Sao Paulo, Mar 13 (AP/UNB) — Two young men, wearing hoods and carrying firearms and other weapons, opened fire at a school in southern Brazil on Wednesday, killing eight people before taking their own lives, authorities said.
The dead included two teachers and six students, and several other people had been hospitalized after sustaining injuries, according to Gov. Joao Doria, speaking a few blocks from the public school in Suzano, a suburb of Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city.
The age of the attackers was estimated to be between 20 and 25 years old, and authorities don't believe they were former students, the governor said.
Doria said the school had been evacuated and police were inspecting possible explosives left by the shooters.
"The school is on lockdown," he said.
Latin America's most populous nation has the largest number of annual homicides in the world, but school shootings are rare.
Brazil's new President Jair Bolsonaro recently announced that gun ownership controls would be loosened.
Hejere, Mar 13 (AP/UNB) — The black box from the Boeing jet that crashed and killed all 157 people on board will be sent overseas for analysis but no country has been chosen, an Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said Wednesday, as much of the world grounded or barred the plane model and grieving families arrived at the disaster site.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Asrat Begashaw said the airline has "a range of options" for the data and voice records of the flight's last moments. "What we can say is we don't have the capability to probe it here in Ethiopia," he said. An airline official has said one recorder was partially damaged.
The Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft crashed six minutes after takeoff Sunday, killing all 157 people on board. The disaster is the second with a Max 8 plane in just five months.
While some aviation experts have warned against drawing conclusions until more information on the latest crash emerges, much of the world, including the entire European Union, has grounded the Boeing jetliner or banned it from their airspace. Ethiopian Airlines, widely seen as Africa's best-managed airline, grounded its remaining four 737 Max 8s.
That leaves the United States as one of the few remaining operators of the plane.
"Similar causes may have contributed to both events," European regulators said, referring to the Lion Air crash in Indonesia that killed 189 people last year.
Others took action on Wednesday. Lebanon and Kosovo barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.
The U.S.-based Boeing has said it has no reason to pull the popular aircraft from the skies and does not intend to issue new recommendations about the aircraft to customers.
Boeing's CEO Dennis Muilenburg also spoke with President Donald Trump and reiterated that the 737 Max 8 is safe, the company said. Its technical team, meanwhile, joined American, Israeli, Kenyan and other aviation experts in the investigation led by Ethiopian authorities.
The Federal Aviation Administration also backed the jet's airworthiness and said it was reviewing all available data. "Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft," acting FAA Administrator Daniel K. Elwell said in a statement. "Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action."
Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in this crash could take months.
An Ethiopian pilot who saw the crash site minutes after the disaster told the AP that the plane appeared to have "slid directly into the ground."
Asrat, the Ethiopian Airlines spokesman, told the AP that the remains of victims recovered so far were in freezers and that forensic DNA work for identifications had not yet begun.
The dead came from 35 countries. The airline has identifying them should take five days.
More devastated families arrived at the crash site on Wednesday, some supported by loved ones and wailing.
Addis Ababa, Mar 10 (AP/UNB) — An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from the capital Sunday morning killing all 157 thought to be on board, according to statements from the airline and the state broadcaster.
There were no immediate details on what caused the crash of the Boeing 737-8 MAX plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November.
The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, widely considered the best-managed airline in Africa, calls itself Africa's largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent.
The airline's statement said 149 passengers and eight crew members were thought to be on the plane that crashed six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on its way to Kenya's capital. The crash occurred around Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Addis Ababa, at 8:44 a.m.
While the airline said "search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible casualties," a separate statement by the Ethiopian prime minister's office offered its "deepest condolences" to families.
State broadcaster EBC reported all passengers were dead and that the passengers included 33 nationalities. An Ethiopian Airlines spokesman said 32 Kenyans and 17 Ethiopians were among the victims.
James Macharia, Kenya's transport minister, told reporters that Kenyan authorities had not yet received the passenger manifest. He said an emergency response had been set up for family and friends.
"My prayers go to all the families and associates of those on board," Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta said, as many Kenyans braced for the worst.
Records show that the plane was new. The Planespotters civil aviation database shows that the Boeing 737-8 MAX was delivered to Ethiopian Airlines in mid-November.
In October, another Boeing 737-8 MAX plunged into the Java Sea just minutes after taking off from Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, killing all 189 people on board. The cockpit data recorder showed that the jet's airspeed indicator had malfunctioned on its last four flights, though Lion Air initially claimed that problems with the aircraft had been fixed.
The last deadly crash of an Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane was in 2010, when the plane crashed minutes after takeoff from Beirut killing all 90 people on board.
Sunday's crash comes as the country's reformist prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has vowed to open up the airline and other sectors to foreign investment in a major transformation of the state-centered economy.
Ethiopian Airlines has been expanding assertively, recently opening a route to Moscow and in January inaugurating a new passenger terminal in Addis Ababa to triple capacity.
