Rio De Janeiro, May 20 (AP/UNB) — A gang of gunmen reportedly attacked a bar in the capital of Brazil's northern Pará state Sunday afternoon, and authorities said 11 people were killed.
The state security agency confirmed late Sunday only that six women and five men died in the incident in the Guamá neighborhood of the Pará state capital, Belem.
The G1 news website said police reported that seven gunmen were involved in the attack, which also wounded one person. The news outlet said the attackers arrived at the bar on one motorcycle and in three cars.
In late March, the federal government sent National Guard troops to Belém to reinforce security in the city for 90 days.
Brazil hit a record high of 64,000 homicides in 2017, 70% of which were due to firearms, according to official statistics.
Much of Brazil's violence is gang related. In January, gangs attacked across Fortaleza, bringing that city to a standstill with as commerce, buses and taxis shut down.
Rio de Janeiro, the country's second biggest city, experiences daily shootouts between rival gangs and also between police and criminals, battles that often result in the deaths of innocent bystanders. Fogo Cruzado, a group that monitors shootings in the Rio metropolitan area, says there were 2,300 shootings in Rio and its suburbs during the first 100 days of this year.
Killings attributed to police gunfire in Rio de Janeiro state have reached a record high, rising 18% in the first three months, in a spike partly attributed to a campaign of a zero tolerance for criminals being pushed by state leaders.
One of new President Jair Bolsonaro's main campaign promises was that he would loosen Brazil's strict gun laws, arguing that because criminals are well-armed with illegally obtained guns, "upstanding citizens" should have the right to defend themselves with legally bought guns. Bolsonaro has made good on that campaign promise with two presidential decrees that make buying guns easier, though federal prosecutors are seeking to get the courts to block that move.
Vienna, May 19 (AP/UNB) — Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called Saturday for an early election after his vice chancellor resigned over a covertly shot video that showed him apparently promising government contracts to a prospective Russian investor.
Kurz said he would ask President Alexander Van der Bellen to set a date for a new election "as soon as possible."
Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the far-right, anti-immigrant Freedom Party which is in Austria's ruling coalition with Kurz's People's Party, had resigned earlier Saturday, a day after the video was published.
The video hit a nerve amid broader concerns about ties between Russia and right-wing populist parties critical of the European Union, the more so because the Freedom Party is part of a Western government. In 2016, Strache went to Moscow to sign a "cooperation pact" with the United Russia party, which is loyal to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Strache's resignation was also a black eye for the populist and nationalist forces who favor tighter European immigration policies. It came only a few days before the May 23-26 elections in 28 European Union nations to fill the 751-seat European Parliament. Nationalists and populists across Europe are competing to achieve a strong showing in that vote.
At a news conference late Saturday, Kurz said talks with other officials from the Freedom Party showed they were not willing to make the changes that Kurz felt were necessary to continue the current coalition. Kurz also said a possible coalition with the center-left Social Democrats would derail the government's program of limiting debt and taxes.
No date was immediately given for a new vote. Austria's public ORF television reported analysts saying the vote could take place in September.
Two German publications, the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and the weekly Der Spiegel, published extracts Friday of a covert video purportedly showing Strache during an alcohol-fueled evening on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza offering Austrian government contracts to a Russian woman, purportedly the niece of a Russian oligarch and interested in investing large amounts of money in Austria.
In his resignation statement Saturday, Strache apologized but said he was set up in a "political assassination" that illegally used surveillance equipment. He conceded his behavior in the video was "stupid, irresponsible and a mistake."
The publications declined to say where they got the video. In it, Strache and party colleague Johann Gudenus are heard telling the unnamed woman she could expect lucrative construction work if she bought Austria's Kronen Zeitung newspaper and supported the Freedom Party.
The 49-year-old politician said he had been in a state of "increasing alcohol intoxication" and had "behaved like a teenager" in an attempt to "impress the attractive host." He said he had had no further contact with the woman and she did not donate to his party.
Key topics in the EU elections have been debates over immigration, democracy and human rights after Europe faced an influx in 2015 of migrants and asylum-seekers from war-torn areas in the Mideast and Asia.
On one side are nationalist, anti-immigrant movements critical of the EU such as Austria's Freedom Party, the Alternative for Germany party, France's far-right National Rally and Italy's League party. They want to halt most immigration into Europe, especially from Muslim areas, and give more control back to national governments from EU headquarters in Brussels.
On the other side, pro-European movements such as continent's mainstream center-right and center-left parties see the EU parliament vote as a chance to reject populism and support European cooperation and integration.
In the video, Strache also appeared to suggest ways of funneling money to his party via an unconnected foundation to circumvent Austrian rules on political donations.
