Alleged Barcelona killer was ‘a normal factory worker’

Younes Abouyaaqoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan, was shot by police not far from Barcelona in northeastern Spain after a four-day manhunt for the man who allegedly drove a van through crowds in the popular Mediterranean city, killing 13.

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He didn’t stop there, fleeing his vehicle on foot after Thursday’s attack, hijacking a car and stabbing its driver to make his getaway.

“I’m happy and sad all at once,” Hassan Azzidi, a Moroccan factory worker, said in the Catalan town of Ripoll where many members of the terror cell that planned the Barcelona attack and another car rampage in the seaside resort of Cambrils came from.

“This had to end, because we’re living as if in a war, but at the same time, someone brainwashed such a young boy.

“Younes lived normally, he worked in a factory, he had everything… I don’t know how they manage to eat their brains.”

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Police suspect an imam of radicalising Abouyaaqoub, his younger brother Houssein and nine other young men.

The imam Abdelbaki Es Satty died in an explosion believed to have been accidentally detonated by the suspects themselves in their bomb factory in the seaside town of Alcanar, also in Catalonia.

Other suspects have either been killed by police or detained.

Determined

Like his elder brother, Houssein Abouyaaqoub is believed to have been shot dead by police.

He and four others drove their car into pedestrians in Cambrils early Friday morning, just hours after the Barcelona attack. One of them got out and stabbed a woman, who later died.

Since last week’s twin attacks, Ripoll — which has a population of 11,000, five percent of whom are Moroccan — is under shock.

In the Esperanza Moroccan cafeteria, card players — refusing to be named — say they feel “betrayed by the imam”, a man in his forties described as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” who influenced the boys.

Nuria Perpinya, who until two years ago worked on a programme to combat social exclusion, had helped some of these “children” do their homework.

And despite the carnage they caused, she has only “good memories” of “normal boys, completely integrated” in Catalan life — words echoed by many others in Ripoll.

In the Moroccan town of M’rirt, meanwhile, relatives of Abouyaaqoub accused the imam of radicalising the young man as well as his brother Houssein.

Younes used to visit his elderly grandfather every summer in the modest family home where he was born before leaving for Ripoll with his parents.

But the grandfather told AFP that “over the last two years, Younes and Houssein began to radicalise under the influence of this imam.”

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And the day of the attack, Younes showed steely determination.

After ploughing into people at great speed in Barcelona, he got out of the van, went through the city’s most famous food market La Boqueria and walked six kilometres for an hour and a half until he got to the university district.

There he hijacked a car, stabbed its 34-year-old driver Pau Perez, threw his body in the back seat before driving away.

At a police checkpoint, he sped through, injuring a police officer, before abandoning the car and disappearing.

He only re-emerged on Monday, when several people spotted him, reported it to the police, who eventually shot him dead.

Former refugee dedicating her life to helping others awarded national education prize

For former refugee Jolie Kaja, helping others is a natural instinct – it’s something she’s done her entire life.

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On Monday, Ms Kaja’s compassion and hard work were recognised as she was awarded the national Community Education Student of the Year award from Community Colleges Australia.

Growing up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she worked as a Red Cross volunteer, but was forced to flee her home when war broke out 10 years ago.

She sought shelter at a refugee camp in Zambia, where she lived for seven years as a single mother looking after her four daughters.

“It was very hard. If you are not strong, it’s very… it’s terrible. The people who are living in the refugee camps, they’re suffering too much,” she says.

Jolie Kaja at the refugee camp in Zambia.SBS World News

Ms Kaja and her family were resettled as refugees in Coffs Harbour on the NSW north coast. It’s been a life-changing move and she says she’s grateful for the opportunities the community has given her. 

She is fluent in French, Swahili and several other African languages, but did not know a word of English when she arrived in Australia.

Then she took up English language classes at TAFE and went on to study aged care as a way to give back to the community.

One of her trainers, Amanda Johnston, from Coffs Coast Community College, says the staff was impressed by Ms Kaja’s ability and willingness to learn. 

“She came across as an extremely caring student, to start with, but she did have difficulties with language. And she overcame all those barriers and proved us all very wrong. She actually shone in the class and was extremely liked by all her classmates,” Ms Johnston stated.

Ms Kaja now works at the Saint Joseph’s Aged Care facility in Coffs Harbour as an Assistant in Nursing.

“I love to help other people because, when I help them, I feel happy,” she grins.

Jolie Kaja (left), the winner of the Aged Care Award.SBS World News

Her generous spirit rarely goes unnoticed by those around her.

