Jerusalem, May 29 (AP/UNB)— Israel's raucous political world is on edge, counting down to a midnight deadline to see whether a new government will be formed or whether there will be an unpresented second election of the year.
Backchannel negotiations are continuing to try and find a compromise that will allow Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu faction to join Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition.
Without him, Netanyahu has no parliamentary majority and won't be able to form a government.
Netanyahu and Lieberman are engaged in a high-stakes showdown and neither side appears ready to blink.
The crisis ostensibly revolves around Lieberman's demand that current legislation mandating young ultra-Orthodox men be drafted into the military, like most other Jewish males, run its course. Netanyahu, dependent on the resistant ultra-Orthodox parties, is refusing to press them.
Sydney, May 29 (AP/UNB)— The Australian teenager who cracked an egg on the head of a politician for his remarks about the New Zealand mosque massacre has donated almost $70,000 to people affected by the killings.
Will Connolly, 17, became known worldwide as "Egg Boy" for assaulting right-wing federal Sen. Fraser Anning, who had drawn scorn for saying Muslim immigration was to blame for the March massacre, in which 51 people were killed.
As police investigated the incident, supporters of Connolly raised 99,922 Australian dollars ($69,171) through two crowdfunding accounts to pay for his envisaged legal fees.
But a law firm volunteered to handle the case for free in which Connolly escaped charge.The Melbourne youth announced on Instagram on Wednesday he had donated the money to two support groups for people affected by the Christchurch shootings — the Christchurch Foundation, and Victim Support.
"Finally!!! After a huge amount of red tape, $99,922.36 has today been transferred to the Christchurch Foundation and Victims Support," Connolly posted.
"I decided to donate all monies to help provide some relief to the victims of the massacre ... it wasn't mine to keep."
He added: "To the victims of the Tragedy, I whole heartedly hope that this can bring some relief to you.
"Keep spreading the love."
Victim Support confirmed it had received a portion of Connolly's fund, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Police issued an official caution to Connolly over the incident, which occurred at a political rally in Melbourne. They also investigated Anning, who twice struck the teen after being egged, but also opted not to charge the 69-year-old, saying he'd acted in self-defense.
Anning, who had sat in Australia's Senate as an independent lawmaker after quitting the One Nation party early last year, is no longer in Parliament after he was voted out in the country's May 18 general election.
Dhaka, May 29 (UNB) -On a day two TMC MLAs and 50 councillors joined the BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said she would attend the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 30 at Rashtrapati Bhawan. Despite fighting a bitter electoral campaign against Modi, Banerjee said she decided to attend the event as it was a ‘ceremonial program’.
“I have spoken to other Chief Ministers also. Since it is a ceremonial program we thought of attending it. Yes, I will go (to Modi’s oath-taking ceremony),” ANI quoted Banerjee as saying, reports The Indian Express.
In the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, BJP made massive inroads in Bengal, winning 18 of the 42 seats with a vote share of 40.5 per cent.
Among other opposition leaders who have been invited include Congress president Rahul Gandhi, JD(S) leader and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The invitation to opposition leaders is seen as Modi’s move to reach out to them following the fiercely fought election in which the BJP registered a massive victory.
Besides, in a diplomatic move to reach out to neighbouring countries, Modi has invited leaders from Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries, Kyrgyz Republic and Mauritius for the May 30 ceremony.
While Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to miss the event as she is scheduled to go for a bilateral visit to Japan from May 29, President Abdul Hamid will attend on her behalf.
The leaders who have confirmed their presence are Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena, Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov, Myanmar President U Win Myint, Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth, Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli, Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering and Thailand’s special envoy Grisada Boonrach.
Earlier in the day, Tamil superstar Rajinikanth confirmed his presence at the swearing-in ceremony, which will also see President Ram Nath Kovind administering the oath of office and secrecy to the Union Council of Ministers.
Calling Modi a “charismatic leader”, Rajinikanth said, “In India after Jawahar Lal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi, Modi is now a charismatic leader. The election victory is a victory for Modi.” Besides him, an invitation has also been extended to actor and politician Kamal Haasan.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Andhra Pradesh CM-designate YS Jagan Mohan Reddy are also likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Manaus, May 29 (AP/UNB) — Brazilian officials said Tuesday up to 29 inmates blamed for killing sprees in several prisons will be transferred to stricter federal facilities, after two days of unrest left 55 prisoners dead and authorities rushing to prevent the violence from spreading.
