2 killed in latest attack on Pakistan polio workers

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Updated 20 May 2014
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2 killed in latest attack on Pakistan polio workers

PESHAWAR, Pakistan: Two policemen guarding a polio vaccination team in northwest Pakistan were were shot dead by armed men on Tuesday, police said, the latest setback to efforts to eradicate the crippling disease.
Militant strikes and threats of violence have badly hampered a campaign to stamp out polio in Pakistan, which along with Nigeria and Afghanistan are the only countries where the disease remains endemic.
Tuesday's attack took place in the village of Gandi Umar Khan, about 20 km west of the nearest city of Dera Ismail Khan, on the second day of an innoculation drive, senior police official Sadiq Baluch said.
Nisar Khan Marwat, another police officer, confirmed the attack, adding: "Two police officials were accompanying two local polio workers when four gunmen riding on two motorbikes shot at them."
The policemen died on the spot while the polio workers themselves were unhurt, he added.
According to an AFP tally, 54 people have been killed in attacks on polio teams in Pakistan since December 2012.
Pakistan recorded 91 cases of polio last year, up from 58 in 2012, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Victims are left dead, paralysed or with withered limbs.
Pakistan's failure to defeat polio stands in stark contrast to its neighbour and great rival India, which recently celebrated the eradication of polio three years after its last case.
The WHO has warned that Peshawar, the main city of the northwest, is the world's "largest reservoir" of polio.
Earlier this month, a bomb attack on a polio team in the restive northwest killed 12 people including 11 paramilitary troops guarding a team of vaccinators.


Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

Updated 9 min 30 sec ago
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Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

LOS ANGELES: A homeless man who randomly stabbed a patron in a crowded Southern California restaurant to death as he was holding his daughter was reported just a few hours earlier for disruptive behavior, but police ultimately determined he was not a threat, authorities said Saturday.
Jamal Jackson, 49, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was being held in Ventura County jail on a $1.5 million bail. It was unclear if Jackson, who is also a convicted felon, had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Mele and his wife were eating dinner with their 5-year-old daughter Wednesday at Aloha Steakhouse in the seaside city of Ventura. The girl was sitting on her father’s lap when prosecutors say Jackson walked up and stabbed Mele in the neck.
Prosecutor Richard Simon said customers and a restaurant employee followed Jackson out of the restaurant, even though he still had the knife. They kept track of him until Ventura police arrived and arrested him.
Mele was taken to a hospital and died Thursday after being taken off life support.
“It’s horrible,” Simon said. “You don’t think you’re going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family and you didn’t do anything.”
Simon said the two men had not interacted before the attack.
“He was just sitting there with his daughter in his lap,” Simon said. “You’re not supposed to die that way.”
Mele’s loved ones started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a funeral and to support his wife and daughter.
Mele’s Facebook page was filled with photos of his daughter and said he was a manager at an AT&T store.
Police confirmed that a bystander reported a man — who turned out to be Jackson — for disruptive behavior several hours before the stabbing.
According to the bystander, a man was yelling on the promenade not far from the beachside restaurant about three hours before the attack.
Patrol officers were out on other calls so command center staff monitored the man via a pier security camera system for more than 20 minutes before deciding he didn’t seem to be a threat, police said.
Police are asking anyone who spoke with Jackson during that time to contact investigators in the city 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
Jackson also had half a dozen contacts with police in Ventura since the beginning of the year, including an arrest after a physical fight at a park, said Commander Tom Higgins.
He was also stopped on March 31 after a passer-by reported he was brandishing a knife. Police searched his bag and found a knife but there was no victim so no charge was filed, Higgins said.
Jackson has a lengthy rap sheet including charges in San Bernardino County, Higgins said, as well as convictions for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse dating back to the 1990s.
The killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff members to monitor security cameras, among other measures.
“We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack,” Mayor Neal Andrews said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses.”
If convicted, Jackson faces up to 55 years in prison.