Acquittal sparks protests
Noisy demonstrators disrupted shopping at upscale suburban malls yesterday and later marched through a popular district of bars and restaurants to protest a white St Louis police officer’s acquittal in the killing of a black man, but the second day of protests was peaceful following sporadic vandalism and violence a night earlier. A few hundred people shouted slogans such as ‘‘black lives matter’’ and ‘‘it is our duty to fight for our freedom’’ as they marched through West County Centre mall in Des Peres to decry the judge’s verdict clearing ex-officer Jason Stockley of first-degree murder in the 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. No arrests were reported at any of the demonstrations.
Work on war crimes probe
The Security Council is putting the final touches on a resolution that would authorise UN investigators to help Iraq collect evidence to prosecute extremists from the Islamic State group for possible war crimes. A council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations are private, said yesterday the council hopes to vote next Thursday. The draft resolution would ask Secretary-general Antonio Guterres to establish an investigative team to assist Iraq in preserving evidence ‘‘that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide’’ committed by IS. Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-jaafari wrote to Guterres last month saying it was working on a draft resolution with Britain. Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney had urged Iraq’s prime minister in March to send a letter seeking UN assistance.
Israeli air force founder dies
Mitchell Flint, an American aviator who helped form the Israeli Air Force in 1948 and served in Israel’s first fighter squadron has died. He was 94. Flint, a former US Navy fighter pilot, died yesterday in Los Angeles of natural causes, said his son, Michael Flint. Flint was one of the founding members of ‘‘Machal,’’ a group of non-israelis who fought in the 1948 Arab-israeli War. He was one of the original members of the Israeli Air Force’s first fighter squadron and helped train Israel’s first military pilots, his son said. Flint and other members of the Machal had flown in German planes that were captured during World War II and covered the Nazi insignia with Stars of David. He flew in rebuilt Messerschmitts, Germany’s main fighter plane during World War II, as well as Mustangs and Spitfires.
Tunisians take to streets
Hundreds of Tunisians protested yesterday in the streets of the capital against a widely contested new law that grants officials from the former regime involved in corruption amnesty from prosecution. Tunisia’s parliament on Thursday approved a law protecting officials accused of graft during the rule of autocrat Zine El-abidine Ben Ali, triggering angry protests by the opposition and activists. Waving flags and banners saying ‘‘No to forgiveness’’, ‘‘Resisting against mafia rule’’, around 1500 people marched through the capital’s central Avenue Habib Bourguiba in the company of opposition leaders. After months of protests, the law was amended from an original draft which would have also granted amnesty to corrupt businessmen.