Fellow aged care worker Jane Donovan offered her praise.

“Jolie is very compassionate. I saw that straight away in her; she’s very caring towards the residents.”

The NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, presented the award to her.

“Jolie’s an example of a great refugee story: from being a refugee single mum of four, who’s used community college and the opportunity to learn some skills in a sector that is growing, like aged care,” he said.

“Her contribution will be like the many before her, refugees and migrants, that have made this nation the great nation that we are.”

Jolie Kaja with her supervisor.SBS World News

After all she’s achieved and all she has seen, Ms Kaja is determined to use her new skills to continue helping others.

“My dream is to take this knowledge to the Congo and Zambia to help other people,” she told SBS World News.

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Swedish journalist Kim Wall died in accident, Danish submarine inventor claims

Peter Madsen initially claimed that he last saw Kim Wall when he dropped her off on the tip of an island in Copenhagen late on August 10 after she had interviewed him aboard the do-it-yourself craft.

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But Madsen, who has been accused of negligent manslaughter, “told police and the court that there was an accident on board the sub that led to the death of Kim Wall, and that he subsequently buried her at sea in an undefined location of the Koge Bay” south of Copenhagen, police said in a statement.

Copenhagen police later on Monday said they found a woman’s torso near Koge Bay where they carried out an intense search for Wall, a 30-year-old reporter who had been writing a feature story about Madsen, after she failed to return from an interview with him aboard the 60-foot (18-metre) Nautilus on August 10.

“When I say torso, it’s a body without head, arms and legs,” Copenhagen police chief Jens Moller Jensen told a news conference, adding it was “too early” to say if it belonged to Wall.

A handout photoshows the searching for missing swedish journalist Kim Wall by the coast of Sweden in Oresund, Sweden, 15 August 2017. SWEDISH SEA RESCUE SOCIETY

Madsen’s appearance before a judge on August 12 was held behind closed doors and the investigation has been classified, so it is not known exactly when he made his statement.

But his lawyer Betina Hald Engmark told Danish broadcaster TV2 on Monday that Madsen “had always wanted” the information on the preliminary hearing to be disclosed.

‘Invincible’ and ‘ambitious’

Wall was a freelance journalist who had reported for The Guardian and The New York Times. A graduate of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, she was based between New York and China.

Her friends have described her as “invincible”, “ambitious” and “always seeing something good in everyone”, according to Swedish media reports.

Madsen and Wall were seen onboard the vessel by several people in waters off Copenhagen the evening of August 10.

Photos of the two emerged online standing next to each other in the sub’s tower. Wearing an orange fleece and with her long auburn hair tied in a topknot, she appeared to be smiling.

When Wall failed to return home, the sub was also reported missing. Rescue crews located it around a day later in Koge Bay, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of the Danish capital.

Just after it was found, Madsen was rescued, alone, and the submarine suddenly sank.

Police have since said they believe Madsen “deliberately” sank the sub. It was brought to the surface and searched, but found to be empty.

TV2 showed images of Madsen being questioned by police after his rescue.

When a journalist asked him what contact information he had for the missing journalist, he responded: “Only that her name is Kim.”

“I don’t check the background when a journalist calls and asks ‘Can I interview you?'” Madsen said indifferently as he entered a police car.

‘A curse lies on Nautilus’

The Nautilus was the biggest private sub ever made when Madsen built it in 2008 with help from a group of volunteers, described on a website about the vessel as “submarine enthusiasts”.

The volunteers were engaged in a dispute over the Nautilus between 2014 and 2015 before members of the board decided to transfer the vessel’s ownership to Madsen, according to the website.

Madsen had sent a text message to two members of the board in 2015, saying “there is a curse on Nautilus”.

“That curse is me. There will never be peace on Nautilus as long as I exist,” Madsen wrote in his text message, according to a post written by the volunteers in Danish on the website.

“You will never have a good feeling inside the submarine… do not throw more lifeblood into that boat.”

Madsen, who was described in a 2014 book as “Denmark’s Do-It-Yourself Astronaut”, had wanted to launch himself into the space race before building the crowd-funded Nautilus.

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Great American Eclipse: Trump ignores the ‘don’t look’ memo

Time stood still as millions across the nation took in the celestial spectacle – unseen in a century – enjoying what some saw as a welcome moment of togetherness after weeks of national turmoil.

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But a number of peculiar incidents have also taken place during the occasion.

