A driver deliberately plowed his white Ryder rental van into a lunch-hour crowd in Toronto on Monday, killing 10 people and injuring 15 along a roughly mile-long (1.6-km) stretch of sidewalk thronged with pedestrians, police said.
Although the attack had the hallmarks of recent deadly vehicle assaults by Islamic State supporters in the United States and Europe, federal officials said it did not represent a larger threat to national security.
Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders identified the suspect as Alek Minassian, 25, who he said had not previously been known to authorities. Police, who quickly arrested Minassian, do not know his motives.
“The actions definitely looked deliberate,” Saunders told a late-night news conference close to the site of the incident in the northern section of Canada’s biggest city, noting the van had been driven along sidewalks.
The brutal incident - which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called a “tragic and senseless attack” - was one of the most violent in recent Canadian history.
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, standing next to Saunders, said: “There would appear to be no national security connections.”
Global Television said Minassian would appear in a Toronto court at 10 am ET (1400 GMT) on Tuesday.
The attack shook the usually peaceful streets of Toronto, a major tourist destination. The city, which has a population of 2.8 million, recorded 61 murders last year.
“This kind of tragic incident is not representative of how we live and who we are,” Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters. Downtown Toronto’s iconic CN Tower, which is normally lit up in the evening, went dark on Monday evening.
The drama started just before 1:30 p.m. when the driver steered his vehicle into the crowds.
A man who gave his name as Ali told CNN he saw the van and that the driver appeared to have been targeting people.
“This person was intentionally doing this, he was killing everybody,” the man said. “He kept going, he kept going. People were getting hit, one after another.”
The street was soon covered in blood, empty shoes and bodies.
Video footage shot by a bystander showed police arresting a suspect at the scene as he shouted: “Kill me” and pointed an unidentified object at a policeman.
The officer replied, “No, get down.”
When the suspect said, “I have a gun in my pocket,” the officer responded: “I don’t care. Get down.”
The tragedy struck as Canada was still recovering from the shock of a highway crash in Saskatchewan earlier this month that killed 16 people on a bus carrying a junior hockey team.
“It was with great sadness that I heard about the tragic and senseless attack that took place in Toronto this afternoon,” Trudeau said in a statement. “We should all feel safe walking in our cities and communities.”
Last October eight people died in New York when a man driving a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists on a bike path.
The Islamic State militant group encourages its supporters to use vehicles for attacks.
Last month, a former Canadian university student pleaded guilty to killing six men praying in a Quebec City mosque in January 2017.
In September, a Somali refugee was charged with attempted murder over allegations he ran down four pedestrians with a car and stabbed a police officer outside a sports stadium in Edmonton, Alberta.

 

US President Donald Trump’s new national security adviser, John Bolton, presided over a propaganda origination that has promoted misleading and false news against Muslims, according to a report.
Bolton was chairman of the Gatestone Institute, a New York-based advocacy group that tells people that Muslims would take over Europe leading to a “Great White Death,” from 2013 until March 2018, NBC News reported on Monday.
The group has published numerous reports on its website against Muslims and immigrants in Europe.
Gatestone is “a key part of the whole Islamaphobic cottage industry on the internet,” said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights and advocacy group.
He added that Bolton’s association with Gatestone, "and in one of the most powerful positions on the planet, is very disturbing.”
Gatestone is “putting out content that was clearly anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim” disinformation propaganda being spread on social media., said Alina Polyakova, a Brookings Institution fellow who studies far-right populism and disinformation campaigns in the European Union.
Polyakova said it was surprising for several people that Bolton had presided over the group.
Last month, Trump announced Gen. H.R. McMaster's replacement, making Bolton -- a former US ambassador to the United Nations -- his third national security adviser, part of a shake-up that creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in recent history.
Bolton formally started as national security adviser in early April.
Democrats and others have expressed concerns about Bolton's pro-war views, particularly during his time in the administration of George W. Bush leading up to the 2003 Iraq War.
Some analysts have said that the appointment of Bolton as US national security adviser indicates that the Trump administration plans to escalate hostilities towards Islamic countries, particularly Iran.
Shortly before the US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003, Bolton reportedly told Israeli officials that once Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was removed, it would be necessary to deal with Syria, Iran and North Korea.
Foreign policy experts say Bolton is likely to encourage President Trump toward military confrontation with Iran.
Bolton has also called on Washington to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic, even though UN inspectors have repeatedly verified Iran’s compliance with the accord.

