughter hundreds when they launched their deadly attack on a party at a social services centre for the disabled, police said.

The details emerged as investigators tried to determine whether Wednesday's rampage that killed 14 people was terrorism, a workplace grudge or a combination of factors.

The husband-and-wife killers were not under FBI scrutiny before the massacre, a US official said.

READ MORE: San Bernadino massacre: Gunman was in 'touch with known Islamic extremists on social media'

Japan is to launch an anti-terror intelligence unit as the country gears up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said the International Counter-terrorism Intelligence Collection Unit would be set up next week - four months ahead of its initially-planned April launch because of the deadly attacks in Paris.

Japan needs to step up intelligence gathering as a crucial part of anti-terrorism effort "amid a severe safety situation", Mr Suga said. "We will make an all-out effort across the country to prevent terrorism."

He said intelligence-gathering staff trained in languages and other skills would be sent to areas susceptible to terrorist activities, including parts of south-east Asia, the Middle East and north-western Africa.

Conflicting reports have deepened uncertainty surrounding the fate of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, after the insurgent Islamist group repeatedly denied he had been wounded in a gunfight after a dispute with other senior leaders.


Several sources in the Taliban have said that Mansour, whose claim to the leadership is rejected by a rival faction, was seriously wounded and possibly killed in a shootout at the house of another Taliban leader near Quetta in Pakistan on Tuesday.

Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said on Twitter Mansour was wounded in a firefight near Quetta, in western Pakistan, but there has been no direct evidence.

The Taliban's main spokesman has dismissed the reports as propaganda from Afghan intelligence services meant to create divisions within the movement, saying Mansour is alive and well.

Richard Branson has revealed that he plans to launch commercial rockets into space using a Boeing 747-400.

READ MORE: Richard Branson to launch rockets into space using Boeing 747

Virgin Galactic, the billionaire's space transport company, unveiled the aircraft, nicknamed Cosmic Girl, on Thursday after buying it from Sir Richard's airline.

The decision means Virgin can send payloads, such as satellites, into space from anywhere in the world, rather than being restricted to launchpads - as NASA shuttles are.

 “Air launch enables us to provide rapid, responsive service to our satellite customers on a schedule set by their business and operational needs, rather than the constraints of national launch ranges,” said George Whitesides, Virgin Galactic chief executive.

In the newspapers this morning, yesterday morning's dramatic tiger raid kidnapping dominates the front pages.

The Irish Independent leads with the story with chilling details.



Special Correspondent Paul Williams reveals that the chief suspect in the case was just out of the jail and trained up in Eastern Europe. It is also revealed that the victim was given a photo of his partner with a gun to her head as €225,00 was taken in the heist.

The Herald also leads with the story and reveals that a terrified cash-in-transit worker gave an airport employee a note begging for help after his partner and daughter were taken hostage.

The Irish Daily Mirror says that four people have been arrested over alleged jihadi threats to kill Pope Francis. The arrests were made in Italy and Kosovo and were conducted by an anti-terror probe.

The Sun says that missing Willie Maughan and his partner Ana Varslavane were expecting their first baby together. The couple, who have been missing since April and are feared dead, were expecting their first baby, according to the missing man's father.

The Irish Daily Mail leads with the news that waiting list surge 'means more cases of deadly cancer'. The paper says that more than 3,500 patients have been waiting more than three months for a colonoscopy.

The Irish Times leads with a repossession story. The paper's lead story says that rulings delay cases to repossess home. The story goes on to claim that the high court judges are differing on the power of the Circuit Court to hear bank applications.

The Irish Examiner also leads with the bowl cancer, but its front page features a story that the banking inquiry will be hard-pressed to make ts deadline. The story says that the Inquiry is so "pushed for time it considered skipping an essential legal review in a last ditch bid to ensure its report is published."

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