WINNIPEG —; It was cold and the middle of the night Monday when Jill Tardiff walked out of the condo she shared with her husband, and hasn’t been seen since.
“Something changed in Jill,” her best friend of 56 years, Debbie Lazaruk said. “I don’t know if it was medication related, they were tweaking her medication.”
Lazaruk says 61-year old Tardiff was normally happy and outgoing but had been fighting severe depression for years. She was released last week after a month long stay at the Sevens Oaks Hospital.
“I’m sure they felt they did what they should do but now we’re saying, ‘How can you still be this ill?’,” Lazaruk said. “How does that happen that they felt she was stable and she wasn’t.”
Winnipeg Police Missing Person Unit is investigating and will be using video surveillance from the stores along Provencher to determine what direction Tardiff went. And the Red River is just metres away from her home and on Tuesday officers were seen scanning the riverbank by boat.
“You just don’t know what might have happened,” Constable Eric Hofley said. “If people can take the time and check their surrounding properties then absolutely that might save investigators and the family a lot of time.”
Tardiff’s brother Ted Wolstencroft says hope is fading with every passing hour.
“With the illness there’s some chance of self harm,” Wolstencroft said.
Tardiff was retired but used to be a principal and vice principal at several Winnipeg High Schools.
She recently moved to a new condo with her husband, starting a new life, but the struggle with mental health issues continued.
“I can’t imagine my world without Jill,” Lazaruk said. “It’s been Deb and Jill for 56 years so I miss her.”
Tardiff is 5 feet 4 inches tall, 120 pounds with short brown hair that has blonde highlights. She was wearing a light coloured t-shirt with horizontal stripes, black pants, blue and white running shoes and glasses and was carrying a blue fabric grocery bag. Anyone with information on Tardiff’s whereabouts is asked to call police at 204-986-6250.
ABOVE: A crew member from the sister ship of the one that capsized off Vancouver Island over the weekend, is speaking out about the loss of three men and the decision that saved a fourth man’s life. Jill Bennett explains.
Three men died on Saturday after a commercial fishing boat sunk off the coast of Estevan Point, about 50 kilometres north of Tofino.
One person survived when he was plucked from the life raft onto a passing cruise ship.
“They were good, hardworking family-loving men who unfortunately aren’t going to make it home tonight,” said one fisherman who did not want to be identified. He has worked on both the Caledonian and its sister ship, the Viking Storm. The Caledonian is the boat that capsized.
Captain Wes Hegglend and two other crew members died when the Caledonian experienced what is believed to be some kind of stabilization issue and capsized.
The crew member who survived has not been identified but he was the only one wearing a life jacket.
“According to the sole survivor, it capsized at about 3:30 in the afternoon, but it remained afloat,” said Paul Tasker, the Maritime Rescue Coordinator with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre. “He was on the overturned hull for a while and then when it sank at 10:30 he was in the water for quite a while. He managed to climb into the lift raft that had come free from the vessel when it sank.”
Around 1:30 Sunday morning, two flares were spotted and the survivor was picked up by a coast guard vessel and taken to a cruise ship in the area. He was then taken to hospital with mild hypothermia, but was alert and talking.
In a strange and sad twist, this fisherman likely saved the life of one of his crew members when he refused a request for him to join the Caledonian.
“So they put a kibosh on him going over to the Caledonian and he came back and replaced me on my boat,” said the fisherman. “And if I hadn’t of gotten off the boat that I fish on, my friend would have probably been sailing on that boat and there’s a chance he wouldn’t be here today.”
Sadly, another friend stepped in and he was one of the men who died.
In a statement to Global News, Daniel C. Occhipinti, the General Counsel & Director of Government Affairs for Pacific Seafood, said:
This is a devastating tragedy for our entire Pacific Seafood family and our community. Right now we are focused on our people and their families. We do not yet know what caused this tragedy but we will do a full investigation to find out what happened. We appreciate everything the Canadian Coast Guard has done to help rescue and search for our crew. Please pray for the families who lost a loved one.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada confirmed they are investigating.
MOSCOW – Russian law enforcement officers on Sunday raided a hideout in the North Caucasus of armed militants allied with the Islamic State group, killing all 11 of them in an exchange of fire, the counter-terrorism agency said.
READ MORE: Islamic State on recruitment spree in Russia’s North Caucasus
The reinforced base in a wooded, mountainous area on the outskirts of Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria republic, contained a workshop for producing explosive devices and a stockpile of weapons and ammunition, the National Anti-Terrorist Committee said in a statement. It said all 11 militants were killed after opening fire on the officers and using grenades, while there were no fatalities among the officers.