 

An Indonesian court on Tuesday jailed a former speaker of parliament for 15 years for his role in causing state losses of around $170 million linked to a national electronic identity card scheme.
The case has shocked Indonesians already used to large corruption scandals, and reinforced a widely held perception that parliament, long regarded as riddled with corruption, is a failing institution.
Setya Novanto was speaker from 2014-15 and again from 2016-17.
“The defendant is found guilty of conspiring to commit corruption and is sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined 500 million rupiah,” Yanto, the head of a panel of five judges, told the Jakarta court. The fine is equivalent to $36,000.
Novanto would be barred from holding public office for five years after serving his sentence and have to repay $7.3 million he had plundered, added the judge, who goes by one name.
In a session that ran for more than three hours, judges read out dozens of case notes, including descriptions of where the former speaker held meetings to divvy up cash made from a mark-up on a contract for the identity card.
Novanto showed little emotion as the judge read the verdict.
After a quick consultation with his legal team, he told the court he would take time to consider whether to appeal against the sentence.
Novanto was accused of orchestrating a scheme to steal $173 million, or almost 40 percent of the entire budget for a government contract for the national identity card.
Prosecutors, who had questioned 80 witnesses in the case, had sought a jail term of at least 16 years.
The Corruption Eradication Commission, known by its Indonesian initials KPK, has remained one of Southeast Asia’s most effective and independent agencies, despite repeated efforts to undermine it.
The KPK has jailed ministers, governors, judges and other high-ranking officials and members of parliament.
“This is a warning to anybody not to act against the law,” Vice President Jusuf Kalla told Metro TV when asked to comment on the verdict.
Novanto, who had been implicated in five graft scandals since the 1990s but never convicted, was detained by KPK investigators in November after repeatedly missing summonses for questioning over the case, saying he needed heart surgery.
He gained a measure of international fame in September 2015 when Donald Trump, then U.S. presidential candidate, hailed him as a “great man” at a news conference in New York.
Even with successes in the fight against corruption, Indonesians have to contend with high levels of graft in many areas of their lives and the country placed 96th among 180 countries in Transparency International’s annual corruption perceptions index last year, on a par with Colombia and Thailand.

 

The political leader of Yemen's Houthi rebels has been killed in Saudi-led air strikes on Hudaida province, the group has said.
The Houthi-run Al-Masirah TV network reported late on Monday that Saleh al-Sammad, the president of the Supreme Political Council that runs Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and other rebel-held areas, was killed on Thursday.
The group said it had elected Mahdi al-Mashat as Sammad's successor.
In a televised address later on Monday, the Houthis' leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, said that, overall, seven people were killed in Thursday's air raids.
"This crime will not break the will of our people and state ... [and] will not pass without accountability," he added.
"The forces of this aggression led by Washington and the Saudi regime are legally responsible for such a crime and all its implications."
There was no immediate comment by the Saudi-led coalition.
Traditionally based in Yemen's northwest, the Houthis overran much of the country, including Sanaa, in 2014, citing anger with the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

