Group: 56 dead in marketplace blast
A car bomb in a marketplace in Maiduguri, the northeast Nigerian city that is the birthplace of Boko Haram extremism, killed at least 56 people Tuesday, the leader of a civilian group that recovered the bodies said.
Sadiq Abba Tijjani, leader of the Civilian Joint Task Force, told the Associated Press his group recovered at least 56 bodies at the blast site, mostly elderly women who sold peanuts and lemon juice at the market.
Tijjani said they managed to identify 21 of the dead but the rest “were either burnt or damaged beyond recognition.”
Pro-Russia rebels capture police HQ
The Interior Ministry headquarters in eastern Ukraine’s largest city fell to pro-Russia separatists Tuesday after a five-hour gunbattle that erupted hours after the Ukrainian president ended a cease-fire.
The shaky cease-fire had given European leaders 10 days to search for a peaceful settlement, and its end raised the prospect that fighting could flare with new intensity in a conflict that already has killed more than 400 people since April.
In Tuesday’s clashes, rebels fought for more ground, and badly trained and disorganized government troops seemed incapable of crushing the mutiny.
Judge strikes down Ky. gay-marriage ban
A federal judge in Kentucky struck down the state’s ban on gay marriage Tuesday, though the ruling was temporarily put on hold, and it was not immediately clear when same-sex couples could be issued marriage licenses.
U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn in Louisville concluded that the state’s prohibition on same-sex couples being wed violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by treating gay couples differently from straight couples.
Cannibal-plot case is tossed; ex-cop gets out of jail
A former New York Police Department officer left jail Tuesday after a judge stunned prosecutors and overturned his conviction in a sensational case accusing him of plotting on the Internet to kidnap, kill and eat young women, including his wife.
Judge Paul Gardephe ruled late Monday that there was insufficient evidence to support a jury’s guilty verdict in the kidnapping- conspiracy conviction of Gilberto Valle. He agreed with defense arguments that the defendant’s bizarre exchanges in fetish chat rooms about cannibalizing women never put anyone in danger.
At a hearing Tuesday before his release, Valle — dubbed the “Cannibal Cop” by the tabloids — smiled at his family and hugged his lawyers in court. Once outside, he told reporters he was eager to go home after spending more than 20 months behind bars.
Ex-president Sarkozy detained in probe
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in police custody Tuesday, apparently under questioning in an investigation linked to allegations that he took $67 million in illegal campaign funds from Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi.
But will the shocking detention and sordid case torpedo Sarkozy’s chances at a presidential comeback?
Sarkozy, a political survivor who’s been touring the world with his pop-singer wife, still is among the most popular politicians in France despite a pile of investigations that target him.