Briefs 1213


Police ID Oregon mall shooter

PORTLAND, Ore. — The gunman who killed two people and himself in a shooting rampage at an Oregon mall was 22 years old and used a rifle stolen from someone he knew, authorities said Wednesday.

Jacob Tyler Roberts had armed himself with an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and had several fully loaded magazines when he arrived at a Portland mall on Tuesday, said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.

The sheriff said the rifle jammed during the 22-year-old’s attack, but he managed to get it working again. He later shot himself. Authorities don’t yet have a motive but don’t believe he was targeting specific people.

Two people — a 54-year-old woman and a 45-year-old man — were killed, and another, Kristina Shevchenko, 15, was wounded and in serious condition on Wednesday.

Roberts, wearing a hockey-style face mask, parked his 1996 green Volkswagen Jetta in front of the second-floor entrance to Macy’s and walked briskly through the store, into the mall and began firing randomly, police said.

Egypt opposition alliance urges ‘No’ vote in referendum

CAIRO — Egypt’s main opposition alliance called for a “No” vote in the referendum on a disputed constitution rather than a boycott, hours after Islamist President Mohammed Morsi’s government forged ahead by starting overseas voting in diplomatic missions for expatriates.

The opposition’s decision did not dispel the atmosphere of a nation in crisis, deeply polarized over the referendum that has stoked three weeks of turmoil on the streets. The opposition still plans more protests and the country’s judges are still on strike over a decree by Morsi, since rescinded, that placed him above judicial oversight. The military is inching back into politics. And if the referendum passes, there is potential for even greater upheaval.

There are also growing concerns about the already flailing economy. Egypt on Tuesday requested a postponement of a $4.8 billion IMF loan after Morsi, fearing a popular backlash at a time of already heightened tensions, suspended a package of tax hikes that had been part of a program to reduce the huge budget deficit.

The opposition said it still may boycott the vote starting in Egypt on Saturday if its conditions are not met.

Hamdeen Sabahi, one of the leaders of the opposition National Salvation Front, said at a news conference the alliance would urge its supporters to boycott if judges do not oversee the vote and the state does not provide security at the polls. The country’s major judges’ union said Tuesday it would boycott the referendum, abstaining from their traditional role of oversight at the polls.

Explosion targets Syrian Interior Ministry building in Damascus, kills 5, ministry says

BEIRUT — Three bombs collapsed walls in the Syrian Interior Ministry building Wednesday in Damascus, killing at least five people, as rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad edged closer to the capital, the symbol of his power.

The blast came as more than 100 countries recognized the opposition umbrella group as the legitimate representative of Syria, a diplomatic blow to Assad.

Five people were killed in Wednesday’s attacks and 23 others were injured, according to a statement by the Interior Ministry.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least eight people were killed, most of them soldiers, and more than 40 wounded.

Such bombings have been a trademark of Islamic radicals fighting alongside the rebels, raising concerns about the extremists’ role in the civil war.

By wire sources