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Entries in Bombings (29)

Thursday
Apr182013

Death of Lu Lingzi in Boston Marathon Bombing Shattered Parents Dreams

Courtesy Darson Li(BOSTON) -- Boston University graduate student Lu Lingzi, the third victim to die in the Boston Marathon bombings, was the embodiment of her parents' highest hopes, a daughter born under China's one-child policy.

The ambitious 23-year-old was studying mathematics and statistics, and was at the marathon with friends to cheer on runners near the finish line when she was killed, according to Boston University. On her Weibo account, the Chinese version of Twitter, she extolled the virtues of American life -- blueberry waffles, Godiva dark chocolate, and ice cream.

In a telephone interview with ABC News, Lu's father described the death of their only child as a "dagger in our hearts." Initially, the family did not want to publicly disclose the name of their daughter, but later authorized Boston University to do so.

"If you only have one kid to fall back on, the idea of losing that child would make you bereft," said Toni Falbo, a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, who specializes in Chinese families. "If you have two or three kids, and one dies, you have a reason to carry on and continue with your life.

"The parents must be utterly devastated and feel helpless, even more so, because they are so far away," she said.

Lu's father said he is in the process of obtaining a visa so he can travel to the United States to claim his daughter's body. He spoke of the pride he has felt in his daughter's accomplishments.

The family is from Shenyang in northeast, one of the largest cities in China. Lu attended the prestigious Northeast Yucai School then studied at Beijing Institute of Technology, both on scholarship. The family had saved their income so their daughter could study at Boston University, where the tuition for a graduate degree in mathematical finance is a staggering $60,888.

American universities, especially the most competitive institutions -- many of them in Boston -- have been a growing magnet for Chinese students. Last year, 194,000 obtained visas for higher education in the United States, according to the Institute of International Education.

For Chinese parents who invest so much of their emotion and earnings in the academic success of their children, Lu's death was not just the end of a lifelong dream, but also the family's legacy.

"With a daughter, they would have expected [Lu] to be their caretaker," said Falbo, who has studied the one-child policy. "That's their Social Security."

"Everyone is devastated by the loss of a child, but this is like pulling the rug out from under them, without any obvious sense of recovery," Falbo said.

China's one-child policy started in 1979, applying only to urban families, who represent the highest portion of the population.

The policy was first implemented to address overpopulation and to promote economic development, part of a "whole package of changes to amass clout and capability" in the world, according to Falbo.

"No one thinks it will be permanent -- that's a stupid idea," she said. "Having 2.1 children is a replacement level. Two to replace the parents, and .1 if a child gets sick and dies."

The strict law has applied only to urban areas, not in rural towns were parents typically had larger families.

"Rural people were more interested in helpers to work the farm and had more traditional values," said Falbo. "They would more likely want a son. Urban people were persuaded to have daughters. They are more worthwhile because they stay home."

But by the end of the 20th century, Chinese analysts began to be worried about the shrinking number of young workers and not enough children to take care of the elderly.

Some say that a phase-out of the one-child policy may be imminent.

According to a March report in Forbes magazine, the one-child rule has "disrupted Chinese society both socially and economically. On the social front, you have two generations of Chinese adults who never had the benefits of growing up in the competitive environment of siblings. In fact, they likely grew up in a pampered environment that tends to create a society of self-centered people."

But Falbo's research did not support the stereotypes.

"By and large these only children are not the little emperors they are made out to be," she said. "We looked at careful methodologies and counted factors like socio-economic status, and they do pretty well and are surprisingly like everyone else."

Parents are fined when they have a second child, and some argue that has kept the policy alive. "The local officials don't want to lose this possible money source," said Falbo. "But I think all the demographers and people who have done population studies say it's time to let it go."

Until then, cultural experts say all of a family's focus becomes the one child.

"Life in China is very family-centered," said Yuan Gao, director of the Asian Studies and Chinese programs at Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J.

"For [Lu's] parents this must be a heavy hit," said Gao, who emigrated from Shanghai in 1986 to study at the University of Wisconsin. "It's terrible in any culture, but more so under China's one-child policy. The blow to the family must be almost unbearable."

"In the West, when a child is born, they pick a name like Laura or Sarah. In a Chinese family, they take great care, choosing a name with words like 'hope' or 'healthy' or 'be prosperous'," he said. "Those kinds of words carry the hopes and expectations of parents for the incoming child."

