A local affiliate of the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on Saturday night at a crowded wedding party in Kabul, Afghanistan. The blast killed at least 63 people, including women and children, and another 182 were injured. The Taliban, which is negotiating an end to an 18-year conflict with the United States, condemned the violence and denied any involvement, though Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani did not absolve them of blame. The attack occurred in a neighborhood in the western part of the city that is home to many of the country's Shiite Hazara community. ISIS, whose members follow Sunni doctrine, have frequently claimed responsibility for attacks targeting Shiites. The militant group's statement said a Pakistani ISIS fighter seeking martyrdom targeted the gathering.
Source: The Associated Press, The Washington Post
New Orleans music legend Dr. John, born Malcolm John Rebennack Jr., died of a heart attack Thursday. He was 77. The six-time Grammy winner's eclectic music brought together the varied cultural influences of his home town. He grew up playing piano, switched to guitar, then returned to piano after he was shot in the finger in 1960. After serving prison time on drug charges, he moved to Los Angeles and became a studio musician, adopting the Dr. John persona in solo work in the late 1960s. His albums Gris-Gris and Dr. John's Gumbo appear on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 best albums. Rebennack, whose best-known single was "Right Place Wrong Time," was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
Source: The Times-Picayune
Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein has reached a tentative $44 million settlement with women who have accused him of sexual misconduct, creditors, and the New York attorney general. The Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy last year, and lawyers told a bankruptcy court judge on Thursday that a deal has been reached in which the alleged victims, former Weinstein Co. employees, and studio creditors would receive $30 million, with an additional $14 million going toward legal fees. The money would reportedly come from various insurance policies. Weinstein is set to go on trial in September on rape and other sexual assault charges. He denies ever engaging in nonconsensual sex.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times
Former Monkees bassist Peter Tork died Thursday of complications from a rare form of cancer, his son, Ivan Iannoli, said. He was 77. Tork was a struggling musician when he was thrust into stardom with the Monkees, a band manufactured by Hollywood producers in the 1960s. The quirky group starred in an NBC sitcom, The Monkees, that ran from 1966 to 1968 as part of an effort to capitalize on the popularity of the Beatles. At 24, Tork was the oldest member of the band. He was presented as the band's goofiest member. His bandmates were Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Mike Nesmith. They recorded a string of hits that included "Last Train to Clarksville," "Daydream Believer," and "Pleasant Valley Sunday."
Source: The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter
The U.S. government is getting ready to start building more walls and fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border in South Texas' Rio Grande Valley, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said Monday. Heavy construction equipment is arriving early this week, with the work likely to take place on federal land dedicated as wildlife refuge. The nonprofit National Butterfly Center posted a photo showing an excavator parked next to its land. Congress last March approved a plan for 33 miles of new barriers in the area, at a cost of $600 million. President Trump and Democrats remain deadlocked on his demand for $5.7 billion for his promised border wall, which resulted in the recent 35-day partial government shutdown.
Source: The Associated Press
Federal border agents on Thursday made the largest seizure of the synthetic opioid fentanyl in U.S. history. A drug-sniffing dog helped Customs and Border Protection officers find the 254 pounds of the drug — enough to kill 57 million people — in a floor compartment of a tractor-trailer truck loaded with cucumbers and trying to cross a border checkpoint in Nogales, Arizona. That was twice as big as the previous record seizure of fentanyl, which is blamed for the majority of U.S. overdose deaths; that shipment was found in a truck in Nebraska. Agents also found 395 pounds of methamphetamine. The fentanyl had a value of $3.5 million; the meth was worth $1.1 million.
Source: NBC News
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, whose work reflected reverence for nature and disdain for greed, died of lymphoma Thursday at her home in Florida, her literary executor, Bill Reichblum, said. She was 83. Oliver was prolific, and her lyrical descriptions of owls, bears, and other natural wonders earned her praise from critics and adoring readers alike. She made her literary debut in 1963, at age 28, and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983 for her collection "American Primitive," then the 1992 National Book Award for poetry for "New and Selected Poems." Oliver escaped what she called a "dysfunctional" home in a Cleveland suburb by writing poems in the woods. She met her partner, the late photographer Molly Malone Cook, at the New York home of the late poet Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Source: The Washington Post, The Associated Press
Texas police on Sunday arrested an armed man who said he was heading to a suburban San Antonio church to fulfill a "prophecy." The suspect, identified as 33-year-old Tony Albert, was wearing police tactical-style clothing, including a face shield, and carrying a loaded weapon with extra ammunition. Albert reportedly entered Las Mañanitas restaurant in Seguin, Texas, around 6:30 a.m., and asked a worker "where the nearest Baptist church is at." He left clutching a handgun, and restaurant workers locked the door and called police. An off-duty officer responded, and arrested Albert on charges of marijuana possession and weapon possession by a felon.
Source: The Associated Press, The New York Times
A tsunami struck the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra Saturday evening, killing at least 222 people and injuring at least 800 more. The wall of water swept in without warning and is thought to have been caused by undetected sea floor landslides from an eruption of the Krakatoa volcano, located in the strait between the islands. Indonesia also lacks a comprehensive tsunami warning system, explained Sutopo Purwo Nugroho of the country's National Disaster Mitigation Agency. "We need multi-hazard early warning system, and we need lots of it," Nugroho said. Rescue efforts are ongoing Sunday; the death toll is expected to rise.
Source: CNN, ABC News
United Nations investigators said Tuesday they had verified 202 mass graves containing between 6,000 and 12,000 bodies in Iraq dating to the three years of Islamic State control in the areas. A joint report by the U.N. mission to Iraq and the U.N. office for human rights called the graves a "legacy of [ISIS'] terror." The graves all date from 2014 to 2017, when the Islamist extremist group ruled some of Iraq's biggest cities and towns after sweeping through Iraq and neighboring Syria, killing captured Iraqi soldiers and police en masse. Several of the graves contain victims of the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre, in which militants killed 1,700 security forces and military cadets. Other victims were believed to have been dumped in wells and sinkholes instead of graves.
Source: The Associated Press
About This Blog
Certain numerology has a strong connection with occultism. Various numbers from time-to-time appear in news articles, and one has to wonder if there isn't some occult significance behind this story.