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This is Wikitravel's Travel news section, about issues affecting travellers, both positively and negatively. For more general news, see Wikinews.

Please feel free to edit or add to news items below. For instructions on how to use the Newsitem template or how to add news items to the Main Page, please see Wikitravel:How to add travel news.


Contents

August

Saudi Arabia sees Mers surge

Saudi Arabia sees Mers surge

28 Aug

Saudi Arabia has announced four more deaths from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), bringing the number of deaths in the past week to 17. Health officials admit they are worried by the timing, as the kingdom prepares to welcome around two million Muslims for the Hajj next month. Mers infections have been recorded in countries across the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The virus first emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012. [1]


Germany arson destroys planned asylum shelter

Germany arson destroys planned asylum shelter

25 Aug

Police in Germany say a school sports hall intended as a temporary shelter for asylum seekers has burned down in a suspected arson attack. Investigators believe the fire in Nauen, west of Berlin, was started deliberately. No-one was injured. Far-right protesters have demonstrated against asylum seekers in the area. [2]


Sierra Leone discharges last Ebola patient

Sierra Leone discharges last Ebola patient

25 Aug

Sierra Leone has released its last known Ebola patient, according to the World Health Organization. 35-year-old Adama Sankoh was discharged from a treatment centre in the northern Bombali district on Monday morning. The country hasn't reported a new infection for more than two weeks, according the the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC). However, a small number of cases are still being reported in neighbouring Guinea.[3]


Deal to reduce Korea tensions

Deal to reduce Korea tensions

24 Aug

South and North Korea agree deal to defuse tensions after series of border confrontations - media reports [4]


Nepal clashes leave eight dead

Nepal clashes leave eight dead

24 Aug

Violent clashes at a protest in western Nepal have killed at least seven police officers and a child. The ethnic Tharu protesters were at a rally in Kailali district in the Far Western region, demanding greater rights under a new constitution. Nepal's Home Minister Bamdev Gautam said protesters had encircled police, attacking them with spears and axes and burning one man alive. [5]


Palmyra temple blown up by IS

Palmyra temple blown up by IS

24 Aug

Islamic State militants have destroyed Palmyra's ancient Temple of Baalshamin, Syrian officials and activists say. Syria's head of antiquities was quoted as saying the temple was blown up on Sunday. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that it happened a month ago.[6]


Colombia- Venezuela border closed

Colombia- Venezuela border closed

22 Aug

The Venezuelan president has declared a state of emergency in a border region near Colombia following an attack by smugglers in which three soldiers and a civilian were injured. As of 22 August 2015, the Colombia- Venezuela border is closed until further notice by president Maduro. The Venezuelan president said there would be 60 days of martial law in five municipalities in the state of Tachira. [7]


Macedonian police clash with migrants

Macedonian police clash with migrants

21 Aug

Macedonian police have fired tear gas to disperse thousands of migrants trying to enter from Greece. It comes a day after Macedonia declared a state of emergency in two border regions to cope with an influx of migrants, many from the Middle East. Large numbers spent the night stuck on Macedonia's southern frontier, and tried to charge police in the morning. The Balkan nation has become a major transit point for migrants trying to reach northern EU members. Some 44,000 people have reportedly travelled through the country in the past two months. At least five people were injured in the clashes at the border with Greece. [8]


IS destroys monastery in Syrian town

IS destroys monastery in Syrian town

21 Aug

Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria have demolished a Christian monastery in al-Qaryatain town in Homs province. The militants had also moved Christians taken captive in the town to their stronghold of Raqqa, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group. IS captured Qaryatain from government forces earlier in August. Separately, at least four people have died in an Israeli strike on a Syrian-held section of the Golan Heights. [9]


New fires burn at China blast site

New fires burn at China blast site

21 Aug

Four new fires are burning at the site in the Chinese city of Tianjin where blasts killed at least 116 people, the state-run Xinhua news agency says. One of the fires started at an automobile distribution site not far from the epicentre of the blasts. Three other fires were burning within the core blast site, and rescue crews have been dispatched to the scene. Sixty people are still missing after the 12 August blasts, which also injured at least 700. Thousands of people saw their homes destroyed or made too unsafe to return to. Authorities have promised to compensate residents. The blasts happened at a warehouse storing hazardous chemicals in Tianjin's port. What caused them is still unclear and a massive clean-up is continuing, with thousands of police and soldiers deployed. Officials say the blast site is contaminated by more than 40 dangerous substances, among them the highly toxic sodium cyanide. [10]


South Korea evacuation after shelling on western border

South Korea evacuation after shelling on western border

20 Aug

South Korea has ordered the evacuation of residents from an area of its western border after an exchange of fire with North Korea, reports say. North Korea fired a shell at a South Korean military unit on Thursday, prompting the south to retaliate with several artillery rounds, the South's defence ministry said. South Korea's National Security Council is due to hold an emergency session.[11]


Yosemite plague closes camp ground

Yosemite plague closes camp ground

19 Aug

US health officials have closed a portion of Yosemite National Park after it emerged that a second tourist might have contracted plague. Authorities believe the disease, which is treatable with antibiotics, was spread by squirrels and fleas. The tourist's camp site - the Tuolumne Meadows Campground - will be closed until Friday as workers treat the area with insecticide.[12]


Ecuador volcano poses threat

Ecuador volcano poses threat

18 Aug

Hundreds of thousands of people living south of the Ecuadorean capital, Quito, could be at risk from an eruption of the Cotopaxi volcano, officials say. The volcano, located about 50km (30 miles) from the city, last erupted on Saturday, prompting President Rafael Correa to declare a state of emergency. Risk Management Minister Maria del Pilar Cornejo said 325,000 people lived in areas that could lie in the path of mud and rock flows from the Cotopaxi.[13]


Bangkok bomb: Deadly blast rocks Thailand capital

Bangkok bomb: Deadly blast rocks Thailand capital

17 Aug

A bomb has exploded close to a shrine in the centre of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, killing at least 12 people and injuring dozens more. [14]


Shelling in east Ukraine kills nine

Shelling in east Ukraine kills nine

17 Aug

At least nine people have died in heavy exchanges of artillery fire between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia said the latest fighting suggested preparations for a new offensive by the Ukrainians. But Kiev accused the rebels of shelling the outskirts of Mariupol - a key port city - from 12km (7.4 miles) away. The latest escalation in eastern Ukraine has left the ceasefire signed in February looking more fragile than ever. [15]


Mass protests held across Brazil

Mass protests held across Brazil

17 Aug

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in protests across Brazil calling for the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Support for Ms Rousseff has fallen to single-digit figures in recent polls. Many voters have accused her of failing to stamp out corruption and blame her for the economy's worst slump in 25 years. Marchers took over Copacabana beach in Rio and also demonstrated outside congress in the capital Brasilia. Many wore the yellow shirts of the Brazilian football team, and sang the national anthem, carrying banners saying "Dilma Out". About 350,000 people took part in protests in Sao Paulo, police say. Another 25,000 people took part in a demonstration in the capital, Brasilia. [16]


Ecuador declares volcano emergency

Ecuador declares volcano emergency

17 Aug

Ecuador President Rafael Correa has declared a state of emergency over increasing activity at the Cotopaxi volcano near the capital, Quito. The declaration gives authorities more flexibility in using government funds to address the situation. Officials evacuated several hundred people from nearby villages after the volcano began to erupt on Friday. Cotopaxi is among the world's most dangerous volcanoes and is prone to fast-moving rock and mud flows. Small eruptions have already shot ash more than 5km (three miles) into the sky, spreading fine grey powder over as far as the capital 50km (30 miles) to the north. Authorities have restricted access to the park that surrounds the volcano and barred mountaineers from climbing the snow-capped peak. Cotopaxi last had a major eruption in 1877. [17]


Bulls kill 7 at Spain summer festivals

Bulls kill 7 at Spain summer festivals

17 Aug

Bulls have gored seven people to death during festivals across Spain since the beginning of July - four of them over the past weekend. The deaths occurred during bull-running in the streets, not in bullrings. It is an unusually high number of fatalities for such a short period. [18]


US flag raised over reopened Cuba embassy

US flag raised over reopened Cuba embassy

14 Aug

The US has reopened its embassy in Cuba more than 54 years after it was closed, in a symbolic step signalling the warming of ties between both countries. John Kerry, the first US Secretary of State to visit Cuba in 70 years, presided over the ceremony in Havana. The US flag was presented by the same US marines who brought it down in 1961. [19]


Flooding in Kent and Sussex

Flooding in Kent and Sussex

13 Aug

The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning after torrential downpours and thunderstorms caused disruption across south-east England. Fire crews in Kent and Sussex were called to several houses struck by lightning during the storms. Flooding has forced play to be suspended at the Women's Ashes Test at the Spitfire Ground in Canterbury. The amber "be prepared" warning comes as a second cluster of thundery downpours is expected later. [20]


China Tianjin blast

China Tianjin blast

12 Aug

A massive explosion has hit China's northern port city of Tianjin, reportedly injuring scores of people. According to Chinese state media, the explosion occurred when a shipment of explosives blew up at about 23:30 (16:30 GMT). Pictures and video shared on social media showed flames lighting up the sky and damage to nearby buildings. At least 50 people have been admitted to hospital, according to state news agency Xinhua. [21]


Egypt heatwave leaves 61 people dead

Egypt heatwave leaves 61 people dead

12 Aug

A heatwave in Egypt has killed at least 61 people in three days, the health ministry says, as temperatures soared to 47C (116F). Forty died after suffering heatstroke on Sunday and Monday, and another 21 died on Tuesday, state media reported. Another 581 people have been admitted to hospital with heat exhaustion. Most of the victims were elderly, but local media reports said that they also included several detainees and patients at a psychiatric hospital. [22]


Series of attacks in Turkey

Series of attacks in Turkey

10 Aug

Six members of the security forces have been killed in a series of attacks in Turkey amid rising tension between the government and Kurdish militants. In south-eastern Sirnak province, four police officers were killed by a roadside bomb and a soldier died when gunmen fired on a military helicopter. In Istanbul, a police officer was killed in clashes after a car bombing. Meanwhile, the city's US consulate was attacked by two assailants. A leftist group said it carried out that attack. [23]


China typhoon leaves trail of damage

China typhoon leaves trail of damage

9 Aug

At least 12 people have died in south-eastern China after a powerful typhoon caused floods and mudslides.Thousands were evacuated and millions of homes left without power as Typhoon Soudelor barrelled through Fujian and Zhejiang provinces on Saturday. One coastal area saw more than 50cm (20 inches) of rain in 24 hours, the heaviest for a century.The typhoon earlier swept across Taiwan, leaving at least six people dead and several missing. Half-a-million people were still without power on the island on Sunday, the Taiwan Power Co said. Soudelor has now weakened to a tropical storm as it heads inland. Fujian raised its typhoon alert to the highest level in anticipation of the storm, with at least 163,000 people evacuated to higher ground. There are reports of more evacuations in neighbouring Zhejiang. In Fujian's main city Fuzhou, more than 10,000 trees were blown down and there was widespread flooding.Rail services and flights were cancelled in the path of the storm, and schools and offices closed. [24]


Several dead as Mali siege ends

Several dead as Mali siege ends

9 Aug

At least 13 people are thought to have been killed, including five UN workers, in a hostage siege at a hotel in the central Malian town of Sevare. A further four UN workers survived by hiding in cupboards for almost 24 hours as the attack unfolded. The suspected Islamist gunmen had retreated to the hotel after attacking a nearby army base. The siege was ended after government troops stormed the building early on Saturday. No group has said it carried out the attack. Four of the gunmen are dead and seven have been arrested, while four Malian soldiers were said to have been killed in the attack and eight wounded. Mali has been fighting Islamist rebels in the north for a number of years. The UN force in Mali took over responsibility for security in the country from French troops in July 2013. France, the former colonial power in Mali, intervened in the country after Islamist militants threatened to march on Bamako in January 2013. [25]


Violence mars delayed Haiti poll

Violence mars delayed Haiti poll

9 Aug

Haitians have been voting in long-delayed parliamentary elections, but the vote has been marred by sporadic violence and lengthy delays. Three polling stations in the capital Port-au-Prince had to close after fights broke out. Voters at other stations grew frustrated after they opened late. The elections had been repeatedly postponed since 2011, with President Michel Martelly ruling by decree since January. An unidentified gang threw bottles and stones at one polling station in Port-au-Prince, forcing the suspension of voting. Local media reported on other closures across the country. [26]


Yemen crisis: Rebels 'driven out of key city

Yemen crisis: Rebels 'driven out of key city

9 Aug

Pro-government forces in Yemen, backed by Saudi-led airstrikes, are reported to have retaken the city of Zinjibar from Houthi rebels. Zinjibar is the capital of the southern Abyan province and has been the scene of heavy fighting in recent days. Its loss would be another big blow to the rebels in the wake of the recapture of Yemen's second city, Aden, by pro-government militias last month. Residents of the coastal town who were forced to flee began returning on Sunday, a humanitarian official told the AFP news agency. At least 19 people were killed and more than 150 injured in fighting over the weekend in Zinjibar and the surrounding area, according to Aden health chief Al-Khader Laswar. [27]


Spain wildfires threaten homes

Spain wildfires threaten homes

7 Aug

Wildfires have forced more than 1,400 people to leave their homes in western Spain as dry, hot conditions spark warnings in other European countries. Towns and campsites have been evacuated as planes and helicopters help to tackle the blaze in Spain's Sierra de Gata mountain area. Nearly 80% of neighbouring Portugal is experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions, experts say.[28]


Myanmar calls for more evacuations

Myanmar calls for more evacuations

6 Aug

Myanmar's president has called for people to leave low-lying areas in the flood-hit country as the Irrawaddy river threatens to breach embankments. The death toll from the floods and landslides caused by heavy monsoon rain has risen to 74 and affected more than 330,000, officials say. Four areas have been declared disaster zones with widespread flooding. The government, which admits being weak in its response to the disaster, has appealed for international aid.[29]


Egypt launches Suez Canal expansion

Egypt launches Suez Canal expansion

6 Aug

Egypt has opened a major expansion of the Suez Canal, which deepens the main waterway and provides ships with a 35km (22 mile) channel parallel to it. At the inauguration, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi welcomed foreign leaders aboard a historic yacht as helicopters and fighter jets flew by. The expansion aims to increase the traffic handled by the canal. Egypt's government hopes the revenues will revive the economy - but analysts have questioned the projections.[30]


Trains derail in India flash flood

Trains derail in India flash flood

5 Aug

Two passenger trains in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have derailed minutes apart on a flooded bridge, killing at least 24 people, officials say. The trains were passing each other near the town of Harda when a flash flood triggered by heavy rain struck the bridge, reports said. The tracks collapsed and some of the carriages were submerged. Officials say at least 25 people have been injured and another 300 rescued. The Kamayani Express travelling to Varanasi from Mumbai derailed first, while the Janata Express travelling in the opposite direction derailed shortly after. It was not clear how many people were on both trains.[31]


California fires lead to evacuations for 13,000

California fires lead to evacuations for 13,000

4 Aug

Evacuation orders have been given to 13,000 people in California as firefighters struggle to contain some 20 wildfires. Some 9,000 firefighters worked throughout Monday in steep terrain and rugged conditions, officials said. The biggest blaze - the so-called Rocky fire north of San Francisco - has already consumed more than 90 square miles (233 sq km) of land. On Monday afternoon the fire jumped a highway that had been containing it.[32]


Delta, United and American ban hunting trophies

Delta, United and American ban hunting trophies

4 Aug

Delta, United and American Airlines have banned the shipment of big-game trophies on flights after the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe. The airlines announced that they would no longer transport lion, rhinoceros, leopard, elephant or buffalo remains. They have not, however, given official reasons for their announcements. Delta flies direct to a number of African cities and was subjected to an online petition to ban such shipments. American Airlines and United fly to fewer sub-Saharan cities than Delta, but United said in a tweet its decision to stop carrying trophies was "effective immediately". United spokesman Charles Hobart said: "We felt it made sense to do so." [33]


French beach reopens

French beach reopens

3 Aug

A beach in the south of France that was closed for the Saudi king has reopened after he cut his holiday short. King Salman had been due to stay for three weeks on the French Riviera, but left after only eight days to travel to Tangiers in Morocco. A public beach in Vallauris was closed for the king's visit, causing an uproar among locals. But the beach was reopened on Monday morning, and a lift installed for the king was being dismantled. [34]


California wildfire doubles in size

California wildfire doubles in size

3 Aug

A wildfire raging through northern California more than doubled in size on its fifth day on Sunday, expanding to 84 square miles (220 sq km). The blaze, in Lake County north of San Francisco, has destroyed 24 homes and displaced about 12,000 residents. It is just one of 21 fires across the drought-ridden state being battled by about 9,000 firefighters. California is in the fourth year of a severe drought which has left the state vulnerable to brushfires. [35]


