There are conflicting stories about the cause of a massive building collapse in Mosul responsible for dozens—possibly 200—civilian deaths, and a statement Sunday by the Iraqi military only added more confusion. The Iraqi military said only 61 victims were killed in the U.S.-led airstrike last week, and that ISIS had booby-trapped the building, located in the city’s western Jadida district. That figure, however, was disputed by a Nineveh province health official who said Sunday that 160 bodies had been pulled from the rubble and buried, Reuters reported. Other estimates have put the death toll well above 200. The Pentagon took responsibility on Saturday for the March 17 airstrike, but did not offer further details, only saying it would investigate. What happened remains unclear, and some witnesses have said it was a direct hit on the building, while others say the airstrike targeted a truck ISIS had loaded with bombs and the ensuing explosion brought the building down. For six months Iraqi forces have pushed through Mosul to expel ISIS, which captured the city in 2014. On Saturday the military paused its operation over concerns of high civilian casualties. There are about 600,000 people still living in the city, although thousands are fleeing each day. In its two-year assault on ISIS, the Pentagon puts civilian casualties at 220, while nonprofit monitoring groups say deaths are ten-times that number.
Today's News: March 26, 2017
A shooting at a nightclub in Cincinnati has left one person dead and at least 15 injured, Hong Kong has a new leader who may further jeopardize its independence, and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny is detained at a protest.
—A shooting at a nightclub in Cincinnati has left one person dead and at least 15 others injured. Police say it started as a dispute between two men.
—Hong Kong elected Carrie Lam to be its leader, a woman who was backed by the Chinese government and may further jeopardize the city’s independence.
—Russian police arrested opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has repeatedly criticized President Vladimir Putin, after a massive anti-corruption protest in Moscow.
—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
Conflicting Accounts Over a U.S.-Led Airstrike in Mosul That Killed Civilians
Hong Kong Selects Carrie Lam as Its Leader, the Candidate Backed by Beijing
A committee of 1,200 mostly pro-Beijing electors chose Carrie Lam to lead Hong Kong. She is the first woman elected to the position of chief executive, as Hong Kong calls its leader, and she was overwhelmingly expected to win. Lam has promised to heal divisions in the city, but her appointment will likely disappoint residents concerned with Hong Kong’s evaporating independence from China. Lam’s opponent was a former finance secretary who polls suggested was more popular with the public, but the appointment is decided by a group of 1,194 electors, many of whom are business and political leaders with close ties to Beijing. Lam was formerly second in command of the city, and in 2014 she led an unpopular effort to reform Hong Kong’s election process. It would have allowed the public to vote directly for its leader, but only among a slate of three officials chosen by the Communist party. Hong Kong is mostly autonomous from China, a designation that affords it more civil rights than the rest of the country, although the Communist Party has exerted more control over the city in recent years.
Russian Police Arrest Opposition Leader Alexei Navalny at an Anti-Corruption Protest
Russian authorities arrested opposition leader Alexei Navalny at an anti-corruption protests he helped organize in Moscow. Navalny was one of more than a hundred others detained at what was one of the largest protests in recent years. Police in Moscow estimated about 7,000 people joined, and protesters gathered in other cities across the country. Navalny called for the protests after reports by his anti-corruption foundation accused Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev of amassing a vast wealth of mansions, vineyards, yachts, and a house dedicated to raising ducks, all of which outmatches his salary. Officers grabbed Navalny and pushed him into police bus shortly after he arrived at the protest. Navalny has previously said he would run for president against current President Vladimir Putin, but he is barred from election because he was found guilty of embezzlement, a charge he called politically motivated. The European Court of Human Rights ruled he’d been denied a fair hearing.
A Shooter Leaves 1 Dead and 15 Injured at a Cincinnati Nightclub
One person is dead and about 15 others injured after a shooting early Sunday morning at a nightclub in Cincinnati. Investigators are still looking into whether one or two shooters were involved, but they say the gunshots started at about 1 a.m. at the Cameo nightclub, a few miles from downtown. Police do not suspect terrorism. Hundreds of people were packed into the club and many fled immediately after the shots started, which has left investigators with few witnesses who can identify the shooter. Four of the victims are in stable condition, and three are in serious condition. Officers are still investigating the cause, but it may have started a disagreement earlier in the day. According to WLWT, Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black said, “The conflict is believed to have begun between specific groups or individuals earlier in the day, escalating and ultimately leading to this tragedy occurring at the nightclub."