Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Venezuela's No. 2 Distances Himself from Defecting Bodyguard

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Venezuela's No. 2 Distances Himself from Defecting Bodyguard

Article excerpt

Sydney hostage probably killed by police bullet

A hostage who died during a siege in a cafe in downtown Sydney was killed when she was struck by fragments of a bullet fired from a police officer's gun as authorities stormed in to end the 16-hour standoff, a lawyer told an inquest on Thursday.

Katrina Dawson, 38, a lawyer who was among 18 people taken hostage last month by a gunman, died after being hit by six fragments of a police bullet that had ricocheted off a hard surface, said Jeremy Gormly, a lawyer assisting the coroner. One fragment struck a major blood vessel and she quickly lost consciousness, he said.

Another hostage, cafe manager Tori Johnson, 34, was killed after gunman Man Horan Monis forced him to kneel on the floor and then fired a shell into the back of his head with a sawed-off shotgun, Gormly said. Johnson is believed to have died immediately. A police sharpshooter witnessed Johnson's killing, prompting police to move in, Gormly added.

The details of the deaths of Dawson and Johnson came on the opening day of the inquest into last month's siege at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe. Monis, 50, an Iranian-born, self-styled cleric with a criminal history, took customers and workers captive. He also died in the siege.

Drought in Brazil may force water rationing * The worst drought to hit Brazil's biggest city in decades may leave residents with water service only two days a week.

Sao Paulo water utility company Sabesp says a five-days-off, two- days-on system would be a last-ditch effort to prevent the collapse of the Cantareira water system.

The reservoir is the largest of six that provide water to some 6 million of the 20 million people living in the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo. The utility says Cantareira is now down to 5.1 percent of its capacity.

Sabesp official Paulo Massato Yoshimoto said Wednesday that "rationing could happen if rainfall does not increase in the reservoir area soon."

Venezuelan official denies role in drug ring * The powerful head of Venezuela's congress moved Wednesday to distance himself from a bodyguard who defected to the United States and reportedly has implicated his former boss as head of a drug ring of political and military officials. …

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