In March 2015, a coalition of Arab countries assembled by Saudi Arabia launched a massive bombing campaign aimed at rolling back the rebels' advances.
Since then, the Saudis have carried out more than 16,000 air raids, resulting in mass civilian casualties with weddings, hospitals and funerals targeted. The United States has been helping the coalition with weaponry and logistical support.
On Sunday, two Saudi-led coalition air attacks killed at least 20 people and wounded dozens in northwestern Yemen, according to residents and medical personnel.
Most of the dead were women and children who were gathering in a tent set up for a wedding party in Hajjah's Bani Qays district, a medical official told Al Jazeera.
'Biggest blow'
Hakim Almasmari, editor-in-chief of the Yemen Post, said al-Sammad's death was a "very significant" development.
"He was the acting president in the Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen, so this is considered the biggest blow for the Houthis, politically, since the war started," he told Al Jazeera.
Almasmari noted that the location of the incident was also important.
"Hudaida is considered the most secure place for the Houthis, where they have all their intelligence," he said.
"This is a big backlash for the Houthis, security-wise as well," he added.
"It's not a secret that Hudeida is much more secured than even Sanaa itself, so for him to be killed in Hudeidah, under all the extreme security measures that they go through there, [raises questions] whether they are infiltrated in Hudeida province itself or within the intelligence apparatus in general."
Almasmari also said it was not surprising that al-Sammad's had been replaced by al-Mashat, whom he described as "a very influential figure within the movement".

Hundreds of soldiers have joined anti-government protests in the Armenian capital of Yerevan on Monday, accusing the country's prime minister of corruption and authoritarian rule.
In a response to the protests, which have been ongoing for eleven days, the Armenian defense ministry said it would take harsh measures against any member of the military taking part in the demonstrations.
Al Jazeera's Robin Forrestier Walker, reporting from Yerevan, said Monday's events are a surprising development.
"There are pictures and videos of the soldiers walking down main Yerevan streets. We understand that they are active and that they are part of a peacekeeping force taking part in missions abroad," Walker said.
"We have also seen members of the clergy coming out into the streets to take part in the protests," he added.
Monday marked the eleventh consecutive day of anti-government protests in Armenia.
On Sunday, Nikol Pashinyan and two other opposition politicians "were detained as they were committing socially dangerous acts", the prosecutor general's office said in a statement.
In a press conference on Monday, the government justified the arrest of opposition leaders.
The protest movement, which has seen thousands of people take to the streets since April 13, is largely comprised of a network of self-organizing opposition supporters, built by Pashinyan.
According to Walker, the mood among the protesters has been largely positive, adding that it is hard to know what will happen next.
"Both sides will be watching each other very closely on how to move forward," he said.
Protesters have called on Serzh Sargsyan, Armenia's prime minister, to step down citing corruption and fears of oligarchic, authoritarian rule.
Sargsyan was appointed prime minister this month after serving 10 years as the country's president.
However, Sargsyan has made clear he has no intention of stepping down.

 

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to persuade US President Donald Trump to protect the JCPOA, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, during his upcoming visit to the United States.
Macron, who will visit the US later this week, made the comments on Sunday in an interview with Fox News.
"Is this agreement perfect and this JCPOA a perfect thing for our relationship with Iran? No. But for nuclear - what do you have? As a better option? I don't see it," Macron said.
Macron also warned that if the nuclear deal would fall apart, Iran's nuclear program could become an issue similar to that of North Korea, which has obtained and tested nuclear weapons in recent years.
"What is the plan B?" Macron asked in reference to the nuclear deal.
"Let's preserve this framework [rather] than some sort of North Korean type of situation," he added.
Trump, who has called the JCPOA the "worst deal in history", has said he will scrap the nuclear deal unless "a better option" is presented to him in May, when a deadline on renewing the deal will pass.
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal was struck between the US, under the administration of Barack Obama, Iran and five other countries. It prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons while offering sanctions relief to allow the nation to participate in international commerce and banking.
Under US law, the president is required to renew the waiver on sanctions every 120 days. The last time Trump issued a waiver was in September 2017.
In October of last year, Trump refused to recertify that Iran was in compliance with the agreement, saying it was "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the US has ever entered into".
That decision came despite the UN having certified Iran's compliance with the deal eight times. In November, the body again said Iran was in compliance.
Other talking points
Macron, who is seen as one of Trump's closest European allies after Trump attended the Bastille Day celebrations last year, said in the interview he will also speak to the US leader about the recent trade tariffs imposed by Trump in an effort to reduce its trade deficits.
On 1 May, a deadline regarding the tariffs set by Trump will expire. Asked about the risk of these looming tariffs, Macron said Trump should focus on other things other than a trade war with Europe.
"I hope he will not implement new tariffs and that he will exempt Europe. You don't make trade wars with your allies," he said.
"If you make war against everyone, trade war against China, trade war against Europe, war in Syria, that doesn't work. You need allies," Macron added.
The French president also talked about the role of the US in Syria.
Trump has said repeatedly he plans to withdraw from Syria as soon as possible once the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group is defeated, but Macron said even after ISIL has been defeated, the US should play a role in the war-torn country.
"We will have to build the new Syria after the war, and that's why I think the US role is important," he said.
"The day we will have finished this war against ISIS, if we leave we will leave the floor to the Iranian regime, [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad and his guys."

