London, Apr 19 (AP/UNB) — Police in Northern Ireland said Friday they are searching for multiple suspects in the fatal shooting of a journalist during overnight rioting in the city of Londonderry.
The dissident republican group, the New IRA, was most likely responsible for killing Lyra McKee, police said after a clear escalation in recent violence.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland said the 29-year-old journalist and author was shot and killed, probably by a stray bullet, during rioting in the Creggan area.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said a gunman fired a number of shots at police during the unrest Thursday evening.
"We believe this to be a terrorist act," he said. "We believe it has been carried out by violent dissident republicans."
Hamilton said the force's assessment "is that the New IRA are most likely to be the ones behind this and that forms our primary line of inquiry."
A murder investigation has been launched but there have been no arrests. Police appealed for calm to prevail on Easter weekend.
Deputy Chief Constable Stephen Martin said police believe more than one person was involved in the shooting.
"We certainly believe there was more than one person who was involved in this last night. Obviously only one person pulled the trigger but there was more than one person," he said.
He said the violence started after police entered the area to search for weapons and that the gunman was aiming at policemen when the rioting intensified.
Mayor John Boyle said the city was united in mourning her death.
"I have known her since she was 16 years old," he said.
"She was bright, she was warm, she was witty, but most of all she was an outstanding individual, a great friend to so, so many people in this city in the short time that she was with us."
The New IRA is a small group of republicans who reject the 1998 Good Friday agreement that marked the Irish Republican Army's embrace of a political solution to the long-running violence known as "The Troubles" that claimed more than 3,700 lives.
The group is also blamed for a Londonderry car bombing that did not cause any injuries in January. It is regarded as the largest of the splinter dissident groups still operating and has been linked to several other killings in the past decade.
There has been an increase in tensions in Northern Ireland in recent months with sporadic violence, much of it focused in Londonderry, also known as Derry.
McKee, the victim of the shooting, rose to prominence in 2014 with a moving blog post — "Letter to my 14 year old self " — describing the struggle of growing up gay in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland.
In the post, she described the shame she felt at 14 as she kept the "secret" of being gay from her family and friends and the love she received when she was finally able to reveal it.
McKee had recently signed a contract to write two books.
Hours before her death she tweeted a photo of the riot with the words: "Derry tonight. Absolute madness."
Sydney, Apr 19 (AP/UNB) — Rescue personnel said a father fought off several dingoes to save his 14-month-old son from one of the wild dogs that was dragging the boy from their campervan on an Australian island early Friday.
The boy had deep cuts on his head from the attack on Fraser Island in Queensland state, paramedic Ben Du Toit said.
The family was sleeping when a dingo entered their campervan. Du Toit said the parents awoke to their son's cries, the sound fading as he was dragged away.
The father ran outside and fought off several dingoes to rescue his son.
"He was apparently grabbed around the back of the neck area and dragged away. So, if it wasn't for the parents and their quick thinking and fighting off the dingoes, he probably would have had more severe injuries," Frank Bertoli, a pilot for RACQ Life Flight, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
The boy was airlifted to a hospital early Friday.
Bertoli said the boy is the third child attacked by dingoes on Fraser Island this year.
The island is part of an Australian national park and is known for its rainforests, wetlands and extensive coastal dunes.
Fraser Island authorities also issue strong warnings for visitors to avoid dingoes and to not try to draw their attention or leave food behind.
London, Apr 19 (AP/UNB) — Police in Northern Ireland say the dissident republican group the New IRA was probably responsible for the fatal shooting of a journalist during overnight rioting in the city of Londonderry.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland said Friday morning that 29-year-old investigative journalist Lyra McKee died after she was shot during rioting in the Creggan area.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said a gunman fired a number of shots at police during the unrest.
"We believe this to be a terrorist act. We believe it has been carried out by violent dissident republicans," he said.
There has been an increase in tensions in Northern Ireland in recent months with sporadic violence.
Afghanistan, Apr 19 (AP/UNB) — A first round of Afghan-to-Afghan peace talks that would have seen Taliban and government officials sit together for the first time were postponed indefinitely Thursday after a falling out over who should attend.
