April 17, 2019

Former Peruvian President Alan García died Wednesday after shooting himself as police tried to arrest him on corruption charges.

García had been accused of taking bribes from a Brazilian construction company during his presidency, and police had orders to arrest him Wednesday. But when they arrived at García's home, the ex-president went into his bedroom and shot himself in the head, The New York Times reports via a Peruvian radio station. He was taken to the hospital, where García's personal secretary and the current president of Peru later confirmed he had died.

When police arrived at García's house Wednesday morning, he reportedly told them he was going to call his lawyer and shut himself in his room. Police then heard a shot and found García inside the room with a seemingly self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, The Guardian reports via local journalists. He was taken to a hospital around 6:45 a.m., where Peru's health minister said García was in "very serious" condition. He died after being resuscitated multiple times.

García led Peru from 2006 to 2011, and, along with three other past presidents, has been tied to a bribery scandal involving Brazilian construction magnate Odebrecht. The company admitted it paid $800 million to several Latin American leaders to secure building contracts in a 2016 plea deal with the U.S. Justice Department. García had maintained his innocence even as fellow former President Pedro Pablo Kucyznski was detained last week over the Odebrecht scandal, per The Associated Press. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 12, 2019

International Criminal Court judges have sided with President Trump and rejected their own prosecutor's request.

In a Friday decision nearly 18 months in the making, three ICC judges unanimously rejected ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's request to probe U.S. troops for possible war crimes committed in Afghanistan. The judges agreed there was "reasonable basis" to investigate American troops for the crimes, but ultimately said "current circumstances" in Afghanistan would make "prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited."

The White House released a statement praising the decision as a "major international victory" because the U.S. already "holds American citizens to the highest legal and ethical standards."

The Trump administration has repeatedly criticized the ICC, with National Security Adviser John Bolton saying last year America would sanction the court if it investigated U.S. actions in Afghanistan. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently said he'd begin denying visas to anyone considering investigating U.S. citizens for war crimes, as apparently happened to Bensouda. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 28, 2019

Nothing ruins a trip quite like a canceled flight, but how about a canceled airline? Wow Air, the iconic purple-pink Icelandic carrier known for eye-poppingly cheap flights to and around Europe, folded on Thursday, leaving ticket-holding customers stranded at their gates without refunds or, well, flights.

"Just found out about this news," tweeted one such passenger-to-be, who was stuck at Newark Liberty Airport. "They didn't even notify any of us directly, had to find out from Twitter and Reddit."

At the top of the Wow Air website on Thursday, users could find a banner announcing "WOW AIR has ceased operation. All WOW AIR flights have been canceled." Stranded passengers were advised to look for flights on other airlines: "Some airlines may offer flights at a reduced rate, so-called rescue fares, in light of the circumstances," Wow went on.

But at the gates, passengers described scenes of chaos and confusion. One traveler looking to hop from Toronto to Reykjavik on Wow Air told CNN Business, "This really scared everyone, at that point we were finally given back our bags and no money as of now has been issued back to me." Accommodations and refunds were not offered.

Wow first took off in 2012, and hosted some 3.5 million passengers in 2018. Some 1,100 people were directly employed by the company, which struggled in recent months with financial woes and unsuccessful attempts at a sale. Jeva Lange

March 25, 2019

Mali's government is upending its military after 134 were killed in attacks on three ethnic Fulani villages.

On Saturday, gunmen opened fire in central Mali, killing at least 134 people and injuring 55 others, the United Nations said after a peacekeeping mission to the area. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta quickly declared that "we are at war" — and removed his top military leaders in the process, the Africa Times reports.

The ethnic Dogan group is believed to be responsible for the massacre in the herding villages, France24 says. Mali Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubèye Maïga soon told a state broadcaster that the government had "ordered" a Dogan militia to "dissolve." He also said 11 top army leaders had been replaced. The same Dogan group has been suspected of killing 37 other Fulani people in a January attack, and the U.N. says conflicts between the two groups cost more than 500 lives last year. The two groups fight over grazing land and water, but jihadists have also spurred attacks in the region as they recruit Fulani followers.

Saturday's attack also came a week after 26 Malian soldiers were killed in an attack on a base near the middle of the country. The JNIM, which translates to Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, and which the U.S. has designated a terrorist group, claimed responsibility for that attack. The whole country of Mali has long struggled against extremist influences, though its people also claim hostility from Mali's own security forces. Read more at the Africa Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 19, 2019

One day before Lion Air Flight 610 crashed last October shortly after taking off from Jakarta, a different crew struggled to gain control of the plane as it entered a dive, people familiar with the incident told Bloomberg for a Tuesday report.