India floods kill more than 100

India floods kill more than 100

3 Aug

Heavy monsoon rains in India have killed more than 100 people in the past week and forced tens of thousands of people to take shelter in relief camps, India's home ministry has said. A cyclone struck the state of West Bengal, killing 48 people in flood-related incidents. More than 200,000 people have moved to relief camps. India regularly witnesses severe floods during the monsoon season. In Myanmar (also known as Burma), floods have left at least 47 dead. [36]


Myanmar flood death toll to rise

Myanmar flood death toll to rise

2 Aug

The death toll from floods in Myanmar is expected to rise over the coming days, the United Nations has warned. Four western regions have been declared disaster zones after heavy floods, caused by monsoon rains, left at least 27 people dead. But rescue teams have not yet reached many areas and are still awaiting reports on the worst-hit regions. In the neighbouring eastern Indian state of Manipur, a landslide buried a village, killing at least 21 people. Wind and rain from Cyclone Komen added to damage. Heavy rains are expected in many states, including Chin, Rakhine and Magwe, over the next two days, forecasters say. Thousands of people are sheltering in Buddhist monasteries, but one report said people from the Rohingya Muslim minority were turned away from some shelters. The Burma Times said security forces turned away Rohingya Muslims from abandoned schools and community centres in Rakhine. More than half a million acres of rice paddy fields have been flooded, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation said. [37]


Suicide attack hits Turkish troops

Suicide attack hits Turkish troops

2 Aug

Two Turkish security troops have been killed and 31 wounded in a suicide attack by Kurdish PKK militants, the regional governor's office says. A tractor laden with explosives was driven at a military police station, reports by Turkish media say. The attack happened early on Sunday near the town of Dogubayezit in Agri province, near the border with Iran. Since 24 July, Turkey has carried out hundreds of air raids on PKK bases on both sides of the Iraq-Turkey border. Images in the Turkish press showed a badly-damaged building with the roof destroyed. [38]


July

20 die and many displaced in Myanmar floods

20 die and many displaced in Myanmar floods

31 Jul

More than 20 people have died and others are missing after weeks of unrelenting rain caused flash flooding in Myanmar. Severe weather in the north and west of the country also led to landslides, trapping many people in remote towns and villages. One report said up to 150,000 people had been displaced or had their livelihoods affected. More torrential rain is expected in the coming days. [39]


Ebola vaccine is potential game-changer

Ebola vaccine is potential game-changer

31 Jul

A vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus has led to 100% protection and could transform the way Ebola is tackled, preliminary results suggest. There were no proven drugs or vaccines against the virus at the start of the largest outbreak of Ebola in history, which began in Guinea in December 2013. The World Health Organization (WHO) said the findings, being published in the Lancet, could be a "game-changer". [40]


'Repeat attack' at Jerusalem Gay Pride

'Repeat attack' at Jerusalem Gay Pride

30 Jul

Police have arrested a man after six people were wounded in a stabbing at the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem. A police spokesperson identified the suspect as the same man who stabbed three people at the parade in 2005. Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for that attack and was released from prison three weeks ago. Two of the injured are in a serious condition, the city's ambulance service said. Eyewitnesses told Israel's Haaretz newspaper that the attacker emerged behind marchers and began stabbing them while screaming, before being tackled by a police officer. [41]


Deadly landslides hit Nepal villages

Deadly landslides hit Nepal villages

30 Jul

At least 29 people have been killed after torrential rain triggered landslides in western Nepal, officials say, with fears the toll could rise. Dozens are missing in villages near Pokhara, more than 200km (124 miles) west of the capital Kathmandu. Annual monsoon rains often trigger landslides in Nepal's mountain areas and flooding in the south. In the village of Lumle - 15 km (9 miles) from the start of the Annapurna Circuit hiking route - about half of the homes were buried or destroyed by the torrent of mud and rocks. The rescue efforts were hampered by continuing rain. About 100,000 tourists visit the area every year to walk the Annapurna route. The risk of landslides during the current rainy season is higher than usual because of two powerful earthquakes in the region earlier this year which killed nearly 9,000 people. [42]


Rio 2016 facing pollution challenge

Rio 2016 facing pollution challenge

30 Jul

Cleaning up the polluted bay where sailing and windsurfing competitions will be held at Rio 2016 remains a serious challenge, the International Olympic Committee president has said. Sailors in Guanabara Bay have reported seeing pollution including furniture and floating animal carcasses. Nearly 70% of sewage in the Brazilian city is spilled raw into its waters. Rio state government has already said it will miss its target of reducing pollution in Guanabara bay by 80%. [43]



France sends extra police to Channel Tunnel

France sends extra police to Channel Tunnel

28 Jul

France says it is sending 120 extra police officers to Calais, as migrants heading for Britain said they will keep trying to get into the Channel Tunnel. Migrants told the BBC going in groups of up to 400 gave them the best chance, despite one man dying there on Tuesday. Severe delays are affecting travellers on both sides of the tunnel. And Operation Stack is due to last all week with 3,600 lorries queuing on the M20. [44]


French fires lead to evacuation

French fires lead to evacuation

28 Jul

Around 10,000 tourists have been evacuated from campsites in the French region of Provence after wildfires made worse by hot winds. The tourists had to leave three sites in the Var area of Provence, in the south of France, on Monday. At one site near the town of Frejus, 30 mobile homes were destroyed, AFP says. President Francois Hollande had visited the area before the fires broke out to observe a fire-fighting exercise and warned of the need for "vigilance". [45]


9 killed in Indian police station siege

9 killed in Indian police station siege

27 Jul

Nine people have died in the Indian state of Punjab after a siege at a police station was brought to an end by security forces. All three attackers were killed, along with six other people, including the Punjab state police superintendent. The attackers first hijacked a car then opened fire at a bus station before entering the police station in Gurdaspur district, officials said. Police believe that the attackers are from Indian-administered Kashmir. [46]


Bomb kills soldiers in tense Turkey

Bomb kills soldiers in tense Turkey

26 Jul

A car bomb attack on a military convoy in south-eastern Turkey has killed two soldiers and injured four others, Turkish officials say.The explosion late on Saturday happened in the town of Lice in Diyarbakir, the province governor's office said.The attack came after Turkey bombed Kurdish separatist camps in northern Iraq - the first such strikes since a peace process began in 2012. No group has claimed responsibility for the latest attack. [47]


New attack hits north Cameroon

New attack hits north Cameroon

26 Jul

A suicide attack in the northern Cameroon town of Maroua is reported to have left at least 19 people dead, including the bomber. Many others are thought to have been injured in the blast near a popular bar. It comes three days after a double suicide blast in Maroua that killed at least 13 people. Officials suspect that the militant Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram is behind the attacks. Military sources said the latest attack took place in the Pont Vert district of Maroua. The Cameroonian army uses the town of Maroua as the headquarters for its operations against the group, as part of a multinational force battling the militants in neighbouring parts of Nigeria. [48]


British Airways stops flights to Uganda's Entebbe airport

British Airways stops flights to Uganda's Entebbe airport

24 Jul

British Airways has said it is stopping all flights to and from Uganda as they are "no longer commercially viable". The last flight out from Entebbe airport to London's Heathrow will depart on 3 October 2015, the UK carrier said.[49]


New York backs down in Uber fight

New York backs down in Uber fight

23 Jul

New York City has backed down in a row with taxi hailing app Uber, dropping plans to limit the number of cars it operates in the City. Instead of the cap, Uber has agreed to take part in a four-month study looking at the impact of its cars on traffic and pollution in the city. In return, New York said it would not impose a car limit for this period. The move comes the day before a city council vote, which could have seen the cap imposed.[50]


Cuba and US formally restore diplomatic relations

Cuba and US formally restore diplomatic relations

20 Jul

Cuba and the US have formally restored diplomatic relations after an agreement struck last year putting aside decades of hostility came into force. Just after midnight local time, the diplomatic missions of each country became full embassies. US Secretary of State John Kerry is due to hold talks with his Cuban counterpart Bruno Rodriguez later in the day in Washington, D.C..[51]


28 killed in Turkey border blast

28 killed in Turkey border blast

20 Jul

A suspected suicide attack has killed at least 28 people and wounded nearly 100 others in the Turkish town of Suruc near the Syrian border. The blast occurred in the garden of a cultural centre at about 09:00 GMT, the interior ministry said. Hundreds of young people were staying there to assist in rebuilding work in the nearby Syrian town of Kobane. Turkish officials have said initial evidence indicates it was a suicide attack by the Islamic State (IS) group. [52]


Hurricane strengthens off Mexican west coast

Hurricane strengthens off Mexican west coast

15 Jul

Hurricane Dolores is gaining strength off Mexico's Pacific Coast, meteorologists say. The US National Hurricane Center said Dolores had reached a category four strength, the second highest. At 09:00GMT it was 515km (320 miles) south of Cabo San Lucas. Dolores was moving west-northwest, raising hopes that Mexico's Pacific coast would be spared major damage, although swells were already reaching parts of Baja California peninsula. [53]


Australia cold snap brings snow

Australia cold snap brings snow

13 Jul

South-east Australia has shivered through some of its coldest weather in decades, thanks to an icy cold snap. Strong winds and snowfall hit Victoria, New South Wales (NSW), and even the "Sunshine state" Queensland saw snow. [54]


Paris police hunt armed attackers

Paris police hunt armed attackers

13 Jul

French police are hunting for three armed men who stormed a Primark store in a suspected robbery attempt north of Paris. The gunmen fled the scene after special forces evacuated 18 people trapped inside the Qwartz shopping centre in Villeneuve-la-Garenne. None of those released 18 people was injured. The area around the shopping centre has been shut down. [55]


Bomb damages ancient Aleppo citadel

Bomb damages ancient Aleppo citadel

12 Jul

A bomb explosion has caused part of the walls of Aleppo's ancient citadel to collapse. Built in the 13th Century, it overlooks Aleppo's Old City and is part of a UN-listed World Heritage site. Syrian government forces have been using the citadel as a military position. Government and rebel forces have been fighting for control of the city for over three years. It is not known which side caused the explosion. Fighting on the ground and government air strikes have left thousands dead, and destroyed more than 60% of the Old City. [56]


Ash causes fresh Bali disruption

Ash causes fresh Bali disruption

12 Jul

The airport on the Indonesian island of Bali has been forced to shut again due to ash from a volcanic eruption, authorities say. The transport ministry said Denpasar airport would remain closed until at least 16:00 (08:00 GMT). Mount Raung in East Java has been spewing ash into the air for nearly a week, raising concerns it could interfere with aircraft safety. Bali is a top destination for tourists and many have been stranded. The airport had been reopened on Saturday as the ash lifted but the wind has now brought it back. "We will continue to monitor developments and decide if the closure will be extended later," transport ministry spokesman JA Barata told Agence France-Presse. [57]


Mexico volcano triggers evacuations

Mexico volcano triggers evacuations

12 Jul

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from villages around a volcano in western Mexico amid fears of a major eruption. Ash from the Colima volcano is falling on local communities, and authorities have sealed off a 12km (7.5 mile) area. The local airport has also been closed. Mexico's interior ministry said the volcano was showing signs similar to a major eruption in 1913. Activity at the volcano began to intensify last Thursday. Since then, explosions have been heard on its southern and south-western slopes and columns of ash have spewed 2.8km into the sky. "The communities in this 12km radius are very small and don't exceed 800 inhabitants. They have all been evacuated," said civil protection co-ordinator Luis Felipe Puente. The village of Yerbabuena, at the foot of the mountain, was said to be buried in up to 5cm (nearly two inches) of ash. Rain was making conditions worse. The Colima volcano is also known in Mexico as the Volcano of Fire. [58]



Powerful typhoon hits China coast

Powerful typhoon hits China coast

11 Jul

Powerful typhoon Chan-hom has made landfall along the coast of China's eastern Zhejiang province. Almost one million people have been evacuated from coastal areas in anticipation of a typhoon carrying wind speeds of 173km/h (107mph). Some 100mm of rain has fallen since Friday. Chan-hom is now heading north past the city of Shanghai. The typhoon hit Taiwan and Japan earlier in the week, uprooting trees and injuring several people. Chan-hom first hit Zhejiang province on an island near the city of Ningbo at around 16:40 (08:40 GMT), the National Meteorological Center said. No deaths or injuries were reported in the region by Saturday evening, state news agency Xinhua said. One village, Laiao, received more than 400mm (16in) of rain, it said. More than 400 flights have been cancelled there along with a number of public events, and the government has told people they should stay at home. [59]


Egypt explosion hits Italian consulate

Egypt explosion hits Italian consulate

11 Jul

A large explosion has severely damaged the Italian consulate in Egypt's capital, Cairo. The health ministry says at least one person has died. Four people were also injured, medical sources said. The blast was caused by a car bomb, an official told the state-run news agency Mena. No group has yet said it carried out the attack. The consulate was closed and no civilian staff members are among the injured, an official told AP. The main entrance of the building was almost totally destroyed, windows were shattered and the building was flooded after water-pipes ruptured. [60]


Volcanic ash causes Indonesia airport closures

Volcanic ash causes Indonesia airport closures

10 Jul

Three airports in Indonesia, including in the tourist hotspot Bali, are to remain shut until at least Saturday, after a volcanic eruption. Mount Raung in East Java has been spewing ash into the air for nearly a week, raising concerns it could interfere with aircraft safety. Bali's Denpasar airport, a top destination for Australians, was closed late on Thursday, stranding travellers. The government said this and two small airports in East Java would stay shut. [61]


Somalia hotels attacked by militants in Mogadishu

Somalia hotels attacked by militants in Mogadishu

10 Jul

Two hotels have been attacked in the Somali capital Mogadishu, followed by a sustained exchange of gunfire. A police officer said four people had been killed. The BBC's Moalimu Mohammed, in the city, says the two hotels were busy with people breaking their Ramadan fast when they were attacked at 18:10 local time (15:10 GMT). Islamist militant group al-Shabab has reportedly said it was behind the attack. [62]


Thai embassy in Turkey closes protests

Thai embassy in Turkey closes protests

10 Jul

Thailand has closed its embassy in Turkey following protests over Thailand's deportation of about 100 Uighurs to China. The embassy in Ankara and the consulate in Istanbul have been temporarily shut after the consulate was stormed by Uighur supporters on Thursday. Rights groups have criticised the deportation of Muslim Uighurs saying they face persecution in China. China denies repressing Uighurs and called the deportees illegal migrants.[63]


UK tourists advised to leave Tunisia

UK tourists advised to leave Tunisia

9 Jul

All British nationals are being urged to leave Tunisia because "a further terrorist attack is highly likely", Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says. Thirty Britons were among 38 tourists killed in a gunman's attack on 26 June. The Foreign Office estimates 2,500 to 3,000 UK tourists are in Tunisia and a few hundred British residents. [64]


London strikes disrupt travel

London strikes disrupt travel

9 Jul

Tube and train strikes have caused misery for travellers, with the entire London Underground network shut down and many rail services cancelled. London Overground, bus and boat services were much busier than usual. London Underground (LU) has contacted the conciliation service Acas to set up fresh talks with unions which are on strike over pay and night services. A separate strike at First Great Western hit travel between London, the West and Wales. Many of the staff in the Tube strike have now ended their 24-hour action, but Tube services will not resume until Friday morning.[65]


London tube strike due to start

London tube strike due to start

8 Jul

Tube passengers have been warned to expect "considerable" disruption ahead of strikes over pay. The industrial action affecting all Tube lines begins at 18:30 BST and finishes at 21:30 BST on Thursday. London Underground (LU) has warned commuters there could be no services at all on Thursday as a result of the walk-out. Strikes were called after LU and unions failed to agree a pay deal over new Night Tube services. [66]


Tunisia to build Libya wall

Tunisia to build Libya wall

8 Jul

Tunisia has announced plans to build a wall along its border with Libya to counter the threat from jihadist militants. It would stretch 160km (100 miles) inland from the coast, and be completed by the end of 2015, Tunisian Prime Minister Habib Essid told state TV. The gunman who killed 38 people in an attack on a beach resort is believed to have received training in Libya. [67]


Philippines confirms new Mers case

Philippines confirms new Mers case

6 Jul

Philippine authorities have confirmed the country's second case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), in a foreigner who arrived from Dubai. Health officials said the 36-year-old man tested positive last Saturday and has been quarantined near Manila. In February, a Filipino nurse who returned home after working in the Middle East was found with the virus, but later recovered. Mers, which has no known cure, has killed nearly 500 people worldwide. [68]


Pope to draw huge crowds in Ecuador

Pope to draw huge crowds in Ecuador

6 Jul

Hundreds of thousands of people are gathering in the Ecuadorean port city of Guayaquil on Monday to greet Pope Francis. The Pope arrived in Ecuador on Sunday on the first leg of his three-country trip to Latin America which will also take him to Bolivia and Paraguay. It is his second visit to the region since becoming pontiff in 2013. City officials said a million visitors had travelled to Guayaquil to see the Pope. [69]


