MOSCOW — A man whose plot to cause carnage on Moscow’s iconic Red Square was thwarted by a spam phone message that prematurely detonated a bomb was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in jail.
Ilyas Saidov, a member of an underground Islamist group, brought explosives-laden belts disguised as heaters for two female suicide bombers on a bus from his native Dagestan, a southern province in the Caucasus region plagued by almost daily clashes between Islamists and Russian forces.
Just hours before they were to detonate the bombs on New Year’s Eve 2010, a belt attached to a cellphone exploded after the detonator was activated by a spam message, killing one of the women and prompting the arrest of the other. She was sentenced to 10 years in jail in May.
Spam is a daily nuisance for many Russians buying new SIM cards, but this time, the message saved thousands from being in harm’s way, authorities said. Red Square is a popular gathering point for Muskovites to see in the new year.
Jewish groups urge Holocaust compensation
PRAGUE — Jewish groups at a meeting in Prague have urged countries in Eastern Europe to compensate Jews dispossessed of property during the Holocaust before the survivors die of old age.
The demands for restitution came Wednesday at the end of a two-day international conference aimed at reviewing recent restitution efforts.
It is an issue that many countries in the region have failed to resolve. After the Nazis invaded large parts of Central and Eastern Europe during World War II, they confiscated Jewish homes, factories and other property. After the war, much of that property was nationalized by communist governments.
Even 23 years after the fall of communism, several countries, including Poland, Latvia and Romania, have not yet compensated Holocaust victims or their heirs.
International court renounced after ruling
BOGOTA — Colombia said Wednesday it will no longer recognize the International Court of Justice’s jurisdiction in border disputes, following a recent ruling that redrew its maritime boundary in favor of Nicaragua.
President Juan Manuel Santos said his country’s territorial and marine boundaries should be established through treaties, not sentences handed down by the U.N. court in the Netherlands.