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Four injured after German man rams car into crowd; racist motive suspected

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Police detained a 50-year-old German man early on Tuesday on suspicion of ramming his car into a crowd of people in the northwestern German town of Bottrop, injuring four, in what authorities say may have been a xenophobic attack.

The man, who fled the scene, made racist comments when he was later stopped and arrested, according to a statement by local police and prosecutors.

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“Investigators suspect it was a deliberate attack that may be linked to the xenophobic views of the driver,” the statement said. “In addition, investigators have preliminary information about a mental illness of the driver.”

A police spokeswoman said Syrian and Afghan citizens were among those injured, but gave no further details. She said one of the four people injured remained in hospital.

The attack occurred after midnight on New Year’s Eve at a crowded plaza in Bottrop.

Earlier the driver had steered his car at another pedestrian, who managed to escape unharmed, according to the statement. He also targeted people at a bus stop after fleeing the scene of the Bottrop attack, it said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alison Williams

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Syria army says retakes key northwest town

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Syria government forces recaptured the strategic highway town of Maaret al-Numan from jihadist and allied rebels on Wednesday, the army said, returning for the first time in seven years.

"Our forces managed in the past few days to stamp out terrorism in many villages and towns," including Maaret al-Numan, an army spokesman said.

In 2011, Maaret al-Numan was one of the first towns in the northwestern province of Idlib to rise up against the Damascus government and the following year, it was captured by rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

It lies on a key highway connecting the capital to second city Aleppo and has long been in the sights of the government.

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The only nationwide database of priests deemed credibly accused of abuse

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ProPublica published an interactive database on Tuesday that lets users search for clergy who have been listed as credibly accused of sexual abuse in reports released by Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

It is, as of publication, the only nationwide database of official disclosures. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the religious leaders’ national membership organization, does not publicly release any centralized, countrywide collection of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual assault.

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Catholic peaders promised transparency about child abuse — but they haven’t delivered

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It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

Even after the claim was settled and the compensation paid in February 2019, however, the archdiocese didn’t publish Donahue’s name on its list of accused priests. Nor did it three months later when Giacalone’s lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, criticized the church publicly for not adding Donahue’s name to the list.

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