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House fire in New York City

kills 5, including 3 children


Investigators are scouring for clues

about what sparked a deadly, fast-moving house

fire that killed five people, including three children,

on a sunny spring afternoon. The fire broke out

on Sunday afternoon, on a street full of single-

family homes in the middle class neighborhood

of Queens Village, a neighborhood near Belmont

Park, which hosts the Belmont Stakes, the final

leg in horse racing’s Triple Crown. Television news

footage showed flames chewing through the roof

of the two-story home and roaring in upstairs

rooms of the house as smoke poured from it. “It

was a fire that moved very, very quickly, and the

loss was horrendous,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“This is the devastation of a family,” he said,

adding: “There’s a lot we need to know about what

happened here.” There was no immediate theory

on what started the blaze.

Police stop 12-year-old boy

from driving across Australia


Outback police have arrested a

12-year-old boy who was almost a third of his

way toward driving solo across Australia. The

unlicensed boy had driven more than 1,300 km

from his home in Kendall on the east coast when

he was stopped by traffic police on Saturday on

the Barrier Highway near the remote mining town

of Broken Hill. He was pulled over because a

bumper bar was dragging on the road, New South

Wales police said in a statement on Sunday.

Officials said he was driving to the west coast

city of Perth, more than 4,100 km from Kendall.

The boy may have avoided suspicion from others

during his journey because he appears older than

his age. Police Detective Inspector Kim Fehon said

the boy is about 6 feet (183 centimeters) tall.

London nightclub acid attack

suspect charged with 15 crimes


British police say the suspect in a

nightclub acid attack that injured many people

has been charged with multiple crimes. Police

say Arthur Collins was charged late Sunday with

14 counts of wounding with intent to do severe

bodily harm and one count of throwing corrosive

fluid on a person with intent to cause harm. The

April 17 attack at the Mangle nightclub left two

people partially blinded and others with serious

burns. Police say the fluid was thrown after a

dispute developed between two groups in the east

London club. Collins is the boyfriend of reality TV

performer Ferne McCann, who had urged him to

turn himself in to authorities. He is scheduled to

appear in Thames Magistrates Court on Monday.

Another suspect has also been charged.

Denmark says Russia hacked

defense ministry’s emails


Denmark on Monday denounced

Moscow’s “aggressive” behavior after a report

accused Russian hackers of infiltrating the defense

ministry’s email accounts. “This is part of a

continuing war from the Russian side in this field,

where we are seeing a very aggressive Russia,”

Defense Minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen told

Danish news agency Ritzau. A report published

Sunday by the Centre for Cyber Security accused

a group of pro-Kremlin hackers of breaking into

the emails of defense ministry employees in

2015 and 2016. “The hacked emails don’t contain

military secrets, but it is of course serious,”

Frederiksen said. The report identified the hacker

group as APT28, also known as Pawn Storm,

Sofacy and Fancy Bears, which has links to the

Russian government and security services and

has previously been named by the FBI and US

Homeland Security as being behind “malicious

cyber activity” against US government bodies.

Sweden arrests another

suspect over truck attack


Sweden has arrested a second

suspect over the deadly Stockholm truck attack,

prosecutors said on Monday. Four people were

killed, including two Swedes, one Briton and one

Belgian, when a truck mowed down pedestrians

on a busy shopping street in central Stockholm

on April 7. Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek

national, confessed to driving the stolen truck and

is being held in custody but investigators are still

searching for possible accomplices. The second

unnamed suspect was arrested on Sunday, the

prosecution authority said in a statement, adding:

“No more information can be given at the moment.”

The prosecution has until Wednesday to decide

whether the suspect should be formally remanded

in custody. Police said they had jointly carried out

the arrest with the Swedish Security Service “after

a large amount of preliminary investigations had

been processed.”

Former Punjab Waqf

official suffers stroke


A former senior official in Punjab

Waqf Board and a noted social worker Muhammad

Iqbal Yunus Zinjani suffered a stroke and was

rushed to a hospital in Moradabad in the northern

Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday evening.

Iqbal Yunus is the elder brother of Bahjat Zinjani

(Najmi), a very popular social and dawa worker in

Jeddah. Iqbal Yunus worked as chief estate officer

in the Waqf Board from 1962 till his retirement in

2005 and was instrumental in getting over 1,000

Sikh-occupied mosques and graveyards vacated.

Najmi has requested special prayers for Iqbal

Yunus and his sister who fell ill after hearing the

former’s hospitalization

. — Agencies

Mainstream politics shut out as

Le Pen, Macron win in France


French voters shut out the

country’s political mainstream from

the presidency for the first time in

the country’s modern history, and

on Monday found themselves being

courted across the spectrum for the

runoff election.

The May 7 runoff will be between

the populist Marine Le Pen and cen-

trist Emmanuel Macron, and French

politicians on the moderate left and

right immediately urged voters to

block Le Pen’s path to power.

