english news

Four children killed as train hits vehicle at Dutch level crossing

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Four children, including three from the same family, have died after a train struck an electric transport wagon in which they were travelling near the eastern Dutch town of Oss, local media have reported.

A fifth child and the woman driving the wagon, known as a bolderkar or Stint, were critically injured. The ANP news agency said the accident happened at about 8.25am on Thursday on a manned level crossing as the woman was taking the children, aged between four and 11, from the before-school daycare centre where she worked to local primary schools.

Witnesses told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper that the barriers on the level crossing had been lowered but that the vehicle – a mode of transport popular with daycare centres in the Netherlands and Belgium for ferrying young children around – passed underneath them and became stranded on the tracks. Some witnesses said the the driver appeared to have lost control and was calling for help as the train approached.(theguardian)…[+]

‘Medieval’ cholera outbreak exposes Zimbabwe’s problems

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Authorities in Zimbabwe are struggling to control a deadly cholera outbreak, underlining the enormous challenges that face the country’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. More than 5,000 people have been infected and 30 killed in the outbreak. A state of emergency has been declared and all public events cancelled, but the disease has nevertheless spread to five of the country’s 10 provinces.

In July, Mnangagwa won Zimbabwe’s first election since Robert Mugabe was ousted by the military last year. Observers criticised the poll, which the opposition claimed was rigged. The health emergency has shone a light on the appalling state of Zimbabwe’s infrastructure after decades of Mugabe’s autocratic and corrupt rule.(theguardian)…[+]

Wada lifts Russia’s three-year doping suspension and faces its biggest crisis

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The World Anti-Doping Agency is facing the gravest crisis in its 19-year history after it lifted Russia’s suspension, despite pleas from the rest of the anti-doping community that such a decision would be unwise and premature.

The news, officially announced by Wada on Thursday afternoon after a meeting of its executive committee in the Seychelles, means that Russia will be free to test its own athletes again and issue therapeutic use exemption certificates. The decision makes it more likely that its track and field athletes will return to competing under the Russian flag, while the country is likely to start bidding for sporting events again too.However Wada’s critics are furious that it has secretly shifted the goalposts for the return of the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (Rusada) – especially as Russia has still not accepted that it was running a massive state-sponsored doping programme across major events such as the London 2012 Olympics, the 2013 World Athletics Championships in Moscow and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.(theguardian)…[+]

Storm Ali: woman dies in Ireland after caravan blown off cliff

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A woman has died after Storm Ali began to make itself felt with winds of up to 90mph across Ireland and parts of Scotland and England, as the first named storm of the season arrived in time for the morning rush-hour.

Irish police confirmed the woman died after a caravan was blown off a cliff in the west of Ireland. They said: “Gardaí at Clifden, County Galway, are investigating an incident which occurred at Claddaghduff, County Galway, this morning. “At approximately 7.45am, a report was received that a caravan had blown off the cliff at the above location. A search was carried out at the scene on the beach and after a short time the body of a female in her 50s was recovered.” About 55,000 homes and businesses, mainly in the south-west of Ireland, had been left without power due to the weather, the Electricity Supply Board said.(theguardian)…[+]

Matteo Salvini sues black MEP for defamation in racism row

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Cécile Kyenge, an MEP who had bananas thrown at her and was likened to an orangutan during her time as Italy’s integration minister, is being sued for defamation by the far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, for calling his party, the League, racist.

Kyenge will face trial in the northern city of Piacenza over comments made in an interview in 2014 during the Festa de l’Unità, a social democratic event celebrated across Italy each year. She was responding to a photograph posted on social media by Fabio Rainieri, who at the time was party secretary in the Emilia-Romagna region, depicting her as an orangutan.

On being notified of the trial on 14 September, Kyenge, who moved to Italy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1983 to study medicine, wrote on Facebook: “Today in Piacenza: Salvini has summoned me to court because I said the League is racist. Judge for yourselves.”(theguardian)…[+]

May to reject Barnier’s Irish border proposals as ‘unacceptable’

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Theresa May will reject Michel Barnier’s revised Irish backstop border proposals at the Salzburg summit because the EU is still insisting on customs checks down the Irish Sea if the two sides cannot strike a free trade agreement after Brexit.

