At Least 4 Dead, 12 Hurt in Shooting at Mexico Music Festival

The BPM organizers said the attack was perpetrated by a lone shooter. There was no official confirmation of the death toll.

At least four people were killed and 12 were injured early on Monday when a gunman opened fire outside the Blue Parrot nightclub in Mexico's Playa del Carmen resort during the BPM electronic music festival, organizers said in a statement.

The shooting represents a blow to Mexico's tourism industry, which has been one of the few bright spots in the economy thanks to a weak peso exchange rate.

The BPM organizers said three members of their security team were killed in the shooting, which it said was perpetrated by a lone shooter. There was no official confirmation of the death toll.

"We are overcome with grief over this senseless act of violence and we are cooperating fully with local law enforcement and government officials as they continue their investigation," BPM said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

Videos purportedly shot at the scene shown on television and social media appear to show dancers ducking for cover and out on the streets running to safety.

The BPM festival, which was entering its 10th year, has grown to be one of the most important electronic music events in the world.

  • Published in Culture

5 dead, 9 injured in shooting at Fort Lauderdale Airport

News media are reporting that several people have been shot at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Passengers seen assembling on the tarmac away from the airport building. (Jan 6) AP.

MIAMI — A gunman opened fire on passengers in a  baggage claim area at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport Friday,  killing 5 people and injuring nine, according to Sen. Bill Nelson. The gunman was taken into custody.

Not long after the incident, reports emerged of a second possible shooter in Terminal 1by a man described by police at the scene as a white male wearing a white tee-shirt . According to police radio traffic, an "active shooter" was in the upper floors of the terminal.

The Transportation Security Administration alerted on Twitter that there was an "active shooter" at the airport and cautioned people in the area to "shelter in place."

The second incident sent passengers dropping to the ground and cowering behind cars.

The senator, a Florida Democrat, tells MSNBC  that the initial gunman was identified as 26-year-old Esteban Santiago and was carrying a military I.D.

The Broward County sheriff's office reported "multiple dead" in the melee.

The shooting broke out around noon  beside the baggage claim area at Terminal 2, which serves Delta Airlines.

Witnesses said the gunman fired randomly at people gathered near a baggage carousel, reloading several times.

One passenger, Mark Lea, tells MSNBC that the man was "just randomly shooting people" with a 9 mm pistol, without saying a word to anyone. After emptying about 3 magazines of bullets, the shooter  then got down on the ground, spreadeagled and waited for police to come and subdue him.

Lea said the gunman was about 5-7, 165 pounds and was wearing a blue tee-shirt. He said the gunman did not say anything as he opened fire only a few feet away from him.

"He wasn't targeting anyone particular, just random shooting at people," Lea tells MSNBC.

Another witness. John Schicher, tells MSNBC that the shooter appeared to be wearing a blue Star Wars tee-shirt.

Early word on the incident came from a tweet b y Ari Fleischer, former White House spokesman for President George W. Bush.

"I'm at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport," Fleischer tweeted. "Shots have been fired. Everyone is running."

The shooting broke out on the lower level of the airport, according to reports from the scene.

@AriFleischer I'm at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Shots have been fired. Everyone is running.

Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood airport reported on Twitter an "ongoing incident" at the baggage claim area of Terminal 2. The area of gates D4 and D5  largely services Delta flights. Itg said that all services are temporarily suspect at the airport.

Broward County emergency medical units were dispatched to the tarmac near Terminal 2 where dozens of passengers were huddled together.


  • Published in World

Brazilian Penitentiary System Shows Social Abyss, says Researcher

Brasilia, Jan 6 (Prensa Latina) More than economic, social and racial inequity, the degrading Brazilian penitentiary system reflects today the abyss existing in terms of access to justice and guarantee of fundamental rights, said researcher Camila Nunes Dias.

To describe in one phrase the jail system of Brazil, I would say 'it is a machine to destroy persons, do away with their dignity, their health and their dreams', resumed the also professor at the Federal ABC University of Sao Paulo.

Interviewed by portal Vermelho, of the Brazilian Communist Party (PCdoB) regarding the massacre occurred at the beginning of this year at the Penitentiary Complex Anisio Jobim, in Manaus (Amazon), where 56 inmates were killed, described by president Michel Temer the eve as a 'terrifying accident'.

Following the bloody rebellion, the office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights said this is not an isolated case, but 'a reflection of the chronic situation' of the jails of Brazil.

In a message spread here, the UN High Commissioner demanded of Brazilian authorities to open 'an immediate, impartial and effective investigation' of the bloody incident and those resulting responsible be taken to justice.

Nunes Dias recognized it is difficult to describe the present scenario of the prisons in the country. It is a very big system with peculiarities in each state, but with something in common in every case: dreadful, degrading conditions of confinement, valued the member of the Study Nucleus on Violence of the Paulist university.

The jail institutions do nothing but submit inmates to suffering, violating their rights and stigmatizing them, deepening in them a 'criminal' identity, she indicated.