Jos blasts kill scores

Jos blasts kill scores

6 Jul

Two bomb attacks on the central Nigerian city of Jos have left at least 44 people dead, the authorities say. A restaurant and a mosque were targeted on Sunday night. No-one has claimed responsibility but militant group Boko Haram has attacked Jos before, even though it is not in north-east Nigeria where the Islamists normally operate. [70]


Champagne granted world heritage status by Unesco

Champagne granted world heritage status by Unesco

4 Jul

The industry behind champagne production has been handed world heritage status by the United Nations' cultural arm. Unesco decided that the vineyards, wine cellars and sales houses where champagne is produced and sold were culturally significant. It was one of 11 sites given World Heritage status by Unesco at a meeting in Germany on Saturday. The status should ensure the sites receive special protection in future.[71]


Tennessee evacuation after train derails

Tennessee evacuation after train derails

2 Jul

More than 5,000 residents of the US state of Tennessee have been evacuated after a freight train carrying toxic chemicals derailed and caught fire. The train was carrying a flammable, toxic substance called acrylonitrile when it came off the rails near Maryville, just outside Knoxville. Firefighters evacuated people within a two-mile radius of the fire to prevent them breathing in the poisonous fumes. Local police said seven officers were hospitalised because of the fumes. [72]


Philippine ferry sinks

Philippine ferry sinks

2 Jul

At least 36 people have died after a passenger ferry capsized off the coast of Leyte in the central Philippines. The Kim Nirvana was carrying 173 people when it overturned in rough waters just outside the port of Ormoc. Philippine coast guard officials told the BBC the rescue operation was ongoing but gave no further details. The chair of the Philippine Red Cross, Richard Gordon, said that between 50 and 70 people had been rescued from the boat, which was visible from the shore. [73]


New Ebola cases in Liberia

New Ebola cases in Liberia

2 Jul

Two more cases of Ebola have been confirmed in Liberia following the death of a teenager from the virus on Sunday, officials say. The country had been declared Ebola-free more than seven weeks ago. Both of the new cases were in Nedowein, the same village where the boy died, the ministry of information says. Liberia's authorities quarantined the area after the teenager's death and said his funeral was carried out safely. [74]


Militants kill 40 in Nigeria

Militants kill 40 in Nigeria

2 Jul

At least 40 people are reported to have been killed by Islamist militants in the north-east Nigeria town of Monguno. A local official told a BBC reporter in Abuja that they had been slaughtered; another resident said they were shot. The killings are said to have happened two days ago, but details are only now emerging. Monguno, in Borno state, had been overrun and occupied by Boko Haram fighters until they were recently driven out by the Nigerian military. [75]


US and Cuba announce embassies

US and Cuba announce embassies

1 Jul

The US and Cuba have agreed to reopen embassies in each other's capitals, a major step in re-establishing diplomatic ties severed in 1961. Cuba said Havana and Washington will restore full diplomatic relations and open embassies on 20 July. Relations had been frozen since the early 1960s when the US broke links and imposed a trade embargo with the communist island. [76]


Europe hit by soaring temperatures

Europe hit by soaring temperatures

1 Jul

Parts of Europe have been hit by temperatures reaching above 40C, leading to concerns for the welfare of the young, the elderly and vulnerable. Spain and Portugal are already on alert after temperatures reached as high as 44C in the Spanish city of Cordoba earlier in the week. The hot weather has now reached France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.[77]


Deadly attacks in Sinai

Deadly attacks in Sinai

1 Jul

Islamic State militants have launched a wave of attacks on the security forces in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula. The military said 10 soldiers had been killed or wounded along with 39 "terrorists" in near-simultaneous raids on checkpoints near Sheikh Zuweid. But security and medical sources said as many as 50 soldiers had died. [78]


June

Deadly plane crash in Indonesia

Deadly plane crash in Indonesia

30 Jun

More than 100 people are feared dead after a military transport plane crashed in a residential area of the Indonesian city of Medan. The Hercules C-130 plane hit two houses and a hotel before bursting into flames, creating a huge fireball. Air Force head Agus Supriatna visited the crash site and told reporters he believed there were no survivors among the 113 people on board. At least 66 bodies have been recovered so far. [79]


Arrests over Sousse massacre

Arrests over Sousse massacre

29 Jun

Tunisia has arrested a group of people over the massacre of 38 people, mainly tourists, by a gunman at the beach resort of Sousse on Friday, the country's interior minister has said. Mohamed Gharsalli said 1,000 troops would now be deployed to protect the country's beach resorts. Three European ministers have laid flowers at the scene of the attack in a sign of solidarity. [80]


27 dead in Tunisia attack

27 dead in Tunisia attack

26 Jun

At least 27 people, mostly foreigners, have been killed in an attack on a beach near two tourist hotels in the Tunisian resort town of Sousse, according to the interior ministry. Officials say one gunman has been shot dead and another is being pursued. Sousse is a popular tourist destination. Tunisia has been on high alert since March when militants killed 22 people, mainly foreign tourists, in an attack on a museum in the capital Tunis. Officials say six people have been injured in the attack. [81]


France attack near Lyon

France attack near Lyon

26 Jun

France has begun a terror investigation after a decapitated body was found at the scene of a suspected Islamist attack on a US-owned gas factory near the south-eastern city of Lyon. One arrested man suspected to have rammed a car into the factory had been investigated over possible ties to Islamist radicals, officials said. President Francois Hollande said the aim was to blow up the factory. Officials say the decapitated person was a local businessman. [82]


Uber protests block Paris and Marseille transport

Uber protests block Paris and Marseille transport

25 Jun

French taxi drivers have blocked the roads to Paris airports and the main ring road around the city in a protest against Uber, prompting riot police to fire tear gas at some. The drivers set up blockades and burned tyres as part of a nationwide strike. Barriers also appeared around Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence in southeast France. Uber, a US taxi app, has been expanding its UberPOP ride-sharing service in France despite government objections. [83]


Popular Sydney destination could collapse

Popular Sydney destination could collapse

24 Jun

A photogenic rock formation south of Sydney could collapse without warning, according to authorities. Wedding Cake Rock is a popular tourist attraction that was recently closed to the public. Last year, a university student died after falling from it and images of stunts performed on its edge have been widely shared on social media. Authorities said an assessment confirmed fears the formation could collapse into the ocean. [84]


China police checkpoint attack

China police checkpoint attack

24 Jun

A US media report says at least 18 people have been killed in the Chinese region of Xinjiang during a clash at a police checkpoint. According to US-based Radio Free Asia, ethnic Uighurs - part of China's Muslim minority - attacked the police on the outskirts of Kashgar city on Monday. The Chinese authorities have refused to comment on the incident. [85]


Pakistan heatwave toll nears 700

Pakistan heatwave toll nears 700

22 Jun

Pakistan's prime minister called for emergency measures as the death toll from a heatwave in southern Sindh province reached nearly 700. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said it had received orders from Nawaz Sharif to undertake immediate response measures. The army has also been deployed to set up heat stroke centres and assist the NDMA, it added. Many of the victims are elderly people from low income families. [86]


Santiago declares smog emergency

Santiago declares smog emergency

22 Jun

Authorities in Chile's capital Santiago have imposed emergency measures amid rising pollution. According to city officials, pollution has reached a "critical level". Under the measures, around 40% of cars with a catalyst and 80% of those without are banned from the streets from 07:30 until 21:00 on Monday. This June has been the driest since 1968 and the lack of rain has contributed to the poor air quality in the capital, officials say. [87]


India alcohol poisoning death toll tops 100

India alcohol poisoning death toll tops 100

22 Jun

The death toll from alcohol poisoning in India's western city of Mumbai (Bombay) has crossed 100. Police spokesman Dhananjay Kulkarni said the number of people who had died now stood at 102, and seven people including two women had been arrested. He had earlier described the incident as the worst of its kind in the city in more than a decade. Toxic alcohol deaths are a regular occurrence in India, where people often drink cheap bootleg liquor. Residents of the Malad slum area fell ill after drinking the cheap homemade alcohol on Wednesday. [88]


Pakistan heatwave leaves 224 dead

Pakistan heatwave leaves 224 dead

22 Jun

Some 224 people are now believed to have died during a heatwave in Pakistan's southern Sindh province. Health officials say most of the deaths have been in the largest city, Karachi, which has experienced temperatures as high as 45C (113F) in recent days. The city has seen power cuts caused by an increased demand for electricity because of the extreme weather. Many of the victims are elderly people who have been suffering from fever, dehydration and gastric problems. [89]


Afghan parliament attack ends

Afghan parliament attack ends

22 Jun

A co-ordinated Taliban attack on the Afghan parliament in Kabul has ended with all six gunmen killed, the interior ministry says. Attackers detonated a huge car bomb outside the gates, stormed the compound, then entered a building next to the chamber. Police evacuated the premises, while trying to fight the gunmen off. The Taliban say they carried out the attack to coincide with a vote to endorse a new defence minister. [90]


IS fighters laying mines in Palmyra

IS fighters laying mines in Palmyra

21 Jun

Islamic State (IS) militants have planted landmines and explosives around the ancient Palmyra ruins, according to a group that monitors the war in Syria. Activists said it was unclear whether IS had laid the bombs to destroy the ruins or make the site secure from Syrian government forces. IS fighters seized the city, which is one of the most important historic sites in the Middle East, in May. Government forces are reported to be planning a bid to recapture the site. The ancient ruins are situated in a strategically important area on the road between the capital, Damascus, and the contested eastern city of Deir al-Zour. [91]


Al-Shabab launch Mogadishu attack

Al-Shabab launch Mogadishu attack

21 Jun

The Somali jihadist group al-Shabab has carried out an attack in the country's capital Mogadishu. A suicide car bomber and gunmen attacked a training centre for the national intelligence agency on Sunday morning.Government officials said that soldiers "foiled the attack" and at least three militants died. The militants have vowed to intensify attacks during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which began on Wednesday. Al-Shabab claims to have killed several intelligence officers inside the building, something the government denies. [92]


Thailand confirms first Mers case

Thailand confirms first Mers case

18 Jun

Thailand has confirmed its first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), the deadly virus that has killed 24 people in South Korea. The man - whose name has not been released - is now in quarantine at an infectious diseases facility outside the capital Bangkok. Thai health officials said the 75-year-old from Oman was seeking treatment for a heart problem in Bangkok. Nearly 60 people who came into contact with the patient have been identified. [93]


Charleston shooting gunman caught

Charleston shooting gunman caught

18 Jun

A 21-year-old man suspected of killing nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, has been arrested. Police said Dylann Roof, of Lexington, South Carolina, was detained during a traffic stop in Shelby, North Carolina. The gunman is reported to have sat in on a bible study meeting for a full hour before opening fire on the group. Six women and three men, including the church pastor, were killed. A hate crimes investigation has been launched.[94]


Chad bans face veil after bombings

Chad bans face veil after bombings

17 Jun

Chad has banned people from wearing the full-face veil, following two suicide bomb attacks on Monday. Chad's government accused Nigerian militant Islamist group Boko Haram of the bombings which killed more than 20 people. The prime minister said the veil was used as a "camouflage" by militants and said the security forces will burn all full-face veils sold in markets. Chad is to host a new regional force set up to tackle Boko Haram.[95]


North Korea facing major drought

North Korea facing major drought

17 Jun

North Korea says it is facing its worst drought in a century, sparking fears of worsening food shortages. State news agency KCNA said main rice-growing provinces had been badly affected and more than 30% of rice paddies were "parching up". Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are believed to have died during a widespread famine in the 1990s. This drought is unlikely to be as deadly because of recent agricultural reforms, correspondents say. [96]


Sanaa mosques hit by blasts

Sanaa mosques hit by blasts

17 Jun

Several mosques have been hit by a series of explosions in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, causing dozens of casualties, officials say. At least two blasts were caused by car bombs. Health and security officials said more than 20 people had died. A building reportedly used as the headquarters of Houthi rebel officials was also hit. The Islamic State (IS) militant group, which has carried out attacks in Sana'a before, said it was behind the blasts. [97]


South-west Mexico braces for Tropical Storm Carlos

South-west Mexico braces for Tropical Storm Carlos

15 Jun

Residents of south-west Mexico are preparing for the arrival of Tropical Storm Carlos. Schools were ordered to stay closed and shelters have been set up in the states of Guerrero and Michoacan. Carlos was downgraded to a tropical storm on Sunday, but meteorologists said it could again reach hurricane-level strength by Tuesday. [98]


20 missing after Georgia flood

20 missing after Georgia flood

15 Jun

Up to 20 people are missing after a deadly flood swept through Georgia's capital Tbilisi, officials say, with some zoo animals still on the loose. As a clean-up operation began on Monday, they said the death toll rose to 13, including three zoo employees. The disaster has left dozens of families homeless and caused disruption to the city's main infrastructure. [99]


Mers death toll rises to 16 in South Korea outbreak

Mers death toll rises to 16 in South Korea outbreak

15 Jun

Another patient has died in South Korea amid an outbreak of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers), bringing total fatalities to 16. Officials also reported five new cases in South Korea, which has the largest outbreak outside the Middle East. Officials say 150 people have now contracted the virus in South Korea. [100]


Teenagers injured in N Carolina shark attack

Teenagers injured in N Carolina shark attack

15 Jun

Two teenagers have been badly injured in separate shark attacks at a popular seaside resort in the United States. A 14-year-old girl was mauled while swimming off Oak Island in North Carolina on Sunday, while a 16-year-old boy was attacked on the same stretch of beach less than two hours later. Mayor Betty Wallace told Reuters that the children had both lost limbs as a results of their injuries[101]


Thousands flee Indonesia volcano

Thousands flee Indonesia volcano

15 Jun

Thousands of people living close to a volcano in Indonesia have been forced to flee their homes after it began erupting violently. Mount Sinabung, on the island of Sumatra, became active again in 2010 but there has been more activity since 2 June. Before 2010, the volcano had been dormant for more than 400 years. At least 3,000 people living near its slopes have had to leave, including 1,200 on Monday alone.[102]


Mers S Korea: More cases anticipated

Mers S Korea: More cases anticipated

13 Jun

South Korea's outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is "large and complex" and more cases are expected, World Health Organization experts say. But while it was premature to declare the outbreak over, the WHO said it had "found no evidence" of the Mers virus spreading wider in the community. About 140 people have been infected since the start of the outbreak last month. Fourteen are known to have died. Experts also urged the South Korean government to stay vigilant. [103]


Yemen world heritage site bombed

Yemen world heritage site bombed

13 Jun

UN heritage body Unesco has condemned destruction in "one of the world's oldest jewels" of Islamic culture in an apparent air strike in Yemen.The Old City of Sanaa, a World Heritage site, was hit in a raid on Friday morning which killed five people, residents and medics said. Residents said it was the first direct hit on old Sanaa since the bombing of Houthi rebels started in late March.The Saudi-led anti-rebel coalition has denied it carried out the bombing. [104].