An Islamic insurgency has long simmered in the predominantly Muslim North Caucasus republics of southern Russia. The region, which includes Chechnya and Dagestan, has become fertile ground for IS propaganda and recruitment, and the majority of the estimated 3,000 Russians fighting in Syria are believed to come from the North Caucasus.
The agency said the group of militants killed in Sunday’s raid were allied with IS and had helped to send local residents to Syria to fight with IS.
They also were preparing to carry out attacks in the North Caucasus, the agency said. It said two completed explosive devices were found in the hideout.
Tensions in the North Caucasus have been further heightened by Russia’s military campaign in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad in his war against the Sunni opposition. Most of Russia’s Muslims are Sunnis. Last week, Russia intensified its airstrikes in Syria in retaliation for the Oct. 31 bombing of a passenger plane in Egypt, carrying mostly Russian tourists, for which IS claimed responsibility.
MONTREAL – Olympic medallist and lawyer Tricia Smith was voted president of the Canadian Olympic Committee on Sunday morning.
A four-time Olympic rower from Vancouver, Smith won silver at Los Angeles 1984 in coxless pairs with teammate Elizabeth Craig.
Smith – a recipient of the Order of Canada – had been vice president of the Canadian Olympic Committee since 2009.
READ MORE: Marcel Aubut resigns from Canadian Olympic Committee after sexual harassment accusations
She recently became interim president of the organization following Marcel Aubut’s resignation in early October.
COC board members chose between Smith and award-winning high performance coach and lawyer Peter Lawless, who will continue to serve the organization as vice president.
Aubut resigned as COC president in early October after women accused him of sexual comments and unwanted touching.
Smith has served the COC in various capacities for over 30 years. Since joining the COC’s athletes’ council in 1980 as rowing’s representative, Smith has been a member of the executive, team selection, games, governance and compensation Committees. She was Canada’s Chef de Mission for the 2007 Pan American Games.
She is also the vice president of the International Rowing Federation and has been a leader in creating opportunities for women in FISA, in all aspects of the sport, increasing the number of opportunities for women to compete, coach, administrate and officiate in international rowing. She has also played a strong role in FISA’s anti-doping policies as a member of the executive committee.
Halifax — After more than 20 hours of deliberations, a jury has found Paul Trevor Calnen guilty of the second-degree murder of his girlfriend Reita Jordan.
The group of eight women and four men had been sequestered since Thursday while they tried to determine the fate of the 52-year-old man.
Jordan’s family broke out in tears and hugs when the verdict was announced.
“All the waiting is worth it. Justice has been served,” Warren Jordan, Reita’s father, said outside the courtroom.
READ MORE: ‘Reita is much more than just this.’ Jordan family speaks as murder trial nears end
“These are tears of relief,” added Donna Jordan, Reita’s mother.”The only thing is, I wish that would bring my daughter back, but it never will, but at least for her, she’ll rest now.”
Jordan, 34, went missing in March 2013. Two months later, police charged Calnen with her murder.
The case against Calnen was originally thrown out by a provincial court judge during the preliminary hearing stage in 2014, but the charges were reinstated by the crown a short time later.
On the first day of his murder trial, Calnen pleaded guilty to indecently interfering with Jordan’s remains, by burning them. However, Calnen pleaded not guilty to killing her and the case went to trial.
For three weeks, the crown introduced dozens of exhibits and the court heard from 15 witnesses. Defence lawyer Peter Planetta put forward a motion for a directed verdict on the last week of the trial, hoping the judge would acquit the accused because of a lack of evidence. However, Justice James Chipman dismissed the motion and the case went to the jury.
READ MORE: Sentences lighter for men who kill female partners: study
“I’m very happy for the family of Reita Jordan that this case has come to a conclusion,” said Crown attorney Susan MacKay. “It’s been a long time that this process has been ongoing. I am very happy this went before a jury and that we have a verdict.”
The Jordan family admitted they were nervous while waiting for the jury to return.
“Yesterday was terrible, but today is great,” said Donna Jordan. “I’m so happy.”
Despite the jury finding Calnen guilty, Crown attorney Rick Woodburn said the whole case was sad.
READ MORE: Text messages become critical evidence at Calnen murder trial
“We have the death of a young woman and a man whose going to go away for life in prison. There’s no winners here.”
Planetta said he was surprised by the verdict and that Calnen was shocked to be found guilty of his girlfriend’s murder.
