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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

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