Afgan police killed in taliban raids

Afgan police killed in taliban raids

13 Jun

Taliban fighters have overrun police checkpoints in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province, killing at least 20 officers, officials said. Dozens of militants took part in the raids in the remote and volatile Musa Qala district. The Taliban said they had killed as many as 25 officers and seized a large number of heavy weapons. The Taliban have stepped up attacks across the country since the departure of most US and Nato forces last year. Police spokesman Mohammad Ismail Hotak said the attacks started late on Friday and fighting was continuing on Saturday. He said police reinforcements had been sent from other districts. [105]


Colombia rebels cut power to 500,000

Colombia rebels cut power to 500,000

12 Jun

Colombia's Farc rebels have shot dead three police officers and cut off power to almost half a million people, the military has said. The twin attacks come despite continuing peace talks between the government and the left-wing group. The negotiations aim to end a more than 50-year long conflict that has left an estimated 220,000 people dead. Last month the Farc ended a unilateral ceasefire it called, ambushing and killing 11 soldiers. President Juan Manuel Santos responded by ordering the resumption of bombing raids on rebel positions. He has called the latest attacks irrational. In the first, Farc members opened fire on police patrolling a stretch of highway, then later brought down an electricity pylon, plunging the southern region of Caqueta into darkness. Farc fighters have targeted other Colombian infrastructure recently, including roads and oil pipelines. [106]


Suicide attack outside Karnak temple in Luxor

Suicide attack outside Karnak temple in Luxor

10 Jun

Police in Egypt say they have foiled an attempted suicide bomb attack at the Temple of Karnak in Luxor, one of the country's most popular tourist sites. Three men reportedly approached a barrier at the entrance to the temple complex on Wednesday morning. When confronted by police, one of the attackers detonated an explosive belt he was wearing. A second was shot dead and a third severely wounded.[107]


India 'attacks rebels in Myanmar'

India 'attacks rebels in Myanmar'

10 Jun

The Indian army has attacked rebel camps inside Myanmar, days after at least 20 of its soldiers were killed in an ambush on a troop convoy in north-east India, a minister has said. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said the troops had destroyed two rebel camps in Myanmar and "returned safely". Senior army officer Ranbir Singh said the operation "inflicted significant casualties" on the Indian rebels. Last week's ambush occurred near the border with Myanmar in Manipur state. The Indian army had launched a massive search involving hundreds soldiers and helicopters to track down the rebels, who were reported to have crossed the porous border into Myanmar (also known as Burma) from Manipur's Chandel district after the ambush. [108]


Hong Kong warns against South Korea travel

Hong Kong warns against South Korea travel

09 Jun

Hong Kong has issued a red alert warning against travel to South Korea, which is battling an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome(Mers) The warning means South Korea is considered to pose significant threats to tourism, and Hong Kong residents are advised to cancel non-essential travel. South Korea confirmed a seventh death from the Mers infection on Tuesday, and 95 infections. The outbreak is the biggest since Mers was first detected in the Middle East.[109]


Nigeria military moves HQ to Maiduguri

Nigeria military moves HQ to Maiduguri

08 Jun

Nigeria's military has begun moving its headquarters to the northern town of Maiduguri, it says, close to the centre of the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency. The move would "add impetus and renewed vigour" to the fight against terrorism, a military statement said. A military advance team began work in Maiduguri on Monday, the statement said, as part of plans to move the command and control centre from Abuja.[110]


Ukraine warns of Russian invasion

Ukraine warns of Russian invasion

04 Jun

President Petro Poroshenko has told MPs the military must prepare to defend against a possible "full-scale invasion" from Russia, amid a surge of violence in eastern Ukraine. Russia has denied that its military is involved in Ukraine, but Mr Poroshenko said 9,000 of its troops were deployed. Clashes involving tanks took place in two areas west of Donetsk on Wednesday.[111]


Dozens of bodies recovered from Chinese ship

Dozens of bodies recovered from Chinese ship

04 Jun

Rescuers have pulled dozens of bodies from a capsized cruise ship in China's Yangtze River, as authorities promised "no cover-up" over the disaster. Hundreds of people are thought to have died, with only 14 of the 456 passengers known to have survived. Rescue workers cut open the hull of the upturned vessel but divers were hampered by near-zero visibility. Efforts to right the upturned vessel were due to begin at 18:00 local time (12:00 GMT) on Thursday.[112]


Heavy fighting rages in eastern Ukraine despite truce

Heavy fighting rages in eastern Ukraine despite truce

03 Jun

Fierce fighting is raging between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, officials on both sides say. The clashes - said to involve heavy artillery and tanks - are taking place in Maryinka and Krasnohorivka, outside the rebel-held city of Donetsk. There were reports of multiple injuries in the towns held by Ukraine's army.[113]


China ship capsizes in Yangtze River

China ship capsizes in Yangtze River

02 Jun

China's transport minister says rescuers are in a "race against time" to find survivors among the hundreds missing after a cruise ship capsized in bad weather on the Yangtze River. Thousands of rescuers worked through the night around the upturned hull of the Eastern Star in Hubei province. Five people are confirmed dead and 15 more have been found alive from a ship that was carrying 456 people.[114]


Venezuela opposition march draws thousands

Venezuela opposition march draws thousands

01 Jun

Thousands of Venezuelans have held a peaceful march through the streets of the capital Caracas, calling for the release of opposition leaders who have been in jail for more than a year. They include two former mayors, Leopoldo Lopez and Daniel Ceballos, who are being held on charges of inciting anti-government protests last year. President Nicolas Maduro has blamed them for the 43 deaths that resulted. Both men started hunger strikes this week in jail. [115]


Beijing public smoking ban begins

Beijing public smoking ban begins

01 Jun

Public smoking in China's capital, Beijing, is now banned after the introduction of a new law. China has over 300 million smokers and more than a million Chinese die from smoking-related illnesses every year. Smoking bans already existed in China, but have largely failed to crack down on the habit. These tougher regulations, enforced by thousands of inspectors, ban lighting up in restaurants, offices and on public transport in Beijing.[116]


South Africa lion attack kills tourist

South Africa lion attack kills tourist

01 Jun

A tourist believed to be from the US has been killed in a lion attack at a game park in South Africa, a park official has told the BBC. The lioness jumped through the open window of the couple's car and started mauling the woman, assistant park manager Scott Simpson said. The popular Lion Park is 30km (19 miles) north of Johannesburg. The park's rules forbid visitors from driving through the lion enclosure with their windows down, reports the BBC's Milton Nkosi from Johannesburg. Local media are reporting that the woman's death marks the third incident in the past four months at the park.[117]


May

Bomb attack at Saudi Arabia mosque

Bomb attack at Saudi Arabia mosque

29 May

A bomb has exploded outside a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia, reportedly killing at least four people. Officials said that a suicide bomber blew up a car in the city of Dammam in Eastern Province. The Islamic State (IS) group has said that it was behind the attack in a statement released on social media. At least 21 people were killed in a similar incident one week ago, when a suicide bomber struck during Friday prayers at a Shia mosque. The attack at the Imam Ali mosque in the village of al-Qadeeh was the first to be claimed by the Saudi branch of IS, which was formally established last November. [118]


US removes Cuba from terror list

US removes Cuba from terror list

29 May

The United States has removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism. The move eliminates a major obstacle toward restoring diplomatic ties. The change allows Cuba to conduct banking in the United States, among other activities. President Barack Obama announced a historic thaw with Cuba in December, but the US trade embargo against the country remains, and may only be ended by Congress. The removal has been one of Cuba's key demands, as leaders from both countries have repeatedly met to negotiate the details of restoring diplomatic relations, including the opening of embassies in Washington and Havana. [119]


Japan volcano erupts forces evacuation

Japan volcano erupts forces evacuation

28 May

A volcano has erupted on an island in Japan, spewing black clouds of ash up to 9km (5.6 miles) into the sky and forcing the evacuation of inhabitants. One person was reported to have suffered minor facial burns from falling debris as Mount Shindake erupted on Friday morning. Most of the 137 residents of Kuchinoerabu island were evacuated by boat. One spoke of how the sky turned dark as the volcano erupted. [120]


India heat wave eases

India heat wave eases

29 May

The massive heatwave sweeping India is starting to ease, with forecasts of rain in some affected states. Officials say nearly 1,700 people have died in the worst-hit states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where temperatures rose above 45C (113F). Clouds have formed over some parts of the two states and weather officials say pre-monsoon showers are likely to provide some relief on Friday. The monsoon is due to reach Kerala, in the south, by the end of May. It will then sweep across the country. [121]


IS kills 20 men at Palmyra site

IS kills 20 men at Palmyra site

28 May

Islamic State (IS) militants have killed 20 men at the ancient theatre inside the Unesco World Heritage site of Palmyra, central Syria, a monitoring group says. Residents were rounded up and forced to watch the men being shot, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. About 240 people - mostly soldiers - have now been killed by IS since it overran the town last week, it adds. It comes amid fears IS may destroy the 2,000-year-old Roman-era ruins. IS militants have already destroyed ancient sites in Iraq that pre-date Islam - most recently the ancient city of Nimrud, one of Iraq's greatest archaeological treasures. [122]


Concern over Mers Spread in South Korea

Concern over Mers Spread in South Korea

28 May

Concern is growing in South Korea over the spread of the Mers virus after a man defied quarantine to travel to China. Seven people have been infected with the disease so far in South Korea, said the country's health ministry. Chinese officials said they had traced the son of a patient who had refused voluntary quarantine. Cases of the virus, for which there is no known cure, have been confirmed in more than 20 countries. Two new cases of Mers (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) in South Korea were confirmed on Thursday. The health ministry said that all of them had been linked to a man who returned from the Middle East - where Mers is more common. Dozens of people are now in quarantine. [123]


Texas floods in severe storm

Texas floods in severe storm

26 May

At least three people have died in the Houston area after major flooding and tornadoes swept across the southern US over the weekend. Record rainfall caused major flooding and tornadoes, killing at least 10 in Oklahoma and Texas. The US's fourth most populous city is underwater in many parts on Tuesday, with cars abandoned on city streets and highways. Thousands of residents are displaced and over 1,000 homes are destroyed. [124]


India heatwave toll nears 800

India heatwave toll nears 800

26 May

The death toll in the heatwave sweeping India has reached nearly 800 with temperatures nearing 50C (122F) in some areas. Most deaths have taken place in the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where more than 750 people have died since last week. Reports say 24 people have died from the heat in West Bengal and Odisha. Hospitals are on alert to treat heatstroke patients and authorities have advised people to stay indoors. [125]


Wolf volcano erupts in Galapagos

Wolf volcano erupts in Galapagos

26 May

A volcanic eruption on the Galapagos Islands has raised fears the ecosystem that inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution may be under threat. On Monday, the Wolf volcano on Isabela Island erupted for the first time in 33 years, spewing fire, smoke and lava. Experts say the eruption poses no risk to people living on the island. [126]


Nepal flood alert after landslide

Nepal flood alert after landslide

24 May

Thousands of people have fled to safety following a landslide in western Nepal which blocked the flow of a river. The Kali Gandaki River in Myagdi district, about 140km (90 miles) north-west of the capital, Kathmandu, has created a deep and growing new lake. There are no reports of casualties. Army soldiers are being sent to help. A number of landslides have hit Nepal since the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on 25 April which killed more than 8,000 people and injured many more. It was followed by a 7-3 magnitude quake on 12 May and several strong tremors. [127]


Iraq militias start fightback against IS

Iraq militias start fightback against IS

24 May

About 3,000 militia members in Iraq have begun moving against Islamic State militants after the fall of the city of Ramadi last week, officials say. The pro-government forces say they have retaken Husayba, east of Ramadi. Ramadi - the capital of Anbar province - is only 110km (70 miles) west of Baghdad. Its fall was seen as a major embarrassment for the government. About 500 people died in the city, and more than 40,000 - a third of the population - have fled. [128]


IS seizes key Syria-Iraq border crossing

IS seizes key Syria-Iraq border crossing

22 May

Islamic State militants have seized the last Syrian government-controlled border crossing between Syria and Iraq, a Syria monitoring group says. Government forces withdrew from al-Tanf - known as al-Waleed in Iraq - crossing as IS advanced, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said. The loss of al-Tanf to IS follows the group's takeover of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra on Thursday. The US says that fighting the militants will be a "difficult challenge".[129]


Eiffel Tower temporarily shutdown

Eiffel Tower temporarily shutdown

22 May

The Eiffel Tower shut down for six hours because of a staff walkout in protest against a surge in pickpocketing gangs. Workers say the gangs are increasingly threatening them with assault or abuse. The company managing the major tourist attraction "thanked the public for its understanding" and said it "regrets that visitors... are being punished". Around seven million people go up the tower every year. The tower reopened on Friday afternoon.[130]


IS seizes Palmyra site in Syria

IS seizes Palmyra site in Syria

21 May

Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria have entered the Unesco World Heritage site of Palmyra after seizing the town next to the ancient ruins, reports say. Unesco says its destruction would be "an enormous loss to humanity", but no damage has been reported there yet. IS now controls the nearby airport, prison and intelligence HQ, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.[131]


California investigates ocean oil spill

California investigates ocean oil spill

21 May

Clean-up crews are working around the clock as investigators look into how tens of thousands of gallons of oil spewed into the sea off Santa Barbara. More than 6,000 gallons (22,700 litres) of oil have been mopped from the beach - a fraction of the 20,000 gallons officials say spilled into the sea after a pipe burst on Tuesday. Federal officials are to excavate the pipe to find clues to how it ruptured. The company responsible for the pipeline has publicly apologised.http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32833794]


Missing migrant boat found as countries offer shelter

Missing migrant boat found as countries offer shelter

19 May

Migrants found by the BBC last week drifting off the coast of Thailand have been rescued by Indonesian fishermen. In a significant change, Malaysia and Indonesia agreed to offer temporary shelter to 7,000 stranded migrants. Thailand also said it would no longer push back the stranded boats. [132]


IS prepares to defend seized Iraqi city

IS prepares to defend seized Iraqi city

19 May

Islamic State militants are preparing to defend the Iraqi city of Ramadi, witnesses say, as Iranian-backed militiamen gather east of the city. Residents said IS fighters had set up defensive positions and laid landmines after capturing the city on Sunday. Militants were also going door-to-door looking for government sympathisers and throwing bodies in the Euphrates river, residents were quoted as saying.[133]


Colombia landslide kills dozens

Colombia landslide kills dozens

18 May

At least 33 people have been killed in a landslide in Antioquia province in north-west Colombia, officials say. The director of Antioquia's Disaster Prevention Department told local media 20 people had been injured. Heavy rains caused the river Liboriana to burst its banks, triggering the landslide. Much of the village of Santa Margarita, south-west of the provincial capital Medellín, was reportedly swept away when the landslide hit early on Monday.[134]


Shia militias approach IS-held Iraqi city

Shia militias approach IS-held Iraqi city

18 May

Shia militias are assembling east of the Iraqi city of Ramadi to prepare for a counter-attack against Islamic State militants who captured it on Sunday. Iraqi state TV described tanks and other military vehicles entering al-Habbaniyah military camp. IS fighters are reportedly moving towards the base. The Iraqi government called for help from the Iran-backed militias after the military was routed and fled. [135]


Sydney police make arrest after bomb threat lockdown

Sydney police make arrest after bomb threat lockdown

15 May

A man has been arrested in Sydney after reports of a suspicious package caused police to lock down a part of the central business district. It was in response to a bomb threat made over the phone, local media said. The incident was not terror related. The man, 39, is now in hospital for medical assessment, police said. The area has since been declared safe.[136]


Russia targets undesirable foreign organizations

Russia targets undesirable foreign organizations

15 May

Russia plans to introduce new powers to prosecute foreigners whose activities are seen as "undesirable" on national security grounds. Russian MPs have backed a bill to ban "undesirable" foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or firms. The draft leaves the definition of "undesirable" open to interpretation. Under an existing 2012 law, foreign-funded Russian NGOs linked to politics must register as "foreign agents". The label has connotations of spying. [137]


IS advances on ancient ruins of Palmyra

IS advances on ancient ruins of Palmyra

14 May

Palmyra, one of the archaeological jewels of the Middle East, is reported to be under threat from advancing Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria. The jihadists are within 2km (1.2 miles) of the Unesco World Heritage site, battling government forces for control of the adjacent town of Tadmur. Syria's antiquities chief has warned that if IS seizes Palmyra it will destroy everything that exists there. [138]


Rivals battle to control Bujumbura

Rivals battle to control Bujumbura

14 May

Heavy fighting is reported in Burundi's capital between pro-government troops and soldiers backing an attempted coup. Both sides say they are in control of large parts of Bujumbura. At least five soldiers have been killed. Clashes briefly halted broadcasts at the state radio building, which is still in the hands of soldiers supporting President Pierre Nkurunziza. [139]


Burundi president faces attempted coup

Burundi president faces attempted coup

13 May

A coup attempt has been launched in Burundi to try to overthrow President Pierre Nkurunziza, amid unrest over his bid to be re-elected to a third term. Thousands of people in the capital, Bujumbura, celebrated the announcement by Major General Godefroid Niyombare. But the coup outcome is far from clear. [140]


Rescue resumes after second deadly Nepal tremor

Rescue resumes after second deadly Nepal tremor

13 May

Rescue work has resumed to find the victims and survivors of the latest deadly earthquake to hit Nepal. At least 65 people died there and nearly 2,000 were hurt in Tuesday's 7.3 magnitude quake, with fears the figures could rise. At least 17 died in India. The search continues for a missing US aid helicopter with eight on board. [141]


Nicaraguan volcano spews ash

Nicaraguan volcano spews ash

13 May

The Telica volcano in north-west Nicaragua has been spewing large clouds of ash. There have been more than 60 explosions since it started erupting on Thursday, covering nearby towns in a dusting of ash. The 1,061m-high (3,475ft) volcano, one of Nicaragua's most active, is located 110km (68 miles) north-west of the capital, Managua. [142]


Second major earthquake strikes Nepal

Second major earthquake strikes Nepal

12 May

A major earthquake has struck eastern Nepal, near Mount Everest, two weeks after more than 8,000 people died in a devastating quake. At least 37 people have been killed and more than 1,000 injured, officials say. At least 17 have also died in India. The latest earthquake hit near the town of Namche Bazaar and sent thousands of panicked residents on to the streets of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. [143]