“He feels like I would expect anyone would feel when they’ve been convicted when there wasn’t enough evidence,” Planetta told Global News, adding that they plan to appeal the verdict.
The conviction carries an automatic life sentence. Parole eligibility will be determined at a hearing on Jan. 27, 2016.
TORONTO – Men who kill their female partners are more likely to be criminally convicted than men accused of killing strangers — but they also tend to get lighter sentences, a Canadian study concludes.
The research, being published in the journal Current Sociology, finds that men who kill their wives, girlfriends or other female family members are handed shorter prison terms than men who kill strangers.
In fact, according to the findings, men who kill women they know are treated more leniently at most stages of the criminal-justice process, such as facing fewer charges of first-degree murder.
Study author Myrna Dawson, an associate sociology professor at the University of Guelph, calls it the “intimacy discount.”
READ MORE: ‘It’s a problem in our province’: Fort Saskatchewan shooting highlights tragedy of domestic violence
“This may mean that women killed by male partners are still seen as property and, as such, these femicides are not treated as seriously as other femicides,” the study states.
Another factor at play could be that femicide of a partner or family member is typically seen as a spontaneous “crime of passion” or the result of victim provocation.
“Despite the dominance of these beliefs, there has been little examination of the validity of resulting stereotypes,” Dawson told . “Some exploratory research has shown that premeditation or intent is actually more likely in cases involving men who kill female partners.”
Perhaps counterintuitively, given the lighter sentences, the study found that men who kill intimate partners are convicted at rates three times higher than men who kill female strangers.
READ MORE: Accused killer’s refusal to sign probation order was ‘huge red flag,’ group says
Crimes involving relatives tend to be easier both to solve and prosecute, research suggests. The shorter sentences could therefore be due to charges that are more often reduced in exchange for guilty pleas.
“Understanding whether the plea process or common stereotypes associated with intimacy and violence explain this relationship (between convictions and sentencing) is a crucial next step and one that I am currently examining,” Dawson said.
“Court actors — judges, Crown attorneys, defence lawyers — are professionals but they are also members of the public (so) how they see these crimes is key.”
READ MORE: Heat map shows where domestic violence is happening in Calgary
For her journal article “Punishing femicide: criminal justice responses to the killing of women over four decades,” Dawson analyzed Ontario homicide cases between 1974 and 2013, a period in which men killed at least 1,381 women — roughly one femicide every 10 days. She reviewed coroner’s records, police reports and court files to look at criminal charges, guilty pleas and prison sentences.
A key finding was the “female victim effect,” a corroboration of previous American research: Men who kill women are generally treated more harshly than when they kill other men, with those who kill female strangers facing the most severe punishment, particularly at sentencing.
Researchers disagree on why this happens. One idea is that it may be because femicide often occurs in conjunction with a sexual assault, seen as a significant aggravating factor. Another is that the justice system views women as more vulnerable and in greater need of protection.
Dawson, who is Canada research chair in public policy in criminal justice, notes that women remain at far higher risk of being killed by someone they know than by a stranger — one in 10 femicides are perpetrated by strangers. Statistics also show Canadian men kill other men at about twice the rate they kill woman.
Overall, Canada’s homicide rate has been declining steadily for decades, in large part due to a sharp fall in “domestic” killings, statistics indicate.
“There have been changes over time in how the courts respond to femicide, supporting a tentative conclusion that legislative and policy changes may be contributing to improved social and legal responses to these crimes in Canada,” the study states.
KATHMANDU, Nepal – Police in southern Nepal opened fire on ethnic protesters blocking the nation’s main highway, killing two in fresh violence that threatened to escalate political tensions, officials said Sunday.
Police were trying to stop the protesters from blocking the main East-West highway when they were attacked with petrol bombs, spears and bricks around midnight, police official Bhim Dhakal said. He said that 25 policemen and several protesters were injured in two separate attacks.
The two protesters were killed in the Bhardaha and Rupani areas, about 160 kilometres (100 miles) southeast of the capital, Kathmandu, Dhakal said.
READ MORE: Fuel cuts, road blockade, in Nepal leads leads to medicine shortages
A curfew was imposed to stop further violence.
The clashes are expected to escalate the tensions, just as monthslong protests by the Madeshi ethnic group over Nepal’s new constitution had eased over the past few weeks during a series of festivals in the Himalayan nation.
The Madeshi say the new constitution unfairly divides Nepal into seven states with borders that cut through their ancestral homeland. The Madhesis and other small ethnic groups also want the states to be larger and to be given more autonomy over local matters.
