Spain smashes fake police ring that robbed tourists
Spanish police said yesterday they had smashed a criminal gang who preyed on tourists in Madrid by posing as police officers. Eight suspected members of the gang, all of them Iranian and Pakistani nationals, were arrested on November 22, police said, describing a grab-and-game game to take cash, jewelry and smartphones. The gang would approach tourists and ask to see their documents and wallets “with the pretext of checking to see it they had drugs or counterfeit money,” police said in a statement. “Once they had the wallet in their possession, they would remove the cash or would yank any object of value and flee at great speed.” Police suspect the ring is behind at least 21 robberies carried out in the Madrid region in recent months but say the number is likely higher many victims, visiting Spain briefly, did not file complaints. Among the loot recovered during the arrests in three suburban Madrid homes, included 10 high-end watches, 15 smartphones, jewelry as well as 1,000 euros ($1,070) in cash.
Sri Lanka to make heroes out of British-era ‘traitors’
Sri Lanka announced plans yesterday to rescind a list of 19 nationals described as “traitors” for leading an insurrection against colonial rule nearly 200 years ago. Keppetipola Disawe, a local leader, and his men were declared traitors over the 1817 rebellion against British rule. “A recommendation was made to President Maithripala Sirisena to rescind the January 1818 gazette which declared 19 nationals, including Keppetipola Disawe, as traitors and make a fresh proclamation making them national heroes,” Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe said in a statement. The announcement came after the minister met hardline nationalists from the majority Sinhalese community, who have pressed for the scrapping of colonial-era decrees against those who resisted British rule. Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, won freedom in 1948, a year after Britain quit neighboring India.
Dozens of Rohingyas missing as boat sinks
Dozens are missing and feared drowned after a boat packed with Rohingya fleeing violence in Myanmar and trying to reach Bangladesh sank in a border river yesterday, reports and a Bangladeshi fisherman said. Thousands of Rohingya, a stateless ethnic minority, have arrived in Bangladesh after an outbreak of violence in western Myanmar, where the military is alleged to have committed mass rape and murder and burned villages. A Bangladeshi fisherman said he had rescued one woman who told him her “overcrowded” boat had sunk in the Naf river after it was chased by a Myanmar army speedboat. “We heard a woman’s desperate cry for help in the morning while we were fishing in the Naf. We quickly paddled to the spot and saw she was fighting to stay afloat,” fisherman Suman Das said by phone. “The woman told us that their boat was overcrowded with Rohingya villagers who tried to cross the river to enter Bangladesh.” The woman did not know what had happened to the others and Das could not say how many people were on the boat.
Man fires rifle inside Washington’s eatery
A man has been arrested after firing an assault rifle inside a popular pizzeria in Washington that was the target of a fake news story during the presidential election campaign, police said. No one was injured in the incident on Sunday at the Comet Ping Pong restaurant in the upmarket Chevy Chase neighborhood. A 28-year-old man from North Carolina was taken into police custody. The pizzeria was the subject of a bogus report published in October that alleged it was at the center of a child sex ring organized by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. As the story spread online, fanned by right-leaning conspiracy theorists on discussion sites 4chan and Reddit, the restaurant owner received hundreds of threatening messages on his Instagram account. The eatery’s Facebook page also was flooded with negative comments. It was one of a number of fake news stories that emerged ahead of the November 8 poll. The man arrested on Sunday told police he went to the eatery to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory dubbed “pizzagate”.
DHAKA: Bangladeshi activists from an Islamic organization protest against the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, in Dhaka. — AFP