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John Ridsdel: Hostage from Canada killed in Philippines

John Ridsel killed in PhilippinesA Canadian man held captive by Islamist militants for months in the Philippines has been killed.

John Ridsdel, 68, was taken from a tourist resort along with three others by the Abu Sayyaf group in September last year.

Confirming the death, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it "an act of coldblooded murder".


Mexico hampered probe into apparent student massacre, panel says

Mexico hampered probe into student deathsA panel of international experts on Sunday accused Mexico's government of undermining their probe into the fate of 43 trainee teachers apparently massacred in 2014, the most notorious human rights case in Mexico in recent years.

The independent panel said the government's stonewalling stopped them from reaching the truth as they wrap up their work and prepare to leave Mexico.


Car bomb in eastern Baghdad kills at least 11, sources say

Car bomb in IraqA car bomb exploded in a predominantly Shi'ite Muslim district of eastern Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 11 people and wounding 39 others, security and medical sources said, the third such blast in four days in the capital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast near a cinema in Baghdad al-Jadida but ultra-hardline Sunni Islamic State group, which claimed two attacks over the weekend, often target Shi'ite commercial and residential areas.


Dozens killed after eating poisonous sweets in Pakistan

Nishtar HospitalAt least 24 people have been killed and dozens of others are ill after eating poisonous sweets in eastern Pakistan's Layyah district, officials said Monday.

Local police official Munir Ahmed added that 52 people were still being treated at various hospitals.

Umar Hayat, a resident of Layyah area, bought the baked confections on April 17 to distribute among friends and family after the birth of his grandson. The police official said the dead included the baby boy's father and seven of his uncles.


Austria election: Far-right tops first round of presidential vote

Far right wins round one in Austrian electionAustria's far-right Freedom Party candidate has come top in the first round of presidential elections, preliminary results show.

Norbert Hofer has about 36% of the votes for the mostly ceremonial role - not enough to avoid a run-off in May. He is likely to face independent contender Alexander Van der Bellen, who is polling 20%.

For the first time since World War Two, the candidates from Austria's two main parties did not make it to the run-off.


The Vatican Just Put a Convicted Rapist Back in a Parish

Vatican puts convicted rapist back in parishJust what is it that the Vatican does not get about predator priests? Apparently a lot.

Father Joseph Jeyapaul is a priest from India who admitted to raping two adolescent girls in Minnesota when he served the Crookston diocese from 2004 to 2005.

After being charged with the abuse, which included rape and forcing at least one of the girls to perform fellatio on him, he fled home to India, where he was eventually arrested on an Interpol warrant. He was then extradited back to Minnesota, where he admitted his heinous crimes and entered a plea bargain in which, in exchange for a lighter sentence, he copped to molestation of one of the girls.


Israel releases 12-year-old Palestinian girl from jail

Irael releases 12 year old girlAt the Jbara checkpoint near Tulkarem, the al-Wawi family and human rights groups' representatives waited patiently. The 12-year-old finally emerged, after having spent 2.5 months in a prison, making her the youngest Palestinian female detainee. As her relatives embraced her, the girl, clad in a pink shirt, fought back tears and said nothing.

D* was arrested on February 9 near the illegal settlement of Karmei Tzur, just north of her hometown of Halhul. Now, out on early parole, D served more than half of her sentence of 4.5 months in an Israeli prison for attempted voluntary manslaughter and illegal possession of a knife.


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