Thousands of migrants stranded at sea near Thailand

Thousands of migrants stranded at sea near Thailand

11 May

Thousands of refugees from Bangladesh and Myanmar are stranded at sea close to Thailand, according to an international migration agency. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) told the BBC a Thai crackdown on recent arrivals meant many smugglers were now reluctant to land. As many as 8,000 people are believed to be stuck on boats, the IOM said. In the past two days more than 2,000 have arrived in Malaysia or Indonesia after being rescued or swimming ashore. [144]


Typhoon Noul hits the Philippines

Typhoon Noul hits the Philippines

10 May

A powerful typhoon has hit the north-east Philippines, in Cagayan province, cutting electricity supplies to many parts of the region. Warnings of flash floods, landslides and storm surges forced thousands of people to flee to higher ground. There have so far been no reports of casualties. The storm, with wind speeds of 220km/h (137mph), is expected to move slowly towards Taiwan and Japan, weather forecasters say. The Philippines sees frequent extreme weather, with more than 7,000 people killed when Typhoon Haiyan struck in 2013. Flights and sea crossings were cancelled and relief supplies moved in preparation for the storm. At least 2,500 people reportedly fled their homes to find safer grounds in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela. [145]


Yemen inches towards ceasefire

Yemen inches towards ceasefire

10 May

Rebels in Yemen say they will respond "positively" to a ceasefire offer by the Saudi-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against them. Saudi Arabia has offered a five-day truce starting on Tuesday, to allow the delivery of humanitarian supplies. The air raids have killed at least 1,400 people - mostly civilians - in recent weeks, the UN says. The Shia Houthi rebels from northern Yemen launched an offensive last year and now control much of the country. [146]


WHO declares Liberia Ebola-free

WHO declares Liberia Ebola-free

10 May

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Liberia free of the Ebola virus, confirming that the country has had no new cases in 42 days. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told the BBC that Liberia had "crossed the Rubicon" and would be celebrating a concerted effort to stem the disease. More than 4,700 deaths from Ebola have been recorded in Liberia, more than in any other affected country. Neighbouring Guinea and Sierra Leone continue to fight the outbreak. It has claimed over 11,000 lives across the region since last year. The WHO regards a country Ebola-free after a 42-day period without a new case - twice the maximum incubation period. [147]


Copenhagen buses burned in anti-Israel attack

Copenhagen buses burned in anti-Israel attack

8 May

Four Danish buses were destroyed in a suspected arson attack that police believe may have a political motive. The buses were found on fire in the early hours of Friday morning in Copenhagen. Another was found covered in anti-Israeli graffiti. Last week, the city's transit authority ordered the removal of advertisements by a pro-Palestinian group calling for a boycott of Israeli goods. The group behind the adverts condemned the fire, calling it "a criminal act". [148]


Pakistan helicopter crash kills foreign envoys

Pakistan helicopter crash kills foreign envoys

8 May

An army helicopter has crashed in a mountainous part of northern Pakistan, killing seven people, including the Philippineand Norwegian ambassadors. It crashed during an emergency landing in the Gilgit-Baltistan territory. The wives of the Indonesian and Malaysian envoys, two pilots and a crew member also died. They were to attend the opening of a tourism project. Two senior Pakistani ministers said the crash was down to a technical fault.[149]


Sweeping California water cuts begin

Sweeping California water cuts begin

6 May

California's water board has unanimously passed sweeping mandatory drought restrictions for the summer. The new rules will limit watering on public property and impose cuts of up to 36% on water usage from 2013 levels. The state board drew up the rules in response to Governor Jerry Brown's earlier order to cut water use state-wide. [150]


Cuba to hold symbolic mass gay wedding

Cuba to hold symbolic mass gay wedding

6 May

Gay rights activists in Cuba will hold a mass wedding this weekend, in a country where gay marriage is still not legal. The activists will be led by the daughter of President Raul Castro, Mariela, who is a leading gay and transgender rights campaigner. The symbolic wedding will be part of Cuba's annual gay pride parade. [151]


Violent storms batter northern Germany

Violent storms batter northern Germany

5 May

Violent storms have swept the north of Germany, causing widespread damage and leaving at least one person dead. A tornado triggered by the storms caused severe damage in the town of Buetzow, near Rostock, hurling cars 70m (230ft) and damaging buildings. In the city of Hamburg, a 26-year-old man was killed and his pregnant girlfriend injured when debris was blown on to their car. [152]


Dozens migrants die in Mediterranean

Dozens migrants die in Mediterranean

5 May

Dozens of migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean after a boat carrying an estimated 137 people deflates south of Sicily, Save the Children says. The aid group says survivors reported up to 40 people fell into the sea as a rescue vessel was approaching. Those rescued arrived in the Sicilian port city of Catania on Tuesday. [153]


Brazil faces surge in dengue fever

Brazil faces surge in dengue fever

5 May

Brazil has registered nearly 746,000 cases of the mosquito-borne disease dengue fever this year with nine states experiencing an epidemic, the health ministry has announced. At 368 cases per 100,000 residents it amounts to an epidemic by World Health Organisation standards, but officials say the outbreak is not nationwide. Relaxed prevention and an increase in home water storage have been blamed. [154]


Thousands of migrants rescued over weekend

Thousands of migrants rescued over weekend

4 May

More than 5,800 migrants have been rescued and 10 bodies recovered off the Libyan coast over the weekend, the Italian coastguard says. The survivors were picked up from wooden and rubber boats, in 17 separate operations by Italian and French ships. An Italian ship landed nearly 900 people in Sicily early on Monday. [155]


German train drivers' union calls for strike

German train drivers' union calls for strike

4 May

Germany's GDL train drivers' union called for a seven-day strike on May 3, set to begin with freight trains the afternoon of May 4 and passenger trains on the morning of May 5. The work stoppage will be the eighth in the ongoing dispute and is scheduled to last until the morning of May 10. [156]


Saudi Arabia 'repels Houthi border attack'

Saudi Arabia 'repels Houthi border attack'

1 May

Three Saudi troops and "dozens" of Houthi rebels were killed as Saudi forces repelled a major attack from inside Yemen, Saudi officials say. The rebels attacked near the town of Najran, reports say, in what would be their biggest assault on Saudi soil since a Saudi military campaign began. A Saudi-led coalition has staged air strikes against rebels since late March in support of Yemen's exiled president.[157]


April

Rescues from Nepal rubble after five days

Rescues from Nepal rubble after five days

30 Apr

Two people have been rescued from the rubble of buildings in Kathmandu, five days after an earthquake that killed at least 5,500 in Nepal. A 15-year-old boy told the BBC he survived by drinking water from wet clothes and eating clarified butter. Elsewhere, a woman was pulled from a collapsed block where she had been trapped alongside three bodies.[158]


Relief starts reaching Nepal villages

Relief starts reaching Nepal villages

29 Apr

Aid has begun to reach remote regions near the epicentre of Saturday's devastating earthquake in Nepal. As relief efforts continue in the Kathmandu Valley, the UN says the response is broadening to include hard hit areas such as Dhading and Gorkha. The 7.8-magnitude quake killed more than 5,000 people. Many survivors are in desperate need of food and water. [159]


Chile volcano prompts new evacuation

Chile volcano prompts new evacuation

29 Apr

There have been fresh evacuations in the area surrounding the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile after it started spewing ash again on Tuesday. The volcano erupted twice last week prompting the evacuation of more than 6,000 people. On Tuesday, residents who had returned to Rio Blanco, to the south of the volcano, were asked to leave again. Calbuco, which before last week had not erupted for 42 years, is one of around 90 active volcanoes in Chile. [160]


Deadly landslide hits Salvador, Brazil

Deadly landslide hits Salvador, Brazil

29 Apr

At least 14 people were killed in landslides in the city of Salvador in north-east Brazil on Monday. Heavy rains flooded streets and triggered two separate landslides, sweeping away hillside homes in poor neighbourhoods and injuring 10 people. Residents and fire fighters are still searching for a number of missing. Meteorologists said the rain was the heaviest in two decades, with more than half of the monthly average falling in the space of only 10 hours. Almost 1,000 people died in Rio de Janeiro state four years ago when whole hillsides collapsed after heavy rain. [161]


Venezuela cuts hours to save energy

Venezuela cuts hours to save energy

29 Apr

Venezuela says it will cut the working day for public sector workers to five-and-a-half hours to conserve energy, down from eight to nine hours. The initiative is part of a nationwide electricity rationing plan. Vice-President Jorge Arreaza said there had been a surge in energy demand due to extremely hot weather. He said state employees would now work from 07:30-13:00 to save on air conditioning. On Monday, local media reported blackouts across the country. Mr Arreaza said private companies would be asked to use their own generators to reduce pressure on the national grid. Power outages are common in Venezuela, which is a big oil producer but depends heavily on hydro-electric power. [162]


Baltimore begins clean up after riot

Baltimore begins clean up after riot

28 Apr

Thousands of troops and outside police officers have been deployed to the US city of Baltimore, following violent protests linked to the death of a black man fatally injured in police custody. A week-long curfew has been announced. Schools and many businesses are closed. On Monday, hundreds of people set fires, looted stores and confronted police across the city. City officials have been criticised for not responding more aggressively. [163]


Thousands flee Nepal capital post-earthquake

Thousands flee Nepal capital post-earthquake

27 Apr

Nepalese officials scrambled on Monday to get aid from the main airport to people left homeless and hungry by a devastating earthquake two days earlier, while thousands tired of waiting fled the capital Kathmandu for the surrounding plains. By afternoon, the death toll from Saturday's 7.9 magnitude earthquake had climbed to more than 3,700, and reports trickling in from remote areas suggested it would rise significantly. A senior interior ministry official said it could reach as much as 5,000, in the worse such disaster in Nepal since 1934, when 8,500 people were killed. [164]


Nepal quake relief drive intensifies

Nepal quake relief drive intensifies

26 Apr

Rescue efforts in Nepal are intensifying after nearly 2,000 people were killed on Saturday in the worst earthquake there in more than 80 years. Many countries and charities have offered aid to deal with the disaster. Seventeen people have been killed on Mount Everest by avalanches - the mountain's worst-ever disaster. Meanwhile a powerful aftershock was felt on Sunday in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and more avalanches were reported near Everest. The 6.7 magnitude tremor, centred 60km (40 miles) east of Nepal's capital Kathmandu, sent people running in panic for open ground in the city. Screams and the sound of an avalanche could be heard as an Indian mountaineer was interviewed by phone from near Everest by Reuters news agency. The death toll from the original earthquake could rise, as the situation is unclear in remote areas which remain cut off or hard to access. [165]


Baltimore protest turns violent

Baltimore protest turns violent

26 Apr

More than 1,000 protesters have marched in Baltimore over the death of a black man in police custody a week ago. But after hours of peaceful demonstrations, some protesters smashed police windows and shop fronts. At least 12 people were arrested. [166]


Syria Islamists take northern town

Syria Islamists take northern town

26 Apr

Islamist rebels in Syria have taken over the key north-western town of Jisr al-Shughur, activists say. It was the last major town under government control in Idlib province. Correspondents say it may give rebels a route to the ruling elite's heartland. The Islamist forces, including the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, began the assault on Thursday. State media said the army had redeployed outside the town "to avoid civilian casualties". They quoted a military official as saying that, before withdrawing, troops had engaged in fierce fighting with "armed terrorist groups" who arrived in large numbers from the Turkish border. [167]


Niger battles meningitis outbreak

Niger battles meningitis outbreak

26 Apr

Niger has begun a mass vaccination campaign as it struggles to control a meningitis outbreak that has now killed 129 people. Health Minister Mano Aghali announced on public radio that the death toll had risen from 85 in less than a week. The effort to immunise children between two and 15 has started despite a shortage of vaccines. Schools in and around Niger's capital, Niamey, were shut this week to contain the virus. It was a shortage of vaccines to treat the current strain that caused the outbreak to spread, the authorities say. There is a "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia, with high rates of the disease, the WHO says. [168]


Chile volcano causes flight problems

Chile volcano causes flight problems

26 Apr

Niger has begun a mass vaccination campaign as it struggles to control a meningitis outbreak that has now killed 129 people. Health Minister Mano Aghali announced on public radio that the death toll had risen from 85 in less than a week. The effort to immunise children between two and 15 has started despite a shortage of vaccines. Schools in and around Niger's capital, Niamey, were shut this week to contain the virus. It was a shortage of vaccines to treat the current strain that caused the outbreak to spread, the authorities say. There is a "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia, with high rates of the disease, the WHO says. [169]


Statue of Liberty evacuated over suspicious package

Statue of Liberty evacuated over suspicious package

24 Apr

The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island in New York have been evacuated due to a suspicious package. The island is home to the world-famous statue, a major tourist destination for people visiting the United States. [170]


Chile volcano causes flight problems

Chile volcano causes flight problems

24 Apr

International flights are being delayed or cancelled because of concerns over the ash cloud created by the Calbuco volcano in Chile. The eruption on Thursday created a cloud of ash that went up 20km (12 miles) into the air. Volcanic ash can be extremely dangerous to aircraft as the fine particles can damage engines. Many international flights have been affected in the last few hours, with one forced to turn back to Australia. Qantas flight QF27 was five hours into its journey to Santiago when it had to turn back to Sydney late on Friday. A Qantas spokeswoman in Sydney said it returned because of concerns over the ash cloud. Two flights from the United States to Buenos Aires, one with Delta Air Lines and one with American Airlines, had to return to their departure airports. One Air France flight from Paris to Santiago had to land in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and another destined for Buenos Aires landed in Rio de Janeiro. [171]


Chile evacuations as volcano erupts

Chile evacuations as volcano erupts

23 Apr

The Calbuco volcano in southern Chile has erupted twice in the space of a few hours - having lain dormant for decades. Footage from the area shows a huge column of lava and ash being sent several kilometres into the air. The authorities have declared a red alert and evacuated more than 4,000 people within a 20km (12 mile) radius. [172]


Post-storm New South Wales clean-up

Post-storm New South Wales clean-up

23 Apr

A clean-up operation has begun in New South Wales in the wake of violent storms that battered the Australian state. Police have confirmed the deaths of four people. Three were killed in Dungog, where homes have been washed away by flooding. An 86-year-old woman died in the Central Hunter region when her car was swept into floodwaters. Emergency services have declared 12 communities natural disaster areas. [173]


Nigeria begins Sambisa offensive against Boko Haram

Nigeria begins Sambisa offensive against Boko Haram

22 Apr

Nigerian ground troops have joined an offensive on the last known hideout of the Boko Haram Islamist militants, a military spokesman has told the BBC. The vast north-eastern Sambisa forest is where they have many bases - and it has been subject to aerial bombardments since February. There has been speculation that some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than a year ago are being held there. [174]


Saudi Arabia ends Yemen air campaign

Saudi Arabia ends Yemen air campaign

21 Apr

A Saudi Arabia-led coalition has ended its bombing campaign against rebels in Yemen having "achieved its military goals", officials say. The month-long Decisive Storm campaign had targeted Houthi rebels but largely failed to halt their advance. A new operation called Restoring Hope will focus on a political solution in Yemen and on counter-terrorism at home, the coalition said. Iran welcomed the end of air strikes as a step forward. Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia has accused Shia-led Iran of backing the Houthis, something Tehran denies. Yemen has been in chaos since the Houthi, or Zaidi Shia, rebels, took control of the capital, Sanaa, in January and placed President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi under house arrest. [175]


Three dead in New South Wales storm

Three dead in New South Wales storm

21 Apr

Three people have died in New South Wales as powerful storms batter the Australian state. The two men and a woman were found dead in Dungog north of Sydney, one of the worst affected areas, where homes have been washed away by flooding. Some 215,000 homes are without power in Sydney and across New South Wales. People have been urged to head home, as Australia's weather agency warned more severe weather would hit parts of the state on Tuesday night. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has issued a severe weather warning for the Sydney area, Hunter and Illawarra forecasting "damaging and locally destructive winds, damaging winds, heavy rainfall and damaging surf". Winds of up to 135km/h (85 mph) were recorded in some areas, with up to 200mm of rainfall forecast for Tuesday. The State Emergency Service (SES) said it had received more than 4,400 calls for help, and carried out dozens of flood rescues. People were reported to be trapped in cars and homes and stuck on the rooftops of houses. [176]


EU to set measures for Mediterranean migrants

EU to set measures for Mediterranean migrants

19 Apr

The EU has set out a package of measures to try to ease the migrant boat crisis in the Mediterranean. Its Frontex border surveillance service will be strengthened and a military mandate sought to destroy people-smugglers' boats. An emergency summit of EU leaders will be held on Thursday. As the leaders met, fresh distress calls from migrant boats were received. [177]


Deadly air strike in Sana'a

Deadly air strike in Sana'a

19 Apr

At least 18 people were killed and 300 injured in Yemen's capital Sana'a after an air strike on a missile base caused a huge blast that flattened buildings. Witnesses compared the blast, which sent a plume of smoke hundreds of metres into the sky, to an earthquake. The explosion occurred in the Faj Attan area of the capital, near the presidential compound. A Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign has been targeting Yemen's Shia Houthi rebels since late March. [178]


