The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, December 07, 2021 1:00 am


Haiti gang frees 3 more hostages

Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A religious group based in Ohio announced Monday that a violent gang in Haiti has released three more hostages, while another 12 remain abducted.

The statement from Christian Aid Ministries said the people were released Sunday in Haiti and are “safe and seem to be in good spirits.” The group provided no further details.

On Nov. 21, the religious organization announced the 400 Mawozo gang had released the first two hostages of a group of 17 kidnapped in mid-October. There are 12 adults and five children in the group of 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian, including an 8-month-old.

The leader of the 400 Mawozo gang has threatened to kill the hostages unless his demands are met. Authorities have said the gang was seeking $1 million per person, although it wasn't immediately clear that included the children in the group.

Traces of cocaine found at Parliament

British parliamentary authorities are calling in the police after a newspaper reported that traces of cocaine had been found at numerous sites in Parliament.

House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said he was contacting police after the Sunday Times reported that illegal drugs were being used inside Parliament buildings.

The newspaper said tests using drug detection wipes found traces of cocaine in 11 locations that are only accessible by accredited parliamentary lawmakers, staff and journalists, including a washroom near Prime Minister Boris Johnson's parliamentary office. Johnson's spokesman, Max Blain, said Monday that the reports “are concerning.”

The allegations emerged just as the government announced a new strategy to combat drug abuse and drug-related crime. The plans published Monday call for more resources to rehabilitate addicts, alongside a police clampdown on drug dealers and traffickers.

Death toll rises to 22 in Java eruption

Rescuers dug out the body of a 13-year-old boy with their bare hands Monday, as improved weather conditions allowed them to resume their search for bodies after the highest volcano on Java island erupted with fury, killing at least 22 people and leaving 27 others missing.

Mount Semeru in Lumajang district in East Java province spewed thick columns of ash as high as 40,000 feet into the sky in a sudden eruption Saturday triggered by heavy rain. Villages and nearby towns were blanketed by tons of volcanic debris. Searing gas raced down the sides of the mountain, smothering entire villages and killing or seriously burning those caught in its path.

Italy bans unvaccinated from venues

Italy began making life more uncomfortable for unvaccinated people this holiday season, excluding them from indoor restaurants, theaters and museums Monday to reduce the spread of coronavirus and encourage vaccine skeptics to get their shots.

Police have been empowered to check whether diners in restaurants or bars have a “super” green health pass certifying that they are either vaccinated or have recently recovered from the virus. Smartphone applications that verify people's health pass status have been updated to prevent entry to concerts, movies or performances to those who have merely tested negative in recent days. The measures run through Jan. 15.

Authorities also imposed a requirement that at least “basic” health pass, which can be obtained with a negative test, must be used to get on local transport and to check into hotels.

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