Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Shrine to Je­sus in Is­rael robbed and van­dal­ized

A church in Is­rael built where Chris­tians be­lieve the trans­fig­u­ra­tion of Je­sus took place has been van­dal­ized, with chal­ices stolen, icons dam­aged and a dona­tion box robbed, an of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day. Church of­fi­cials be­lieve the mo­tive for Mon­day’s in­ci­dent was rob­bery and not Jewish ex­trem­ism, which has been blamed for pre­vi­ous van­dal­ism at Chris­tian sites in Is­rael, said Wadie Abunas­sar, a spokesman for bish­ops in the Holy Land. Abunas­sar could not say how many chal­ices were stolen from the Basil­ica of the Trans­fig­u­ra­tion or how much money from the dona­tion box had been taken. Com­mu­nion bread had also been thrown on the ground. No graf­fiti was painted on the church as usu­ally oc­curs with van­dal­ism by ex­trem­ists, Abunas­sar said. A re­port has been made with po­lice. The church is lo­cated on Mount Ta­bor in the Galilee re­gion of north­ern Is­rael, where Chris­tians be­lieve Je­sus be­came ra­di­ant and spoke with Moses and Elijah.

‘Hor­ror clown’ attacks leave sev­eral in­jured

The so-called creepy clown trend has spread to Aus­tria where sev­eral peo­ple have been in­jured in attacks by masked as­sailants in the lead-up to Hal­loween. Three men dis­guised as “hor­ror clowns” as­saulted a 19year-old man with a base­ball bat at the week­end in the western state of Tirol, lo­cal po­lice said yes­ter­day. The sus­pects fled the scene. In another in­ci­dent, a 16-year-old jog­ger was se­ri­ously in­jured on Sun­day when she fell down a steep hill af­ter be­ing scared by a creepy clown who had jumped in her path in the Carinthian city of Vil­lach. The teenager was hos­pi­tal­ized while the sus­pect man­age to es­cape, po­lice said. Another 16-year-old girl twisted her an­kle on Mon­day evening when she ran away from a man wear­ing a clown mask in a park­ing lot and fell down some stairs in cen­tral Styria state. Author­i­ties said they were still search­ing for leads re­gard­ing the sus­pect. Peo­ple have been reporting nu­mer­ous other sight­ings across Aus­tria on spe­cial Face­book pages ded­i­cated to creepy clown spot­ting.

Ex-pres­i­dent spokesman quizzed in graft probe

Nige­ria’s anti-graft agency said yes­ter­day it was de­tain­ing and ques­tion­ing ex-pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan’s spokesman as part of a wider probe into cor­rup­tion. A source at the agency said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion touched on al­leged mis­use of funds al­loted for fight­ing Boko Haram, Nige­ria’s no­to­ri­ous ji­hadist group. “We have ar­rested Reuben Abati and he is un­der­go­ing in­ter­ro­ga­tion in con­nec­tion with some is­sues bordering on graft,” Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion spokesman Wil­son Uwu­jaren said. Uwu­jaren said Abati was ar­rested on Mon­day and was still in cus­tody. Another EFCC of­fi­cial, who did not want to be named, said Abati “is be­ing ques­tioned in re­la­tion to (an) on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of funds ear­marked for arms to fight Boko Haram.” Abati was a pop­u­lar colum­nist and chair­man of the editorial board of the in­de­pen­dent Guardian news­pa­per be­fore his ap­point­ment as Jonathan’s spokesman.

14 die, 147 in­jured as ex­plo­sion rocks China

The toll from a pow­er­ful ex­plo­sion in China rose to 14 dead and 147 in­jured yes­ter­day, state me­dia said, as author­i­ties cen­sored dis­cus­sion of the in­ci­dent on­line. Mon­day’s blast in Xin­min, in the north­ern prov­ince of Shaanxi, tore through five pre­fab­ri­cated build­ings, de­stroy­ing or dam­ag­ing 58 oth­ers, the of­fi­cial Xin­hua news agency said. It may have been caused by il­le­gally stored ex­plo­sives, an ini­tial in­ves­ti­ga­tion found. Pic­tures showed wide­spread dam­age, with win­dows blown out of build­ings, a crater in the street, and blood­ied vic­tims ly­ing on the ground. Res­cue ef­forts had con­cluded yes­ter­day morn­ing, and more than 100 of the in­jured were still hos­pi­tal­ized, Xin­hua said, cit­ing lo­cal author­i­ties. The ex­plo­sion comes at a time of height­ened vig­i­lance for the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party, which hold­ing a high-level meet­ing in Bei­jing, the “Sixth Plenum”. Out­raged so­cial me­dia users said that there were com­par­a­tively few re­ports on the in­ci­dent avail­able on­line, and oth­ers had been deleted, with com­ments on many plat­forms dis­abled.

Three Viet­namese fish­er­men held hostage for nearly five years by So­mali pi­rates re­turned home yes­ter­day to weep­ing rel­a­tives, say­ing they were “over­whelmed” with joy af­ter their har­row­ing kid­nap­ping. The men were among 26 hostages freed Sun­day who be­longed to the crew of Na­ham 3, an Omani-flagged ves­sel that was seized south of the Sey­chelles in March 2012. Af­ter a long flight from Kenya, a stunned look­ing Nguyen Xuan Phuong was greeted by his beam­ing fa­ther, who shouted the 27-year-old’s name as he spot­ted him at Hanoi’s Noi Bai in­ter­na­tional air­port. “I am over­whelmed with hap­pi­ness,” Phuong said, as he em­braced his tear­ful dad. His crew, which also in­cluded sea­far­ers from China, In­done­sia, Philip­pines, Cam­bo­dia and Tai­wan, was taken hostage at the peak of So­mali piracy. Only one other crew of fish­er­men spent longer in the hands of So­mali pi­rates. The hostage tak­ers ini­tially cap­tured 29 crew mem­bers from the Na­ham 3, but one died dur­ing the hi­jack­ing and two more died of ill­ness dur­ing their cap

HANOI: Nguyen Van Xuan holds his daugh­ter as he emerges from a flight from Nairobi, Kenya, at Noi Bai In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Hanoi yes­ter­day. — AP Joy as Viet­nam’s hostages re­turn af­ter pi­rate or­deal

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