Mystery disease' kills 18 in Nigeria

Mystery disease' kills 18 in Nigeria

19 Apr

A "mysterious" disease has killed at least 18 people in the past several days in south-eastern Nigeria, local officials say. The outbreak started in the Ode-Irele town, Ondo state, and spread rapidly. The disease - characterised by blurred vision, headache and loss of consciousness - killed the victims within 24 hours of falling ill. Local health officials and World Health Organization experts are now in the town to try to identify the disease. Laboratory tests have so far ruled out Ebola or any other virus, Ondo government spokesman Kayode Akinmade was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. He described the illness as "mysterious". WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told AFP that all of those affected started showing symptoms between 13-15 April. [179]


Hundreds feared dead in Med sinking

Hundreds feared dead in Med sinking

19 Apr

Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, the Italian coastguard says. A major rescue operation is under way after the vessel carrying "between 500 and 700 migrants" capsized at midnight local time, south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. So far 28 people have been rescued. Earlier this week, four hundred people were feared to have drowned when their vessel capsized north of Libya. Last year a record 170,000 people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East made the perilous crossing to Italy. With improving weather conditions, the number of people making the crossing of at least 500km (300 miles) has surged. But vessels provided by people smugglers are often underpowered and overcrowded. [180]


Many dead in Afghanistan bank blast

Many dead in Afghanistan bank blast

19 Apr

At least 33 people have been killed and 100 injured in a suicide bomb attack in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. The blast happened outside a bank where government staff and military personnel were collecting their salaries. A spokesman for a group claiming to represent Islamic State in Afghanistan said it carried out the attack, though it is still unverified the claim. Police said another bomb was discovered nearby, and was destroyed in a controlled explosion. Another blast was also reported outside a shrine in Jalalabad on Saturday morning. There were no reported casualties. [181]


Three dead in Mexican gun battle

Three dead in Mexican gun battle

19 Apr

Gun battles have left at least three people dead on the streets of Reynosa, a Mexican city on the border with the US that has been plagued by drug cartel violence. Fighting broke out after the arrest of a leader of one of the main gangs in the area. "The same criminal group reacted by attacking federal forces," officials said in a statement. The statement described the dead men as "armed civilians". Officials said parts of the city had been blocked with vehicles set on fire by gunmen. Authorities issued an urgent notice warning residents not to use various main roads because of shooting and blockades. [182]


Tributes to Everest avalanche dead

Tributes to Everest avalanche dead

19 Apr

Relatives, guides and mountaineers have marked the first anniversary of an avalanche that killed 16 sherpas on Mount Everest. The guides died in an area just above Base Camp at 5,800m (19,000ft). The avalanche was the worst accident in modern history on the world's highest peak. As a mark of respect, climbing was suspended for the day on Saturday. Services were also held at Base Camp and in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu. Monks held prayers with relatives of those who died. [183]


Foreign-owned South African shops looted

Foreign-owned South African shops looted

16 Apr

Foreign-owned shops in South Africa have been attacked and looted in east Johannesburg, the latest in a series of xenophobic attacks. A standoff developed in the city, with police forming a barrier between an angry crowd and foreign-owned shops. The violence comes despite Thursday's rally against xenophobia in the coastal city of Durban, and condemnation from President Jacob Zuma. [184]


IS steps up assault on Iraqi city

IS steps up assault on Iraqi city

16 Apr

Islamic State (IS) has stepped up its assault on the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, launching a series of suicide bomb attacks, officials say. Anbar provincial council member Athal al-Fahdawi said the government compound was within range of IS weapons and that it and the city were "in great danger". Hundreds of people have fled Ramadi and the surrounding area in recent days. [185]


Migrants killed on Mediterranean boat

Migrants killed on Mediterranean boat

16 Apr

Italian police say they have arrested 15 Muslim migrants after they allegedly threw 12 Christians overboard following a row on a boat heading to Italy. The Christian migrants, said to be from Ghana and Nigeria, are all feared dead. [186]


Malawi to evacuate citizens from South Africa

Malawi to evacuate citizens from South Africa

15 Apr

Malawi says it will repatriate its nationals from South Africa, following an upsurge in xenophobic violence. At least five foreigners, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed in attacks in South Africa's coastal city of Durban since last week. Some foreign-owned shops in the main city Johannesburg have shut amid fears that the violence could spread. [187]


Hundreds of migrants feared drowned off Libya

Hundreds of migrants feared drowned off Libya

14 Apr

About 400 migrants are feared drowned after their boat capsized off Libya, survivors have told Save the Children. The Italian coast guard had rescued 144 people on Monday and launched an air and sea search operation in hopes of rescuing others. Save the Children said that many of the survivors were "young men, probably minors". [188]


Siberia wildfires kill 15

Siberia wildfires kill 15

13 Apr

Wildfires have killed at least 15 people and injured about 400 in the Khakassia region of southern Siberia, Russian media report. Officials say the fires, fuelled by high winds and dry weather, destroyed 1,200 houses in 30 towns and villages. Firefighters have now managed to extinguish the flames, the Rossiya 24 TV news channel reports. [189]


Bomb explodes outside embassy in Libya

Bomb explodes outside embassy in Libya

13 Apr

A bomb has exploded at the gates of the Moroccan embassy in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, security officials say, hours after two people were shot dead outside South Korea's embassy. There was some damage to cars nearby, but no reports of injuries. The embassy is not currently operational. [190]


Deadly bomb attacks strike Sinai

Deadly bomb attacks strike Sinai

12 Apr

At least 13 people have been killed in separate bomb attacks in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, security forces have said. At least six people died and 30 others were injured in an explosion outside a police station in El-Arish. Elsewhere, seven soldiers lost their lives and two were wounded in an attack on an armoured vehicle, near the northern town of Sheikh Zuweid. Militants from the Sinai Province group, affiliated to Islamic State, have said they carried out the attacks. Sinai has become increasingly lawless since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011. Insurgents have intensified attacks since his Islamist successor Mohammed Morsi was ousted in 2013. North Sinai has been under a state of emergency and a curfew since October, when an attack on a checkpoint killed dozens of soldiers. Major military operations in the region have so far failed to quell the violence. [191]


Tornado tears through Illinois

Tornado tears through Illinois

10 Apr

A severe tornado has killed one person and injured seven more in a small town in northern Illinois in the US. Fire officials told local media the victim was a 67-year-old woman. Most of the 50 structures in Fairdale were flattened and all were damaged, the fire department said. More than 850 flights were cancelled at Chicago's O'Hare airport as a severe weather system tore through parts of Iowa, Illinois and Ohio on Thursday.[192]


Deadly gun battle in Afghan city

Deadly gun battle in Afghan city

9 Apr

Gunmen dressed in military uniforms have stormed the office of the attorney general in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 65. Four attackers were seen entering the office, followed by heavy gunfire and several explosions. Five security officers - including a police chief - were among the dead and 26 government officials among the hurt.[193]


Kenya bombs terrorist bases in Somalia

Kenya bombs terrorist bases in Somalia

6 Apr

Kenyan fighter jets have bombed positions of militant Islamist group al-Shabab in neighbouring Somalia, a military spokesman has told the BBC. The warplanes had targeted two camps in the Gedo region, used by al-Shabab to cross into Kenya, the spokesman added. This is Kenya's first response to the al-Shabab assault which left 148 people dead at Garissa University last week.[194]


Terrorists attack Kenyan university

Terrorists attack Kenyan university

2 Apr

The death toll in the attack by al-Shabab Islamist militants on a university in north-eastern Kenya has risen to 147, Kenyan government officials say. They added that the operation to secure the the Garissa University College campus was now over, with all four attackers killed.[195]


Thailand lifts martial law

Thailand lifts martial law

1 Apr

Thailand's military government has announced it is lifting martial law, 10 months after it was imposed. It was introduced in May 2014, shortly before the army staged a coup. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, announced the move in a televised statement and has said it will be replaced by a new security order. However the new measure has drawn considerable criticism, with many fearing that it could give the military more power than it had before. Gen Prayuth made the announcement late on Wednesday, saying the king had given his formal approval to the lifting of martial law.[196]


March

Turkey power cut hits big cities

Turkey power cut hits big cities

31 Mar

A massive power cut has hit dozens of provinces across Turkey, with officials saying a break in connections with mainland Europe could be to blame. The cuts affected power stations and public transport, including Istanbul's tram and metro systems. A crisis centre has been set up at the energy ministry. [197]


Burundi hit by landslides

Burundi hit by landslides

30 Mar

At least 10 people are missing, feared dead, in Burundi after landslides which have destroyed hundreds of homes, officials say. Some 3,000 people have been left homeless, according to a BBC reporter who has been to the scene. Their houses were destroyed after mud and rocks, dislodged by the rain, plunged down the hillside. [198]


Kashmir flood alert

Kashmir flood alert

30 Mar

A flood alert has been issued in Indian-administered Kashmir following torrential rain and a surge in the water level of the Jhelum river. Authorities have asked people living near the river to leave their homes and move to safer places. At least 10 people are missing after landslides buried a number of houses. [199]


Chile declares forest fires alert

Chile declares forest fires alert

30 Mar

Chile has declared a national alert because of wildfires in three national parks and reserves threatening trees, some a thousand years old. Firefighters have been fighting the flames for more than a week in the southern region of Araucania hit by years of drought. The fires are affecting a park famous for its centuries-old pines known as monkey puzzle trees. [200]


Sierra Leone in lockdown

Sierra Leone in lockdown

28 Mar

The authorities in Sierra Leone are enforcing a three-day lockdown to curb the spread of Ebola, with the entire population ordered to stay at home. There is a two-hour exemption on Friday to allow Muslim prayers and a five-hour window for Christians on Sunday. Volunteers are going door-to-door, looking for people with signs of the disease and reminding others how to stay safe. Dozens of new cases are still being reported in Sierra Leone every week. However, the three West African countries worst affected by Ebola - Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea - have seen a steep reduction in infections in recent weeks. [201]


US issues Uganda travel warning

US issues Uganda travel warning

28 Mar

The US embassy in Uganda has warned that Westerners - including Americans - may be targeted for "terrorist" attacks in the capital Kampala. It said it had "received information of possible threats" at city locations where Western nationals gather. Uganda's government said the US had warned of a possible suicide bomber trying to enter the country. Uganda was under threat because its troops were fighting militant Islamists in Somalia, a spokesman added. In 2010, Somalia's al-Shabab militants carried out a suicide bombing in Kampala, killing 76 people as they watched the football World Cup final. [202]


Flooding hits Chile deser region

Flooding hits Chile deser region

28 Mar

Flash floods in one of the driest regions in the world - Chile's Atacama desert - have left two people dead and 24 missing, officials say. They say thousands of people are now without electricity or water, as heavy rains in the Andes sent floodwater down into the valleys and towns below. In the city of Copiapo, the river burst its banks. Rescuers have begun evacuating people using helicopters because of fears of mudslides. More rain is expected. Chile's emergency officials said one person was electrocuted on the street, while another died in a mudslide. The government is now describing the situation in the desert town of Chanaral as "critical". [203]


Nigerian army retakes Boko Haram HQ

Nigerian army retakes Boko Haram HQ

27 Mar

The Nigerian army says it has retaken the north-eastern town of Gwoza, believed to be the headquarters of militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The insurgents had now been driven from virtually all the territory they had held, it said. Some militants were now fleeing towards border areas, the military said.[204]


Deadly tornado rips though Oklahoma

Deadly tornado rips though Oklahoma

26 Mar

At least one person has been killed and several others were injured after a tornado roared through Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa police said the death occurred inside a mobile home park near suburban Sand Springs on Wednesday. The park was nearly destroyed in the storm. "It could have been much worse," Sheriff's Capt Billy McKinley said.[205]


Germanwings airliner 4U 9525 crashes in French Alps

Germanwings airliner 4U 9525 crashes in French Alps

24 Mar

The plane, flight 4U 9525, had been en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf with 142 passengers and six crew on board. French President Francois Hollande said: "The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors.[206]


Paris imposes car restrictions

Paris imposes car restrictions

23 Mar

The French authorities have introduced measures to combat a sharp increase in pollution affecting Paris and other cities in northern France. On Monday the number of cars on the road in Paris will be cut in half - only motorists with odd-numbered plates will be allowed to drive. Public transportation will be free as well car-sharing and bike-sharing programmes.[207]


Shia rebels seize Yemen city

Shia rebels seize Yemen city

22 Mar

Yemen's third largest city Taiz and its airport have been seized by Shia Houthi rebels, officials say. Residents took to the streets in protest and one was killed as the rebels fired on them and used tear gas. The insurgents already hold the capital, Sanaa, after overthrowing President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in February. He fled to Aden in the south. Instability has been growing in Yemen, where al-Qaeda and Islamic State sympathisers also pose a threat.[208]


Red Sea shark attack kills tourist

Red Sea shark attack kills tourist

22 Mar

A German tourist has been killed in a rare shark attack off an Egyptian Red Sea resort, police say. The shark reportedly bit off the 52-year-old man's leg at the knee. The attack took place on Sunday off the coastal city al-Qusair, the first such incident in five years. The species of shark has not been confirmed. A spate of attacks in 2010 that also led to one death was believed to have been carried out by an oceanic whitetip. Those attacks forced the closure of part of the major resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for a week. The area that saw Sunday's attack witnessed another in 2009 that killed a Frenchwoman. The German embassy in Cairo said it had been informed of the latest death but could not comment further. Egypt is one of the world's leading diving destinations. [209]


Climate change big threat to China

Climate change big threat to China

22 Mar

Climate change could have a "huge impact" on China, reducing crop yields and harming the environment, the country's top weather scientist has warned, in a rare official admission. Zheng Guogang told Xinhua news agency that climate change could be a "serious threat" to big infrastructure projects. He said temperature rises in China were already higher than global averages. China, the world's biggest polluter, has said its emissions of gases that cause climate change will peak by 2030. However, the country has not set a specific target for cutting emissions of the gases, mainly carbon dioxide. [210]


Suspects arrested for links to Tunis attack

Suspects arrested for links to Tunis attack

19 Mar

Nine people have been arrested in connection with Wednesday's gun attack in Tunis that left 23 people dead, including 20 foreign tourists, the Tunisian presidency says. It alleged that four were directly linked to the attack and five had "ties to the cell". The army will also be deployed to major cities, the presidency added. In another development, Islamic State said in an audio message that it was behind the attack.[211]


Riots in Frankfurt target new ECB HQ

Riots in Frankfurt target new ECB HQ

18 Mar

Dozens of people have been hurt and some 350 people arrested as anti-austerity demonstrators clashed with police in the German city of Frankfurt. Police cars were set alight and stones were thrown in a protest against the opening of a new base for the European Central Bank (ECB). Violence broke out close to the city's Alte Oper concert hall hours before the ECB building's official opening. "Blockupy" activists are expected to attend a rally later on Wednesday.[212]


Gunmen kill tourists in Tunis attack

Gunmen kill tourists in Tunis attack

18 Mar

Nineteen people, including 17 foreign tourists, have been killed after gunmen targeted a museum in the Tunisian capital, the prime minister says. Italian, Spanish, Polish and German citizens were among those killed, as well as a Tunisian and a police officer, PM Habib Essid said. Media reports suggest the death toll could be as high as 22.[213]


Boston breaks record for snowiest winter

Boston breaks record for snowiest winter

16 Mar

Boston has broken the record for the snowiest winter in the city's recorded history. The National Weather Service said the city received 108.6in (275.8cm) of snow this winter, beating the 1995-1996 record of 107.6 inches. The record was broken around 19:00 local time (23:00 GMT) on Sunday, when 2.9in fell on the city.[214]


Cyclone devastates Vanuatu

Cyclone devastates Vanuatu

16 Mar

Vanuatu is in "immediate" need after Cyclone Pam tore through the country at the weekend, its president says. President Baldwin Lonsdale said the storm had "wiped out" all development of recent years and his country would have to rebuild "everything". Aid has begun arriving in the storm-hit nation - one of the world's poorest - but contact has still not been made with some of its more remote islands. Aid agencies say it could be one of the worst disasters ever to hit the region. [215]


Cuba approves first public wi-fi in Havana

Cuba approves first public wi-fi in Havana

16 Mar

Cuba's state telecom agency Etecsa has granted approval to the artist Kcho to open the country's first public wireless hub at his cultural centre. Kcho, who has close ties to the Cuban government, is operating the hub using his own, government-approved internet connection, and paying approximately $900 (£600) per month to run it. Only an estimated 5% - 25% of Cubans have any type of internet service. That is because internet access is incredibly expensive. [216]


