Saturday, January 20, 2018
News Roundup

Dozens killed as suicide bombers attack Christian worshipers in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan —Two suicide bombers detonated explosives outside a historic church in northwestern Pakistan, unleashing a horrific attack that killed at least 75 people as they left Sunday worship services.

The bombing in Peshawar, the deadliest single attack on Christians that church leaders could recall in the country's 66-year history, sparked protests nationwide and renewed concerns over the country's ability to protect religious minorities.

The blast occurred outside All Saints Church, which dates to 1883 and is one of the oldest Christian churches in northwest Pakistan.

According to security officials, the twin bombers blew themselves up near the gate of the church as more than 600 worshipers were leaving, sending body parts and debris flying through the air. Many of the dead were women and children, and officials said at least 120 people were injured.

A splinter group affiliated with the Pakistani Taliban — the Jundallah Group of TTP — asserted responsibility for the attack, saying it was in protest of U.S. drone strikes on Pakistani soil.

Pakistan's Christian community says it is facing a growing threat of intimidation, kidnapping and death at the hands of Islamist extremists and even some groups often seen as more mainstream.

"Every Christian is feeling under siege in Pakistan," said Tahir Naveed Chaudhry, a Christian attorney and chairman of the Pakistan Minorities Alliance.

Last year, Chaudhry successfully defended a 13-year-old Christian girl from charges of blasphemy after a Muslim cleric accused her of burning the Koran. The girl fled to Canada with her parents in March. That same month, hundreds of Christians were forced to flee their neighborhood in the eastern city of Lahore after a mob set dozens of houses on fire while accusing a man of blasphemy.

But the severity of the latest bombing stunned much of Pakistan. As gruesome images from the attack flashed across television screens, several of Pakistan's major political parties called for three days of mourning.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also issued a statement in which he vowed "solidarity" with Pakistan's Christian community. "Terrorists have no religion, and targeting innocent people is against the teachings of Islam and all religions," he said.

Comments
U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

WASHINGTON — The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunctio...
Updated: 1 hour ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 19

Friday’s scoreboardBoys soccerIndian Rocks Christian 2, Lakewood 1Lennard 3, Spoto 0Girls soccerPCAC Championship: Largo 3, Osceola 1Lennard 8, Spoto 0
Updated: 2 hours ago

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Updated: 4 hours ago
U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

TAMPA — The owner of a soul and seafood restaurant is facing more than 10 years in federal prison for filing dozens of false tax returns and stealing thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.Natalie Rene Panko, 57, owner of Ladie...
Updated: 5 hours ago
That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

TAMPA — If you hear loud noises coming from MacDill Air Force Base over the next few days, don’t be alarmed.It’s the sound of flying hogs.A squadron of A-10C Warthogs, beloved by troops in the field for their ability to swoop low and slow and tear ap...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

When former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in November, he had amphetamines, morphine and the sleep aid zolpidem in his system, according to an autopsy report.Halladay, 40, died from blunt force trauma with drowning ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

ST. PETERSBURG — Holding a piece of computer paper and a microphone, the leader of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg began a Friday afternoon forum by repeating the USF administration’s new mantra.He reassured the crowd before him that t...
Updated: 5 hours ago