english news

Maya rulers’ ashes turned into pelota balls – expert


Some Maya rulers may have been incinerated and their ashes mixed with rubber to make the balls used in the game of pelota, an archaeologist says. Burnt human remains uncovered at the ruins of a Maya city have led to a new theory about the death rites of the ancient civilisation. Archaeologist Juan Yadeun Angulo came up with the hypothesis after finding urns containing human ashes, rubber and roots at a Maya temple in Mexico. Pelota is among the oldest team sports. Mr Yadeun, an archaeologist with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), has been studying a recently uncovered crypt underneath the Sun Temple at the Toniná archaeological site in southern Mexico. Inside the underground crypt and its antechamber, archaeologists found 400 urns containing the mixture of human ashes, coal, rubber and plant roots.(BBC)…[+]

Kentucky floods: Death toll rises to 37, hundreds still missing


At least 37 people have now died in flash floods in eastern Kentucky, as the region braces for more rainfall. At least six children – including four siblings, aged one to eight, who were reportedly swept from their parents’ grip – are among the dead. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the death toll would continue to rise as “hundreds” remained unaccounted for. More than 12,000 households remained without power, and hundreds of homes and businesses have been flooded. The damage to roads, bridges and other infrastructure will cost millions to repair, the governor said on Monday.(BBC)…[+]


Conjoined twins separated with the help of virtual reality


Brazilian twins who were joined at the head have been successfully separated with the help of virtual reality. Three-year-olds Bernardo and Arthur Lima underwent surgeries in Rio de Janeiro, with direction from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The teams spent months trialling techniques using virtual reality projections of the twins, based on CT and MRI scans. It was described by surgeon Noor ul Owase Jeelani as “space-age stuff”. It was one of the most complex separation processes ever completed, according to the charity which funded it – Gemini Untwined – which Mr Jeelani founded in 2018. He said that, for the first time, surgeons in separate countries wore headsets and operated in the same “virtual reality room” together. The twins had seven surgeries, involving more than 27 hours of operating time in the final operation alone, and almost 100 medical staff.(BBC)…[+]

Iran’s atomic energy chief says country could build a bomb but has no plan to

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Iran’s atomic energy chief says the country has the ability to build a nuclear weapon but has no plan to, an Iranian news agency reports. Mohammad Eslami’s comments echo a similar recent statement by a senior adviser to Iran’s supreme leader. Such public claims by top officials are rare and are likely to intensify concerns over the nature of Iran’s nuclear programme.

It has advanced its nuclear activities since a deal limiting them faltered. The 2015 agreement began to unravel when the US pulled out and reinstated crippling economic sanctions. Iran has repeatedly claimed its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes but Western powers and the global nuclear watchdog say they are not convinced. Western officials have warned time is running out to restore the deal before Iran’s programme reaches such a point where it cannot be reversed.(BBC)…[+]

California wildfire: Two dead as firefighters battle McKinney blaze

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Two people have been found dead amid the huge wildfire sweeping through northern California which has forced thousands from their homes. The bodies of the dead pair were found inside a car in the driveway of a property caught in the blaze. Siskiyou County Sheriff Jeremiah LaRue told ABC News the two seemed to be trying to escape the area. The McKinney Fire has burned more than 50,000 acres, making it California’s largest this year. The identities of the two dead people are not being released until their families have been notified. California’s Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency over the fire, which began on Friday afternoon before rapidly exploding in size due to a combination of dry fuel after a drought, strong winds and lightning strikes.(BBC)…[+]

Apple and Amazon sales up despite rising prices

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Amazon and Apple posted better than expected sales, reassuring investors that the tech giants will be able to weather slowdowns in global economies. Amazon forecast in a trading update that higher fees for its Prime membership would boost its bottom line, while Apple said demand for its all important iPhone remained strong. Both firms said they were making progress controlling running costs, despite prices rising at rapid rates. The updates sent shares soaring. The quarterly updates from Apple and Amazon are closely watched as indicators of how customers are reacting to the economic climate. On Thursday, official figures revealed the US economy shrank for the second quarter in a row, a milestone that in many countries would be considered an economic recession, but not in the US, which uses additional data to make that call.(BBC)…[+]

Migrants in Mexico: Mass escape from abandoned truck after recent deaths


A group of migrants has escaped from a truck abandoned in Mexico, a month after more than 50 people died in similar circumstances in the US. The lorry was heading for the US border but was abandoned by the driver ahead of a checkpoint, paramedics said. People forced a way out of the top of the lorry to escape the stifling heat. Authorities found at least 94 people, mostly Guatemalans, in and around the lorry on Wednesday night. It is thought others may have run away. Many of those found were treated for ankle and knee fractures after jumping from the top of the vehicle. Paramedics say one man who was unconscious was taken to hospital. Authorities were called at around 21:20 (02:20 GMT Thursday). Employees of a petrol station close to where the lorry was ab andoned helped the migrants to escape, José Domínguez, director of civil protection in nearby Oluta, told Reuters news agency. Mexico’s national guard and navy patrolled the area looking for people hiding in the surrounding bushes.(BBC)…[+]

Iran: Ex-child bride among three women executed in one day – report


Iranian authorities put three women to death on Wednesday for murdering their husbands, a human rights charity says. According to the Iran Human Rights Group they were among 32 people executed in the past week alone. A former child bride, convicted of later killing the man she had married at the age of 15, was among them. Authorities are believed to have substantially stepped up their use of the death penalty, executing twice as many people so far this year than last. Rights groups report that Iran also executes more women than any other country, the majority of whom are thought to have been found guilty of killing their husbands. On Wednesday, the Iran Human Rights Group says former child bride Soheila Abadi was hanged in prison after being convicted of killing her husband after marrying him 10 years previously when she was 15 years old. The sentencing court reportedly said the motive for the murder had been “family disputes.”(BBC)…[+]

Brazilian footballer Neymar faces fraud trial in Barcelona


Nine years after footballer Neymar moved from Brazil to Barcelona, he faces trial for alleged irregularities surrounding the transfer. In a legal saga that has dragged on for years, the Brazilian international who now plays for Paris Saint-Germain is accused of fraud and corruption. The trial is due to take place for two weeks from 17 October, a month before the World Cup in Qatar. Several other figures are also due to stand trial. Two former presidents of Barcelona football club, Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, as well as Neymar’s parents face the same allegations, according to Spanish reports. All those involved in the case have long denied the allegations, made by investment fund DIS, which argued it was entitled to 40% of Neymar’s 2013 transfer fee when he left Brazilian club Santos.(BBC)…[+]


Ukraine war: Officials say work at grain ports resumes after deal

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Ukraine says work has started at three ports aimed at forming “green corridors” to allow grain exports. A spokesperson for the Odesa military administration said naval teams will build routes out of southern ports in Odesa, Chornomorsk and Pivdennyi. Once the routes are established, “caravans” of ships led by Ukrainian naval vessels will sail through the Black Sea, Serhiy Bratchuk said. Kyiv and Moscow struck a deal to allow the grain exports last week. Under the deal, which was brokered by Turkey and the UN, Russia agreed not to target ports while grain was in transit, while Ukraine pledged to guide cargo ships through waters that have been mined. However, the agreement was thrown into chaos less than 24 hours after the deal was signed, when two Russian missiles targeted a port in the city of Odesa.(BBC)…[+]