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.
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.
Bolivia, May 19 (AP/UNB) — Cheered by thousands of supporters in Bolivia's coca-growing Chapare region, President Evo Morales began his campaign for his third consecutive re-election Saturday amid opposition assertions the constitution prohibits him from running again.
Morales, a one-time leader of coca farmers, became the Andean nation's first indigenous president in January 2006 and is one of the few remaining leaders of the wave of leftists who swept into office in South America in past decades. If he is re-elected in October and serves out the five-year term, he would have been president for almost two decades.
Last year, Bolivia's top electoral court accepted Morales' candidacy for a fourth term despite a constitutional ban and a referendum in which 51% of Bolivians rejected his intention to modify the constitution to allow him to run again.
"Why five more years? To finish our great works. We feel strong; we have self-esteem; and with these crowds giving us energy we will guarantee the liberation of Bolivia forever," Morales said to his supporters.
He launched his campaign at the airport in Chimore, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) east of La Paz, where Morales said the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had a base more than 10 years ago. Morales expelled DEA agents from Bolivia in 2008, and the choice of the airport to launch his re-election bid was symbolic.
"Our fight is for there to never again be an American base in Bolivia," he said. "The United States was the owner of Bolivia. Our struggle has always been to recover our homeland and dignity."
Polls show a competitive race heading into the Oct. 20 vote, which would go to a second round if no candidate wins an outright majority.
Morales has presided over an economic boom and is credited with lifting millions out of poverty, but he has lost support following allegations about manipulation of the justice system, his insistence to run for another term and corruption scandals. Bolivia's opposition view him as a threat to the country's democracy.
He supported a 2009 constitution that allowed only two consecutive terms — though he later argued the restriction took effect only after the new constitution was adopted. The former coca farmer was re-elected in 2009 and 2014.
Bolivians rejected a constitutional amendment to allow more than two consecutive terms in a 2016 referendum. But Morales' party convinced the constitutional court to rule his candidacy was legal, saying term limits violate citizens' human right to run for office. Bolivia's top electoral court then accepted his candidacy.
Vienna, May 18 (AP/UNB) — Austrian vice chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache resigned Saturday after two German newspapers published footage of him apparently offering lucrative government contracts to a potential Russian benefactor.
Standing before assembled journalists and cameras, Strache said he was illegally set up in a "political assassination" but added his behavior in the video was "stupid, irresponsible and a mistake."
The scandal has led to speculation about the future of the governing coalition between Strache's anti-immigration Freedom Party and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz's center-right People's Party. Scenarios include replacing Strache in the cabinet with another party member or ending the coalition for new elections.
In his resignation statement, Strache said he was quitting so that the coalition could continue its work. Kurz has so far not spoken publicly.
The daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung and the weekly Der Spiegel on Friday published extracts of covert video purportedly showing Strache offering government contracts to a Russian woman purportedly interested in investing large amounts of money in Austria.
In the video, the source of which the newspapers declined to reveal, Strache and party colleague Johann Gudenus are heard telling the unnamed woman she could expect lucrative construction contracts if she buys an Austrian newspaper and supports the Freedom Party. Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Der Spiegel said the footage was authenticated by a forensic video expert. It couldn't be immediately independently verified by The Associated Press.
According to the two newspapers, the video spanned some six hours of drink-fueled conversation in a villa on the Spanish island of Ibiza between the Austrian politicians and the woman, who claimed to be the niece of a prominent Russian businessman. Aside from discussing possible investments in Austria, including the purchase of influential tabloid newspaper Kronen Zeitung, Strache also appears to suggest ways of funneling money to his party via an unconnected foundation to circumvent Austrian rules on political donations.
Strache announced his resignation to assembled journalists without taking questions. He said that he had no further contact with the woman and that there were no contributions.
Dubai, May 17 (AP/UNB) — A small plane involved in upgrading a runway at Dubai International Airport crashed Thursday night, killing four people and halting traffic at the world's busiest airport for international travel for nearly an hour.
Authorities gave no explanation for what caused the crash of the Diamond DA62 aircraft with a tail number belonging to Flight Calibrations Service Ltd. of Shoreham, England.
The UAE's General Civil Aviation Authority said the three British citizens and one South African on the plane were killed.
Early Friday morning, police, paramedics and flight investigators worked at the crash site, some 8 kilometers (5 miles) southeast of the airport in Mushrif Park near the city-state's water reservoirs. Police told Associated Press journalists they could not visit the crash site, which was hidden from view by sand dunes.
The airport, home to long-haul carrier Emirates, is the world's busiest for international travel. It halted flights from 7:36 p.m. until 8:22 p.m. over the crash.
Flight Calibrations Service announced in November it signed a contract to work on the airport's "navaids," the beacons around an airport that show pilots where runways are and how to land on them. Dubai International Airport later told The Associated Press that the plane "was being used to calibrate the approach systems" at the airport.
An employee at Flight Calibrations Services, which has two Diamond DA62s stationed in the United Arab Emirates, declined to comment on the crash Thursday night.
The work comes as Dubai has shut down its southern runway for resurfacing and replacing the light and support infrastructure. It closed on April 16 and officials hope to reopen it on May 30.
Dubai has cut back on some of its scheduled flights and redirected others to Al Maktoum Airport at Dubai World Central, the city's second airport.
Dubai is a major city in the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula.
The city-state's last major aircraft incident happened on Aug. 3, 2016. An Emirates Boeing 777-300 coming from Thiruvananthapuram, India, crash landed, but no lives were lost among its 300 passengers and crew. A firefighter was killed in a subsequent explosion of Flight EK521.