 

South Korea has stopped broadcasting propaganda via loudspeakers along the border with North Korea, ahead of top-level talks later this week.
The South has dozens of loudspeakers along the border area, which blast everything from K-pop music to critical news reports of the North.
The broadcasts can be heard by the North's troops stationed along the border and civilians in the area.
Seoul said turning them off would help set the tone for Friday's talks.
North Korea has its own system of speakers along the border, playing reports critical of Seoul and its allies.
It's not yet known whether it will follow suit and silence them too.
South Korea said the speakers, which play propaganda over the border at high volume, were turned off in the early hours of Monday morning.
The move aimed to "ease the military tension between the two Koreas and develop a peaceful summit atmosphere," spokesman Choi Hoi-hyun told reporters.
"We hope this decision will lead both Koreas to stop mutual criticism and propaganda against each other and also contribute in creating peace and a new beginning."
North Korea announced at the weekend that it was suspending nuclear tests and closing an atomic test site. The surprise announcement came as the country prepares for historic talks with South Korea and the US.
South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has called it "a significant decision towards total denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".
Pyongyang's leader Kim Jong-un is due to meet Mr Moon next Friday at the truce village of Panmunjom, marking the first inter-Korean summit in over a decade.
Mr Kim is also due to meet US President Donald Trump by June. It will be the first ever meeting between two sitting leaders of North Korea and the US.
South Korea's propaganda broadcasts have been running on and off since the Korean War. The idea is to persuade North Korean soldiers to doubt what they are told by their leaders.
Their use has been increased and decreased over the years, following the diplomatic mood on the peninsula.
In 2004, the broadcasts were stopped as part of a deal negotiated between both countries.
But in 2015, after two South Korean soldiers were severely injured by North Korean-planted mines in the demilitarized zone (DMZ), the South turned its speakers back on. It was later halted again in 2015 and re-started in 2016 in response to the North testing a hydrogen bomb.
South Korea did not say whether it planned to restart the broadcasts once the summits are over.

 


The only surviving suspect in the 2015 Paris attacks has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for his involvement in a 2016 gunfight with police in Brussels.
Salah Abdeslam was convicted of attempted murder along with his co-accused Sofien Ayari, who also received a 20-year prison sentence, at a court in the Belgian capital on Monday morning. Neither of the defendants were present during the verdict hearing.
Abdeslam was on trial for his role in a shoot-out between himself and two accomplices and police who had come to search the house in which he was hiding out on March 15, 2016.
One suspect, Mohamed Belkaid, was killed in the raid, while Abdeslam and Ayari got away. Three police officers sustained minor injuries.
Abdeslam, a 28-year-old Belgium-born French national of Moroccan ancestry, was captured three days later in the Molenbeek neighborhood of Brussels along with Ayari.
His arrest on March 18, 2016, was the culmination of a four-month manhunt after his alleged participation in the 2015 Paris attacks in which 130 were killed.
He fled the city after the attacks, which were claimed by ISIS. Hours later, he was stopped and questioned by police at the French-Belgian border before he was allowed through.
After his arrest, Abdeslam reportedly told Belgian investigators he had planned to blow himself up at the Stade de France but then changed his mind.
Abdeslam was extradited to France in April 2016 and remains in custody on the outskirts of Paris.

