A man opened fire inside a Zurich mosque Monday evening, injuring three people who were praying. Police in Switzerland have yet to describe the motive of the shooter, who fled the scene. Two of the three victims, who were all men, are seriously injured. The mosque is often used by Somali immigrants, Reuters reports. Switzerland has struggled with adjusting to the country’s increasing 5 percent Muslim population in recent years, implementing a nationwide ban on minarets. One region even banned burqas, while another local school council gained global attention for forcing its Muslim students to shake their female teachers’ hands. Police are still searching for the shooting in Monday evening’s attack.
Today's News: Dec. 19, 2016
The deadly attack in a Christmas market in Germany, the fatal shooting of a Russian ambassador, and more from the United States and around the world.
—A truck plowed through a Christmas market in Berlin, killing at least 12 people and injuring others. More here.
—Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was shot and killed in public at a photo gallery in Ankara. The assailant was fatally shot by police. More here.
—The electors of the Electoral College made Donald Trump’s presidential victory official after a day of voting in state capitols. More here.
—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
Gunman Opens Fire on Worshipers in Swiss Mosque, Injuring Three
New Orleans Settles $13.3 Million for Police Brutality
New Orleans officials announced Monday the city would pay $13.3 million to settle civil rights violations connected to the shooting of unarmed civilians by police on the Danziger Bridge, six days after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The announcement comes eight months after five former officers pled guilty for killing two unarmed civilians in the incident, some agreeing to serve up to 12 years in prison for their role. The shooting added to the already 700 dead from the hurricane. Announcing the settlement, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu called it a “painful” moment in the police department’s history, apologizing for the incident. The settlement, which covers 17 plaintiffs who claimed wrongful death or personal injury at the hands of the police department, also addresses a separate wrongful beating death of a 48-year-old man that occurred just before Katrina. The police department was accused of attempting to cover up the misconduct.
Trump Wins Electoral College
Donald Trump has officially won the presidency. A majority of the Electoral College voted to make Trump the president Monday, casting votes in state capitals nationwide. My colleague Nora Kelly writes that despite a relentless lobbying effort, not enough electors decided to break away from Trump. Electors from Texas ended up putting Trump over the necessary mark. Read more about the voting here
At Least 12 People Killed in Berlin Market Crash
Updated at 8:23 p.m.
At least 12 people were killed and several others injured Monday after a truck crashed into a Christmas market in Berlin, according to German police. The market was held in Breitscheidplatz, a public square in the western part of the city. Police told local media that the incident is being treated as an attack. This is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more information here.
Russian Ambassador to Turkey Shot in Ankara
Andrey Karlov, the Russian ambassador to Turkey, was shot Monday at a gallery in Ankara. The Russian foreign ministry in the country confirmed the shooting to the AP, but Karlov’s condition is not yet known. The assailant was shot and killed, Turkish broadcaster NTV reported. The shooting occurred at a photo exhibition. Here’s more from the AP, according to one of their photographers, who was there:
The ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was several minutes into a speech at the embassy-sponsored exhibition in the capital, Ankara, when a man wearing a suit and tie shouted "Allahu Akbar" and fired at least eight shots, according to an AP photographer in the audience. The attacker also said some words in Russian and smashed several of the photos hung for the exhibition.
Karlov has served as ambassador since July 2013. He previously worked in diplomatic roles in South Korea, according to the website of the Russian embassy in Turkey. The shooting follows several days of demonstrations near Turkey’s border in Syria, where people are protesting Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. This is a developing story, and will be updated with more information.