The eve, the interim head of the General Prosecution of the Republic (PGR), Nicolao Dino, announced they will investigate penitentiaries in the states of Amazon, Rio Grande do Sul, Pernambuco and Rondonia, in order to determine possible non-compliance of 'constitutional and infra-constitutional norms'.

The PGR recalled in a note broadcast here that the State of Brazil responds to the Interamerican System of Human Rights for violations detected in prisons of Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Pernambuco, Maranhao and Sao Paulo.

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German Police Surround Mall in Dusseldorf, Berlin Attack Suspect Presumed Inside

The German police surrounded a Kaufhaus store after an eyewitness reportedly saw the Berlin attack suspect inside, local media reports. Shortly after it began, however, the operation was over, and the alleged suspect was not found.

Earlier in the day, a photo of alleged suspect in the Berlin market attack was published by the German newspaper Bild.

According to Bild, the police are searching for an Islamist from Tunisia. His name is Anis A., he is 21-23 years old and he has several passports.

After a witness reported he had seen the alleged terrorist, the store Kaufhaus in Dusseldorf was surrounded by the police.

On Monday, a truck rammed into the crowd at the Berlin Christmas market on the Breitscheidplatz square, killing at least 12 people and injuring 48 more. The country's interior ministry has labeled the incident a terrorist attack.

On Monday, a truck rammed into the crowd at the Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 people and injuring 48. Police have confirmed the ramming was intentional and detained the suspect, a Pakistani migrant, but he was later released over lack of evidence linking him to the attack.

The incident is being investigated as a terrorist attack. Local media revealed Monday that the German intelligence, even before the recent terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, classified the suspect as a person representing a potential threat to public safety because of ties to extremists.

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, in 2012, the current suspect, Tunisian national Anis A., arrived in Italy, and in 2015 moved to Germany. His asylum application, filed in April, was approved.

The suspect reportedly had a total of eight forged passports, he was briefly detained with one of them in the southern German city of Friedrichshafen, the newspaper said, Anis kept in touch with a network of Islamists in Berlin, headed by Ahmad Abdulaziz Abdullah A, also known as Abu Walaa, who is suspected of recruiting people into Daesh terrorist group, and encouraging them to travel to Syria to join terrorist ranks.


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Argentina, Law against Bullying Passed in Buenos Aires

Parliamentarians from Buenos Aires passed today unanimously a law that seeks to eliminate and prevent bullying in schools.

In a special session, Buenos Aires´ parliamentarians agreed on this initiative that envisages a free telephone service to take care of this situation, amid other measures.

According to the law, bullying is all forms of abuse, physical, verbal or psychological, to which a student is subjected by one or many of the classmates.

Cyber abuse and any form of discrimination on the ground of gender, color of the skin, nationality, sexual preference are also forms of bullying, said the website El Parlamentario.

Bullying cases increased in Argentina by 33 percent this year, particularly online.

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32 Bodies, 9 Severed Heads Discovered in Mass Graves in Mexico

Officials said they will continue the search for more clandestine graves in the area.

Authorities in Mexico have exhumed 32 bodies and nine heads from at least 20 secret mass graves in the violence-ridden southern state of Guerrero.

RELATED: No Answers for Scores Who Vanished on Mexican Governor's Watch

The discovery was made in the town of of Zitlala, an area plagued by drug violence and cartels. Officials said they will continue the search for any additional hidden graves around the area.

The bodies and human remains were exhumed by experts from the attorney general of Guerrero and forensic personnel. They were already transferred to the state’s capital Chilpancingo "to initiate the necessary investigation," authorities said.

State security spokesman Roberto Alvarez told AFP the graves had been discovered following an anonymous tip, which led to the discovery of a kidnapping victim. He also said four heads were found "inside a cooler."

"It is worth mentioning that, of the 20 graves, only in 17 were human remains found, and so far none have been identified and there are no detainees who can be alleged to have been responsible," he added.

RELATED:​​ Mass Graves Continue to be Unearthed in Veracruz Mexico

Guerrero is probably the country's most violent state, riddled with deadly clashes between rival drug cartels and gangs.

Over the past decade, Mexican authorities have found countless human remains hidden in secret mass graves across the country. According to human rights organizations, the experts almost never manage to find the identity of those found.

A couple of months ago the government said a total of 27,659 people have disappeared since 2007, in addition to over 100,000 killed in connection to drug violence.

  • Published in World

Police capture man who held 15 hostage in Belgian supermarket

The armed attacker, who took people hostage in a supermarket in the Forest suburb of Brussels, has given himself up to the police, authorities have confirmed.

Eyewitnesses told local channel VRT that the hostage-taking unfolded at about 7 p.m. local time, in a Carrefour chain store, after what they claimed was a robbery attempt gone wrong. Those who managed to leave the supermarket said the suspect was armed with a knife, and forced shoppers to lie down on the floor.

The area was quickly sealed off, and a special team, supported by a helicopter, was sent to disarm the suspect.

Within minutes, the man, who appeared to have issued no demands, was apprehended.

While there has been no suggestion that the hostage-taking was a terrorist attack, police and residents in the Belgian capital have been on high alert over potential incidents in public places, following a deadly airport and train station bombing in the city in March this year.

