Monday 23 April 2018

In Brief: Suicide bomber kills 20 during ethnic minority funeral in northern Iraq

Reuters

A suicide bomber yesterday attacked a funeral in northern Iraq attended by members of an ethnic minority, part of a series of attacks that killed at least 25 across the country.

Iraq is weathering its deadliest bout of violence in five years, raising fears that the country is returning to a period of widespread killing such as that which pushed it to the brink of civil war following the 2003 US-led invasion. More than 4,000 people have been killed in attacks since the start of April, including 804 in August alone.

In yesterday's suicide attack, the bomber detonated his explosive belt inside a tent during the afternoon ceremony held by members of the Shabak minority near the city of Mosul, 360km northwest of Baghdad. Twenty people died.

SPANISH PM OFFERS TALKS ON CATALONIA

SPANISH Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy yesterday offered to hold talks with Catalonia, but gave no indication he would allow the northwestern region to vote on independence.

The offer of talks was made in a letter sent to the head of Catalonia's regional government, Artur Mas, only three days after hundreds of thousands of Catalans formed a 400km human chain to push their independence bid. Growing calls for secession from Spain in the region of 7.5 million people has added pressure on Rajoy, who is already mired in a corruption scandal.

FOUR CHARGED IN ALLEGED BANK HACKING

Four men appeared in court in London yesterday over an alleged attempt to steal millions of pounds from Santander by hacking into the bank's computer system.

Twelve men were arrested on Friday following an operation by the Metropolitan Police's Central e-Crime Unit. Four were charged late on Friday and appeared yesterday at Westminster Magistrates' Court for an initial hearing. They were 25-year-old Lanre Mullins-Abudu; Dean Outram, 34; Akash Vaghela, 27; and Asad Ali Qureshi, 35. Eight others have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

'GRUBBY MITTS' TAX ADVISER RESIGNS

A tax adviser to the British government has been forced to resign after he was recorded giving tips at a conference on how to pay less tax and "keep money out of the Chancellor's grubby mitts", a Treasury minister said.

The BBC Panorama investigative programme filmed David Heaton – before he joined the government as an adviser on how to clamp down on aggressive tax avoidance – telling delegates how they could exploit tax loopholes.

MUBARAK BACK IN COURT FOR RETRIAL

Egypt's ousted long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak was back in court yesterday, grinning and waving as his trial resumed on charges related to the killings of 900 protesters during the 2011 uprising that led to his ousting. The 85-year-old former president was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop the killings, but his sentence was overturned on appeal earlier this year.

One of the defending lawyers yesterday suggested that the Muslim Brotherhood and Palestinian militants were behind the killings of protesters during the uprising.

MILLIONAIRESS LEAVES $100K TO DOGS

The first woman to become a member of the New York Stock Exchange has left $100,000 (€75,000) for the care of her dogs. Documents made public in Manhattan Surrogate Court show that in her will, Muriel "Mickie" Siebert also requested that her pets not be left alone for long periods during the day.

Ms Siebert, 84, who was founder and president of a brokerage firm that bears her name, died last month. Most of her nearly $50m estate was left to the Muriel F Siebert Foundation, which promotes finance education.

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