Monday morning news: December 2, 2019


London terror attack » Officials in the UK are defending a prisoner release policy that freed a convicted terrorist who launched a bloody knife attack near the London Bridge.

Usman Khan killed two people and wounded three others before police shot him to death on Friday. He was wearing what turned out to be a fake suicide vest.

Neil Basu is an assistant commissioner with the London Metropolitan Police. He said Khan was following the requirements for his early release.

BASU: There was an extensive list of license conditions for this individual. To the best of my knowledge as I stand here today he was complying with those conditions.

Khan was convicted in 2012 for plotting terror attacks in London as part of a group affiliated with al-Qaeda. He was released from prison in December 2018.

Basu said investigators are trying to determine whether he had help planning Friday’s attack.

BASU: At this time we’ve found no evidence, no evidence to suggest anybody else was involved in this attack. However, we’re still making extensive inquiries to ensure that no one else was involved.

Khan was attending a conference for ex-offenders at Cambridge University when he pulled out a knife and started stabbing people. One of the victims who died was a former student at the university. The other was the coordinator for the ex-offender program known as “Learning Together.”

Islamic State said Khan was one of its fighters and claimed responsibility for the attack. But the statement didn’t provide any evidence of a link to Khan.


Shooting on Canal Street in New Orleans » Meanwhile, police in New Orleans are investigating a shooting that wounded 10 people in the city’s popular French Quarter. Two of the victims are in critical condition.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Shaun Ferguson said the shooting happened shortly after 3 a.m. in a block crowded with people.

FERGUSON: Our officers were out here throughout this entire incident. Within feet, when this incident occurred. Unfortunately, there were so many people out here we were unable to determine who was actually firing the shots at that time.

Police later detained a person of interest. But it was not immediately clear whether the person had any connection to the shooting.

The section of Canal Street where the shooting occurred is near several busy hotels. Visitors packed the Bayou City over the weekend for the annual rivalry football game between Grambling State and Southern University.


Iraqi prime minister resigns » The government of Iraq is in limbo after the country’s parliament approved the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi on Sunday.

Abdul-Mahdi had submitted his resignation two days earlier in the wake of anti-government protests and violence. But the move did little to calm the ongoing unrest. 

This protester told Al Jazeera that Iraq needs a new parliament. 

AUDIO: The problem is not just the prime minister. It’s not the queen. It’s a whole beehive; all of them have to resign.

Protesters want a new election law to govern a new election, but it’s unclear when or how that might happen. One Iraqi lawmaker described the path to finding a new prime minister as a “black hole in the constitution.” 


South Dakota plane crash » Harsh wintry weather is preventing federal investigators from reaching the site of a plane crash in South Dakota that killed nine people over the weekend. Three others on board the single-engine aircraft are listed in critical condition.

The plane took off from Chamberlain, South Dakota, at about noon on Saturday. It was headed for Idaho Falls, Idaho. The area was under a winter storm warning at the time of the crash.

According to local media reports, all of the people on board belonged to the same family. They were returning from a weekend hunting trip.


Winter weather snarls post-holiday travel » A massive winter storm is making the return to work difficult for millions in the northeastern United States today. The system will dump freezing rain, sleet, and snow from Minnesota to Maine. 

Lara Pagano is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. It has issued a range of warnings and watches across the Midwest and the Northeast.

PAGANO: As this low continues to transition off the Northeast coast, it’s going to be producing snowfall, especially for interior New England. And some of those locations could see 6 to 12 inches, maybe even more for the higher terrain.

Airlines have issued dozens of travel alerts and canceled hundreds of flights. Several airlines have also waived cancellation and change fees.

The Monday after Thanksgiving is typically one of the busiest travel days of the year.


(AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali) The Tower Bridge emerges from the thick fog, in London, Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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