The defeated far-left candidate,

Jean-Luc Melenchon, pointedly re-

fused to do the same, and Le Pen’s Na-

tional Front is hoping to do the once

unthinkable and peel away voters

historically opposed to a party long

tainted by racism and anti-Semitism.

“The voters who voted for Mr.

Melenchon are angry voters. They

can be in agreement with us,” said

Steeve Brios, a vice president of Le

Pen’s National Front party. He said

they express a choice “outside the


Choosing inside the system is no

longer an option for French voters,

who rejected the two mainstream

parties that have alternated power

for decades in favor of Le Pen and

the untested Macron, who has never

A combination picture shows portraits of candidates for the second round in the

2017 French presidential election, Marine Le Pen (L), French National Front (FN)

political party leader, and Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En

Marche!, (Onwards!).

— Reuters

held elected office and who founded

his own political movement just last

year. Turnout was 78 percent.

Socialist candidate Benoit Ham-

on, whose party holds a majority in

the legislature and whose President

Francois Hollande is the most un-

popular in modern French record-

keeping, got just 6 percent. The con-

servative candidate fared marginally

better, coming in third with just shy

of 20 percent of the vote.

“We are in a phase of decompo-

sition, demolition, deconstruction,”

said former Socialist prime minister

Manuel Valls. “We didn’t do the work

— intellectual, ideological and politi-

cal — on what the left is, and we paid

the price.”

Both center-right and center-left

fell in behind Macron, whose opti-

mistic vision of a tolerant France and

a united Europe with open borders is

a stark contrast to Le Pen’s darker, in-

Chinese president urges ‘restraint’

on North Korea as US carrier nears


Chinese President Xi

Jinping urged “restraint” on North

Korea in a phone call with Donald

Trump on Monday, as Japan joined

drills with an American supercarrier

heading to the Korean peninsula.

The US leader has repeatedly

called on China, the North’s sole ma-

jor ally, to do more to rein in Pyong-

yang, as tensions in the flashpoint

region soar amid speculation it will

conduct another nuclear test.

“(China) hopes that the relevant

parties can maintain restraint and

avoid actions that would increase

tensions in the Korean Peninsula,” Xi

said according to the foreign ministry.

“The only way to realize denucle-

arization in the Korean peninsula and

quickly resolve North Korea’s nuclear

problem is for each relevant party to

fulfill its duties.”

The conversation — the second

since their summit at Trump’s luxury

resort in Florida early this month —

highlights rising concern in Beijing

that tensions between Washington

and Pyongyang could spiral into mili-

tary conflict.

“The international situation is

rapidly changing, it is essential that

China and the US maintain a close

contact and exchange opinions on im-

portant matters in a timely manner,”

Xi told Trump.

Trump also spoke with Japanese

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Mon-

day, discussing the joint drills under

way between the US carrier Carl

Vinson and Japan’s Maritime Self-

Defense Force.

“We completely agreed that we

strongly demand restraint by North

Korea, which has repeatedly taken

dangerous provocative actions,” Abe

told reporters after the call.

Tensions have soared in recent

months as North Korean missile tests

have brought ever-more bellicose

warnings from Trump’s administra-

tion — and repeated demands for

China do more to help.

Despite its longstanding ties with

the North, China has stepped up pres-

sure, announcing in February that it

was halting all imports of coal from

North Korea — a crucial earner for

Pyongyang — for the rest of the year.


The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson transits the South China Sea while conduct-

ing flight operations in this April 9, 2017 file photo.

— Reuters

Pyongyang media issue

threat to ‘wipe out’ US


An official North Ko-

rean website warned on Monday

that Pyongyang will “wipe out”

the United States if Washington

starts a war on the peninsula, the

latest tit-for-tat saber-rattling that

has sent tensions soaring in the


In a series of editorials the

Rodong Sinmun newspaper — the

official mouthpiece of the ruling

Workers’ Party — said the North’s

forces were undeterred and called

the US strike group’s imminent

arrival “undisguised military

blackmail.” “Such threat may star-

tle a jellyfish, but can never work

on the DPRK,” it said on Monday,

using the country’s official name,

the Democratic People’s Republic

of Korea.

A day earlier it said the

North’s revolutionary forces were

“combat-ready to sink the US nu-

clear aircraft carrier with a single


Pyongyang’s rhetoric intensi-

fies every spring, when the US

and South Korea hold joint exer-

cises it sees as rehearsals for an

attack on the North.

A separate editorial on the




Uriminzokkiri Monday claimed

that the dispatching of the Carl

Vinson signaled a war: “It is proof

that an invasion of the North is

nearing day by day.”

The editorial, described as be-

ing written by an army officer, said

it was a “big miscalculation” for

Washington to compare the North

to Syria, which did not launch an

“immediate counterattack” after

a US cruise missile strike earlier

this month.

