Bomb wounds head of separatist area linked to Russia

Published Aug. 7, 2016


Bomb wounds head of separatist area linked to Russia

The Russian-backed president of a separatist region in eastern Ukraine was wounded Saturday in an assassination attempt, highlighting rising violence in the country's east. A bomb — the weapon of choice in a half-dozen recent, and mysterious, assassinations in the territory — tore apart a car carrying Igor Plotnitsky, leader of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic. A political ally said on Twitter that Plotnitsky was seriously wounded, potentially creating an opening in the leadership in Luhansk, the smaller of the two separatist enclaves in Ukraine's east. The bomb was detonated in Luhansk city, the region's capital. Rebels blamed a Ukrainian death squad, while an aide to Ukraine's director of domestic intelligence said Plotnitsky had fallen victim to infighting in his ranks.


American is arrested after return to nation

An American citizen previously deported from Pakistan on charges of espionage was arrested Saturday in the Pakistani capital for illegally reentering the country, officials said. The officials with Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency said Matthew Barrett was seized at a guesthouse in the capital and taken into custody, hours after immigration officials at the international airport in nearby Rawalpindi were found to have mistakenly granted him entry. Barrett was deported from Pakistan in 2011 and barred from returning after being found in the area of a "sensitive installation," the Interior Ministry said in a statement. They said he was charged with spying on Pakistan's nuclear facilities. There has been no comment from U.S. officials, and no further information about Barrett was immediately known except that he obtained his visa at the Pakistani consulate in Houston. Officials said he used false documents to enter the country.

Quick takes

Belgium: Two female officers were attacked and wounded by a man wielding a machete and shouting "Allahu Akhbar" outside the main police station in the Belgian city of Charleroi on Saturday, police said. The assailant was shot by a third officer and later died of his wounds.

Yemen: The U.N. envoy to Yemen announced Saturday that peace talks to end the country's ruinous civil war would go into a one-month recess.

San Francisco

Two men killed in skydiving jump as parachute fails

Two skydivers were killed Saturday during a tandem jump in northern California, authorities said Saturday. Their bodies were found in a Lodi-area vineyard after someone reported that the skydivers hit the ground without an open parachute, San Joaquin County Sheriff's Deputy Les Garcia said. It appeared the parachute did not deploy until after impact, he said. Authorities were working to identify the bodies, but Riley said it appears the victims, both males, were in their 20s. One was an instructor, he said.

Lock Haven, Pa.

Sentence tossed for woman on death row

The only woman on Pennsylvania's death row had her sentence thrown out by a judge who cited inadequate representation at her trial in the 2003 hatchet killing of her World War II-veteran neighbor. Clinton County Senior Judge Michael Williamson sentenced Shonda Walter, 37, to life in prison without the possibility of parole, saying she had "totally incompetent counsel in the penalty phase" of her 2005 trial.

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Quick takes

Oklahoma City: Three people were taken to a hospital after an estimated 30,000 to 60,000 bees escaped and stung people in a Walmart parking lot in southeast Oklahoma City.

Hill Air Force Base, Utah: An ancient tribal fire pit with tools, a spear tip and tobacco seeds that archaeologists say dates back 12,300 years was recently discovered on a military testing range in northern Utah.

Times wires