Chile firefighters contain blaze

Chile firefighters contain blaze

16 Mar

Firefighters in Chile say they have managed to control a huge forest fire around the port cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. One person was killed and thousands were evacuated as the fire spread fanned by strong winds. Officials said they would bring charges against the owner of an illegal landfill site, where the fire is believed to have started. [217]


Costa Rica's volcano eruption

Costa Rica's volcano eruption

14 Mar

Costa Rican officials have reopened the country’s principle airport in the capital of San Jose after the eruption of the Turrialba volcano filled the sky with ash. The Juan Santamaria international airport reopened around midday Friday after remaining closed through Thursday night. The Turrialba volcano erupted three times Thursday and state observers recorded a smaller eruption Friday morning. Costa Rica’s air security agency says the ash on the runways could pose a risk, as could the impaired visibility from the plume of ash. The local Tobias Bolanos airport also was closed intermittently. The country’s public education ministry suspended classes Friday at 12 schools near the volcano. [218]


Egypt unveils plans for new capital

Egypt unveils plans for new capital

14 Mar

The Egyptian government has announced plans to build a new capital to the east of the present one, Cairo. Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the project would cost $45bn (£30bn) and take five to seven years to complete. He said the aim was to ease congestion and overpopulation in Cairo over the next 40 years. The announcement was made at an investment conference that aims to revive the Egyptian economy. The gathering, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, has attracted pledges worth $12bn (£8bn) in aid and investment from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Mr Madbouly said the population of greater Cairo, estimated at about 18 million, was expected to double within 40 years. [219]


Dozens feared dead after cyclone hits Vanuatu

Dozens feared dead after cyclone hits Vanuatu

13 Mar

The death toll from a category five tropical storm that has hit islands in the South Pacific could run into the dozens, the UN's relief agency says. Cyclone Pam battered Vanuatu with winds of up to 270kph (170mph) on Friday. Authorities on the islands had earlier issued a red alert to residents after the cyclone changed direction and began moving towards populated areas. It has already caused major damage on other Pacific islands, including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. [220]


Angola floods kill 62

Angola floods kill 62

12 Mar

Floods caused by torrential rains have killed 62 people - 35 of them children - in the Angolan city of Lobito, local authorities say. The Angop state news agency says the flood water has reached 3m (9.8ft) in some areas of the city since Wednesday. Scores of homes have been destroyed and rescue teams are still searching for missing people. [221]


Colombia explosion injures police officers

Colombia explosion injures police officers

12 Mar

An explosive device has injured five police officers and two other people in the Colombian capital Bogota in the early hours. The device, which was packed with shrapnel, went off as a police convoy was driving through the southern neighbourhood of Quiroga. It is not yet clear who may be behind the attack. Small-scale explosions are not unusual in the capital, but this device seems more complex than previous ones. Bogota's police commander, Humberto Guatibonza, said the attack had been aimed at his officers.[222]


Iraqi troops advance in Tikrit

Iraqi troops advance in Tikrit

11 Mar

Iraqi government forces have retaken a large part of north-western Tikrit as they battle IS militants to recapture the city, security officials say. Soldiers and Shia militiamen have reportedly raised the Iraqi flag at a hospital in the Qadisiya district, two-thirds of which is under their control. But they have so far not made much progress in Tikrit's south and west. The operation to retake the hometown of Saddam Hussein is the biggest offensive yet by the Iraqi government.[223]


Australia braces for two cyclones

Australia braces for two cyclones

10 Mar

Residents in parts of Western Australia and Queensland have been warned to prepare for stormy weather as two cyclones develop offshore. Forecasters say a low-pressure system off Western Australia could cause hurricane force winds along parts of the coast at the end of the week. Another system off the coast of northern Queenslandis expected to bring gale force winds late on Tuesday.[224]


IS kidnaps 9 foreign oil workers

IS kidnaps 9 foreign oil workers

9 Mar

Nine foreign oil workers have been seized by Islamic State militants in an attack on a Libyan oil field, the Austrian foreign ministry says. The workers - from Austria, the Czech Republic and seven non-EU nationals - were taken alive, the statement said. The attack on the al-Ghani field about 700km (440 miles) south-east of Tripoli happened on Friday, a Libyan army spokesman has told the BBC. He said eight guards had been killed in the attack. [225]


Three blasts hit Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria

Three blasts hit Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria

7 Mar

Three blasts hit the northeastern Nigerian town of Maiduguri in the worst attack on the city since suspected Boko Haram militants failed in a bid to seize the state capital at the end of January. Maiduguri is the state capital of Borno, the heartland of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram which has long coveted the city as the capital of an Islamic state they want to carve out of religiously mixed Nigeria. A military source said bombs had caused the explosions, with the first on Baga road near a market and the second at the Monday market. The location of the third blast was not immediately known and there was no word on casualties [226]


Venezuela food crisis

Venezuela food crisis

7 Mar

Foreign ministers from 12 South American nations gathering in Caracas have promised to help Venezuela overcome an ongoing shortage of food, medicine and other products. The regional Unasur bloc agreed with President Nicolas Maduro to provide items that have gone missing from many Venezuelan supermarkets. The shortage of staples has contributed to popular discontent. Unasur highlighted the importance of safeguarding democratic stability. "The idea is to get all the countries to support the distribution of staples," said Ernesto Samper, Secretary-General of Unasur (Union of South American Nations). "We will work together with the Venezuelan authorities to strengthen the distribution networks in our countries so they help Venezuela," said Mr Samper. He criticised recent anti-government protests in Venezuela that descended into violence. [227]


Militants kill 5 in attack in Mali capital

Militants kill 5 in attack in Mali capital

7 Mar

Militants killed five people in a gun attack on a restaurant in Mali's capital, including a French citizen and a Belgian security officer with the EU delegation in the country, authorities said. Mali's desert north, where French forces wrested control of territory from separatist rebels and al Qaeda-linked fighters, is plagued by frequent political violence - but this is the first militant attack for years in Bamako, in the south. Three Malians were killed in the violence in and around La Terrasse restaurant, which is popular with expatriates, the government said. [228]


Last known Liberian ebola patient discharged

Last known Liberian ebola patient discharged

6 Mar

Liberia’s last Ebola patient was discharged on Thursday after a ceremony in the capital, Monrovia, bringing to zero the number of known cases in the country and marking a milestone in West Africa’s battle against the disease. If no new cases emerge, the epidemic in Liberia will be considered over officially on April 4, or 42 days after the last known infection. The 42-day marker is twice the longest incubation period for Ebola, 21 days.[229]


Thousands flee Iraqi advance on Tikrit

Thousands flee Iraqi advance on Tikrit

5 Mar

A military operation to retake the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS) has caused about 28,000 people to flee their homes, the UN says. Those displaced are headed towards the city of Samarra, the UN said, but many families are stranded at checkpoints. Aid convoys carrying relief supplies are being sent to the area by UN agencies to help those affected. The operation to retake Tikrit, involving some 30,000 soldiers and Shia militiamen, is now in its fourth day. [230]


Chile volcano erupts

Chile volcano erupts

3 Mar

The Villarrica volcano in Southern Chile erupted in the early hours of Tuesday morning, spewing ash and lava up to 1,000m (3,300ft) into the air. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from the volcano's vicinity. The mayor of the nearby town of Pucon said residents had left "calmly". President Michelle Bachelet said she would travel to the area on Tuesday to assess the situation. [231]


Wildfires across Cape Town mountains

Wildfires across Cape Town mountains

2 Mar

More than 100 South African firefighters are battling wildfires on the mountains around Cape Town. Thousands of hectares of vegetation have been reduced to ashes on Chapman's Peak, while several homes and a holiday lodge have been destroyed. More than 50 people - residents of a retirement home - have been treated for smoke inhalation, officials say. [232]


Iraq moves against IS in Tikrit

Iraq moves against IS in Tikrit

2 Mar

Iraq has launched a military operation to recapture Tikrit, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein, from Islamic State (IS) and its allies. A force of about 30,000 troops and militia were said to be attacking on different fronts, backed by air strikes from Iraqi fighter jets. Fighting is reported in towns to the north and south of Tikrit. [233]


February

Russia opposition politician shot dead

Russia opposition politician shot dead

27 Feb

A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say. An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr. Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say. He died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war in Ukraine. [234]


China sets one-year ban on ivory imports

China sets one-year ban on ivory imports

26 Feb

China has imposed a one-year ban on the import of ivory, amid criticism that demand among Chinese consumers is fuelling poaching in Africa. The announcement was made by the State Forestry Administration, with officials saying they hoped it would be a first step towards protecting wild elephants. [235]


Afghanistan hit by deadly avalanches

Afghanistan hit by deadly avalanches

25 Feb

A series of avalanches has struck north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, leaving at least 90 dead, officials say. Local governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri said mosques, schools and at least 100 homes had been ruined in Panjshir province. The sudden snowfall after a mild winter surprised many residents, who were reportedly trying to dig out survivors using their bare hands in some areas. [236]


Bolivia flooding displaces thousands

Bolivia flooding displaces thousands

25 Feb

Flooding has forced more than 4,000 people from their homes in the town of Cobija in northern Bolivia after the river Acre burst its banks. Heavy rains have also caused the nearby river Tahuamanu to burst its banks. Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera travelled to Cobija on Tuesday to deliver aid to the town. He said some of the neighbourhoods located closest to the river would have to be moved and promised government help to relocate their residents. [237]


UK to help train Ukraine army

UK to help train Ukraine army

24 Feb

British military personnel are to be sent to Ukraine in the next few weeks to provide advice and training, says Prime Minister David Cameron. As he spoke, pro-Russian rebels said they were pulling back heavy weapons from the front line in eastern Ukraine as part of a ceasefire. However, the government in Kiev has disputed the rebel claims. Mr. Cameron said he would push for more sanctions on Russia if the separatists failed to observe the truce. [238]


IS abducts dozens of Christians in Syria

IS abducts dozens of Christians in Syria

24 Feb

Islamic State (IS) has abducted dozens of Assyrian Christians from villages in north-eastern Syria, activists say. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 90 men, women and children were seized in a series of dawn raids near the town of Tal Tamr. Some Assyrians managed to escape and made their way east to the largely Kurdish-controlled city of Hassakeh. [239]


France seizes passports of six Syria-bound citizens

France seizes passports of six Syria-bound citizens

23 Feb

French authorities have for the first time confiscated the passports of six nationals who were allegedly planning to travel to Syria to join jihadists. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the intelligence services believed the men wanted to join the Islamic State (IS) militant group. The measure is part of new counter-terrorism laws adopted last November. Meanwhile, France has deployed an aircraft carrier off Bahrain to be used against Islamic State (IS) militants. [240]


India struggles with swine flu outbreak

India struggles with swine flu outbreak

20 Feb

Indian health officials are struggling to contain a swine flu outbreak that has killed more than 700 people since it took hold in mid-December. The number of cases has doubled since last week to more than 11,000. Critics have accused the government of failing to distribute medicines, but officials insisted the situation was under control. This year's outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which causes swine flu, is the deadliest in India since 2010.[241]


IS attack kills 40 in al-Qubbah

IS attack kills 40 in al-Qubbah

20 Feb

A bombing by suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in Libya has killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens in the eastern town of al-Qubbah. Three bombs exploded, targeting a petrol station, a police station and the home of parliamentary speaker Agila Salah, a security source told BBC News. According to an online statement, IS fighters said they struck in retaliation for Egyptian air strikes. [242]


Tropical cyclone Marcia hits Queensland

Tropical cyclone Marcia hits Queensland

19 Feb

A "very destructive" storm has hit the coast of Queensland, forcing evacuations from coastal communities, Australian officials say. Forecasters warn Category Five tropical cyclone Marcia - with wind gusts up to 285km/h (177 mph) - is bringing heavy rain and "abnormally high tides". The cyclone made landfall between St Lawrence and Yeppoon. [243]


Record-breaking cold in US East

Record-breaking cold in US East

19 Feb

Bitterly cold air from Siberia has brought dangerously frigid and likely record-setting temperatures to the eastern half of the US. Temperatures are 20 to 40 degrees F below normal for February from the Mid-Atlantic to the South. Schools in Chicago have closed and trains in the north-east corridor have been affected by the cold. [244]


Libya urges UN to lift arms embargo

Libya urges UN to lift arms embargo

18 Feb

Libya has asked the UN Security Council to lift an arms embargo so that it can deal with the Islamic State (IS) group and other militants. Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi said that it would help the government build its army and deal with "rampant terrorism". Egypt said it supported Libya's request at an emergency session of the UN council on Wednesday. [245]


Air strike kills 37 in Niger

Air strike kills 37 in Niger

18 Feb

Thirty-seven people have died in an air strike in southern Niger during military operations targeting Boko Haram, local officials say. They were attending a funeral ceremony in Abadam village on the border with Nigeria when an unidentified plane began dropping bombs. More than 300 militants were killed in north-east Nigeria during the operation, the Nigerian army says. [246]


Egypt seeks UN mandate for Libya intervention

Egypt seeks UN mandate for Libya intervention

17 Feb

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called for a United Nations resolution allowing international forces to intervene in Libya. There was no other choice, he told French radio. "We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children." Egyptian jets bombed IS targets on Monday in response to a militant video of the apparent beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians. Rival militias have been battling for control in Libya since 2011. [247]


Battle rages for Debaltseve despite truce

Battle rages for Debaltseve despite truce

17 Feb

Fierce fighting is reported inside the key Ukrainian town of Debaltseve despite a ceasefire agreed last week. Rebels say they have taken most of Debaltseve, a transport hub, but the government says it is still holding its positions. International observers tasked with monitoring the ceasefire have been unable to enter the town. Meanwhile, Ukraine accused separatists of breaching the ceasefire and said hopes for peace were being destroyed. [248]


Boko Haram militants attack Chad for first time

Boko Haram militants attack Chad for first time

13 Feb

Nigerian Boko Haram militants have carried out an attack on Chad overnight, the first such assault on Chadian soil, officials say. Fighters crossed Lake Chad in four motorboats and attacked a village, an army spokesman told the BBC. The Islamist militants were pushed back by Chadian troops after killing several people, residents said. Chad recently joined Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon in a military coalition against Boko Haram. [249]


Leaders agree peace roadmap for Ukraine crisis

Leaders agree peace roadmap for Ukraine crisis

12 Feb

An agreement aimed at ending the fighting in Ukraine has been reached, following marathon talks in Belarus. The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France announced that a ceasefire would begin on 15 February. The deal also includes weapon withdrawals and prisoner exchanges, but key issues remain to be settled. [250]


Over 300 Migrants killed in Mediterranean tragedy

Over 300 Migrants killed in Mediterranean tragedy

11 Feb

At least 300 migrants are feared to have drowned after attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa this week in rough seas, the UN says. UNHCR official Vincent Cochetel said it was a "tragedy on an enormous scale". Survivors brought to the Italian island of Lampedusa said they were forced to risk the bad weather on ill-equipped vessels by human traffickers in Libya. They were rescued from two of four dinghies that got into trouble after leaving Libya for Europe on Saturday. [251]


Niger to send troops to Nigeria

Niger to send troops to Nigeria

10 Feb

Niger's parliament has voted to send troops to Nigeria to join the fight against militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The vote took place after Boko Haram attacked a prison and detonated a car bomb on Monday in the town of Diffa, near Niger's border with Nigeria. MPs said parliament unanimously authorised deploying 750 soldiers with a regional force battling Boko Haram. Boko Haram has increasingly drawn in Nigeria's neighbours. [252]


Battles rage ahead of Minsk talks

Battles rage ahead of Minsk talks

10 Feb

Fighting has surged in eastern Ukraine as government forces and pro-Russian rebels try to make gains ahead of expected peace talks on Wednesday. Rebels carried out rocket attacks on a key military base and a residential area in Kramatorsk, officials say, killing at least seven civilians. Meanwhile, Ukraine's volunteer Azov battalion has launched an offensive against separatists around Mariupol. More than 5,400 people have died since the conflict began last April.[253]


Volcano evacuations in Guatemala

Volcano evacuations in Guatemala

9 Feb

Scores of residents have been evacuated from their homes in southern Guatemala after the Fuego volcano erupted, the country's president says. Clouds of black ash belched into the sky, while showers of rock and dust fell on to surrounding towns. The international airport in the capital Guatemala City was closed as result of the explosion, President Otto Perez said. It is expected to reopen later on Sunday, reports suggest. [254]


Boko Haram kidnaps 20 in Nigeria

Boko Haram kidnaps 20 in Nigeria

9 Feb

Suspected militants from Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram have hijacked a bus in northern Cameroon, abducting at least 20 people, residents say. Militants reportedly seized a bus carrying market-goers and drove it toward the border with Nigeria. Some reports put the total number kidnapped in Cameroon as high as 30. Boko Haram has escalated its attacks outside Nigeria in recent weeks, targeting neighbouring Cameroon and Niger.[255]