The protesters have imposed a general strike in southern Nepal since September and blocked the main border crossings with India, resulting in severe fuel shortages across Nepal.
At least 48 people have been killed in the protests since August. There is no official count of the injured.
India, which has close cultural ties with the Madhesi community, has expressed concern over the new violence.
Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup twitted that his government was “distressed at (a) loss of lives in police firing,” and that a political solution was required.
Nepalese authorities have been rationing gasoline for taxis and public buses, but there’s been no fuel for private cars.
Police have been escorting trucks through south Nepal at night to bring both passengers and cargo to cities in the north, including Kathmandu.
Talks between the protesting groups and government have made little progress, but both sides have said they would continue.
Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli called a meeting of the main political parties later Sunday to discuss the Madhesi demands.
BRUSSELS – Belgian prosecutors announced early Monday that police had detained 16 people in 22 raids but that Paris fugitive Salah Abdeslam was not among them.
Federal prosecutor Eric Van Der Sypt said that “no fire arms or explosives were discovered,” in the raids — 19 in Brussels and the three in Charleroi in the country’s south. One of those detained was injured when a car he was in tried to ram police during an attempted getaway.
“The investigation continues,” he said.
The raids capped a tense day with hundreds of troops patrolling and authorities hunting for one or more suspected militants, the Belgian government chose Sunday to keep the capital on the highest state of alert into the start of the workweek to prevent a Paris-style attack.
WATCH: It’s eerily quiet driving around Brussels amid security threat
READ MORE: Who were the Paris attackers? Many had links to Syria, crossed officials’ radars
Citing a “serious and imminent” threat, Prime Minister Charles Michel announced that schools and universities in Brussels will be closed Monday, with the subway remaining shut down, preventing a return to normal in the city that is also home to the European Union’s main institutions.
“We fear an attack like in Paris, with several individuals, perhaps in several places,” Michel said after chairing a meeting of Belgium’s National Security Council.
While Brussels was kept on the highest of four alert levels, the rest of the country remains on a Level 3 alert, meaning an attack is “possible and likely.”
“Nobody is pleased with such a situation. Neither are we. But we have to take our responsibility,” Michel said.
Western leaders stepped up the rhetoric against the Islamic State group, which has claimed responsibility for the attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded hundreds more; the suicide bombings in Beirut that killed 43 people and injured more than 200; and the downing of the Russian jetliner carrying 224 people in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. All happened within the past month.
“We will not accept the idea that terrorist assaults on restaurants and theatres and hotels are the new normal, or that we are powerless to stop them,” President Barack Obama said in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
WATCH: Cameron to seek approval to join in ISIS airstrikes, offers use of air base in Cyprus
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said IS must be destroyed at all costs. “We must annihilate Islamic State worldwide … and we must destroy Islamic State on its own territory,” Le Drian said. “That’s the only possible direction.”
The decision to put Brussels on the highest alert came early Saturday as authorities frantically searched for Abdeslam, who is believed to have played a key role in the Nov. 13 attacks in France. He is known to have crossed into Belgium the day after the attacks.
Interior Minister Jan Jambon warned that the threat wouldn’t necessarily disappear if Abdeslam was found, because they are looking for several people in connection with a possible planned attack in Brussels.
“The terror threat is wider than just that person,” Jambon said. “We are looking at several things. That is why we are making the big show of power and following everything up by the minute. It’s of no use to hide this.”
Several of the Paris attackers had lived in Brussels, including Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the plot’s orchestrator who was killed Wednesday in a standoff with French police.
Abdeslam is known to have crossed into Belgium on Nov. 14. His brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, went on Belgian TV and urged him to surrender, saying he would rather see him “in prison than in a cemetery.”
Authorities in Turkey said Saturday that a 26-year-old Belgian citizen suspected of being linked to Islamic extremists and possibly to the Paris attacks had been detained in the coastal city of Antalya.
France has intensified its aerial bombing in Syria and Le Drian said the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which has been sent to the Mediterranean to help combat IS militants in Syria, will be “operational” from Monday and “ready to act.”
Also Monday, French President Francois Hollande is scheduled to meet in Paris with British Prime Minister David Cameron and will travel to Washington and Moscow later in the week to push for a stronger international coalition against IS. Cameron is expected to outline his plan for combating the militants as he seeks parliamentary approval to join France, the U.S. and Russia in striking the group’s strongholds in Syria.
Russia also is trumpeting action it’s taking to fight IS. It has intensified its airstrikes in Syria in response to the Oct. 31 downing of its passenger plane in Egypt.
