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Trump will not participate in impeachment hearing, White House says


The White House has said US President Donald Trump and his lawyers will not attend an impeachment hearing on Wednesday, citing a lack of “fairness”. The hearing by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee marks the next stage of the probe, with legal experts giving testimony that could lead to a vote of impeachment.

It is alleged the president pressured Ukraine to conduct two investigations for his own political gain. Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing. After weeks of closed-door witness interviews and public hearings, the process will now focus on possible charges of misconduct, which could lead to an impeachment vote in the House and trial in the Republican-led Senate. The Democratic-led inquiry centres on a phone call in July between Mr Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Mr Trump has dismissed the process as a “witch hunt”.(BBC)…[+]

Jamaica: Two men in getaway car killed in crash after shooting another man dead


In what the police suspect to have been an illicit deal gone sour, three men of St James addresses died in St Ann on Saturday night, while one is in police custody and a firearm recovered. One man was shot dead in the car park of a popular St Ann restaurant in Drax Hall, while two of the suspects died when their getaway car crashed into a truck in Llandovery, a few miles away.

A third occupant of the car was treated at the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital and released into police custody. A 9mm pistol with five rounds was taken from the crashed car. The man who was shot and killed has been identified as Ricardo Brown, 28.

One of the two who died in the crash has been identified as Ajohn McLeod, 26, of Cornwall Court, Montego Bay, St James, while the other is yet to be identified. The driver of the car, Richard Gilbourne, 30, also of Cornwall Court, remains in police custody.(Stabroek news)…[+]

Sudan crisis: Women praise end of strict public order law


Sudan has repealed a restrictive public order law that controlled how women acted and dressed in public. On Twitter, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok paid tribute to women who had “endured the atrocities that resulted from the implementation of this law”.

The country’s transitional authorities also dissolved the party of former President Omar al-Bashir. Mr Bashir seized power in a 1989 coup and ruled for nearly 30 years before peaceful protests ousted him in April. Sudan is currently led by a joint military and civilian council, as well as a civilian-led cabinet headed by Prime Minister Hamdok.(BBC)…[+]

The Hague stabbing: Three injured in attack on shopping street


Three people have been stabbed in an attack on a busy shopping street in The Hague, officials say. Police said they were still searching for a suspect and no arrests had been made after the attack at about 19:45 local time (18:45 GMT).

Images and videos on social media showed dozens of Black Friday shoppers running away from the scene. Three young people were treated in hospital, but were later able to go home, police said. The incident happened at the Hudson’s Bay store in the city’s Grote Marktstraat or main market square area.

Police have urged the public to contact them if they witnessed the attack. Officials have also requested that anyone with images or footage of the stab attack send it to police. An initial description of the suspect suggested police were looking for a man aged between 45 to 50 wearing a grey tracksuit. However, in a later update, police said that description was wrong without providing further details.(BBC)…[+]

Daphne Caruana Galizia: Malta suspect will not get immunity


Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said a suspect in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia will not be granted immunity to reveal what he knows about the case.

Businessman Yorgen Fenech had requested a presidential pardon in exchange for information. Caruana Galizia, a prominent anti-corruption blogger, was killed by a car bomb in 2017. Mr Muscat is under increasing pressure to resign over the case.

The prime minister has previously said he will only step down when those who ordered the killing are identified. However, the Times of Malta reported on Friday that Mr Muscat was preparing to announce his resignation “immediately” amid the worsening political crisis. Mr Muscat’s Labour Party has cancelled an event on Sunday at which the prime minister was due to speak. (BBC)…[+]

Abdulla Yameen: Maldives ex-leader convicted of money laundering


Former Maldives President Abdulla Yameen has been sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering. The charges focused on a payment of $1m (£770,000) by a private company that was supposed to go to the state.

Prosecutors said the money, fees for leasing land for tourism development, went instead to Yameen’s bank account. He denied the accusations. The controversial former president served for five years until his surprise defeat in the 2018 election.