Education is also paramount. Gao, who has spent 23 years at the school, said Peddie had seen a marked increase in applications from mainland China since taking the first student in 2005. As a result, he said, the selection rate for Chinese students is "much harder than Harvard."

He said parents like Lu's look for the freedom and creativity in education they cannot find in China.

"The living standards have changed so much, that people's expectations are higher," said Gao. "They look to the U.S."

"People find ways to afford it," he said. "They believe that if something is good for the education of children, they will sacrifice everything to do that. Parents will do almost anything to make that happen."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jan172013

Coordinated Bombings in Northern Syria Kill Government Forces

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- At least two dozen people were killed Wednesday in Syria's northern Idlib province by what activists claim was a trio of coordinated car bombings.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that most of the victims were government forces as the blasts happened near various security installations.

According to the group, the bombs went off outside a domestic security agency connected to President Bashar al-Assad, a government office and a highway checkpoint.

While no one took responsibility for the attacks, Syria's official news agency SANA charged that the explosions were the work of two suicide bombers striking separate locations.

The two-year conflict in Syria between government and rebel forces has claimed more than 60,000 lives.

Meanwhile, the casualty toll from Tuesday's bomb attack at the University of Aleppo was raised to 87 dead and more than 150 wounded.  Both sides have accused the other of launching the assault.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan162013

Scores Killed, Wounded at Syrian University

AFP/Getty Images(ALEPPO, Syria) -- The two sides involved in the ongoing Syrian conflict are blaming each other for bombings Tuesday at the University of Aleppo that left at least 82 people dead and scores more wounded.

Witnesses said there were two powerful explosions on the college campus in Syria's largest city while classes were in session.

According to activists, the destruction was caused by Syrian military jets.  However, Syria's official news agency alleged that rebel forces fired missiles into the campus.

The University of Aleppo was established in 1946 and currently has an enrollment of over 60,000 students.

Fighting in Aleppo has intensified since last year with both sides aware that gaining control of the city is crucial in the battle to win total control of Syria.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan112013

Bombings Cause Massive Casualties in Pakistan

BANARAS KHAN/AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- Scores of people were killed and wounded Thursday when bombs were detonated in two separate explosions at a snooker hall in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta.

Authorities put the casualty count at 86 dead and more than 100 injured although the death and injury tolls could wind up running much higher.

The Sunni extremist group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, took responsibility for the twin bombings that targeted Shiite Muslims in what was an apparent attempt to spur sectarian violence in Pakistan.

According to police, the first explosion took place inside the hall where snooker, a game with cues on a billiard table, is played.

As police, rescue workers and onlookers rushed to the scene, a second more powerful explosion occurred, killing and injuring even more people.

It's believed the first blast was caused by a suicide bomber while the second was a car bomb.

The attacks in Quetta came hours before dozens of people were killed and wounded in an explosion at a preaching center near Mingora, the main town in what was once the peaceful Swat Valley.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct292012

Bombings in Baghdad and Vicinity Kill 31

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Iraq suffered its deadliest day in a month on Saturday when at least 31 people were killed in a string of attacks throughout the country.

Most of the deaths occurred in and around Baghdad as people celebrated the Muslim religious holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Despite the threat of violence, the Iraqi military provided no additional security on Saturday, yet it was bolstered on Sunday.

The deadliest attack was reported in the heavily Shiite-populated Baghdad slum of Sadr City, where 13 people were left dead and more than 50 wounded by twin car bomb blasts.

Meanwhile, five people died as the result of a bombing in Baghdad's Maamal neighborhood, while north of the capital in Taji, an attack on a minibus killed five passengers and wounded 12.

No one claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks, although al Qaeda insurgents were suspected.  Until Saturday, assaults against Iraqi civilians had tailed off during October. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep272012

Rebels, Militants Take Credit for Attack on Syrian Military Headquarters

LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- Two groups are each taking credit for Wednesday's suicide car bomb attack against the Syrian military headquarters in Damascus that left four guards dead and more than a dozen others wounded.

The Free Syrian Army, the main rebel group battling government forces, as well as the militant organization Ansar al-Islam claimed responsibility for the strike that is considered significant because it occurred at the staff command compound.

Witnesses said that a minibus carrying explosives detonated after it crashed into the building, literally shaking the area around it.

According to Syrian State TV, rebel forces and military guards engaged in a gun battle following the blast.

The attack came just a day after several bombs blew up inside a Damascus school that rebels claimed had been taken over by the military to be used as a security headquarters.

