Tegucigalpa, Jan 6 (Xinhua/UNB)- Four people were killed Sunday in a mass shooting in the northern Honduran department of Atlantidain.
The four victims were heading west to work as coffee pickers in the town of Tela when they were attacked by unknown gunmen, local police said.
It was the third mass shooting in six days.
On New Year's Day, four men were killed in the northwestern department of Cortes.
A day later, three youngsters were killed in the northern department of Yoro.
In 2018, Honduras registered 39 mass killings, according to online daily Proceso Digital.
Sao Paulo, Jan 7 (AP/UNB) — The attacks and fire-bombings sweeping Brazil's northeastern state of Ceara continued unabated Sunday despite the deployment of at least 300 members the elite, military-style National Police Force to help bring an end to the violence.
The state's public security department said that buses and cars were torched and gas stations were attacked in Fortaleza, the capital, and in at least six other cities. Police killed two suspects in a shootout. More than 100 people have been taken into custody since the violence that broke out on Wednesday, days afer
The deployment of security forces in Ceara came days after the inauguration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain who was elected on pledges to crack down on crime and give security forces a free hand against criminals.
Earlier, he praised the move, saying "the people of Ceara need help at this moment."
Authorities have said the attacks were ordered by organized crime groups in retaliation for plans to impose tighter controls in the state's prisons. Brazil's prison gangs are powerful and their reach extends outside the country's penitentiaries.
The deployment was ordered by Brazil's federal Justice and Public Security Ministry, now led by popular former anti-corruption judge Sergio Moro, at the request of Ceara Gov. Camilo Santana, citing the "urgent" nature of the threat.
Bolsonaro, who took office New Year's Day, has said he also plans to issue a presidential decree that would make it easier for Brazilians to legally own guns. Bolsonaro argued it was necessary for people to defend themselves.
While legal gun ownership is restricted, drug traffickers and other criminal groups are often heavily armed with automatic weapons. Brazil is the world leader in total annual homicides.
Los Angeles, Jan 7 (AP/UNB) — A powerful winter storm unleashed mudslides in Southern California wildfire burn areas and trapped motorists on a major highway, and the northern part of the state braced for more wet weather Sunday.
Saturday's deluge loosened hillsides where a major blaze burned last year in and around Malibu, clogging the Pacific Coast Highway with mud and debris.
A stretch of the scenic route northwest of Los Angeles was expected to remain closed in both directions until Monday while crews tow away stuck vehicles and clear lanes. No injuries were reported.
The rapper Soulja Boy was among those whose cars were mired in the muck that was up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) deep in some areas.
The 28-year-old retweeted a photo of the mudslide and posted: "My car got stuck too almost went into the ocean," along with a prayer emoji.
An automated rain gauge in the western Santa Monica Mountains showed nearly three-quarters of an inch (nearly 2 centimeters) of rainfall in one hour, said the National Weather Service.
"These are heavy rates," the weather service tweeted.
Up to 1 ½ inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain fell in coastal and valley areas, while mountain communities got heavy snow.
Flash-flood watches and warnings were eventually lifted for areas burned by the fires that scorched more than 155 square miles (404 square kilometers) of brush and timber acres in November, destroyed about 1,600 structures and claimed three lives.
The sun emerged in Los Angeles on Sunday and the red carpet for the evenings Golden Globe awards were expected to remain dry. Scattered showers were possible later in the night.
To the north, wind and rain forced delays or cancelations of flights out of San Francisco International Airport for a second day. A wind advisory was in place until 10 p.m. Sunday.
The San Francisco Bay Area could get up to 1 ½ inches (3.8 centimeters) of rain, with the heaviest downpours coming after sunset.
Strong winds and downed trees knocked out electricity for at least 20,000 customers across the Sacramento region Sunday night. The National Weather Service said Sunday that winds gusted up to 49 mph (79 kph).
Saturday's storm brought about a foot (30 centimeters) of snow to the Sierra Nevada and twice that amount was expected Sunday. A winter storm warning was in effect until 4 a.m. Monday.
Avalanche warnings were posted in parts of California, Nevada and Utah. The Sierra Avalanche Center issued a backcountry avalanche warning for the Lake Tahoe area stretching south into the Sierra along the California-Nevada line from noon Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday.
The National Weather Service says blizzard conditions with gale-force winds could trigger widespread avalanche activity.
Two feet (61 centimeters) of snow was reported at Mammoth Mountain 150 miles (241.39 kilometers) south of Tahoe. More than a foot (30 centimeters) fell in the upper elevations around Tahoe, including 19 inches (48 cm) at Squaw Valley.
Windstorms that pummeled parts of Washington state and Oregon over the weekend left hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.
A strong system brought winds that registered gusts of about 60 mph (96 kph) at Sea-Tac Airport in Washington, the National Weather Service in Seattle said. Dozens of flights in the region were canceled or delayed.
Havana, Jan 7 (AP/UNB) — Jose Ramon Fernandez, a retired Cuban brigadier general who was key in forming the communist country's new army and commanded Cuban defenses at the Bay of Pigs, died on Sunday, state media reported. He was 95.
Tall and spindly with the rigid posture of a military man, Fernandez in his final years remained a legendary figure and served for a time as a vice president on Cuba's Council of Ministers, or Cabinet. A founding member of the Communist Party of Cuba, he was reelected to the party's ruling Central Committee in 2011 — at the age of 87.