In the capital Washington, where the eclipse was partially visible, Donald Trump turned out to watch from the White House with his wife Melania and young son Barron – but the president appeared to have missed the memo on eclipse do’s and don’ts.

At one point, Trump was seen glancing skywards without protective eyewear – a big no-no, according to experts.

“Don’t look,” an aide shouted to him. 

President Trump views the eclipse from the White HouseGetty Images North America

The 45th US president later donned glasses but the scene prompted howls of derision.

“NASA: Don’t look! Media: Don’t look! Melania: Don’t look! Aides: Don’t look! My mom: Don’t look! Your mom: Don’t look! President Trump…” summed up the journalist Brandon Ambrosino.

Comedian Michael Moore later purported to read the president’s mind: “Dishonest, fake news media said don’t look at eclipse w/o glasses, so I did!” 

RELATEDThe gift of Bonnie Tyler

She said she would do it, and do it she did.

As the arc of totality swept across the continent, Bonnie Tyler regaled a cruise ship audience with a live rendition of her “Total Eclipse of the Heart” as they were plunged into darkness by the awe-inspiring astronomical show.

The 1983 mega-hit became an unofficial anthem for the Great American Eclipse, belted out at bars and viewing parties across the nation (with varying degrees of seriousness).

Interviewing the Welsh pop singer about her signature song, CNN host John Nernan got down to the nitty-gritty questions.

“How do you think a total eclipse of the heart differs from a total eclipse of the sun?” he asked her. “Can you stare into a total eclipse of the heart without glasses?”

“That’s a good one,” she smiled back. “I will definitely be wearing my glasses later, but I’m sure that you can look into my heart. I wear it on my sleeve.”

Tyler topped off the interview with a few lines, a capella, of her signature hit, earning the following words of thanks from CNN’s Bernan: “Bonnie Tyler, you have given us more than we could ever have hoped for.”

Royal Caribbean announced Tyler will perform her hit Total Eclipse of the Heart at sea during a ‘Total Eclipse’ cruise.AAP

Countdown to ‘goatality’

Total eclipses are well known to send birds swooping back to their nests, but as part of its wall-to-wall coverage – the Washington Post set out to test another wildlife-and-astronomy theory: do they make fainting goats faint?

It did so by livestreaming from a farm in Tennessee that rears the breed of livestock – known for freezing stiff and toppling over when panicked, and as such already the stars of a host of viral videos. 

While millions sat glued to TV footage of the natural wonder unfolding in real-time, many more kept an amused eye on the Post’s tongue-in-cheek countdown to “goatality.”

Was the flock startled? Hard to tell since the screen turned pitch-black… but the question was eventually settled with a tweet from the paper.

“Update: no goats fainted.”

We’re streaming from a fainting goat farm — will they faint during eclipse totality? Let’s find out. 长沙桑拿,长沙SPA,/gqQGiafqg8

— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 21, 2017

Nth Korea bluster fans problems: minister

Malcolm Turnbull has fired back at North Korea after Pyongyang took a swipe at Australia for taking part in war games between the US and South Korea.

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Senior cabinet minister Christian Porter believes Kim Jong-un may be “blustering” by describing Australia’s involvement as a “suicidal act”, but the inflammatory words aren’t without consequence.

“Well, it’s a pretty strong sort of a bluster, and the bluster itself creates a whole range of issues and problems that arise,” Mr Porter told the Nine Network on Tuesday.

Two dozen Australian defence personnel are taking part in the annual Ulchi-Freedom Guardian exercise, which involves more than 17,000 American troops along with small contingents from a handful of other countries.

The same exercises last year provoked North Korea to conduct nuclear tests.

North Korea’s official news agency has condemned Australia’s involvement in an editorial.

“This is a suicidal act of inviting disaster as it is an illustration of political immaturity, unaware of the seriousness of the current situation,” the agency said, according to translations.

“Australia followed the US to the Korean War, the Vietnamese War and the war on terrorism, but heavy loss of lives and assets were all that it got in return.”

The prime minister hit back last night.

“North Korea has shown it has no regard for the welfare of its own population, no regard for the security and good relations with its neighbours and no regard for international law,” he said in a statement.

“We call on countries to redouble their efforts, including through implementation of agreed UN Security Council resolutions, to bring North Korea to its senses and end its reckless and dangerous threats to the peace of our region and the world.”

Mr Porter described the threat North Korea posed as extremely serious, stressing the need for strong sanctions.

“We (must) ensure that countries, particularly China, do everything they are supposed to be doing to place pressure on the regime so that it amends its ways,” he said.