52 al-Shabab extremists killed in U.S. airstrike in Somalia

JOHANNESBURG — The U.S. military says it has carried out an airstrike in Somalia that killed 52 al-Shabab extremists in response to an attack on Somali forces.

The U.S. Africa Command statement says the airstrike occurred on Saturday near Jilib in Middle Juba region.

The U.S. says Somali forces had come under attack by a “large group” of the al-Qaida-linked extremists.

The statement does not say how many Somali forces were killed or wounded. There are no reports of Americans killed or wounded.

Al-Shabab controls large parts of rural southern and central Somalia and continues to carry out high-profile attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, and elsewhere. The group claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a luxury hotel complex in Kenya’s capital on Tuesday.

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Funeral for murdered Polish mayor Pawel Adamowicz draws crowd of 45,000 in Gdansk

GDANSK, Poland (REUTERS) – Murdered Gdansk mayor Pawel Adamowicz’s funeral drew tens of thousands of people in the Polish Baltic coast city on Saturday (Jan 19) amid outrage over his murder six days ago.

Banners with black and white pictures of Adamowicz were draped over buildings as Polish politicians including former president Lech Walesa, who helped to overturn communism in Eastern Europe, joined a mass at St Mary’s Basilica.

European Council President Donald Tusk and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki also joined mourners who listened to the choir as they awaited the burial of Adamowicz’s ashes.

Adamowicz, one of Poland’s longest-serving mayors, was attacked on stage during one of Poland’s biggest annual charity events and died the following day.

Broadcaster TVN24 said 3,500 mourners gathered inside the 500-year-old Gothic cathedral on Saturday, while others watched Gdansk archbishop Leszek Slawoj Glodz give family members rosaries and gifts sent by Pope Francis on huge screens.

“What happened on Sunday evening… was perceived as a violent constant sound of a alarming bell, call for saving the conscience and changing the way of our living, political style,” Glodz told mourners during the Mass.

The murder of a liberal critic of Poland’s ruling party’s anti-immigrant policies highlights the charged atmosphere in parts of eastern Europe where populist leaders have fanned nationalist sentiment.

As well as encouraging migrants to seek refuge in Gdansk, Adamowicz was known for backing a campaign to defend the rule of law against what activists consider efforts by the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party to increase political control over the judiciary and other bodies.


On Friday, 53,000 people paid tribute to Adamowicz, who beat the PiS in October, while he lay in state in the museum of the Solidarity movement that helped to usurp communism in Poland.

Police said some 45,000 people had attended the funeral.

Polish authorities have arrested a 27-year-old former convict, named only as Stefan W., over the killing. He was freed last month after serving five and a half years for attempted bank robbery.

The attacker accused the mayor’s former party of putting him in prison, where he said he was tortured, at the event.

Authorities have detained at least 10 people in recent days over calls on social media to murder and other acts of aggression in the wake of Adamowicz’s death.

Adamowicz was one of 11 Polish mayors targeted with fake death certificates by a far-right group called All-Polish Youth in 2017, after signing a declaration to welcome refugees in opposition to government policy.

Critics blame Poland’s politicians for cranking up hate speech and support for the PiS party fell to 30 per cent in the wake of Adamowicz’s death, a poll conducted by Kantar Millward Brown showed, from 33 per cent in November. The biggest opposition grouping Koalicja Obywatelska had 25 per cent.

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‘There’s always a reason to march’: Small N.S. women’s march growing each year

A women’s march in rural Nova Scotia has nearly quadrupled in size in the two years since a handful of marchers first took to the village’s main road, charming the internet with their small-scale demonstration.

The organizers of the march in Sandy Cove, N.S., say they’re pleased that the event in their little corner of the province is helping to draw attention to the wider movement calling for the advancement of rights for women and other vulnerable groups.

About 50 people from Sandy Cove and the surrounding areas showed up to the village’s march this year, a far cry from the 15 people who turned up at the first march – one of many organized across the globe in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president in January 2017.

Gwen Wilson, one of the organizers, says “there’s always a reason to march.”

She says demonstrators marched along the three-kilometre route again this year because the progress made for women’s equality in 2017 and 2018 wasn’t enough.

Her co-organizer Melissa Merritt says a number of attendees wore red scarves to symbolize murdered and missing Indigenous women.

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Winnipeg’s Arlington Bridge might be getting a new name

A century-old bridge in Winnipeg is getting ready for a major facelift — and maybe a new name.

Point Douglas Coun. Vivian Santos is putting forward a motion in hopes that Arlington Bridge will be renamed Reconciliation Way.