Fighting between inmates began around noon on Sunday in a prison complex in Manaus, the capital of the northern Amazonas state. The state's governor, Wilson Lima, said the deaths were the result of infighting in one of the prison's criminal groups.
"We already had intelligence indicating there was a fissure between members of the same criminal fraction," Lima said in a press conference, without specifying which group.
Drug trafficking and criminal gangs are able to run much of their day-to-day business from Brazil's prisons, where they often have wide sway. Authorities frequently try to separate factions and transfer prisoners to prevent clashes.
In the Manaus complex, an emergency security protocol was activated and within 45 minutes the situation was under control, local authorities said. Still, 15 inmates were killed, either asphyxiated or murdered with hand-crafted arms such as sharpened toothbrushes.
The following day, more fights erupted in three other facilities, all in the same city of Manaus, leaving another 40 inmates dead and pushing federal authorities to send a special taskforce to avoid a scenario similar to that of January 2017, when weeks of gruesome prison killings left over 120 victims.
Nine inmates who were transferred to federal facilities on Tuesday are believed to have ordered the killings, authorities said. It is unclear when the other 20 prisoners will be transferred to federal facilities. As a precautionary measure, another 200 prisoners have also been moved to different cells.
While police forces were intervening to separate inmates considered at-risk, two detainees were shot as they tried to take prison staff hostage.
"As the troop advanced, they (inmates) were killing people choking them inside their cells," said Col. Vinicius Almeida, who leads the state prison office.
Family members of inmates gathered outside the prisons, waiting for information on their loved ones. Some outside the Puraquequara Prison Unit, or UPP, on Tuesday told The Associated Press they heard people screaming and calling for help from within the facility Monday night.
"I'm going to stand here until they give me some news," said Ediane Costa Soares, 38, whose 19-year-old son Anderson Soares de Souza, is an inmate at UPP.
Her son does not appear on the list of victims, but Costa Soares wants reassurance of her son's well-being after the riots. "They have not told us anything."
Another woman, Ana Claudia Bonfim da Silva, was also seeking information about her husband, Marinaldo Chavier, serving a five-year sentence at UPP for robbery.
"It's not easy because they are treated like animals inside. But they are humans not dogs. They (authorities) should give them a job, make them work, but there is not anything like that," she said.
Brazil has the world's third-largest prison population, with more than 720,000 individuals behind bars, according to 2016 data from the online database World Prison Brief. Many facilities are severely overcrowded, up to three times more than its maximum capacity, leaving guards outnumbered.
The Anisio Jobim Prison Complex, where 15 inmates died Sunday, was the scene of gruesome infighting two years ago that left 56 prisoners dead. Many of those victims had their heads cut off or their hearts and intestines ripped out.
In a separate episode, 18 prisoners escaped Monday from a prison in the state of Goias. Officials from the prison said Tuesday they had captured six of the fugitives.
Twenty members of the federal taskforce arrived in Manaus Tuesday for a period of 90 days, said state Gov. Lima in a press conference, adding that by the end of the week the number should rise to about 100 men.
Namche, May 29 (AP/UNB) — Scaling Mount Everest was a dream few realized before Nepal opened its side of the mountain to commercial climbing a half-century ago. This year the government issued a record number of permits, leading to traffic jams on the world's highest peak that likely contributed to the greatest death toll in four years.
As the allure of Everest grows, so have the crowds, with inexperienced climbers faltering on the narrow passageway to the peak and causing deadly delays, veteran climbers said.
After 11 people died this year, Nepal tourism officials have no intention of restricting the number of permits issued, instead encouraging even more tourists and climbers to come "for both pleasure and fame," said Mohan Krishna Sapkota, secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.
Nepal, one of the world's poorest countries, relies on the climbing industry to bring in $300 million each year. It doesn't cap the number of permits it issues or control the pace or timing of the expeditions, leaving that to tour operators and guides who take advantage of brief clear weather conditions whenever they come, leading to pileups near the peak.
On May 22, a climber snapped a photo from a line with dozens of hikers in colorful winter gear that snaked into the sky.
