english news

Israeli ex-PM Netanyahu’s cases could be dropped in plea deal

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Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating a plea deal which could end his corruption trial, a source close to the talks has said. An agreement could see Mr Netanyahu, 72, plead guilty to reduced charges in return for community service instead of a possible jail term.  Reports say Mr Netanyahu is, however, objecting to accepting a charge which would require him to leave politics. Israel’s longest serving leader was unseated after elections last year. He is head of the right-wing Likud, the largest party in the Israeli parliament, and was prime minister for a record 15 years. In his last five years in office, Mr Netanyahu was dogged by a police investigation into allegations against him, followed by the start of his trial in 2020.(BBC)…[+]

Eric Zemmour: Far-right candidate found guilty of hate speech

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Far-right French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour has been fined €10,000 (£8,350) by a Paris court for hate speech. The case was launched over a TV appearance, where he described unaccompanied migrant children as “thieves”, “rapists” and “murderers”. Former broadcaster Zemmour is known for his anti-Islam and anti-immigration views. His lawyer said he would appeal against the court’s decision. Reacting to the verdict on social media, Zemmour complained that his freedom of speech was being restricted, and said there was an “urgent need to drive ideology out of the courts”. He made the comments in September 202 0 on the CNews television channel, where he used to work as a pundit. Answering a question about a recent knife attack by a young radicalised Pakistani immigrant, he said: “They have nothing to do here. They are thieves, they are murderers, they are rapists, that’s all they are. They must be sent back and they must not even come.”(BBC)…[+]

Thousands without power as US and Canada hit by winter storm

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A major winter storm has brought heavy snow and ice to parts of the US and Canada, putting more than 80 million people under weather warnings. More than 145,000 people are without power in some south-eastern states, and thousands of flights are cancelled. Virginia, Georgia, and North and South Carolina have all declared states of emergency. The US National Weather Service (NWS) says more than 1ft (30cm) of snow is expected in some areas. Snow and ice could result in “dangerous travel, power outages, and tree damage”, the NWS warned. Highway patrols reported hundreds of vehicle accidents, according to the Associated Press news agency.(BBC)…[+]

Nino Cerruti: Italian fashion great dies aged 91

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He always insisted on trying on his own creations first. Many of them were kept at the textile factory his grandfather founded in the town of Biella in 1881. “I have always dressed the same person, myself,” he once said, according to AFP news agency. With his experience in producing excellent fabrics at his family’s textile mill, Cerruti went into the clothing business in the late 1950s. He opened his first boutique in Paris in  1967. When he asked male and female models to walk down the catwalk in the same clothes, he revolutionised fashion, AFP notes.(BBC)…[+]

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta: Ousted Mali president dies aged 76

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The ousted President of Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, has died aged 76, family and former colleagues say. Two years ago he suffered a minor stroke but the cause of his death on Sunday was not immediately clear. He died at 09:00 GMT at his home in the capital Bamako, a member of his family told AFP news agency. Mr Keïta led Mali for seven years until 2020, when he was ousted in a coup after huge anti-government protests over his handling of jihadist unrest. An economic crisis and disputed elections also fuelled the demonstrations against his rule. Mr Keïta was involved in politics for more than three decades, serving as a socialist prime minister from 1994 to 2000.(BBC)…[+]

Pacific volcano: New Zealand sends flight to assess Tonga damage

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New Zealand has sent a plane to Tonga to assess the damage after a huge volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami. The eruption has covered the Pacific islands in ash, cut power and severed communications. Up to 80,000 people there could be affected, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) told the BBC. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the tsunami had wreaked “significant damage”. No deaths have been reported so far. Information remains scarce, however, and New Zealand and Australia are sending surveillance flights to assess the extent of the damage. The New Zealand Defence Force tweeted that an aircraft had left to “assist in an initial impact assessment of the area and low-lying islands“.(BBC)…[+]

Franco Mulakkal: Kerala court clears bishop in nun’s rape

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An Indian court has cleared a bishop accused of raping a nun between 2014 and 2016 in a case that had shocked one of the country’s oldest Christian communities. Franco Mulakkal, 54, was arrested from the southern state of Kerala in 2018. He had denied the allegations. The case sparked widespread protests after the nun alleged that the Catholic Church had ignored her complaints. The Vatican had temporarily relieved the bishop of his duties. On Friday, a trial court in Kottayam city of Kerala found him not guilty of the charges. “The prosecution failed to prove all the charges against the accused,” said Kottayam Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) G Gopakumar.(BBC)…[+]

Dutch King Willem-Alexander retires coach amid slavery row

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The Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander has announced that Dutch royals will cease using a historic golden carriage amid a debate over slavery links. Critics say that one side of the horse-drawn carriage, called De Gouden Koets, is decorated with an image that glorifies the country’s colonial past. Out of use since 2015, the carriage has traditionally been used to carry Dutch monarchs to the opening of parliament. The move comes amid an ongoing debate in the country over its history. The controversial image featured on the vehicle is called Tribute from the Colonies, and depicts black and Asian people – one of whom is kneeling – offering goods including cocoa and sugarcane to a seated young white woman who symbolises the Netherlands. Seated next to her is a man offering a book to a young boy, which the work’s painter, Nicolaas van der Waay, said in 1896 was intended to portray the Netherlands’ gift of “civilisation” to its colonies.(BBC)…[+]

Thirty rescued as man dies off French coast

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A man has drowned and 30 other people have been brought to safety by French rescue services after they tried to cross the Channel to the UK. The man fell overboard when the small migrant boat got into difficulty close to the French coast at Berck-sur-Mer, south of Boulogne. Most of those rescued were on board the dinghy, but five people were picked up from a sandbank. Friday’s drowning is thought to be the first fatality in the Channel in 2022. Prosecutors said the man who died on Friday was believed to be in his 20s and of Sudanese origin.

Local media said the alarm was raised when someone on land spotted the boat getting into difficulty in freezing temperatures, possibly when they were trapped by the tide. Some of those rescued were suffering from hypothermia, according to officials.(BBC)…[+]

Kenya Power in the spotlight after nationwide blackout

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The hashtag #KPLC has been trending on Twitter this week as Kenyans share memes and gifs about the country’s worst national blackout for years. While some tried to find some light-hearted moments in the midst of darkness, others fumed at the inefficiency of the state-run Kenya Power Lighting Company. It was the third nationwide blackout in the past four years and raised questions over KPLC’s ability to provide a stable power supply.

In a statement, the company said four pylons supporting the power line, which connects the capital, Nairobi, to a hydroelectric dam in the central region, collapsed. It said vandalism had weakened the structures.Police are investigating the cause of the blackout, with the head of criminal investigations telling journalists that they can’t rule out anything, following concerns of possible sabotage following reforms at the energy ministry that were seen to have ruffled the feathers of bureaucrats.(BBC)…[+]