In brief | Nation & World, 06-09-14


Gunmen disguised as police guards storm international airport in Pakistan, killing at least 13

KARACHI, Pakistan — Gunmen disguised as police guards attacked a terminal at Pakistan’s busiest airport Sunday with machine guns and a rocket launcher during a five-hour siege that killed 13 people as explosions echoed into the night, officials said.

A separate suicide bombing in the country’s southwest killed 23 Shiite pilgrims returning from Iran, authorities said.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi, named after the founder of Pakistan, nor the suicide bombing in Baluchistan province. However, the attacks come as government-led peace talks with the local Taliban faction and other militants have floundered in recent weeks.

The airport attack began late Sunday and continued on into the dawn hours of Monday in Karachi, a sprawling port city on Pakistan’s southern coast, although officials said all the passengers had been evacuated. During the course of the attack, heavy gunfire and multiple explosions could be heard coming from the terminal, used for VIP flights and cargo, as militants and security forces battled for control. A major fire rose from the airport, illuminating the night sky in an orange glow as the silhouettes of jets could be seen.

The deadly operation was carried out by 10 militants, said the Chief Minister of Sindh province, Qaim Ali Shah.

Former military chief who led 2013 overthrow in Egypt sworn in as country’s new president

CAIRO — Egypt’s former military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, winner by a landslide in last month’s presidential election, was sworn into office Sunday nearly a year after he ousted the nation’s first freely elected leader.

The retired field marshal called for unity and hard work, while vowing that there would be no reconciliation with those who took up arms against the government and Egyptians. That was a thinly veiled reference to supporters of Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist president el-Sissi removed last July, and Islamic militants waging attacks against the government.

“There will be reconciliation between the sons of our nation except those who had committed crimes against them or adopted violence,” el-Sissi said. “There will be no acquiescence or laxity shown to those who resorted to violence.”

He did not mention by name Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was declared a terrorist group by the government last December. But el-Sissi’s rise coincides with detention of thousands and the killing of hundreds of Morsi supporters.

El-Sissi also vowed to fight corruption and appeared to make an overture to pro-democracy and secular youth activists, many of whom boycotted last month’s presidential election. They accuse the new president of reviving toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak’s police state, pointing to a law passed last year that restricts protests as well as the jailing of a number of well-known activists.

51 beauty queens vie for 2014 Miss USA crown in Baton Rouge pageant

BATON ROUGE, La. — Beauty queens from every U.S. state and the District of Columbia are vying for the crown this weekend, each hoping to be the one named Miss USA.

Reigning queen Erin Brady, of South Glastonbury, Connecticut, is set to relinquish her crown Sunday evening when her successor is chosen during a three-hour telecast from the Baton Rouge Civic Center in Louisiana.

A field of 51 contestants will be trimmed to 15 after the broadcast opens, based on competitions and interviews conducted in past days. Remaining contestants are to be judged in swimsuit, evening gown and interview competitions. The winner of the 63rd Miss USA title will represent the U.S. at the Miss Universe competition later this year.

Celebrity judges walked a red carpet in evening gowns and tuxedos before the start of the show, posing for pictures and talking about the qualities they would be looking for in the beauty they crown the winner.

“It’s very important that she has confidence,” said Barbara Palacios, Miss Universe 1986 and a coach and judge for the new Telemundo reality show, “Miss Latina Universo.” ‘’The right attitude and perseverance are also very important.”

By wire sources