In the event of an attack, it

said, “The world will witness how

Washington’s rash nuclear aircraft

carriers are turned into a huge

pile of steel and buried at sea and

how a country called America is

wiped out from the Earth.”

There is speculation the North

may conduct another test to mark

the 85th anniversary of the found-

ing of its Korean People’s Army

(KPA) on Tuesday.


First large-scale

malaria vaccine

trials for Africa


A new malaria vaccine

will be tested on a large scale in Ke-

nya, Ghana and Malawi, the World

Health Organization said on Monday,

with 360,000 children to be vaccinat-

ed between 2018 and 2020.

The injectable vaccine RTS,S

could provide limited protection

against a disease that killed 429,000

people worldwide in 2015, with 92

percent of victims in Africa and two-

thirds of them children under five.

“The prospect of a malaria vaccine

is great news. Information gathered in

the pilot will help us make decisions

on the wider use of this vaccine,” said

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s re-

gional director for Africa.

The vaccine should be used

alongside other preventative mea-

sures such as bed nets, insecticides,

repellents and anti-malarial drugs,

the WHO said.

“Combined with existing malaria

interventions, such a vaccine would

have the potential to save tens of

thousands of lives in Africa,” Moeti


“This vaccine is a weapon

amongst others, it is one of the tools

at our disposal,” she added.

The vaccine, also known as Mos-

quirix, has been developed by the

British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoS-

mithKline (GSK) in partnership with

the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative,

and the large-scale three-country pi-

lot will test it on children aged five to

17 months.

The drug passed previous scien-

tific testing — including a phase three

clinical trial between 2009 and 2014

— and was approved for the pilot pro-

gram in 2015.

The aim of the trial is to assess the

effectiveness of the vaccine as well

the feasibility of its delivery to popu-

lations at risk as four successive doses

must be given on a strict timetable.

The immunization cycle is not in

sync with routine childhood inocula-

tions against diseases such as hepati-

tis, measles and meningitis, with in-

jections required at five months, six

months, seven months and two years.

Symptoms of malaria include fe-

ver, muscle pain and headache as well

as vomiting and diarrhea.


Anti-Maduro protesters vow to block main roads in Venezuela


Protesters plan on

Monday to block Venezuela’s main

roads including the capital’s biggest

motorway, triggering fears of further

violence after three weeks of unrest

left 21 people dead.

The wife of jailed opposition lead-

er Leopoldo Lopez started a vigil on

Sunday outside the prison where he

is being held, pressing for permission

to visit him after he spent a month in


President Nicolas Maduro said

on Sunday that he wants “elections

now,” referring to elections for gover-

nors which were supposed to be held

last December, and those for mayors

scheduled for this year. A presidential

election is scheduled for 2018.

“I am ready for what the Electoral

Power says,” insisted Maduro, who

won the 2013 election by a narrow


Venezuela has seen near-daily

protests since the beginning of April,

with opponents of Maduro demand-

ing his ouster.

Maduro has called for local elec-

tions in Venezuela, but the govern-

ment has ruled out voting this year at

presidential level as opposition lead-

ers have demanded.

The opposition blames Maduro

for the unraveling of the oil giant’s

once-booming economy, leaving the

country with critical shortages of

food, medicine and basic goods.

The spark that set off the near-

daily protests was an attempt by the

Supreme Court to take over the pow-

ers of the opposition-dominated Con-


Most of the demonstrations have

degenerated into riots and clashes

with security forces, who dispersed

them using tear gas and rubber bul-

lets. The government and the op-

position have accused each other of

fomenting the deadly violence that

has also seen hundreds of people de-

tained or wounded and businesses



Lilian Tintori, center, wife of imprisoned Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo

Lopez, holds a sit-in for not being allowed to see her husband for the past 30

days, in front of the Ramo Verde Jail where Lopez is imprisoned, in Los Teques,

Miranda State, on Sunday.


ward-looking “French-first” platform

that calls for closed borders, tougher

security, less immigration and drop-

ping the shared euro currency to re-

turn to the French franc.

European stock markets surged

on the open as investors welcomed

the first-round results, with Macron

favored to win. German Chancellor

Angela Merkel wished Macron “all

the best for the next two weeks.”

Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Alt-

maier, tweeted that “the result for

Emmanuel Macron shows: France

AND Europe can win together! The

center is stronger than the populists


Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie, made

it to the second round against Jacques

Chirac in 2002 and was crushed.

Many commentators expect the same

fate for his daughter, but she has al-

ready drawn far more support than

he ever did and she’s transformed the

party’s once-pariah image.

Le Pen offers an alternative for

anyone skeptical of the European

Union and France’s role in it, said

Louis Aliot, the vice president of the

National Front party.

“I’m not convinced that the

French are willing to sign a blank

check to Mr. Macron,” he said.