The prime minister foreshadowed the argument she will make to the other EU leaders over dinner on Wednesday evening in an article in Die Welt, which said the proposed backstop was “unacceptable” because it did not respect “the constitutional and economic integrity of the UK”. May will arrive in Salzburg on Wednesday afternoon at an informal EU council during which will she will address Brexit over dinner and where EU leaders will discuss the issue again at lunch on Thursday in her absence.

The prime minister will also hold bilateral meetings on Thursday with the EU president, Donald Tusk, and Irish taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, as she seeks to end the impasse over the future of the UK’s only land border.(theguardian)…[+]

Cameroon: Amnesty warns of ‘spiralling’ pre-election violence in anglophone regions

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Brutal attacks on civilians and security forces in anglophone regions of Cameroon have escalated in recent weeks and could rise even further in the run-up to presidential elections next month, rights groups have warned.

A self-declared member of the Ambazonia Liberation Forces appeared in a new video alongside images of a soldier’s decapitated head, according to Amnesty’s experts, who said the head had bruises on it and lay on a blood-soaked white cloth next to what could be the man’s genitalia. “Ambazonia” is the name separatists would like to give to their new country, if they achieve independence, and is derived from Ambas Bay in southern Cameroon.

“The situation in the anglophone regions of Cameroon is becoming increasingly desperate, with no one spared from the violence, which is spiralling out of control,” said Samira Daoud, the deputy regional director of campaigns in west and central Africa. She called for the government to act immediately to restore peace, adding: “Violence will only fuel further incidents, crimes and untold suffering.”(theguardian)…[+]

‘Highly probable’ Pussy Riot activist was poisoned, say German doctors

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German doctors treating a member of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot say his symptoms suggest it is “highly probable” that he was poisoned, but are confident he will make a full recovery. Pyotr Verzilov, one of four members of Pussy Riot who invaded the pitch dressed in police uniforms during the World Cup final in Moscow to protest against excessive Russian police powers, fell ill following a court hearing last Tuesday. He was rushed to Berlin on Saturday night for treatment.

His early symptoms included loss of vision and being unable to walk or talk. “It is highly probable that he was poisoned,” a doctor at the Charite hospital in Berlin told a news conference on Tuesday, adding that there was no other explanation as to why Verzilov was in such a condition.Doctors said they were confident he would return to full health. “Pyotr Verzilov improves day by day and he is no longer at risk,” said the head of the hospital, Karl Max Einhäupl.(theguardian)…[+]

Burkina Faso mass botched FGM leaves 50 girls hospitalised

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Around 50 girls, including some as young as four, are being treated in hospital in Burkina Faso after they underwent female genital mutilation (FGM). Two women, along with some of the girls’ relatives, have been arrested. Not all the girls who underwent the circumcision have been traced, the minister of women’s affairs, Laurence Marshall Ilboudo, told the BBC.

The procedure is reported to have been carried out in Kaya, northeast of the capital, Ouagadougou. The NGO Voix de Femmes, which runs a centre on the outskirts of the capital for survivors, said it had assisted five girls, while many others were taken to local hospitals. On Tuesday campaigners in Somalia announced that a third girl had died in less than a week after undergoing FGM in the Puntland region. Suheyra Qorane Farah was cut along with her sister, Zamzam. Both bled profusely and fell into a coma. Zamzam’s condition improved, but Suheyra’s worsened. She was diagnosed with tetanus and died on 17 September.(theguardian)…[+]

Strawberry sabotage scare spreads to all six Australian states

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The strawberry contamination scare in Australia, which has caused supermarkets to recall brands and farmers to dump fruit, has spread to all six of the country’s states, police have said. The supermarket chains Coles and Aldi had pulled strawberries from their shelves across Australia except in Western Australia, and on Monday police in that state said a suspected case had been identified there.

A man in the town of York reported to police that he had found a needle in a sink after washing strawberries. The incident came after a seven-year-old girl in South Australia state found a needle in a Western Australia-grown strawberry on Saturday. A 62-year-old woman was caught putting a needle into a banana in Mackay, central Queensland, in what is believed to have been a copycat act.

Neil Handasyde, president of the Strawberry Growers Association of Western Australia, said growers had received requests from retailers and insurance companies to scan fruit for needles. “As an industry, we are sure that [the needles] are not coming from the farm, but we’re trying to get confidence into consumers that when they buy … strawberries, that there isn’t going to be anything other than strawberries in there and they’re safe to eat,” he told ABC. “[We] are looking at lots of different ways of tackling this issue. There’s been metal detectors purchased and tamper-proof packaging looked at.”(theguardian)…[+]