Wednesday’s attack occurred on the deadliest day thus far of the 19-month conflict, with 343 fatalities reported.  It’s estimated that 30,000 people have died because of the violence since March 2011 but there is no way to verify an exact figure.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul262012

Al Qaeda Group Claims Responsibility for Iraq's Deadliest Day in Two Years

ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- An al Qaeda group is boasting that it was responsible for Monday's series of coordinated bombings and shoot-outs in Iraq that claimed at least 115 lives.

Many more people were wounded in the attacks mainly centered in Baghdad and north of the capital that targeted Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

While suspicion fell on the Islamic State of Iraq, the group waited more than a day to verify on extremist websites that it was behind the carnage believed to be the deadliest day in Iraq in over two years.

The Islamic State of Iraq also confirmed that it carried out the offensive as per the instructions of its leader, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, who said that al Qaeda would begin to take back parts of the country it ceded to coalition forces before the U.S. military withdrew from Iraq in late 2011.

Many believe that the terrorist group is exploiting the current political unrest in Iraq as Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been accused by Sunnis and Kurds of trying to marginalize them by consolidating power.

There is also criticism of the Obama administration in the U.S. for not leaving behind some American forces to help Iraqi army and police now solely in charge of maintaining their country's security.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul232012

Scores Dead in Wave of Bombings, Shootings in Iraq

ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images(BAGHDAD) -- A series of bombings and shootings across Baghdad and northern Iraq Monday left at least 107 people dead and 216 others injured.

It was the bloodiest day of the year as militants tested the efficacy of Iraqi security forces responsible for protecting the population since virtually all American troops left the country at the end of 2011.

The series of coordinated attacks were launched in the capital and nearly 20 other cities and villages, and targeted army and police officers, as well as civilians.

Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds were victims of the assaults, calling to mind the sectarian warfare that came close to tearing Iraq apart during the height of the war several years ago.

Various Shiite sections of Baghdad were struck, including the densely populated Sadr City area, which suffered the city's greatest losses with 16 fatalities.

Just 12 miles north of Baghdad, bombs killed at least 41 people in the Sunni neighborhood of Taji.  Meanwhile, the northern oil-rich city of Kirkuk in the semiautonomous Kurdish region was also victimized by bombings as nine people were reported dead, including a half-dozen soldiers.

The wave of attacks came just days after someone purporting to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, vowed that his group would regain territories it left behind when the U.S. forces were still deployed in the country.

According to al-Baghdadi, "The majority of Sunnis in Iraq support al Qaeda and are waiting for its return."

Al Qaeda may be exploiting the ongoing political turmoil in Baghdad with Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki becoming increasingly unpopular with Sunnis and Kurds.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul232012

Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis Killed in Separate Bombings

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- Neither Shiites nor Sunnis were spared deadly attacks in Iraq Sunday, coming on the second day of the holy month of Ramadan.

Overall, violence has been on the wane in Iraq more than six months after all U.S. military forces withdrew from the country.

However, Sunday's attacks could give ammunition to those who worry that Iraq could again descend into sectarian warfare that nearly tore the country apart from 2005-2007, given that one side will blame the other for Sunday's assaults.

Most of the Shiite fatalities occurred in Baghdad's southern outskirts around sundown when a bomb blew up in a crowded marketplace.  Overall, 25 Shiites died in attacks launched in Baghdad and the central city of Najaf, with dozens more wounded.

Later in the day, two Sunni towns were targeted with bombings by insurgents, leaving at least 18 people dead and over 50 injured in what some speculate were in retaliation for the strikes against Shiites.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun292012

Iraq Sentences Three to Death for Parliament Bomb Plot

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- As Iraq suffered through another day of violence, the country's Supreme Judicial Council on Thursday gave the death penalty to three men who plotted to blow up the parliament building last November.

One person died and six were wounded by the suicide car bomb blast inside the parking lot next to parliament.

Three suspects were apprehended afterwards and connected to al Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq.  They were sentenced to die by hanging for masterminding the scheme.

Meanwhile, Iraqi authorities reported a series of bomb attacks around the country Thursday that left at least 22 people dead and more than 100 wounded in what were mainly sectarian strikes against Shiites.

In the deadliest assault, eight people died and 30 were injured after a car bomb went off in a Baghdad marketplace mostly frequented by Shiites.

June has been a particularly violent month in Iraq, with the death toll from militant attacks approaching 200.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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