READ MORE: Police in Belgium ask public for radio silence on social media
On Sunday, Russian law enforcement officers raided a militant hideout in the North Caucasus, killing 11 in an exchange of fire. The militants were part of a group whose members had pledged allegiance to IS, the National Anti-Terrorist Committee said in a statement.
Attacks like those in Paris are aimed partly at provoking the West, as the Islamic State group hopes that stepped-up military action in the region will reinforce its narrative of a clash of civilizations and attract more Muslims to its ranks. IS and other militant groups seize on harsh Western rhetoric and civilian deaths to portray themselves as defending Muslims from modern “Crusaders.”
In an effort to minimize possible targets, Belgian officials recommended that sports competitions and all activities in public buildings be cancelled this weekend, and malls and commercial centres closed.
The security measures left Brussels eerily quiet, with streets deserted and many of the city’s famous beer bars and restaurants largely empty.
Residents were bracing for the impact that the continued clampdown would have on this city of more than 1 million as the workweek began.
“I can’t believe they are closing down the city. It is crazy but they must have a good reason,” said Josephine Lemmens, a physiotherapist.
Lemmens said she didn’t know what she would do with her 11-year-old son now that schools have been ordered closed, but she conceded the measures were justified if they prevented an attack like the one in Paris.
Restaurant worker Raphael Lungo said the decision to keep the subway idle would affect him most.
“This is really going to complicate my life. I take the metro very day and I don’t know what I will do tomorrow,” he said, voicing confidence that the emergency wouldn’t last too long.
“Europe succeeded in beating the Nazis,” he said.
The European Union’s executive Commission decided to stay open for business but its vice-president, Kristalina Georgieva, warned people to be vigilant and expect increased security checks. NATO also said it would be open Monday, with security measures increased.
In France, police issued a new appeal to identify the third attacker who was killed in the assault at the national stadium. They posted a photo of the man on 广州蒲友, asking the public for information that would help identify him.
France has extended a state of emergency, which allows police raids, searches and house arrest without permission from a judge, for three months. On Saturday, it also extended a ban on demonstrations and other gatherings through Nov. 30, when a U.N. climate conference with more than 100 heads of state is scheduled to start.
In a sign of the nervousness in Paris since the attacks, some travellers at the Gare Du Nord station ran out of their trains Sunday after hearing noises they thought were gunshots but actually were caused by a pigeon being electrocuted on the tracks.
HARARE, Zimbabwe – Pageant judges have crowned a new winner of Zimbabwe‘s 4th annual “Mister Ugly” contest, upsetting supporters of the crowd favourite and prompting rioting at the event.
Judges on Saturday chose 42-year-old Mison Sere, citing his numerous missing front teeth and a wide range of grotesque facial expressions, over William Masvinu, who had held the title since 2012.
READ MORE: Zimbabwe’s Mister Ugly pageant has record number of entries
Masvinu and his supporters mobbed the judges upon hearing their decision, claiming that Sere was “too handsome” to win and his ugliness wasn’t natural since it was based on missing teeth.
“I am naturally ugly. He is not. He is ugly only when he opens his mouth,” maintained Masvinu, gesturing at his rival.
“Do we have to lose our teeth to win? This is cheating,” shouted another contestant, Patrick Mupereki. While no one was injured, there was a great deal of pushing and shoving as the results were announced and insults were hurled at the judges.
In this Nov. 13, 2015 file photo, Zimbabwe’s three-times Mr Ugly winner William Masvinu poses for a photo in Harare.
AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, File
Beauty pageants are popular in this southern African country and even though they are typically for women, scandal is not unusual. Earlier this year, Miss Zimbabwe winner Emily Kachote faced a backlash on social media, with Zimbabweans calling her ugly and undeserving of the crown.
She was later forced to step down when just two weeks into her reign, images surfaced of her posing nude — which incidentally also brought down her predecessor.
Sere dismissed the critics as just “sore losers” as he pocketed the $500 in winnings.
“They should just accept that I am uglier than them,” he said. “I hope to get a TV contract. I already moved around schools performing and showcasing my ugliness so this is a chance to make it on TV.”
The complaints of Masvinu and the other contestants may have a degree of validity. Organizers had previously announced that disabilities or enhancements would not be accepted in the competition which should focus on “natural ugliness.”
Pageant organizer David Machowa originally told the Associated Press that he began the contest to remove the stigma of ugliness. “Looks are God given. We should all be proud of who we are.”
The pageant involved three rounds of modelling, with individual and group struts down a catwalk of a Harare nightclub.