The bridge, completed in 1912, was built to connect two neighbourhoods separated by the CP Rail yards.

The Aboriginal Council supports the idea, and a new bridge is slated for completion in 2023.

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Alberta art school aims to offer students more opportunities with new university status

An Alberta post-secondary institution will be better able to recruit students and make it easier for them to pursue graduate degrees due to an upcoming status change, according to its president.

On Thursday, the Alberta College of Art and Design announced that it will be renamed the Alberta University of the Arts (AUArts). The name change, as well as its university status, will go into effect at the start of February.

“For our students, it facilitates them being able to go to other institutions because if you want to pursue a graduate degree, coming from a university, it makes it easier,” said Daniel Doz, president of AUArts, in an interview with Global News Morning on Saturday.

“I think it also speaks about the quality of the programs we’ve been offering for many, many years.”

The status change has allowed the institution to receive roughly $4.6 million in additional funding from the province. Doz said the money will help stabilize AUArts and will be used to provide more support to students.

“We’re a small institution and we don’t have the usual student residence, parking lots, conference centres that big colleges and big universities have and they can rely on for revenues,” Doz said.

“We’re very much limited to what the government gives us and what the students pay.”

The name change has been about a year-long process, according to Scott Cressman, chair of AUArts’ school of communication design. He added that it took workshopping and an evaluation to come up with the new name.

“The name is a nice, broad platform for the arts in general,” Cressman said.

“We wanted to make sure that it had the stature of a large university but also looked to the future in what we might become.”

The institution was founded in 1926. Roughly 1,200 students enrol in the school annually, studying in both full- and part-time programs.


Alberta girl from Blood Reserve uses art as way to heal

Alberta Art Gallery’s upcoming exhibit buoyed by record-breaking Canadian art sale

Southern Alberta grain bin turned into historical art piece

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Bolivia bus crash leaves 22 dead, 37 injured

LA PAZ, Bolivia – Police in Bolivia say a head-on highway collision between two buses has killed at least 22 people and injured 37 others.

The accident occurred Saturday on the road to Challapata, a town about 250 kilometres (155 miles) from the main city of La Paz.

Col. Freddy Betancur, commander of the police in the central Oruro region, told The Associated Press: “There are seriously injured who have been transferred to the nearest hospitals.”

Challapata Mayor Martin Feliciano told the AP that the death toll may rise.

A police report said that the accident was due to excessive speed and one of the buses may have driven into the oncoming lane.

Deadly bus accidents are common in Bolivia’s highlands where narrow highways sometimes wind through mountain ranges near steep precipices.

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Woman left dangling out of moving getaway car after chasing down man who stole her wallet, court hears

A woman was left dangling half way out of a moving getaway car after she chased down the man who had snatched her wallet, a court has heard.

Tony Carrick (41) was given a partially suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after he admitted robbing Aoife O’Reilly as she was standing in line for a coffee at a petrol station in Finglas, north Dublin.

After asking her for the time Carrick grabbed her wallet and fled to a car. Ms O’Reilly pursued and ended up half in and half out of the vehicle.

Both Carrick and the driver shouted at her to “get out or I’ll fucking kill you” and Carrick punched her in the head.

The driver drove 200 yards while Ms O’Reilly’s legs were dangling outside of the car. Carrick told her that if she got out of the car he would throw her the wallet, but the driver pushed her out and drove away.

Carrick of Knowth Court, Poppintree, Dublin pleaded guilty to robbery and endangerment on December 13, 2016.

Carrick is already serving a five and a half year jail term for burglaries and an attempted car-jacking. Judge Karen O’Connor yesterday directed that the sentence for these latest crimes run consecutive to this sentence, as Carrick was out on bail for the earlier crimes when he offended again.

This brings Carrick’s total sentence to eight years for all matters. Judge O’Connor suspended the final two and a half years from the total sentence of eight years. She backdated the sentence to December 2016 when Carrick went into custody.

Carrick also admitted a second robbery at another filling station on the same day in which he only managed to make off with an apron.

Detective Sergeant Shane McCartan told Sinéad McMullan BL, prosecuting, Barbara Macken was starting work at Topaz in The Ward, Dublin, when she was approached by Carrick.

Carrick again asked for the time and then attempted to grab her handbag but only succeeded in taking her apron. When he realised this he threw it down before jumping into the same car as the earlier robbery.

The court heard the driver, who was involved in both incidents, is now deceased.

Carrick’s 110 previous convictions include assault, criminal damage, burglary, endangerment, robbery and unlawful possession of ammunition.

Det Sgt McCartan agreed with Luigi Rea BL, defending, that Carrick was in a drug induced state at the time of the incidents. Mr Rea remarked that his client had been using crack cocaine which “drives people a little bit crazy, people say”.