At dawn on Tuesday, security forces raided 15 houses across the country, taking four men into custody, who now face charges of abetting radical Islamist organizations.

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Recalling Mexico's 'Night of Horror,' Two Years Later

Two years later, the disappearance of 43 student activists haunts Mexico. 

When the gunfire had stopped, when there were no more screams, when the dust had begun to settle and the Mexican night was still like death, only then did Angel Neri de la Cruz surface from his hiding place to do a quick head count of his boarding school classmates at Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College.

When he was done, the toll of this "night of horror" became immediately, and breathtakingly, clear. He shouted: “We Are Missing 43!”

OPINION: 'It Was the State': Unmasking the Official Ayotzinapa Narrative

What remains unanswered, after 43 students – mostly Indigenous – vanished on a highway outside the town of Iguala two years ago Monday is who, really, is responsible? But no one disputes that something unspeakable happened on Sept. 26, 2014, on a highway outside of the town of Iguala in southwest Mexico.

According to de la Cruz, it was twilight when a group of nearly 100 mostly Indigenous student activists traveling in three buses from the Ayotzinapa Normal School near Tixtla, Guerrero, stopped in the town of Iguala about 90 miles away from their campus. The plan was to "borrow" more buses, ironically enough, to attend the 46th anniversary of a student massacre in Mexico City.

With two more buses commandeered, the students left the bus station at about half past 9:00 p.m.

That's when the nightmare began. Before the night of horror was over, four of the five buses would be ambushed. The fifth bus was detained by police, but no shots were fired.

Mexico: Ayotzinapa Families Disappointed with Pope Francis

“We got the buses and we were very close to the main square of Iguala," de la Cruz told teleSur, and "then our comrades who were there in another bus called us to say that police began shooting at them, just in front of the cathedral. We decided to move on in a convoy of three buses. A few meters away at a road junction, police with large weapons surrounded us and started shooting.”

OPINION: Criminalizing the Victims: The Latest Anti-Ayotzinapa Strategy

The students – some as young as 15 – panicked. Dozens, including de la Cruz, scrambled for cover, cowering between two buses to protect themselves from bullets. It was at that point he remembered thinking, amid the fusillade of shots, how his classmates in the first bus had been manhandled by police.

“I saw how they were arrested and put into police vehicles," he said. "They were about 25 and I knew who they were. I mean, Ayotzinapa is so small and our college is a boarding school, so, of course, I knew them all. They were just as afraid as me. I never thought: 'I will not see them again.'”

Several students took off running, into the darkness.

Aldo Gutierrez was shot in the head, and he has been comatose ever since.

Edgar Vargas was shot in the mouth but survived thanks to his comrades who carried him through the drizzling rain.

"Edgar was bleeding so much. We were so worried for him. It was very dark and it was raining so much, most of the streets were dead-ends and we were trying to take Edgar to a hospital, but we were also in a panic because we didn’t want to be shot by police,” Angel says.

Angel and the other students finally found a shelter at the clinic named “Cristina.” They spent the night there, wondering if Edgar would survive and how they could round up bail for their classmates, who they assumed had been arrested and carted off to jail.

When de la Cruz and a handful of his classmates returned to the scene, they discovered the extent of what had transpired only hours before six students dead from gunfire, including one whose horribly mutilated body was missing its eyes.

And 43 were unaccounted for.

The Attorney General, Jesus Murillo Karam, would later say that the students traveled to Iguala to boycott an event of the mayor's wife. According to this version, Mayor Jose Luis Abarca ordered local police to stop them.

Authorities said the 43 Ayotzinapa students were arrested and handed over to the local drug gang ”Guerreros Unidos,” who murdered them and burned most of the corpses at a dump site in the neighboring town of Cocula. Others were apparently dismembered, their remains were thrown into a river.

RELATED: ​​'Climate of Impunity' Threatens Justice for Ayotzinapa Families

The problem was that independent investigations by two groups of international experts, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or IACHR, found no evidence to support this version of events. Both groups also denounced the Mexican government's refusal to collaborate with their investigations.

But after months of work, experts did manage to identify the DNA of student Alexander Mora in the remains of a plastic bag that authorities said they found in a river. However, investigators said the remains were delivered by soldiers and that they never actually saw the plastic bag.

President Enrique Peña Nieto has seldom addressed the issue in public, and there are growing calls that he be prosecuted at the Hague once he leaves office, for human rights abuses related to the massacre and coverup.

“I have not lost my hopes," de la Cruz said. "I’m sure that they are somewhere, maybe in a military prison or in a remote place. But I want to believe that they are still alive, I want also to believe this because I know how much their parents have suffered these two years.”

A massive protest led by the Ayotzinapa college students and the parents of the missing students is scheduled for Monday afternoon in Mexico City, in which they plan to unveil an “anti-monument” – a wrought-iron impression of the number 43.

“It is insulting the way that authorities have managed the case,” says de la Cruz. “(The abductors) said they were the narcos, so then they are the narcos because those who attacked us that night were all wearing uniforms.”

  • Published in World
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