Fernandez ran a cadet school that trained officers after the revolutionary triumph of Jan. 1, 1959, laying the foundation of the communist country's new army.
He also played a leading role in one of the great battles of the Cold War, helping command Cuba's nascent militia forces in their victory over invading exile forces at the Bay of Pigs in April 1961.
Cuba won the Bay of Pigs battle because of "the firmness and decision of this people, not because of a professional army," Fernandez told The Associated Press in an April 2001 interview. Fernandez made fewer and fewer public appearances as the years went by.
He also was president of the Cuban Olympic Committee since 1997, helping organize his country's delegations to the 2004 summer games in Athens and the 2008 games in China.
Fernandez, nicknamed "El Gallego" - "The Galician" - for his Spanish parentage, was born in the eastern Cuban city of Santiago on Nov. 4, 1923.
He got a college degree in the social sciences before opting for a military career. He graduated from Cuba's School of Cadets in 1947 and went on to study artillery at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
In the mid-1950s, he joined the "Movement of the Pure," a group of young military officers determined to clean up corruption in the government of dictator Fulgencio Batista, who seized power in a coup.
Fernandez was arrested for his activities in 1956 and imprisoned on the Isle of Pines, later renamed the Isle of Youth, off the main island's southwestern coast. He remained behind bars until the revolution triumphed three years later.
On Jan. 12, 1959, less than two weeks after Batista fled the country, revolutionary leader Fidel Castro called Fernandez to a gathering of more than 100 former government officials imprisoned for opposition to the old regime.
Castro "asked me what I would like" in his new government, Fernandez recalled.
Although Fernandez already had found a job at a sugar production plant, Castro asked him to run a new cadet school. However, Castro said he could not match the salary of 1,100 Cuban pesos a month — then worth US$1,100 — that the sugar plant was paying.
Fernandez didn't know what to say.
"You are right," Fernandez recalled Castro as saying. "I'll go write a book about the Sierra Maestra, you go to the sugar plant, and the revolution can go to hell."
"Fidel could be very persuasive, sometimes very rock-like," Fernandez said. "I thought about it for five seconds, and two hours later I was at the school for cadets."
Two years later, with 1,900 troops under his command at the school, Fernandez received an urgent call from Castro: enemy troops had entered the Bay of Pigs off Cuba's southern coast.
Fernandez commanded militia troops in the battle against about 1,500 Cuban exiles trained and armed by the CIA with the aim of overthrowing the new government.
Washington worried that Castro's leftist government would help the Soviet Union establish a beachhead just 90 miles (145 kilometers) from American shores.
Three days later, on April 19, Fernandez arrived at Playa Giron on the bay and Cuba declared victory. Fernandez remained with the army and assumed the post of vice defense minister in 1966.
He later traded in his uniform for civilian clothes and worked in the Education Ministry from 1970-90.
Lexington, Jan 7 (AP/UNB) — A suspected drunken driver heading the wrong way on Interstate 75 in Kentucky struck a vehicle carrying five family members from Michigan early Sunday, killing all six people, authorities said.
The southbound pickup truck being driven in the northbound lanes struck the family's sport utility vehicle at 2:30 a.m. in Lexington. The SUV caught fire and all five occupants of that vehicle died, along with the pickup's driver, Lexington police said in a statement.
The family from Northville, Michigan, was returning from a vacation in Florida, the Fayette County coroner's office said.
Witness Kenneth DeGraaf told WLEX-TV the pickup truck was coming toward him prior to the fiery crash.
"I thought I was seeing something, honestly," DeGraaf said. "He was in the center lane. I was in the center lane. I had to merge out of the way at the last second to get to the right lane. I mean, he was flying. Absolutely flying."
A coroner's statement identified the family members as Issam Abbas, 42 and Rima Abbas, 38, along with their children, a boy Ali Abbas, 14; and girls Isabella Abbas, 13, and Giselle Abbas, 7.
The driver of the white pickup was identified as 41-year-old Joey Lee Bailey of Georgetown. The coroner's statement says authorities believe Bailey was driving under the influence and that toxicology tests were planned. The interstate was shut for hours as the accident investigation opened.
According to the Islamic Center of America of Dearborn, Michigan, funeral services for the family are set for Tuesday at the center.
Local media reported in Michigan that the death of the family has devastated relatives and friends.
Habib Abbas of Dearborn, who identified himself as a cousin of the father, told The Detroit News that when he first heard about the crash he didn't believe it and went about his day.
"I thought it was a rumor or something and then saw it again and called her sister. She and the family are even more in denial," Abbas told the newspaper.
He added that Issam Abbas was a lawyer and that Rima Abbas was a doctor and devoted mother to their children. He said the extended family was close and that his cousin led a "beautiful life."
"You don't expect a whole family to get wiped out," he said. "You think to yourself 'What's the worst case scenario?' and that's it."
It was the second crash in three days involving multiple deaths on Interstate 75, a bustling north-south corridor crossing the nation's midsection from South Florida to the U.S. border with Canada. Near Gainesville, Florida, an accident Thursday on a relatively flat stretch of the interstate that started between two tractor-trailers killed seven people, including five children on a trip to Walt Disney World in a church van from Louisiana. The truck drivers also were killed and at least eight others were injured.