Things Go Boom

KIEV, Ukraine — Protesters in Kiev stoked what they are calling a “ring of fire” separating themselves from the riot police in a desperate final effort on Wednesday to defend a stage on Independence Square that has been a focal point of their protests and keep their three-month-old movement alive.

Men staggering with exhaustion dismantled the tents and field kitchens from the movement’s earlier and more peaceful phase and hauled their remnants onto the fires. They piled on mattresses, sleeping bags, tent frames, foam pads and whatever else looked flammable, burning their own encampment in a final act of defiance.

Ukraine’s Health Ministry said on Wednesday that 25 people, including police officers, protesters and a journalist found dead on a side street near the square, had been killed after hundreds of riot police officers advanced on the antigovernment demonstrators Tuesday and in subsequent fighting on streets in the government district of the Ukrainian capital.

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Two powerful explosions struck a busy area in southern Beirut near an Iranian cultural center on Wednesday, killing at least five people and wounding dozens in the latest in a series of bomb attacks on civilians here as violence continued to spill over from the war in neighboring Syria.

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades, an offshoot of Al Qaeda, claimed responsibility, saying that it would continue such attacks until the Iranian-backed Lebanese militant group Hezbollah withdrew its forces from Syria, where they are supporting the government’s fight against Syrian rebels and foreign-backed jihadist groups.

“We tell our people in Syria that Iran’s party won’t enjoy security in Lebanon until you restore security in Syria,” the group said in a statement posted on its Twitter account. Until Hezbollah pulls out of Syria and Sunni militants are released from Lebanese jails, it said, “We will continue targeting Iran and its party in Lebanon in their security, political, and military bases.”

The group has also claimed responsibility for several other recent bombings in southern Beirut, appearing to view the sprawling area known simply as the Dahiya, or suburb, as a legitimate target because of the presence there of Hezbollah’s headquarters and many Hezbollah supporters.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An 84-year-old nun was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison for breaking into a U.S. nuclear weapons complex and defacing a bunker holding bomb-grade uranium, a demonstration that exposed serious security flaws.

Two other activists who broke into the facility with Megan Rice were sentenced to more than five years in prison, in part because they had much longer criminal histories.

Although officials claimed there was never any danger of the protesters reaching materials that could be detonated or made into a dirty bomb, the break-in raised questions about the safekeeping at the Y-12 National Security Complex. The facility holds the nation’s primary supply of bomb-grade uranium.

After the protest, the complex had to be shut down, security forces were re-trained and contractors were replaced.

In her closing statement, Rice asked the judge to sentence her to life in prison, even though sentencing guidelines called for about six years.

It is easy to think about how good our life is now. Our life could end in an instant. Things in our life could change so easily. Your life could be a whole lot worse in an instant and you should take advantage of the life that you have currently.

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