At least five people have been killed (including the gunman) and 15 wounded at a L.A. Fitness center in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania. Mercy Hospital says five women are in critical condition. BNO is providing live coverage from local news channel WTAE-TV here.
WTAE-TV reports the gunman entered the building around 8pm, proceeded to go to a room where a latin dance class was being taught in the aerobics center, and turned off the lights before firing. As many as 100 people were inside the center at the time. Eyewitnesses say the gunman was a middle-aged white man with a gym bag.
U.S. led strike in western Afghanistan kills dozens of civilians according to the Red Cross. 25 to 30 Taliban were also killed in Bula Balek. The fighting started after Taliban fighters attacked police checkpoints, killing three Afghan police. The Afghan army and U.S. trainers called in airstrikes after the fighting escalated. The strike comes just as Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai meet with President Obama in Washington DC, BBC News. President Obama’s schedule. Violence has increased as a peace agreement between Taliban militants and Pakistan collapsed in the Swat Valley near the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.
Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving member of the group that carried out the Mumbai attacks has pled not guilty, Washington Post.
Two blasts in Iraq kill at least 11, Al Jazeera.
Eight charged in Turkey for the blood-feud fueled attack during a wedding, Belfast Telegraph. Nicholas Birch on how the feud is indicative of the destabilizing effects of the war in Kurds in Turkey, the Independent.
19 are dead and 180,000 homeless in heavy flooding in Brazil, Associated Press.
Jailed Iranian/American journalist Roxana Saberi has ended her hunger strike. Saberi was convicted in Iran of spying and is awaiting appeal. Iranian officials have said that, unlike at her original trial, Saberi’s lawyer will have time to prepare her case and independent lawyers will be able to observe the trial. The appeal will also be decided by a panel of three judges rather than just the judge who made the initial guilty ruling, CNN.
An attack at a wedding ceremony in Turkey’s Mardin province killed at least 45, six of them children, today. Grenades and automatic weapons were used in the attack, but the mayor of Mardin has said the attack does not appear to be terr0r-related. Some reports say it was the families of the bride and groom that were fighting, BBC News.
A Pakistani spoke to the New York Times about the troop surge in Afghanistan and the Taliban’s new strategy. The source told the Times that the terrorist group were planning to move in and out of Pakistan, counting on the fact that troops can not reach them in Afghanistan’s neighboring country, NY Times.
The Boston Globe is still alive after the newspaper’s owner extending talks with unions to save one of the U.S.’s top papers. The Globe’s owner, the New York Times, says it will shut down the paper if agreements are not reached to lower salaries and pensions, BBC News.
The Israeli government has issued an emergency in order to help save the Sea of Galilee, a place where Christians believe Jesus performed miracles such as walking on water. The body of water is in an environmental disaster as mismanagement and drought has killed most wildlife, Sky News.
The driver who killed 5 people yesterday in Apeldoorn, Holland has died. The man’s name has not yet been released, CNN. Update: BNO confirms a sixth person has died from injuries sustained during yesterday’s crash.
Worldwide, workers are marching on this May Day to protest how their governments have handled the economic crisis. Violence has already erupted in Germany and Turkey. In Germany, at least 12 were arrested and around 30 injured when protesters clashed with police. Tear gas was fired in Istanbul and a “large number” were arrested. At least 300 rallies are expected in France alone and dozens of other countries are set to participate. We’ll update as the protests go on, BBC News.
In some happy sports news (unless you’re a Celtics fan), the Chicago Bulls took the Boston Celtics to triple overtime in last night’s 128-127 win in game 6 of the NBA playoffs, evening the series. Celtics’ player Ray Allen scored 51 points, the second highest number of playoff points in a single game in Celtics history, but Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose’s block in the final seconds cemented the Bulls win. The teams will play game 7 in Boston on Saturday night, Suite101 profile on Rose.
Reports have emerged that Professor George Zinkhan’s wife, whom he killed last Saturday along with two others in Athens, GA, wanted a divorce. The UGA professor is still on the loose and the authorities have admitted that they have no leads on where he has gone, although some police believe he has committed suicide, AJC.
More information on the missed warning signs from gunman who killed 13 people at an immigrant services center in Binghamton, New York. Jiverly Wong came to the U.S. from Vietnam as a refugee. He was jailed for using a forged check in California but was still granted citizenship a few years later. In response to an application for a gun permit, Mr. Wong’s father told police he did not think his son should have access to a weapon, but the permit was granted. Wong was also suspected in a bank robbery but was never charged, USA Today.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who, as it was widely reported, shook hands with President Obama at the Summit of the Americas a few days ago, has announced he will restore Venezuela’s ambassador to the US. The US is expected to reciprocate. Relations between the US and Venezuela have been strained since Chavez was elected. In response to a reporter’s question about his first meeting with Obama, Chavez said, “I think it was a good moment… I think President Obama is an intelligent man, compared to the previous US president.” BBC News.
A UN conference on racism may fall apart as the US and other western nations refuse to participate. The US fears the proposed language of the conference statement singles out Israel in that it likens Zionism, the desire for an Israeli state, to racism. The US also has concerns that the proposed condemnation of “incitement to religious hatred” could have free speech implications, BBC News.
Journalism schools struggle to find relevance in the changing news industry, the New York Times.
A man has killed his family as well as himself today in Middlewood, Maryland. 34-year-old Christopher Wood murdered his wife, two sons, ages 4 and 5, and 2-year-old daughter with a gun and, police suspect, a knife. This is a growing trend in America with several reported cases of family murder-suicides this year alone, CNN.
President Obama has spoken out against the 8-year sentence given by Iran to an American journalist. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the president “is deeply disappointed at this news.” The U.S. is working with Swiss diplomats in Iran, as they lack ties in the country, to get information on the case, NPR.
Houston, Texas is experiencing massive flooding and 5 children are missing after a car was swept away in a flash flood, MyFox Houston. Officials estimate millions of dollars of damage already and say flooding is worse than the disastrous 1994 floods, WTVY.
The U.S. will boycott a United Nations racism meeting because the language in the meeting’s final document could be seen as criticism of Israel. The U.S. is also concerned that the text could lead to restrictions of free speech for Israel, MSNBC.
In some good news, 10-year-old Damon Weaver, made famous after interviews with Vice President Joe Biden and NBA star Dwanye Wade, has been offered a full college scholarship by Albany State University in Georgia after he completes high school. Weaver also had a heartbreaking segment featured on 20/20 where he talked about gun violence in his hometown (watch the video here, 21 minute mark). The aspiring jounalist and Florida native plans to accept the offer, WPBF.
Sri Lankan army officials say over 100 Tamil Tigers have been killed into two separate battles for control of the country. At least 60,000 civilians have fled the fighting so far, BBC News.
There have been two more deadly mass shootings in America today. This afternoon, police found 5 children dead in a Washington state home, apparently killed by their father, CNN. In Pennsylvania, a man killed 3 cops today after they responded to a domestic abuse call. Reports say that the man was wearing a bulletproof vest and was armed with three guns, MSNBC.
Violence continues to brew in Mexico. Today 11 bodies were found in the country, and some had been tortured. Others had notes found on their bodies that had threatening messages. Since 2006, 9,000 people have been killed in Mexico due to drug violence, Wa Po.
And the #1 World News Story: NATO Agrees to Send More Troops to Afghanistan.