A spokesman for the opposition Social Democratic Party, Hannes Jarolim, has asked prosecutors to look into the video, the APA news agency reported. Jarolim reportedly claimed the statements in the video could constitute offenses or attempted offenses such as misuse of office, bribery and money laundering.
New York (AP/UNB) — Firefighters have responded to the scene of digital billboard on fire in Times Square.
Flames stated to shoot out of the LED billboard just after 3 p.m. Saturday.
The Fire Department says no injuries have been reported and there was no damage to the building the sign is attached to.
A department spokesman says firefighters are working to turn the billboard's power off.
Dallas, May 19 (AP/UNB) — A spate of tornadoes raked across the Southern Plains, leaving damage and causing few injuries, and parts of the region were bracing for more severe thunderstorms and possible flooding.
The National Weather Service confirmed an EF2 twister Saturday morning with winds up to 130 mph (209 kph) that destroyed at least two homes and left one person with minor injuries in southwestern Oklahoma.
A suspected tornado caused roof damage to "numerous" homes in northwestern Arkansas, a state official said, and severe winds downed trees and power lines across a highway, blocking all lanes.
Energy companies in Oklahoma and Arkansas reported tens of thousands of customers were without power Saturday afternoon.
Tornadoes touched down Friday in Kansas and rural parts of Nebraska, tearing up trees and powerlines, and damaging some homes and farm buildings, according to the National Weather Service.
In Abilene, Texas, a city 150 miles (240 kilometers) west of Fort Worth, strong winds prompted the evacuation of a nursing home and left numerous homes and businesses damaged, according to the Abilene Reporter-News . A spokeswoman for the city said no deaths or serious injuries were reported.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch until 8 p.m. Saturday for the western half of Arkansas. Portions of North Texas also were under a tornado watch and a flash flood warning was issued in the Dallas area Saturday afternoon.
Forecasters warned of heavy rain, lightning, pingpong ball-sized hail and flooding as a line of storms moves west to east through afternoon, covering an area from south of Killeen, Texas, to north of the Oklahoma state line.
In Oklahoma City, thunderstorms prevented workers from securing and removing glass from Devon Tower, which was damaged Wednesday when a scaffolding holding two window washers banged against the building, The Oklahoman reported. Officials said the rain and winds blew broken glass from the tower and compromised the integrity of other panes.
Dubai, May 19(AP/UNB) — Bahrain is ordering all of its citizens to immediately leave Iraq and Iran, amid rising tensions in the Persian Gulf.
Bahrain's Foreign Ministry made the announcement via its state-run news agency Saturday afternoon.
It cited the "unstable situation in the region and the grave developments and threats that threaten security and stability."
Baharin is a small, Sunni-ruled island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia. It regularly accuses Iran of stirring dissent in its Shiite-majority population.
The chief of Iran's Revolutionary Guard says the country is in a "full-fledged intelligence war with the U.S."
The semi-official Fars news agency quoted Gen. Hossein Salami as saying that the U.S. political system had become weak, making an analogy to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
He said: "The political system of the U.S. has cracked and lost its strength. The system has an apparently huge body but suffers from osteoporosis. In fact, the U.S. . is like World Trade Building that collapses with a sudden hit."
Salami recently became the head of the Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary organization that wields tremendous influence within Iran.
Iran's foreign minister says the Islamic Republic is "not seeking war" at the end of his trip to China amid tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Mohammed Javad Zarif made the comment in remarks quoted Saturday by the state-run IRNA news agency.
Zarif said: "In fact, as the supreme leader said, there will be no war since we are not seeking war and nobody in the region is suffering from a hallucination to think that he is able to confront Iran."
Zarif added that though President Donald Trump has said he is not seeking war, "some that have sat around him" are pushing such a conflict.
The U.S. has ordered bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over an unexplained threat they perceive from Iran, raising tensions a year after Trump pulled America out of Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.
An Iraqi oil official says employees of energy giant Exxon Mobil have started evacuating an oil field in the southern province of Basra.
The evacuation comes amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said all those who are being evacuated are foreigners or Iraqis who hold other nationalities.
The official did not give numbers but said the first group left two days ago and another batch left early Saturday.
Exxon Mobil, headquartered in Irving, Texas, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. has already ordered all nonessential diplomatic staff out of Iraq.
U.S. diplomats are warning that commercial airliners flying over the wider Persian Gulf faced a risk of being "misidentified" amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
The warning relayed Saturday by U.S. diplomatic posts from the Federal Aviation Administration underlined the risks the current tensions pose to a region crucial to global air travel.
It also served as a grim reminder that 30 years ago, the U.S. mistook an Iranian passenger jet for a warplane after their last naval battle with Tehran, killing all 290 people aboard.
Concerns about a possible conflict have flared since the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. President Donald Trump since has sought to soften his tone.