“Sere made tremendous effort to enhance his ugliness by pulling facial stunts,” said judge Abigail Mataranyika, a university student. “Masvinu thought he is so ugly that he didn’t need to try hard. That cost him the crown.”
This year’s competition attracted a record number of 36 entries, compared to just five in 2012 when Masvinu began his winning streak. The competition was suspended in 2014 due to a lack of sponsorship, but this year the owners of a string of Harare nightclubs donated $1,000.
NEW DELHI – Bangladesh executed two opposition leaders Sunday for war crimes during the country’s 1971 independence war, despite concerns that the legal proceedings against them were flawed and threats of violence by their supporters. A reporter was shot and wounded after covering the funeral of one of the men, though it was not clear who was responsible.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, secretary general of the main Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami, were hanged at 12:55 a.m. at Dhaka Central Jail in the nation’s capital, said Senior Jail Superintendent Mohammad Jahangir Kabir.
READ MORE: Bangladesh boosts security ahead of verdict against Islamist leader facing war crimes charges
A few hours after the execution, a security detail escorted ambulances carrying the men’s bodies to their ancestral homes, where their families were to perform burial rituals.
While there has been international concern over the legal process that led to the executions of the two men, most leading Bangladeshi newspapers and TV stations supported the hangings.
The leading English-language Daily Star’s main report detailed the atrocities that Chowdhury was convicted of, and ran another story with the headline, “Heartless, hateful against Hindus …” The second story narrated how minority Hindus were brutally attacked and killed and their homes torched under Chowdhury’s leadership.
READ MORE: Bangladesh blogger Ananta Bijoy Das hacked to death, 3rd this year
Two top Bangla-language dailies, Samakal and Prothom Alo, also published reports that demonstrated their support for the trials and executions of the two leaders.
Bangladesh was bracing for upheaval ahead of the hangings, with supporters of the two opposition leaders threatening violence if they were executed.
Rajib Sen, a reporter for the Mohona TV station, was on his way back from Chowdhury’s funeral in Chittagong district when his car was sprayed with bullets, the station said. Three other journalists in the car escaped unhurt, and Sen was rushed to a hospital in Chittagong. The TV station is owned by a member of the ruling Awami League party.
Local police would not provide any details on the shooting, and it was not immediately clear who attacked the car or why.
The Jamaat-e-Islami party, which had already had two other senior leaders executed for war crimes, issued a statement calling for a nationwide general strike on Monday.
Chowdhury was convicted on charges of torture, rape and genocide during Bangladesh’s independence war against Pakistan, while Mujahid was found guilty on charges of genocide, conspiracy in killing intellectuals, torture and abduction.
READ MORE: India, Bangladesh swap land and people, settling old border dispute
On Wednesday, Bangladesh’s Supreme Court upheld their death sentences, and on Saturday, President Mohammad Abdul Hamid rejected a clemency appeal, clearing the way for the executions.
Jamaat-e-Islami and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party say the trials were politically motivated. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has denied the allegations.
More than 15 people, mostly leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, have been convicted of war crimes.
Pakistan ‘deeply disturbed’ by executions
The party had campaigned openly against independence for Bangladesh, which was part of Pakistan until the 1971 war. Bangladesh’s government says that Pakistani soldiers, aided by local collaborators, killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the war.
In a statement late Sunday, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said that the trials the two men faced were flawed, and that “Pakistan is deeply disturbed” by the executions.
Mujahid, 67, was the head of Islami Chhatra Sangha, then the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami . He was accused of being the mastermind behind the killing of intellectuals, including teachers and journalists, days before the Pakistani military surrendered to a joint force of freedom fighters and Indian army units on Dec. 16, 1971, after a bloody nine-month war.
Chowdhury, 66, whose father was the speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly and, at times, the acting president of Pakistan, also actively opposed Bangladeshi independence. He was accused of carrying out war crimes, including killing more than 200 civilians, mostly minority Hindus, during the independence war, according to evidence presented at the tribunal.
U.S. lawmakers overseeing foreign policy described the war crimes tribunal, set up in 2013, as “very flawed” and a means of political retribution.
Leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a letter sent Tuesday to the top U.S. diplomat for South Asia, voiced concern that “democratic space is shrinking” in Bangladesh amid “a growing climate of violence, fear and self-censorship.”