Speaking at the inauguration, the prime minister challenged the airline to build a new "Airport City" terminal in Bishoftu — where Sunday's crash occurred.
Kinshasa, Mar 10 (AP/UNB)— Heavily armed assailants again attacked an Ebola treatment center in the heart of eastern Congo's deadly outbreak on Saturday, with one police officer killed and health workers injured, authorities said, while frightened patients waited in isolation rooms for the gunfire to end.
The early-morning attack in Butembo came less than a week after the treatment center reopened following an attack last month, which forced Doctors Without Borders to suspend operations in the city amid warnings that ending this outbreak is impossible if health workers aren't protected.
Dozens of armed groups are active in mineral-rich eastern Congo, though some have allowed health workers access to administer Ebola vaccines and track contacts of infected people after delicate negotiations.
Security forces on Saturday repelled the attackers, one of whom was wounded, Butembo Mayor Sylvain Kanyamanda said. Congo's health ministry in a statement said forces had surrounded the center after being tipped to a possible assault, "saving many lives."
The attack occurred hours before the World Health Organization director-general and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director visited the center, which remained open. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus encouraged workers to continue their fight against the second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, which is spreading in a region compared to a war zone.
"It breaks my heart to think of the health workers injured and police officer who died in today's attack," Tedros said. WHO has requested and received more support from United Nations and local police forces to protect treatment centers, he said, and blamed the attack on "elements who are exploiting the desperation of the situation for their own purposes."
Some community members wary of outsiders after years of deadly rebel attacks have shown hostility to health workers in a region that is facing its first Ebola outbreak. Misunderstandings have been high, especially over the need to conduct safe burials, a highly sensitive issue. Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever, is spread via bodily fluids of those infected, including the dead.
On Thursday, the Doctors Without Borders president warned that Ebola containment efforts face a "climate of deepening community mistrust" seven months after the outbreak was declared, and the use of security forces complicates efforts. People are still reluctant to bring the sick to treatment centers, Joanne Liu said.
That hesitance, and sometimes outright evasion, by some community members has deeply complicated efforts to track contacts of infected people and carry out vaccinations.
To conquer Ebola, "we must strike a delicate balance between providing accessible care, maintaining the neutrality of the response and protecting patients and staff from attacks by armed groups," the WHO chief said on Saturday.
Another Ebola treatment center in Katwa was attacked late last month, with one person killed. Doctors Without Borders suspended its operations there. The attacks enormously disrupted virus containment efforts, Congo's health ministry said, warning that a "significant upsurge" in new Ebola cases could follow.
For those trying to contain the outbreak, the attacks are occurring in the worst possible locations. Butembo and Katwa made up more than 86 percent of new confirmed cases over the past three weeks, the health ministry said Monday.
The ministry, which on Sunday tweeted a photo of smiling workers reopening the Butembo treatment center, says 854 Ebola cases have been confirmed since this outbreak was declared on Aug. 1, including 578 deaths.
The outbreak is second to the one in West Africa that killed more than 11,300 people during 2014-2016.
This time, dramatic advances have been seen. More than 86,000 people have received an experimental Ebola vaccine, a clinical trial of experimental treatments is under way and new treatment facilities allow some Ebola patients to be within sight and sound of family members.
Still, millions of people have been screened at transit points in the densely populated region as health workers try to keep Ebola from spreading into neighboring Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan.
"We are committed to ending the outbreak," the WHO chief said, "and we will not leave until we do."
Nigeria, Mar 3 (AP/UNB) — More than 50 people are missing after a leaking oil pipeline exploded and caused a stampede in southern Nigeria, a local official said Saturday.
The blast early Friday caused massive oil spillage in the Nembe kingdom in Bayelsa state, the Nembe Chiefs Council spokesman, Chief Nengi James-Eriworio, told The Associated Press.
The Nembe trunk line is operated by the Port Harcourt-based Aiteo Group and carries crude to the Bonny export terminal. Aiteo had yet to comment on the explosion. It was not immediately clear if the pipeline had been shut down.
Video obtained by the AP shows a large blaze from the ruptured pipeline at night as villagers look on. "If they turn off the oil well from the station, the pressure inside the pipeline would reduce, causing the flame to burn out," one person is heard in the background explaining.
The Niger Delta is highly polluted. Nigerian oil companies usually assert that the majority of oil spills are caused by sabotage, theft and illegal refining.
Deadly accidents caused by leaking pipelines are alarmingly common. In January, an overturned oil tanker exploded in Odukpani in Cross River state while dozens of people were scooping up the leaking fuel. Police said at least 12 people were killed while some witnesses estimated up to 60 were dead.
Hundreds of people have died in similar accidents in recent years in Africa's largest oil producer as impoverished people risk their lives to collect fuel leaking from pipelines or trucks.