Indian Police Engaged in Torture, Human-Rights Group Says
Some police officers in India reportedly torture and abuse people in their custody, including using forms of waterboarding and beatings with a “truth-seeking belt,” according to a report released Monday by Human Rights Watch. The report, based on interviews of more than 70 people, illustrates a law-enforcement system that views torture as a legitimate means to obtain information, and where deaths are often covered up. Nearly 600 people died in police custody from 2010 to 2015, although no officers were ever convicted of a crime, according to the nonprofit humanitarian watchdog. Human Rights Watch researchers focused on 17 of those individuals. In many of these cases, officers labeled the deaths a suicide, but were in fact the caused by torture, Human Rights Watch said. Some witnesses said officers sexually abused suspects, and in one case a man said police poured water down his nose and the nose of his brother until they passed out. The man’s brother later died in the hospital. In another case, the reports says a head constable beat a man with a belt called a satyashodhak patta, or “truth-seeking belt,” until the suspect grew so weak he collapsed to the ground and broke his jaw. Human Rights Watch recommended that India revise the penal code so officers accused of torture can be charged with crimes and tried in court.
Christine Lagarde Found Guilty in Negligence Trial
Updated on December 19 at 6:48 p.m. EST
International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde was found guilty by a French court Monday for her role in the multimillion-dollar government payout to business tycoon Bernard Tapie. The court found that Lagarde was guilty of negligence in 2008 when, as France’s finance minister, she did not contest a $425 million out-of-court settlement between French bank Crédit Lyonnais and Tapie. Tapie was an ally of then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who alleged that the bank had undervalued his shares in Adidas when he sold them in 1993 to become a cabinet minister. Sarkozy’s government was accused of rigging the arbitration to reward Tapie for his support during Sarkozy’s presidential bid. An appeals court ruled in 2015 that Tapie had not been defrauded and ordered him to return the settlement—a decision Tapie said back then would leave him “totally ruined.” Lagarde will not face a fine or penalty, and her lawyers said they will appeal the decision. The IMF’s executive board said in a statement Monday that it maintains “full confidence” in Lagarde’s ability to lead the fund. Her second five-year term ends in July 2021.
The Evacuation of Civilians in Aleppo Resumes
The evacuation of residents from rebel-held eastern Aleppo resumed Monday after being suspended for several days. Convoys of buses have carried 4,500 more people away from the city so far, bringing the total evacuated since last week to 12,000. The effort stalled at the end of last week after rebels blamed the Syrian government for attacking buses, and the Syrian government blamed rebels for smuggling out weapons. This weekend, however, both came to an agreement, which included the evacuation of two nearby villages sympathetic to the government. The United Nations Security Council on Monday unanimously voted to send monitors to Aleppo to ensure there are no mass atrocities committed by the government against the thousands of residents still in the city, which was captured by rebels in 2012.
All Eyes on the Electoral College
The 538 electors of the Electoral College meet Monday in state capitols across the country to cast their ballots for the next U.S. president. The meeting is a formality, and Donald Trump is expected to secure his victory. But Hillary Clinton’s 2.8 million lead in the popular vote has prompted debate over the use of the Electoral College, and some are hoping that electors defect and vote for someone other than Trump. But the efforts to change electors’ minds are a long shot. After the votes are cast today, they’ll be formally tallied at a joint session of Congress in early January, the final step in the long electoral process. My colleague Nora Kelly on the politics team has more here.
Remembering Zsa Zsa Gabor
Zsa Zsa Gabor, the Hungarian actress who starred in dozens of Hollywood films, died Sunday night in Los Angeles of a heart attack. She was 99. Gabor acted in more than 60 films—including memorable roles in Moulin Rouge and Lili in the 1950s—appeared in many television shows, and wrote four books. She was known for her glamorous lifestyle, her love for diamonds and gowns, and the way she called everyone “darling,” which came out as “dahlink” in her Hungarian accent. She was also known for marrying eight times, to men that included a diplomat, a hotel heir, and a divorce lawyer. “Husbands are like fires. They go out when unattended,” Gabor once said. Gabor was born on February 6, 1917 in Budapest and emigrated to the United States before World War II. Her sisters, Magda and Eva, were also actresses, and all three grew up taking acting and dancing classes.