A US push to change the Iran nuclear deal was sending a “very dangerous message” that countries should never negotiate with Washington, Iran’s foreign minister warned as US and North Korean leaders prepare to meet for denuclearization talks.
Speaking to reporters in New York on Saturday, Mohammad Javad Zarif also said that for French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel “to try to appease the president (Donald Trump) would be an exercise in futility.”
Trump will decide by May 12 whether to restore US economic sanctions on Tehran, which would be a severe blow to the 2015 pact between Iran and six major powers. He has pressured European allies to work with Washington to fix the deal.
Macron and Merkel are both due to meet with Trump in Washington this week.
“The United States has not only failed to implement its side (of the deal), but is even asking for more,” said Zarif, who is in New York to attend a UN General Assembly meeting.
“That’s a very dangerous message to send to people of Iran but also to the people of the world - that you should never come to an agreement with the United States because at the end of the day the operating principle of the United States is ‘what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable,’” he said.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said earlier this month that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has “looked at the Iran deal, he’s seen what he can get and he’s seen how he can push through loopholes and we’re not going to let that happen again.”
Under the Iran nuclear deal, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in return for relief from economic sanctions. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, struck the pact to try to keep Iran from building a nuclear weapon but Trump believes it has “disastrous flaws.”
Zarif said if Washington leaves the deal, there were many options being considered by Tehran, including complaining through a dispute mechanism set up by the agreement or simply leaving the deal by restarting its nuclear activities.
“We will make a decision based on our national security interests when the time comes. But whatever that decision will be, it won’t be very pleasant to the United States,” he said.
When asked if Iran could stay in the deal with the remaining parties, Zarif said: “I believe that’s highly unlikely because it is important for Iran to receive the benefits of the agreement and there was no way Iran would do a one-sided implementation of the agreement.”
Iran has always said its nuclear program was only for peaceful purposes and Zarif said if Tehran resumed its nuclear activities it would not be intended “to get a bomb.”
“America never should have feared Iran producing a nuclear bomb, but we will pursue vigorously our nuclear enrichment. If they want to fear anything it’s up to them,” Zarif said.

 

Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry on Sunday instructed drone enthusiasts to obtain permission to fly the devices until regulations were finalized, a day after security forces shot down a recreational drone near the king’s palace in Riyadh.
Amateur online videos of heavy gunfire in the capital’s Khozama district on Saturday sparked fears of possible political unrest in the world’s top oil exporter. A senior Saudi official told Reuters there were no casualties when the drone was shot down and that King Salman was not in the palace at the time.
A security screening point had noticed the flying of a small unauthorized recreational drone, leading security forces to deal with it “according to their orders and instructions”, state news agency SPA had said.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said a law for the use of drones was in its final stage and called on users to obtain the necessary police clearance to use the devices “for particular reasons in permitted locations”, state news agency SPA reported.
Saudi Arabia has witnessed a series of radical political changes over the past year under the king’s son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has spearheaded reforms to transform the economy and open the country culturally.
The 32-year-old leader ousted his older cousin as crown prince last summer in a palace coup and then jailed senior royals as part of an anti-corruption sweep. Prominent clerics have also been detained in an apparent bid to silence dissent.
Those moves have helped Prince Mohammed consolidate his position in a country where power had been shared among senior princes for decades and religious figures exercised significant influence on policy.
But they have also fueled speculation about a possible backlash against the crown prince, who remains popular with Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning youth population.