Since February, four secular bloggers, a publisher, and two foreigners — an Italian aid worker and a Japanese agriculture researcher — have been killed in attacks linked to Islamic militants.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility for some of the attacks, but authorities say the Sunni extremist group has no presence in the country. Instead, Hasina has blamed the attacks on the opposition, accusing them of trying to destabilize the country and halt the war crimes trials. Both opposition parties denied the allegation.
Such extremist violence was once rare in Bangladesh, which is mostly Muslim but has a strong secular tradition.
YANGON, Myanmar – A landslide near a jade mine in northern Myanmar killed about 100 people, most of them villagers digging for green stones in a mountain of displaced earth, a witness and a community leader said Sunday. Many other people were missing.
The collapse occurred Saturday evening in the Kachin state community of Hpakant, said Brang Seng, a jade businessman, who watched as bodies were pulled from the debris and taken to a hospital morgue.
“People were crying,” he said, adding that some lost loved ones when boulders and earth ripped down the slopes. “I’m hearing that more than 100 people died. In some cases, entire families were lost.”
READ MORE: Political change in Myanmar brings new technology and new opportunities
Lamai Gum Ja, a community leader, said homes at the base of the mine dump had been flattened.
An estimated 100 to 200 people were still missing, he said. Search and rescue teams wearing bright orange uniforms combed through the rubble Sunday for survivors.
Kachin, around 950 kilometres (600 miles) northeast of Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, is home to some of the world’s highest-quality jade.
It generated an estimated $31 billion last year alone, most of the wealth going to individuals and companies tied to Myanmar’s former military rulers, according to Global Witness, a group that investigates misuse of resource revenues.
The jade industry’s epicenter, Hpakant, remains desperately poor, with bumpy dirt roads, constant electricity blackouts and sky-high heroin addiction rates.
After Myanmar’s former military rulers handed over power to a nominally civilian government five years ago, resulting in the lifting of many Western sanctions, the already rapid pace of mining turned frenetic. No scrap of ground, no part of daily life in Hpakant is left untouched by the fleets of giant yellow trucks and backhoes that have sliced apart mountains and denuded once-plush landscape.
In the last year, dozens of small-scale miners have been maimed or lost their lives picking through tailing dumps.
“Large companies, many of them owned by families of former generals, army companies, cronies and drug lords, are making tens or hundreds of millions of dollars a year through their plunder of Hpakant,” said Mike Davis of Global Witness.
“Their legacy to local people is a dystopian wasteland in which scores of people at a time are buried alive in landslides,” he said.
PARIS – The vibe in the Bataclan concert hall was hot, steamy and electric as the California rock band Eagles of Death Metal jammed away a half-hour into a set. Revelers slam-danced to the hard rock, and bodies glistened with sweat. Suddenly, the drum beats gave way to a different kind of rat-a-tat-tat-tat, and flashing stage lights met with glints from automatic rifle barrels.
In the spasm of chaos, some revelers thought the lights and sounds were part of the show. Then the lead singer fled, bodies began to fall — and shouts of partying turned to screams of horror.
It was the beginning of the worst carnage of the Paris attacks that killed 130 people, injured over 300, and caused the French president to declare his nation at war with Islamic State extremists. The legendary music venue in a shabby-chic corner of Paris turned into a chamber of death that one policeman described as “Dante’s Inferno,” as three men laden with explosives and toting Kalashnikovs fired indiscriminately at revelers, turning the dance floor into a sea of blood and body parts.
READ MORE: Eagles of Death Metal say people hid in their dressing room during attack
“I crawled on the ground as low as possible without getting up,” said Arthur, one of the Bataclan fans, who didn’t give his last name. “I scrambled for the emergency exit on the left. We all crawled. Others tried to walk out and stepped on an arm or two.”
Partiers poured like bees from a hive from the emergency exit into a backstage alley. The escape was hampered by bodies of dead and injured clogging the exit. Outside people on higher floors of the concert hall dangled desperately from windows, facing the choice of gunfire from the attackers or a bone-shattering drop to the ground.
The attackers turned up at the Bataclan around 9:40 p.m. in a black Volkwagen Polo, after two other extremist teams had launched suicide bombing attacks on the Stade de France soccer stadium and a string of drive-by shootings at cafes and restaurants. Getting out, they unleashed a burst of automatic gunfire at two young men on rental bikes who happened to be cycling by. The men crumpled to the ground, shot at point-blank range.
“To see it with my own eyes, it was like being in a horror film,” said witness Ludovic Mintchov. “In 10 years, I won’t forget it.”
The attackers strafed their way inside the concert hall, through the bar and merchandise counter, and straight to the pit, according to witness accounts — unleashing a torrent of gunfire.
