• Nation and World Briefs
    May 01,2014
     

    DUBLIN

    Sinn Fein leader Adams arrested

    Police in Northern Ireland arrested Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams on Wednesday over his alleged involvement in the Irish Republican Army’s 1972 abduction, killing and secret burial of a Belfast widow.

    Adams, 65, confirmed his own arrest in a prepared statement and described it as a voluntary, prearranged interview.

    Police long had been expected to question Adams about the killing of Jean McConville, a 38-year-old mother of 10 whom the IRA killed with a single gunshot to the head as an alleged spy.

    According to all authoritative histories of the Sinn Fein-IRA movement, Adams served as an IRA commander for decades, but he has always denied holding any position in the outlawed group.

    “I believe that the killing of Jean McConville and the secret burial of her body was wrong and a grievous injustice to her and her family,” Adams said. “Well publicized, malicious allegations have been made against me. I reject these. While I have never disassociated myself from the IRA and I never will, I am innocent of any part in the abduction, killing or burial of Mrs. McConville.”



    BEIJING

    China: 3 dead in railway attack

    An explosion rocked a railway station in China’s restive far-western region of Xinjiang, and the state broadcaster said three people were killed and 79 people were injured. The attack Wednesday came as President Xi Jinping wrapped up a four-day visit to the area.

    CCTV said assailants attacked crowds with knives and set off explosions at the same time at the Urumqi South Station. The station called in a terrorist act.

    It was unclear whether Xi was still in the region at the time of the blast, which occurred at the rail station in the regional capital of Urumqi.

    Train service was suspended for about two hours before it reopened under the watch of armed police, the official Xinhua News Agency said. A woman working at a convenience store near the train station said she heard a loud explosion shortly after 7 p.m.



    PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla.

    Hundreds rescued from floods

    People were plucked off rooftops or climbed into their attics to get away from fast-rising waters when nearly 2 feet of rain fell on the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast in the span of about 24 hours, the latest bout of severe weather that began with tornadoes in the Midwest.

    In the Panhandle on Wednesday, roads were chewed up into pieces or wiped out entirely. A car and truck plummeted 25 feet when portions of a scenic highway collapsed. Cars were overturned and neighborhoods were inundated, making rescues difficult for hundreds of people who called for help when they were caught off guard by the single rainiest day ever recorded in Pensacola.

    – The Associated Press

    Boats and Humvees zigzagged through the flooded streets to help stranded residents. At the height of the storm, about 30,000 people were without power. One Florida woman died when she drove her car into high water, officials said.

    Near the Alabama-Florida line, water started creeping into Brandi McCoon’s mobile home, so her fiance, Jonathan Brown, wrapped up her nearly 2-year-old son Noah in a blanket and they swam in neck-deep water to their car about 50 feet away.

    Then, the car was flooded.



    LAGOS, Nigeria

    Reports: Girls forced to marry abductors

    Scores of girls and young women kidnapped from a school in Nigeria are being forced to marry their Islamic extremist abductors, a civic organization reported Wednesday.

    At the same time, the Boko Haram terrorist network is negotiating over the students’ fate and is demanding an unspecified ransom for their release, a Borno state community leader told The Associated Press.

    He said the Wednesday night message from the abductors also claimed that two of the girls have died from snake bites.

    The message was sent to a member of a presidential committee mandated last year to mediate a ceasefire with the Islamic extremists, said the civic leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak about the talks.

    The news of negotiations comes as parents say the girls are being sold into marriage to Boko Haram militants. The students are being paid 2,000 naira ($12) to marry the fighters, Halite Aliyu of the Borno-Yobe People’s Forum told The Associated Press. She said the parents’ information about mass weddings is coming from villagers in the Sambisa Forest, on Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, where Boko Haram is known to have hideouts.



    LONDON

    Actor Bob Hoskins dies at 71

    Bob Hoskins never lost his Cockney accent, even as he became a global star who charmed and alarmed audiences in a vast range of roles.

    Short and bald, with a face he once compared to “a squashed cabbage,” Hoskins was a remarkably versatile performer. As a London gangster in “The Long Good Friday,” he moved from bravura bluster to tragic understatement. In “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” he cavorted with a cast of animated characters, making technological trickery seem seamless and natural.

    A family statement released Wednesday said Hoskins had died in a hospital the night before after a bout of pneumonia. He was 71 and had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012.

    Helen Mirren, who starred alongside Hoskins in “The Long Good Friday,” called him “a great actor and an even greater man. Funny, loyal, instinctive, hard-working, with that inimitable energy that seemed like a spectacular firework rocket just as it takes off.”

    “I personally will miss him very much, London will miss one of her best and most loving sons, and Britain will miss a man to be proud of,” Mirren said.

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