Apr 22, 2018 Last Updated 2:12 PM, Apr 20, 2018


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US President Donald Trump has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to "step up" vetting measures, after a deadly truck attack in New York.

Eight people were killed and 11 injured when the driver of the truck hit people on a cycle path in Lower Manhattan. Five Argentines were among the dead.

A 29-year-old man was shot by police as he left the car, and detained. Media named him as Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek immigrant who came to the US in 2010.

Officials said it was a terror attack.

The suspect is now in a hospital. A note was found in the truck that referred to so-called Islamic State, law enforcement sources were quoted as saying by US media.

Sayfullo Saipov had been arrested in Missouri last year over a traffic fine.

Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the incident in Manhattan was a "cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians".

"We know that this action was intended to break our spirit. But we also know that New Yorkers are strong, New Yorkers are resilient and our spirit will never be moved by an act of violence and an act meant to intimidate us," he said.

Police urged people to avoid the usually busy area as a major emergency services operation got under way.

The suspect reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is great") as he left the truck.

He was then shot and injured in the stomach by a police officer, the NYPD said.

Mangled bicycles littered the scene of the attack, which occurred as much of the city was celebrating Halloween.

Grammy Award-winning rapper Nelly has been released from jail without charges pending an investigation of rape allegations, police in Washington state said.

Nelly, 42, was arrested early Saturday in Auburn, Washington, after a woman accused him of raping her in his tour bus.

Police said Nelly -- born Cornell Haynes Jr. -- had been booked for investigation of second-degree rape and released from custody.

Nelly has vehemently denied the charges.

"I am beyond shocked that I have been targeted with this false allegation," he said on Twitter. "I am completely innocent. I am confident that once the facts are looked at, it will be very clear that I am the victim of a false allegation."

The sexual assault allegedly took place on the tour bus hours after Nelly had performed at the White River Amphitheater just east of Auburn.

Nelly's lawyer also denied the charges

"(Nelly) is the victim of a completely fabricated allegation," his attorney Scott Rosenblum told AFP in a statement.

"Our initial investigation clearly establishes this allegation is devoid of credibility and is motivated by greed and vindictiveness.

"I am confident, once this scurrilous accusation is thoroughly investigated, there will be no charges," he added.

Nelly has received 12 Grammy nominations and won three Grammy awards, including for best rap solo performance in 2003.

The US is lifting most of the economic and trade sanctions it first imposed on Sudan two decades ago.

However Sudan will remain listed as a state sponsor of terror.

US officials said Sudan had made progress in counter-terrorism and human rights issues. The process of lifting the sanctions began under the Obama administration this year. 

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir remains wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

Human rights groups have opposed the easing of sanctions.

Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the US State Department, said in a statement that the decision followed "a focused, 16-month diplomatic effort to make progress with Sudan".

She said the move recognised Sudan's "sustained positive actions" but more progress was needed.

Sanctions were first imposed on Khartoum in 1997, when it harboured fugitives including Osama bin Laden.

A further round was put in place in 2006 in response to Sudanese forces' actions in the Darfur conflict.

Citizens of Sudan were removed from the US travel ban restrictions last month.

Andrew Prasow, from Human Rights Watch, told Reuters that lifting the sanctions "sent the wrong message" when Sudan had "made so little progress on human rights".

Maddy Crowther, from British-based campaign group Waging Peace, said the US government was "wrong-headed" to focus on Sudan's offensive military activity, and not civilians' safety, in making the decision.

More than 50 people have been killed and hundreds injured in a mass shooting at a Las Vegas concert.

A gunman, named as 64-year-old Nevada resident Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel towards an open-air music festival attended by 22,000.

Police said a suspect identified as a local resident, who was not named, had been shot and killed by officers.

They said they were looking for a companion travelling with the suspect as a "person of interest".

Sheriff Joe Lombardo said police believed the shooting was a "lone wolf" style attack, but confirmed they were trying to locate an Asian female named as Marilou Danely.

Sheriff Lombardo said he was unable to accurately say the number of dead and injured, but a local hospital spokesperson said earlier that at least 14 people were in a critical condition.

There had been reports of other incidents at different locations along the Las Vegas strip, but police said those reports were false.

Witnesses reported that hundreds of shots were fired.

Hundreds of people fled the scene and the sound of what appeared to be prolonged automatic gunfire could be heard on videos posted on social media.

Many hotels on the Las Vegas strip close to the scene remain on police lockdown as they search for two vehicles in relation to the attack.

Parts of Las Vegas Boulevard were shut as armed officers arrived at the scene.

People have been sheltering in hotels, restaurants and at Las Vegas McCarran airport.

A witness, Mike Thompson from London, told the BBC that he saw people running in total panic.

"One man had blood all over him and that's when I knew something was seriously wrong.

"People were running and there was chaos."

Some flights were diverted after news of the incident emerged.

The country music festival had been taking place since Friday at several hotels on the Las Vegas strip.

Nevada has some of the least stringent gun laws in the United States.

People are allowed to carry weapons and do not have to register themselves as a gun-owner.

Background checks are done when people buy guns, but they are also allowed to sell them privately.

The state does not ban assault weapons, which are automatic or semi-automatic firearms, and there are no limits on buying ammunition there.

Pressure is beginning to build for the government of Malawi to come out clearly on the whereabouts of President Peter Mutharika.

Mutharika left the country on September 15th to attend the 72nd United Nations General Assembly.

The UNGA conference started on September 19th to 22nd in New York.

Some world leaders, like President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, have returned to their respective countries.

George Mnesa, leader of the Malawi Forum for Unity and Development- MAFUNDE, is of the view that Malawians should always be informed about the whereabouts of the president, regardless of whether he is conducting government or private business.

“The government is being very arrogant by not letting people know because this is not the first time that we have such a scenario.

Most leader that were there have returned to their countries, there is nothing wrong in coming clean and telling the people that he is on holiday,” Mnesa added.

In Mnesa’s view, silence brews speculation, so there is a need for government to inform the people of the president’s whereabouts.

Also weighing in his views, Executive Director of the Youth and Society Charles Kajoloweka, said people are mostly speculating because there is no transparency.

“If we were able to mobilise ourselves and demand accountability, this would have easily been prevented.

But they are doing this because they know that Malawians will let it go, just like they always do,” Kajoloweka added.

When contacted by Capital FM, minister of Information Nicholas Dausi said he needed more time to consult as he did not want to speculate.

 Last year, a similar situation led to wild speculation over Mutharika’s health, as he stayed away for almost a month.

The government officials also kept Malawians in the dark on what was keeping Mutharika abroad then.

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