Widely seen as pro-China and accused of crushing dissent in the archipelago, Yameen was also ordered by the court in the capital, Male, to pay a fine of $5m. He is expected to appeal. Judge Ali Rasheed, who headed a panel of five judges trying the case, said it had been established beyond any reasonable doubt that Yameen had taken money that he knew was embezzled from the state.

Dozens of the former president’s supporters gathered outside the court, saying his was innocent. The Maldives is a key battleground in the rivalry between China and India. Famous for its 26 coral atolls and 1,192 islands, it is home to more than 400,000 people. Tourism is a vital part of its economy but there are fears for the archipelago’s future because of climate change.(bbc)…[+]

Albania earthquake: Hopes of finding survivors fade


Relatives of people whose homes were destroyed in Albania’s most powerful earthquake in decades are awaiting news, as rescuers find more bodies in the rubble and the death toll rises to 40.

“Ten more victims were found during the night,” Albania’s defence ministry said in a statement on Thursday morning. Children were among those killed when a magnitude-6.4 quake hit on Tuesday. Rescue teams from Serbia, Italy, France, Greece, Switzerland, Turkey and Croatia are helping with the search.

“Our teams have been working uninterruptedly since last night. It is a very, very difficult situation,” Italian fire service spokesman Luca Cari told Ansa news agency.

Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama has declared a state of emergency – enabling more funds and security – in the coastal city of Durres and the inland town of Thumane, the two areas worst affected.(BBC)…[+]

Port Neches: Texas chemical plant blasts lead to evacuation order


About 60,000 people have been evacuated from the area surrounding Port Neches in Texas after a series of huge explosions at a chemical plant. Footage shows a flash of light before the plant was engulfed by flames. One video shows the door of a nearby house being blown off its hinges.

Three employees were injured in the initial explosion. The first blast at 01:00 local time (07:00 GMT) on Wednesday was followed by a series of secondary explosions.

It is not yet known what caused the blast, which was felt 30 miles (48km) away from the TPC Group plant. A further large blast took place at 14:00 on Wednesday – sparking the evacuation order.(BBC)…[+]

Truck crashes into fence of Republic Bank, Triumph branch


An early morning accident along the East Coast of Demerara Public Road Tuesday left at least four persons injured and the northern side of the Republic Bank, Triumph, East Coast Demerara branch severely damaged.

Details surrounding the accident which occurred sometime around 1.30am are sketchy.However, Stabroek News understands that a truck with trailer was proceeding east along the East Coast Public road, allegedly at a fast rate when the driver lost control. As a result, the truck reportedly skidded off the median and crashed into the bank’s fence before coming to a halt. Reports are that the driver and three other persons were injured.They were taken to Georgetown Public Hospital for treatment.(Stabroeknews)…[+]

Woman survives as runaway truck flattens her car in South Africa

south africa

A 26-year-old woman has suffered serious injuries after a runaway truck landed on her car in the South African city of Port Elizabeth. The truck driver had parked the vehicle while he picked up his children from the Parsons Hill primary school, police said.

It rolled down the hill, smashing into the car from above. The woman’s Opel Adam was virtually flattened, leaving her trapped inside for nearly 40 minutes. Emergency services eventually pulled her out, reports said. The woman survived but was taken to hospital with multiple injuries, including fractures, paramedics said.

Paramedics from independent ambulance company Netcare 911 were among those to respond to the accident on Tuesday afternoon. “The truck was squashing both her and her car. Parts of it had to be cut off in order to free her,” Shawn Herbst, a spokesman for Netcare 911, told the BBC. The truck driver, who has not been named, is being investigated for reckless and negligent driving, police said.

“When he returned to his truck, he noticed it was no longer parked where he had left it,” police spokeswoman Sandra Janse van Rensburg told local newspaper HeraldLive. “He then noticed that the truck had rolled forward and collided with an Opel Adam.”(BBC)…[+]