Mr Rea said that Carrick was seeking treatment for his addictions. He handed into the court a two-page letter of apology written by his client.

Judge O’Connor described the incidents as “horrendous behaviour”. She noted that Ms O’Reilly has recurring nightmares, suffers panic attacks in crowded places and has lost confidence.

She further noted that Ms O’Reilly had stated that she is unlikely to help strangers as a result of feeling unsafe.

The judge accepted that Carrick has poor cognitive functioning, has a significant history of substance abuse and institutional abuse and that he had entered an early plea.

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Up to 117 migrants feared dead after boat capsizes off Libya

Up to 117 migrants might have died when a rubber dinghy capsized in the Mediterranean off Libya, survivors said.

Flavio Di Giacomo, of the International Organisation for Migration, said three survivors were plucked to safety by an Italian navy helicopter on Friday, and they said 120 were aboard when the dinghy left Libya.

The navy said its plane launched life rafts after it spotted the sinking dinghy with about 20 people on board. It was not clear if some migrants had already fallen off.

The Italian Coast Guard said Libya asked a nearby cargo ship to search for survivors but no one was found.

The Italian news agency ANSA quoted Libyan authorities as saying a Libyan coastguard boat turned back after mechanical problems.

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Teens arrested and charged after pills make 10 pupils ill at Dunfermline High School

Four of those who required treatment from paramedics were taken to hospital after the alarm was raised just after lunchtime on Friday at Dunfermline High School in Fife.

The Scottish Ambulance Service said six of the pupils were treated at the scene after they took the unknown substance, which is believed to have been consumed outside the school grounds.

Police have charged a boy and a girl, both 13, in connection with the incident, which will also be referred to the Children’s Reporter.

Emergency services have released few details about what happened, with a Scottish Ambulance Service spokesman only confirming that it had been called to the school.

“We received a call at 1.23pm to attend an incident at Dunfermline High School,” they said on Friday.

“We dispatched five ambulance crews, a special operations unit and a rapid response vehicle. We treated six patients at the scene and transported four to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.”

While police continue to investigate, Fife Council has urged parents to speak to their children and seek medical advice if they think they have taken tablets.

Phil Black, head of education and children’s services at the council, said: “After lunchtime, we were made aware that a small number of our pupils may have taken tablets outwith school grounds during lunchtime.

“We called emergency services immediately and have worked with them to identify and support pupils who may have been affected.”

Dunfermline Press reported that the school sent a letter home to parents alerting them to the incident, which also stressed the need to seek medical advice if their child had taken tablets.

According to the letter, the school held two assemblies with police and paramedics in a bid to find out what happened.

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Spanish rescuers start drilling to reach boy trapped in well

TOTALAN, Spain (Reuters) – Rescuers in southern Spain began drilling on Saturday in hopes of rescuing a two-year-old boy trapped in a deep well for six days.

The mission to save the child has triggered an outpouring of public support as rescuers struggle with the challenge of bringing heavy equipment up steep access roads and reaching the toddler safely.

“”We are incredibly motivated to reach him as soon as possible. We’re not bothered by the hours, the tiredness or the lack of sleep,” Angel Vidal, the lead engineer overseeing the rescue, said on Saturday.

“We are hopeful that we will reach him as soon as possible and bring him back to his parents,” he added.

The boy, Julen, fell into the borehole, which is just 25 cm (10 inches) wide and 100 meters (yards) deep, as his family walked through a private estate in Totalan, Malaga.

Officials have been unable to find signs of life but say they are working on the basis that the child is still alive. Video footage shot by firefighters and released by Spanish broadcaster Canal Sur shows a blockage around 70 meters into the well which has prevented rescue services from sending food or water to the child.

Trucks brought drilling equipment and giant pipes to the site on Friday. Drilling of the first of two tunnels that will be made to reach the boy began at around 3 p.m. local time and will take around 15 hours, officials said.

Once the first tunnel is completed, rescuers will begin working by hand to construct a second shorter tunnel to reach the area where the boy is trapped, which will take a further 20 hours.

Residents of the town have held vigils for Julen and in support of his family.

Spanish media say the boy’s parents suffered another tragedy in 2017 when their three-year-old son died suddenly of health problems while walking along a beach.

“Be strong, Julen. Totalan is with you,” read a handmade banner hung on the roadside near the rescue site.

“We are living some incredibly difficult hours for relatives, friends and neighbors (of the family) and we want to send them our support in this moment,” government spokeswoman Isabel Celaa said on Friday in a news conference.

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