Sultan Barakat, director of Qatar's Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies, the organization sponsoring the talks, tweeted news of the postponement, saying "this is unfortunately necessary to further build consensus as to who should participate in the conference."
The talks scheduled for Friday between Afghan and Taliban representatives were considered a significant first step toward finding a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan and the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops, which would end America's longest war.
The senior official said negotiations went awry after President Ashraf Ghani opposed a list of participants announced by Barakat's organization. A list of 243 people was announced by Qatar on Thursday.
That list differed from Ghani's list of 250 people, which included many more women, according to a senior government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The Taliban did not immediately comment but Zabihullah Mujahed, Taliban spokesman, on Wednesday questioned the size of the government delegation.
Efforts to find an end to the war in Afghanistan have escalated since the appointment in September of U.S. Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban. The Taliban's negotiating team numbers 14, including five former inmates of the U.S. prison on Guantanamo Bay.
The Taliban had previously refused to hold direct talks with Ghani's government, calling them puppets of the U.S. However, after pressure from Khalilzad and the government of Qatar, where the religious movement maintains a political office, they agreed to an intra-Afghan dialogue that includes members of the government. Still, they said they would recognize them only as ordinary Afghans, rather than government officials or ministers.
But Ghani struggled to cobble together a negotiating team and was highly critical of a meeting held earlier this year in Moscow between the Taliban and prominent Afghan representatives, including former president Hamid Karzai.
Kabul's many groups, including opposing warlords, political opposition and even feuding government officials have made the task of finding representatives everyone can agree on a difficult one.
The government's list of 250 participants is a reflection of its "inability to gather the various political parties together and form a team that can speak with one voice," said Bill Roggio, editor of the Long War Journal.
"There is much distrust amongst the political parties and other groups, particularly after some groups met the Taliban in Russia without the permission of the Afghan government," said Roggio.
Ghani's list of 250 people included 54 women, compared to the Qatar list which included only 10.
Suraya Pakzad, an Afghan women's rights activist, said the Afghan Women's Network was also planning to send 18 women to the talks in the Qatar capital of Doha. Actress Angelina Jolie had even donated $10,000 to cover expenses, she said. But on Wednesday they were told that their sponsors in Doha who were to escort them from the airport had backed out and without escorts they may not be allowed to leave the airport. They were also not guaranteed entrance to the talks and so canceled their plans before the talks were officially postponed.
Pakzad said Ghani's list of women had also been pared down from the original 54 to 11 after Qatar had argued against the large contingent of women.
Khalilzad has on several occasions told Afghans in Kabul that it will be up to them to negotiate women's rights, freedoms and rule of law with the Taliban, who imposed a regressive interpretation of Islam when they were in power that forbade women from working and denied girls schooling.
Khalilzad's direct talks with the Taliban have been narrowly focused on a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal and guarantees from the religious militia that Afghanistan would not again be used to stage terror attacks.
Dhaka, Apr 19 (UNB) - The prime minister of Mali and his entire government have resigned, following an upsurge of violence in the country, reports BBC.
On Wednesday, a motion of no confidence was submitted as MPs blamed Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga for failing to handle the unrest.
Last month, scores of herders were killed by a rival ethnic group.
President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said in a statement that he accepted Mr Maiga and his ministers' resignation.
"A prime minister will be named very soon and a new government will be put in place after consultations with all political forces," the statement said.
Mali has been struggling to control violence since Al-Qaeda-linked Islamist extremists gripped the desert north of the country in 2012.
Despite an ongoing military drive and a 2015 peace agreement, jihadists still dominate areas huge areas of the country, having migrated from the north to the more heavily populated centre of the country.
The government has come under increasing pressure over its inability to restore stability, particularly after the massacre of 160 Fulani herders in the Mopti region.
Armed with guns and machetes, the attackers appeared to be members of the Dogon ethnic group, which has a long history of tension with the nomadic Fulani people.
The country was shocked by the killings and tens of thousands of people protested on the streets of the capital Bamako on April 5.
The president said in a televised address on Tuesday that he had "heard the anger".