An off-duty pilot was sitting in the cockpit of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 jet on Oct. 28 when he realized the anti-stalling flight-control system was malfunctioning. He directed the crew to cut the power to the motor that was forcing the nose downward, Bloomberg reports, and the plane stabilized. Investigators said the same malfunction happened the next day, Oct. 29, causing the plane to crash into the Java Sea, killing all 189 people on board.

This previously undisclosed detail was not mentioned in the report released by Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee. It's believed that a similar issue with the anti-stalling system led to an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX 8 plane crashing on March 10 after taking off from Addis Ababa. Following the Lion Air crash, two U.S. pilots' associations shared their concerns that the possible risks associated with the anti-stalling system were not clearly stated during training and in manuals. Catherine Garcia

March 18, 2019

Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue and the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand are all "part of a club that nobody wants to be a part of."

That's how Tree of Life President Sam Schachner described his congregation's relationship to the two mosques that lost 50 worshippers to a mass shooting on Friday. And that's why the congregation has launched a GoFundMe fundraiser hoping to raise $100,000 for Christchurch's Muslim community, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette details.

In October, a gunman killed 11 members at the Pittsburgh synagogue, prompting "overwhelming support ... from our Muslim brothers and sisters in Pittsburgh," the GoFundMe details. Tree of Life is still continuing to recover, the GoFundMe says, but it still wants to recognize that the New Zealand worshippers are "going through the most difficult moments in your lives." So the synagogue is asking its supporters to show victims in Christchurch that "the entire world is with them," it wrote on the GoFundMe.

The GoFundMe started Saturday and had raised $2,736 a bit less than 24 hours later, the Post-Gazette notes. As of 5 p.m. EST on Monday, it had skyrocketed to $17,305 with donations coming in constantly. Read more about the campaign at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, or find the GoFundMe here. Kathryn Krawczyk

March 7, 2019

Late last year, the U.S. government couldn't stop talking about the thousands of Central American migrants headed through Mexico to the border. But more quietly, it was compiling a list of 59 immigration journalists, activists, and attorneys who worked with or covered the migrant caravan, documents obtained by San Diego NBC affiliate KNSD reveal.

These people would be subject to questioning if they tried to cross the border, and 12 of them actually were, the database shows. Another nine were arrested crossing the border, the Customs and Border Patrol list also details.

President Trump and his administration stoked fears about the caravan, ultimately closing the border at one point. When migrants rushed toward it anyway, American officials hurled tear gas out the crowd, sparking chaos. Those considered "instigators" and "organizers" of that incident were placed on the CBP database obtained by KNSD, along with media members who covered it.

The database also recorded peoples' citizenships and whether they had been arrested or interviewed, or whether their visas had been canceled. A Department of Homeland Security source told KNSD that "agents also created dossiers on each person listed," with one attorney's dossier containing "the car she drives, her mother's name, and her work and travel history."

A CBP spokesperson told KNSD "the names in the database are all people who were present during violence that broke out at the border in November," and said collecting this kind of "evidence" is "protocol." Read more from KNSD or take a look at the documents here. Kathryn Krawczyk

February 20, 2019

After denying it for years, the federal government admitted that it shares the Terrorist Screening Database — better known as the terrorist watch list — with private entities, The Associated Press reports.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit on behalf of several Muslims who say that because their names are wrongfully on the list, they have had to deal with harassment at airports and scrutiny from law enforcement. In September, a government lawyer said during a pre-trial hearing that the Terrorist Screening Center "does not work with private partners" and the list is "considered law enforcement sensitive information and is not shared with the public."

Earlier this month, Terrorist Screening Center Deputy Director of Operations Timothy Groh admitted in a written statement that 1,441 private groups have been granted access to the watchlist. Groh said that in order to receive permission, an organization must be somehow connected to the criminal justice system, AP reports. The government will not reveal how many people are on the list, but has said there are hundreds of thousands of names added every year, and names are regularly removed.

While the list is supposed to only include the names of known or suspected terrorists, critics say people are routinely added that have no ties to terrorism, and this hurts them. A lawyer for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Gadeir Abbas, has asked that the government explain in court which groups have access to the list, and what they are doing with it. "We've always suspected that there was private-sector dissemination of the terror watchlist, but we had no idea the breadth of the dissemination would be so large," he told AP. Catherine Garcia

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