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After-hours visit to Calgary bobsled track leads to 2 deaths

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 06:27 PM

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Police say two young men died and six others were injured after using their personal sled/toboggan to go down a luge-bobsled track after hours at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.

Calgary police said Saturday that emergency crews received a call from an employee at the WinSport Canada facility in northwest Calgary at 1:30 a.m. after a report of several injured people on a closed track.


Militants free Australian woman kidnapped in Burkina Faso

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 05:49 PM

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — A spokesman for Niger's president says an Australian woman kidnapped last month in northern Burkina Faso has been freed.

Jocelyn Elliott and her husband — surgeon Ken Elliott — were kidnapped near the Burkina Faso town of Djibo on Jan. 15. Al-Qaida's North Africa wing claimed responsibility for the kidnapping Friday and said it would release Jocelyn Elliott so as "not to make women involved in the war," according to an audio recording translated by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadi activity online.


3 people dead after Toronto fire in seniors' building

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 04:14 PM

TORONTO (AP) — Police say three people are dead, and 15 others are hospitalized for various injuries following a fire at a seniors' building in Toronto.

Paramedic spokesman Peter Rotolo said Saturday that four people were in critical condition after the Friday afternoon blaze. Three people have been pronounced dead.

Rotolo says paramedics and firefighters pulled residents from apartments on the top floor of the five-story building.


Jewish group condemns far-right WWII remembrance in Hungary

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 03:57 PM

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — The Simon Wiesenthal Center has condemned a far-right commemoration in Hungary of a World War II battle in which speakers lauded a wartime pro-Nazi Hungarian leader.

A report on the feol.hu website said a Waffen-SS veteran who was scheduled to speak at Saturday's memorial in the city of Szekesfehervar did not attend for health reasons. The Wiesenthal Center said the event was "another blatant attempt to honor and glorify the perpetrators of the Holocaust."


El Salvador arrests 4 ex-soldiers in massacre of Jesuits

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 03:49 PM

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Salvadoran police say they've arrested four former soldiers wanted in Spain for the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests in the Central American country. Five of the priests were Spanish.

The national police force says in a Twitter post that the four were arrested at the behest of Interpol.

They are named as Col. Guillermo Alfredo Benavides Moreno and soldiers Antonio Ramiro Avalos Vargas, Angel Perez Vasquez and Tomas Zarpate Castillo.


Colombia: 3,177 pregnant women with Zika; no microcephaly

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 03:45 PM

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos says there's no evidence that Zika has caused any cases of the birth defect known as microcephaly in his country, though it has diagnosed 3,177 pregnant women with the virus.

Santos made the announcement Saturday while announcing that a U.S. medical-scientific team will arrive to help investigate the mosquito-borne virus.


AU and Somali troops retake Somali town from militants

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 03:15 PM

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — A Somali military official says allied African Union and Somali troops have retaken the town Marka one day after Islamic extremist fighters took control of the center following the withdrawal of African Union forces.

Col. Nur Hassan said Saturday that the troops entered the town after a brief battle with militants who fled to the outskirts.

Marka lies about 70 kilometers (43 miles) south of Somalia's capital Mogadishu.


Aniseh Makhlouf, mother of Syria's Assad, dies

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 02:53 PM

BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's presidency says Aniseh Makhlouf, the mother of Syrian President Bashar Assad, has died. She was 86.

A statement on the presidency's official Facebook page says Makhlouf, the wife of the late President Hafez Assad, died Saturday in Damascus.

Makhlouf was born in 1930 to a powerful and wealthy family from the coastal province of Latakia. She married Hafez in 1957 and rarely appeared in public after he became president in 1971.


2 puppeteers held in Spain for allegedly praising terrorism

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 02:10 PM

MADRID (AP) — A Spanish court has ordered the detention of two puppeteers for allegedly praising terrorism during a performance in Madrid.

In a statement by Judge Ismael Moreno, the court says puppeteers Alfonso Lazaro de la Fuente and Raul Garcia Perez, who worked for the "Puppets from Below" company, had staged a play featuring the "hanging of an effigy of a judge, the stabbing of a nun with a crucifix and several police beatings." It also said the puppets held up a sign saying "Up with ETA," a reference to the banned Basque separatist group.


Tunisia unveils anti-jihadi fence on Libyan border

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Saturday, February 6, 2016 - 02:02 PM

BEN GUERDANE, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia's defense minister has visited an anti-jihadi fence that's being built on the country's border with Libya to stop Islamist militants from entering Tunisian territory.

Defense Minister Farhat Horchani inspected the first completed part of the 196-kilometer (122-mile) fence Saturday, which aims to counter the threat from jihadi militants and render the entire border impassable by vehicles. Horchani said the project came about with financial assistance from Germany and the U.S.


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