Six In The Morning Friday 29 September 2023

At least 59 people killed in twin attacks on mosques in Pakistan

Suicide bombing kills at least 54 at parade to mark prophet’s birthday, while further five die in attack at police compound

At least 59 people have died in bomb attacks on two mosques in Pakistan as the country held a public holiday to celebrate the prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

In the most serious incident, a suicide bomber killed at least 54 people who were gathering for a parade near a mosque to mark the prophet’s birthday in restive Balochistan province.

A second attack struck a mosque in a police station compound in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, killing five people and collapsing the building.

Sweden to call in military to help crack down on gangs

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has blamed “irresponsible immigration policy and a failed integration” for the violence. He is taking several steps to help stem growing gang activity.

Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson was meeting the head of Sweden’s armed forces and the police chief on Friday to discuss ways to stem growing gang violence in the country.

He wanted “to see how the armed forces can help the police fight the gangs.”

In September alone 12 people were killed in the wave of violence sweeping the country. One was killed in a bomb attack, and another 11 were shot dead in separate incidents.

“We’re going to hunt down the gangs, and we’re going to defeat them,” Kristersson said during a televised address on Thursday evening.

Karabakh refugees burn cherished possessions on way out

 The video on Angelina Agabekyan’s phone shows her husband’s military uniform and her son’s toys burning over a bonfire they had set before fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh.

Agabekyan’s little boy adds his bicycle to the flames melting his toys “so that the Azerbaijanis don’t get to play with them”.

The scene has been replayed across the ethnic Armenian enclave of Azerbaijan so often that the separatist government this week urged people not to burn things down before taking flight.

But refugees interviewed by AFP on the Armenian side of the border recount how they had set everything from their books to family albums ablaze to keep them from falling into Azerbaijani hands.

Japan held secret talks with North Korea in March and again in May

By TAKUYA SUZUKI/ Staff Writer

September 29, 2023 at 14:52 JST

Japan initiated secret talks with North Korean officials on two occasions this spring in an apparent attempt to reopen negotiations on resolving the decades-old abduction issue once and for all.

Despite the overture, no agreement was reached for formal talks between Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Kishida has repeatedly said he was prepared to meet with Kim  to resolve the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by Pyongyang in the 1970s and ’80s to train North Korean spies in the Japanese language and the nation’s customs and culture.

Imprisoned Tunisian opposition leader Ghannouchi starts hunger strike

The 82-year-old opposition leader has been in jail since last April on charges of incitement against Kais Saied’s rule, which he denies.

Rached Ghannouchi, a prominent opposition leader in Tunisia and the former speaker of the country’s parliament, has begun a three-day hunger strike behind bars, in solidarity with a fellow political prisoner and head of the opposition coalition National Salvation Front, Jaouher Ben Mbarek.

Ghannounchi has been imprisoned since last April on charges of incitement and plotting against state security, which the opposition figure and his supporters say are baseless. He is a fierce critic of President Kais Saied.

Family in gymnastics racism row say apology is ‘useless’

By Stephanie Hegarty
BBC News

The mother of a black girl who was not given a medal at an Irish gymnastics event ceremony says the apology she has received is “useless”.

A video emerged recently showing the alleged racist treatment of a young black gymnast being ignored by an official who was handing out medals at an event in Dublin last year.

The mother said watching the incident unfold at the time was “horrendous”.

Gymnastics Ireland apologised on Monday “for the upset that has been caused”.

In the statement, the governing body said it was “deeply sorry”, that it knew it needed to do more to ensure “nothing like this will happen again” and it condemned “any form of racism”.

But the mother of the girl said the sports body only publicly apologised after 18 months “because the world wanted them to”.