As the attackers mowed people down, a police commissioner and his driver, learning from the police radio that they were near the site, sped to the concert hall before more elite teams could get there. The commissioner charged inside, traded fire with a gunman, and took him out of action before retreating so that special-operations teams could assemble.
It was a key action that slowed the pace of carnage, and may have saved scores of lives. While the Bataclan death toll of at least 89 was horrific, most of the partygoers survived. Two police officials said the commissioner wants to remain out of public view and is still recovering from the shock.
WATCH: Footage captures moment gunshots heard at Bataclan, band flees stage
“It’s their action that made it possible to stop the killing,” Christophe Molmy, who heads the elite BRI police intervention squad, said of the police commissioner and his driver. When Molmy’s rapid-reaction team arrived at 10:15, “there’s no shooting, there’s no noise, there’s an oppressive silence inside the Bataclan.”
Inside, the remaining gunmen took hostages and used them as human shields or as go-betweens with police — ordered to tell the elite police teams to stay back. One concertgoer, who only gave his first name, Sebastien, was among the hostages. He said he inexplicably survived after a surreal face-to-face conversation with the attackers. Speaking on RTL radio, he said the extremists wanted to send a message of resistance to France’s government for its role in coalition air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.
“They told us it was just the beginning. And that war was starting now. And they were there in the name of Islamic State,” said Sebastien, who like other survivors has chosen to protect his identity.
“Then they asked us whether we agreed with them. So I’ll let you imagine the silence that followed. The timid ones nodded. The braver ones said ‘yes.’”
Sebastien was forced into a tense conversation with attackers, which lasted an hour. One asked him whether he valued money, then held out a roll of bills and told him to burn it. He did as he was told. Sebastian first tried to use humour in the conversation, but dropped that after realizing that “at any moment a misplaced or misinterpreted word could mean death.”
Sebastien said he remains puzzled about the gunmen’s motives in the discussion: They spoke to police negotiators four or five times by phone, and their only demand was that the officers keep away.
Michel Thooris, secretary-general of the France Police labour union, said the attackers appeared to have employed a common tactic in high-profile French terrorism cases in recent years: “suicide by cop.” It’s a term inherited by French police describing a standoff in which hostage takers have few concrete demands but an aim to die in a supposed blaze of glory — to produce maximum impact. That suggested to police that negotiations wouldn’t do much good.
As the standoff continued, special-operations teams were ramping up potential firepower on nearby street corners, assessing the floor plan of the Bataclan, estimating the numbers of gunmen. The negotiations proving fruitless, the Paris police chief — in conjunction with national authorities — gave the green light for an assault, officials said.
The police intervention team, defying shouts from the attackers, fired precision shots at the gunmen in the space between two hostages, Sebastien said.
“Then they bashed the door in, and the real shooting started,” said Sebastien. Nearly 20 officers were plowing in behind a heavy duty Kevlar shield drawing a hailstorm of return fire that left over two dozen welts in it, officials said. One officer lost a finger after a ricocheting bullet went through his hand.
The assault, ordered at 12:20 a.m., left one gunman dead from gunshots, and another blown up in a suicide explosion, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.
In the aftermath, accounts suggested some survivors had acted heroically in small ways and large.
WATCH:Paris attacks: What happened inside Le Bataclan?
Florian, 30, told the TV show “Le Petit Journal” that his girlfriend was shot, and a security guard, with “incredible sang-froid,” guided the couple to relative safety on a balcony. A midwife used Florian’s T-shirt to compress his girlfriend’s wound. As riot police moved in, an officer carried Florian’s girlfriend out on piggyback to paramedics waiting outside. She is recovering in a hospital.
One German couple survived with a group of others by barricading themselves in a room with a fridge against the door. Tragically, some who tried to get into the room were gunned down because they couldn’t get in. Another survivor said about eight people made it through alive by cramming into a tiny bathroom. Some survived by playing dead among the corpses.
Eagles of Death Metal band member Jesse Hughes told VICE that a big reason why so many were killed at the theatre “is because so many people wouldn’t leave their friends.”
He said in a short clip released by HBO that the killers were able to get into the band’s dressing room and killed almost everyone — with the exception of one person who hid under Hughes’ leather jacket.
Some police who moved in after it was all over said they were traumatized by the incessant ringing of cellphones scattered about the debris, blood and corpses, an officer said.
One screen showed a missed call from “Mom.”
Lori Hinnant in Paris, Kerstin Sopke in Berlin, and Hannah Cushman in Chicago contributed to this report.