World AM News Briefs For Thursday, 24 March 2016
Good Morning Australia!! - Authorities learn more about who plotted the terrorist bombings in Brussels - Obama promises to come clean on America's involvement in a shameful chapter in hemispheric history - One corner of Africa might be about to take a giant step in eliminating a terrible practice - And more in your CareerSpot World News Briefs:
Prosecutors in Brussels, Belgium have identified two brothers as two of the attackers in yesterday's terrorist bombings that killed at least 34 people and injured around 300 more. 29-year old Ibrahim El Bakraoui blew himself up at the Brussels airport - he was caught on CCTV with another bomber and a third man who apparently didn't set off his bomb and is being sought by authorities. An hour later, 27-year old Khalid El Bakraoui detonated a bomb in the Maelbeek subway station near the European Union headquarters.
Khalid was wanted by Interpol for terrorist activities, and rented the apartment where police killed a gunman in a shootout last week, days before they caught Paris terrorist Salah Abdeslam. Ibrahim apparently referenced the manhunt for Abdeslam in a note left for investigators to find in a trash bin at the airport: "I'm in a hurry. I don't know what to do anymore, they're looking for me everywhere. I'm not safe anymore. If I give myself up they'll put me in a cell." Federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said both brothers were known to police and were identified by DNA records.
The identity of the the third man at the airport is not clear, and media reports are all over the place on this. Authorities were quoted saying that Najim Laachraoui was the bomb maker and the other bomber killed at the airport, and that this was confirmed by DNA; some other reports indicated that Najim Laachraoui is the man in white with the hat who is on the run. Either way, the man in white hasn't been caught. Islamic State took responsibility for the Brussels bombings carried out by these men.
Syrian troops have pushed back Islamic State to reach the edge of the Palmyra world heritage site, where the terrorists destroyed some ancient Roman ruins late last year. One soldier told Syrian state media that forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad were positioned on the high ground within a kilometer of the city, another said they were able to clear 120 explosives left in the way by IS forces. The Syrian troops were able to advance on Palmyra under the cover of Russian air strikes, one of the last acts carried out by Russian forces before most of them withdrew from the conflict last week.
US President Barack Obama and family are in Argentina, where Mr. Obama promised to release secret military and intelligence files concerning the US role in the military coup there 40 years ago that installed one of the region's most brutal regimes. President Obama also praised the "new mature and intelligent relations" between the two countries; new, conservative President Mauricio Macri has promised to pay billions of dollars to US investors who gobbled up Argentina's debt during the economic crisis of the previous decade,which Mr. Obama says will attract more US investment. Previous president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner sought to negotiate those payments down, calling them "vulture funds" that preyed off of Argentine misery.
A New Zealand court sentenced a man to eight years in prison for threatening to lace baby formula with pesticide. 60-year old Jeremy Kerr pleaded guilty to two counts of blackmail for sending threatening letters containing a pesticide called 1080 to dairy giant Fonterra and the Federated Farmers of New Zealand in 2014. He demanded that New Zealand stop using 1080, which is a contentious issue over there because many critics claim it's not as safe as the government claims it is.
Wonderful news from Somalia, where Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is publicly supporting a campaign to outlaw female genital mutilation, or FGM. The practice is currently against the constitution, but parliament has yet to explicitly outlaw it. PM Sharmarke signed an online petition calling for a comprehensive ban, joining more than a million other signatories. UNICEF says that more than 90-percent of Somali girls are subjected to FGM.