Climbers were crammed crampon-to-crampon along a sharp-edged ridge above South Col, with a 7,000-foot (2,000-meter) drop on either side, all clipped onto a single line of rope, trudging toward the top of the world and risking death as each minute ticked by.
"There were more people on Everest than there should be," said Kul Bahadur Gurung, general secretary of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, an umbrella group of all expedition operators in Nepal. "We lack the rules and regulations that say how many people can actually go up and when."
The death toll this season is the highest since 2015. Most of those who died are believed to have suffered from altitude sickness, which is caused by low amounts of oxygen at high elevation and can cause headaches, vomiting, shortness of breath and mental confusion.
Once only accessible to well-heeled elite mountaineers, Nepal's booming climbing market has driven down the cost of an expedition, opening Everest up to hobbyists and adventure-seekers. Nepal requires climbers to have a doctors' note deeming them physically fit, but not to prove their stamina at such extreme heights.
Because of the altitude, climbers have just hours to reach the top before they are at risk of a pulmonary edema, when the lungs fill with liquid. From Camp Four at 8,000 meters (26,240 feet) to the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak, the final push on Everest is known as the "death zone."
The conditions are so intense at such times that when a person dies, no one can afford to expend energy on carrying the body down from the mountain.
"Every minute counts there," said Eric Murphy, a mountain guide from Bellingham, Washington, who climbed Everest for a third time on May 23. He said what should have taken 12 hours took 17 hours because of struggling climbers who were clearly exhausted but had no one to guide or help them.
Just a handful of inexperienced climbers, he said, is "enough to have a profound effect."
The deaths this year on Nepal's side of the mountain included Don Cash, a sales executive from Utah, and Christopher Kulish, an attorney from Colorado, who both died on their way down from the peak.
Kulish, 62, had just reached the top with a small group after crowds of climbers congested the peak last week, according to his brother, Mark Kulish.
He described his brother as an attorney who was an "inveterate climber of peaks in Colorado, the West and the world over."
Just before he died, Kulish made it into the so-called "Seven Summit Club" of mountaineers who have reached the highest peaks on every continent, his brother said.
Cash, 55, collapsed at the summit and was given CPR and massages by his two Sherpa guides. He got up only to fall again in the same way at Hillary Step, the first cliff face down from the summit. His body was left near there.
Cash had said on his LinkedIn page that he left his job as a sales executive to try to join the seven summits club.
Nepal doesn't have any regulations to determine how many permits should be issued, so anyone with a doctor's note can obtain one for an $11,000 fee, Sapkota said.
This year, permits were issued to 381 people in 44 teams, the highest number ever, according to the government. They were accompanied by an equal number of guides from Nepal's ethnic Sherpa community. Some climbers were originally issued permits in 2014 that were revoked mid-season when 16 Sherpa guides died in an avalanche and other Sherpas, whose support as guides and porters is essential, effectively went on strike.
Another factor was China's limit on the number of permits it issued this year for routes in its territory on the north side of Everest for a clean-up. Both the north and south sides of the mountain are littered with empty oxygen canisters, food packaging and other debris.
Instead of the overcrowding, Sapkota blamed the weather, equipment and inadequate supplemental oxygen for this year's deaths.
"There has been concern about the number of climbers on Mount Everest but it is not because of the traffic jam that there were casualties," Sapkota said in Namche, the town that serves as the staging area for Everest trips.
Still, he said, "In the next season we will work to have double rope in the area below the summit so there is better management of the flow of climbers."
Mirza Ali, a Pakistani mountaineer and tour company owner who reached Everest's peak for the first time this month, on his fourth attempt, said such an approach was flawed.
"Everybody wants to stand on top of the world," but tourists unprepared for the extremes of Everest endanger the entire industry, he said.
"There is not a sufficient check on issuing the permits," Ali said. "The more people come, the more permits, more business. But on the other side it is a lot of risk because it is costing lives."
Indian climber Ameesha Chauhan, soaking her frostbitten toes in medicine at a hospital in Kathmandu, described the agony of turning away from the peak when she realized her supplemental oxygen supply was low.
Two of her team members died on the May 16 ascent.
She returned and scaled the peak a week later.
"If you look at it, the inexperienced climbers do not even know how to tie on the oxygen masks around their face," she said. "Many climbers are too focused on reaching the summit."