Bangladesh firebomb attacks kill nine

Bangladesh firebomb attacks kill nine

7 Feb

Nine people have been killed after attackers hurled petrol bombs at a bus and truck in Bangladesh, police say. Police reportedly blamed opposition activists for the violence, which also injured 30 others. At least 70 people have been killed in attacks since anti-government protests began last month. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) called for a general shutdown in January, on the anniversary of last year's disputed election. The BNP had boycotted that election, saying it would be rigged, and is now trying to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down and call new polls. Six people died when petrol bombs hit a packed bus from the northern district of Gaibandha to Dhaka on Friday, police said. A similar arson attack on a truck in the southern district of Barisal killed three people early on Saturday, police added. [256]


Boko Haram in first Niger attack

Boko Haram in first Niger attack

7 Feb

The Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram has attacked a town in Niger for the first time, witnesses say. Niger's government said it killed more than 100 of the group's fighters as it repulsed the attack on the border town of Bosso. The group reportedly killed at least 70 people in an attack on the town of Fotokol in Cameroon on Wednesday. The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands dead and displaced more than a million over the past six years. The militants control a large stretch of land in north-eastern Nigeria. Its neighbours have promised to send troops to help it fight the militants, who are now attacking those countries. [257]


Water pollution concern for Rio 2016

Water pollution concern for Rio 2016

7 Feb

Organisers of the Rio 2016 Olympics admit they are "concerned" about water pollution in the sailing venue, but say the Games will be delivered "on time". About 48% of sewage pumped into the Guanabara Bay is untreated, while illegal dumping is a big problem. Last month government officials stated they would miss their target of an 80% reduction in water pollution by the start of the Olympics next August. "There is a huge problem with garbage," Mario Andrada told BBC Sport. The Rio 2016 director of communications continued: "It [the state of the sailing venue] is a concern because the water is not fully clean, but it will be safe for the Olympics." [258]


New Ukraine peace push launched

New Ukraine peace push launched

5 Feb

Diplomatic efforts are under way to end renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have arrived in the capital Kiev to present a new peace initiative. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is also in Kiev, said the US wanted a diplomatic solution, but would not close its eyes to Russian aggression. Fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels has killed more than 5,000 people since last April. [259]


Jordan jets strike Islamic State

Jordan jets strike Islamic State

5 Feb

Jordan says its warplanes have carried out their first air strikes on Islamic State (IS) targets since the militants released a video showing the killing of a captured Jordanian pilot. On their way back, the planes flew over the village of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Their flight coincided with a visit to the village by Jordanian King Abdullah II, who was meeting the pilot's family. The king has vowed to the step up the fight against IS. Jordan is part of a US-led coalition bombing the militants. [260]


Boko Haram kill 70 in Cameroon border town of Fotokol

Boko Haram kill 70 in Cameroon border town of Fotokol

4 Feb

Boko Haram militants have reportedly killed at least 70 people in an attack on the Cameroonian town of Fotokol, on the border with Nigeria. The Islamist militants attacked civilians in their homes and in the town's mosque, local officials said, setting many buildings on fire. The attack comes a day after a regional force said it had driven the militants from a Nigerian town near Fotokol. The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands dead over the last six years. [261]



King of Jordan vows severe response to IS

King of Jordan vows severe response to IS

4 Feb

Jordan's King Abdullah II has promised to fight back hard against Islamic State, saying that the death of a Jordanian pilot at the militants' hands will not be in vain. The remarks were made as the king held a crisis meeting with security chiefs. He cut short a US trip after IS posted a video appearing to show pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive. [262]



Chadian troops kill Boko Haram militants

Chadian troops kill Boko Haram militants

4 Feb

Chad's army says it has killed more than 200 militant Islamists and lost nine men during a battle to recapture a key town in north-eastern Nigeria. Boko Haram militants killed about 30 people after fleeing from the battle to Cameroon, a resident said. It was the most intense battle known to involveChadian troops since they entered the conflict in Nigeria. [263]


Taiwan TransAsia plane crashes into river

Taiwan TransAsia plane crashes into river

4 Feb

A plane carrying mostly Chinese tourists has crashed into a river in Taiwan, killing at least 31 people. Dramatic video footage emerged showing the TransAsia Airways plane clipping a bridge as it came down shortly after take-off from a Taipei airport. The plane, carrying 58 people, broke up as it plunged into Taipei's Keelung River. The fuselage was later salvaged by crane. There were 15 survivors pulled from the wreckage but 12 people remain missing. [264]


New Ukraine clashes catastrophic

New Ukraine clashes catastrophic

3 Feb

Up to 16 civilians have been killed and dozens more injured in the space of 24 hours in fighting in eastern Ukraine, as the UN warns that the fresh surge in violence is proving "catastrophic". Government and rebel representatives reported the latest deaths in locations across the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Ukraine's army also said five soldiers had died fighting pro-Russian rebels near the strategic town of Debaltseve. Civilian casualties have risen sharply in recent weeks amid a rebel offensive. The latest deaths were in the city of Donetsk, Debaltseve and several villages under government control in the Luhansk region. The exact numbers could not be independently confirmed. [265]


Chad troops join Nigeria battle

Chad troops join Nigeria battle

3 Feb

Chadian troops have entered Nigeria to join the battle against militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Armoured vehicles and infantry crossed a bridge from Cameroon following air strikes and mortar attacks on Boko Haram positions, officials say. Fighting focused on the key north-eastern town of Gamboru, Nigerian security spokesman Mike Omeri said. Chad's deepening involvement shows how the conflict with Boko Haram is taking a regional dimension. Last week, Chadian troops reportedly moved into Malumfatori, a Nigerian town which lies near the borders of Chad and Niger, after a ground and air assault against the militants. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened to create a caliphate, incorporating parts of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The African Union has responded by backing plans to establish a 7,500-strong regional force to fight the group. The Chadian contingent of about 2,000 troops crossed the frontier without a shot being fired, AFP news agency reports from the scene. Chad warplanes had earlier carried out air strikes for about an hour. [266]


Most China cities fail air test

Most China cities fail air test

3 Feb

Only eight out of China's 74 biggest cities passed the government's basic air quality standards in 2014, the environment ministry has said. The most polluted cities were in north-eastern Hebei, the province that surrounds the capital Beijing. Beijing and Shanghai both failed the assessment, which was based on measurements of major pollutants. China is attempting to cut pollution but the country still relies heavily on coal for its energy needs. The government shut more than 8,000 coal-burning factories in Hebei last year. But the BBC's Celia Hatton in Beijing says like many places in China, the authorities are struggling to balance factory closures with the demands of the country's slowing economy. The environment ministry's statement published on its website (in Chinese) noted that the 2014 result was an improvement over the previous year, where only three cities met the standards. But it added that "presently, the country's air pollution situation remains serious". [267]


Bangladesh petrol bomb attack

Bangladesh petrol bomb attack

3 Feb

At least seven people have been burned to death and 15 others injured, some seriously, in a petrol bomb attack on a bus in eastern Bangladesh. Police said the bus had been full of sleeping passengers when it was attacked near the town of Chauddagram. It is the latest in a spate of attacks on buses, lorries and cars since anti-government protests began last month. Opposition leader Khaleda Zia called for the protests on the anniversary of last year's disputed election. However, she has denied that her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist allies are behind the firebombings. [268]


Blast hits Nigeria election rally

Blast hits Nigeria election rally

3 Feb

A female suicide bomber has blown up herself in northern Nigeria's Gombe city, minutes after President Goodluck Jonathan left a campaign rally there. At least one person was killed and 18 others were wounded in the blast, police and hospital sources said. Mr Jonathan is standing for re-election on 14 February against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in the run-up to the contest. Explosions have also ripped through court buildings in three towns in oil-rich southern Nigeria in what police described as co-ordinated attacks. [269]


Liberia's Ebola vaccine trial begins

Liberia's Ebola vaccine trial begins

3 Feb

The first large-scale trials of two experimental vaccines against Ebola have begun in Liberia. The potentially preventative medicines were taken under strict security to a secret location in the West African country. Scientists aim to immunise 30,000 volunteers, including front-line health workers. More than 8,500 people have died in the Ebola outbreak, the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. [270]


January

Egypt military targeted in deadly Sinai attacks

Egypt military targeted in deadly Sinai attacks

29 Jan

At least 26 people have been killed in a series of attacks by Islamist militants in the north of Egypt's Sinai peninsula. A car bomb and mortars hit military targets in the North Sinai capital El-Arish, killing a number of soldiers. Other attacks took place in the nearby town of Sheik Zuwayid and the town of Rafah, bordering Gaza. Militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which pledges allegiance to Islamic State, said it carried out the attacks.[271]


US north-east digs out of heavy snow

US north-east digs out of heavy snow

28 Jan

Residents of the US north-east are digging out after up to 36in (91cm) of snow fell in a day-long blizzard. The storm, which also destroyed part of a seawall and flooded parts of coastal Massachusetts, is being blamed for two deaths in Long Island. Clean-up is being hindered by freezing temperatures in the coming days forecast to be as low as 10F (-12C). But New York City and areas south were spared from an earlier prediction of a "potentially historic blizzard". City officials imposed a driving ban and took the unprecedented step of shutting the subway on Monday evening but less than a foot of snow fell overnight. Portland, Maine and Providence, Rhode Island both set a daily record for snowfall. A 110-ft replica of a Revolutionary War ship in Newport, Rhode Island was damaged after the storm flipped it. Wind gusts were as high as 78mph (125km/h) On Wednesday, Boston's transport system began running again and the first flight since Monday took off from Logan Airport. But snowploughs struggled to clear the roads, and Boston police drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals. [272]


Israel-Hezbollah clashes kill 3

Israel-Hezbollah clashes kill 3

28 Jan

Two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish UN peacekeeper have been killed as Hezbollah militants trade fire with Israeli forces on the Lebanese border. A spokesman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) urged "maximum restraint to prevent an escalation". The peacekeeper was killed close to the disputed Shebaa Farms area, where an Israeli convoy was earlier hit by anti-tank missiles, killing two soldiers. The Israeli military responded by firing shells into southern Lebanon. Hezbollah said it carried out the missile attack in retaliation for an Israeli air strike that killed six of its fighters and an Iranian Revolutionary Guards general in the Syrian Golan Heights 10 days ago. [273]


Northeastern United States braced for huge snowstorm

Northeastern United States braced for huge snowstorm

26 Jan

A "potentially historic blizzard" could dump up to 90cm (3ft) of snow on the US north-east coast, the National Weather Service has warned. New York's mayor said the storm could be the city's biggest ever, telling residents to "prepare for the worst". Heavy snowfall is forecast from Philadelphia to Maine, pre-emptively closing many schools and offices. A blizzard warning has been issued across New York and Boston from Monday afternoon until Tuesday.[274]


Syrian Kurds drive Islamic State out of Kobane

Syrian Kurds drive Islamic State out of Kobane

26 Jan

Kurdish forces have driven Islamic State (IS) militants from Kobane, officials say, ending a four-month battle for the northern Syrian town. Fighters from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) were said to have entered outlying areas in the east of the town after the jihadists retreated. However, the US said it was not yet prepared to declare the battle over. Kobane was seen as a major test of the US-led coalition's strategy to combat IS in Syria with air strikes. [275]


Sixteen killed in Egypt protests

Sixteen killed in Egypt protests

25 Jan

At least 16 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters across Egypt, officials said. One policeman was among the dead and dozens of protesters were also injured, health officials confirmed. The clashes follow the death of an activist in a march in Cairo. The protests were staged to mark the fourth anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising, which toppled long-time leader Hosni Mubarak. Security in major cities was tightened ahead of the anniversary, and key locations in Cairo were blocked off. Dozens of people were killed in similar protests last year. [276]


Ukraine vows to 'calm' fighting

Ukraine vows to 'calm' fighting

25 Jan

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to "calm" fighting with pro-Russia rebels in east Ukraine after 30 people were killed there on Saturday. Speaking after an emergency meeting of Ukraine's security council, Mr Poroshenko said that a peace deal signed in September in Minsk was the only solution to the conflict. Russia's foreign minister also urged "comprehensive political dialogue". Both sides blame each other for the continuing fighting. More than 5,000 people have been killed in fighting since the rebels seized a large swathe of Donetsk and Luhansk regions last April, UN officials say. More than a million people have been displaced. Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of arming the rebels and sending its troops into Ukrainian territory. Russia has denied directly arming the separatists, and blames Ukraine for the upsurge in fighting. [277]


Boko Haram assaults Nigerian city

Boko Haram assaults Nigerian city

25 Jan

Nigerian Islamist Boko Haram fighters have attacked the strategically important north-eastern city of Maiduguri, with dozens reported dead. Earlier on Sunday they captured the north-eastern town of Monguno. US Secretary of State John Kerry meanwhile has arrived in Nigeria to call for peaceful elections next month which need to set "a new standard". The vote looks set to be the closest since the end of military rule 15 years ago. [278]


Venezuelans protest over shortages

Venezuelans protest over shortages

25 Jan

Thousands of Venezuelans have attended an opposition march in Caracas, blaming government policies for the country's worsening economic crisis. Saturday's march was the first attempt by the opposition in months to revive the protest movement that rocked the country last year. Many banged empty pots, in reference to the shortage of many staple foods. Riot police blocked the demonstrators' access to the city centre, but there were no major clashes. Opposition politician Maria Corina Machado said Mr Maduro "must step aside now, so the Venezuelan people can stand united again". Demonstrators voiced discontent at high inflation, crime and shortages. [279]


Yemen President and PM resign as rebels tighten hold

Yemen President and PM resign as rebels tighten hold

22 Jan

The president of Yemen has resigned along with his prime minister as Shia Houthi rebels tighten their grip on the capital Sanaa. President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah tendered their resignations to parliament which reportedly refused to accept them. The move came despite a deal to make political concessions to the rebels. Rebel figures welcomed the news with one reportedly proposing the creation of a ruling presidential council. [280]


Japan PM vows to save hostages

Japan PM vows to save hostages

21 Jan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned an apparent threat by the Islamic State group to kill two Japanese hostages. A video purportedly from the group shows a militant threatening to kill two hostages unless a ransom is paid. In the video, which has not been independently verified, the militant also criticises Japan for pledging aid to countries fighting IS. [281]


Nepal violence over new constitution

Nepal violence over new constitution

20 Jan

Scuffles broke out in Nepal's parliament and police arrested protesters in the capital as tensions rose before a deadline to draft a new national constitution. Opposition lawmakers threw chairs and microphones and attacked the parliamentary Speaker early on Tuesday. The Maoist opposition accuse the ruling coalition of trying to push through their proposals without consensus. Nepal's leaders have set 22 January as a deadline for the draft constitution. The country's political parties have been trying to reach agreement on a new constitution since the former kingdom's first Constituent Assembly was elected in 2008. Deadlines have repeatedly been missed. The 2008 elections followed a peace deal with Maoist rebels who had fought a decade-long civil war in which more than 12,000 people died. [282]


Deadly Congo clashes over Kabila

Deadly Congo clashes over Kabila

20 Jan

SAt least four people have been killed in protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down next year. The protests continued on Tuesday in the capital, Kinshasa, and internet connections were blocked following Monday's clashes between opposition supporters and security forces. Demonstrators say government plans for a census are a ploy to delay elections. Mr Kabila is constitutionally barred from running for a third term. The government admits next year's elections could be delayed, but says the census is vital to ensure free and fair elections. [283]


Argentine death sparks protests

Argentine death sparks protests

20 Jan

Thousands of Argentines took to the streets in protest on Monday following the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Mr Nisman was found shot dead in his apartment in Buenos Aires on Sunday. He had been investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died. [284]


Ukraine battles rage in Donetsk and Lugansk

Ukraine battles rage in Donetsk and Lugansk

19 Jan

Dozens of people have been killed or wounded as fighting escalates along the front line in eastern Ukraine and the battle for Donetsk airport continues. Artillery fire was reported in several areas of the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions and a hospital in Donetsk city was hit, reports said.[285]


Niger protesters set churches on fire

Niger protesters set churches on fire

18 Jan

At least three people have been killed and six churches attacked in Niger amid fresh protests against French magazine Charlie Hebdo's cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Protests began outside Niamey's grand mosque and reportedly spread to other parts of the country, a day after five were killed in Niger's second city. Niger's president condemned the violence and appealed for calm. Last week, Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo's offices. The cover of the magazine's latest edition, published after the attack, featured a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad weeping while holding a sign saying "I am Charlie".[286]


Channel Tunnel trains resume with delays

Channel Tunnel trains resume with delays

18 Jan

Passengers using the Channel Tunnel are still experiencing delays after it reopened following a lorry fire. Services resumed on Sunday morning but passengers have reported being held at the tunnels in both UK and France. Eurostar trains started moving through the tunnel again about 11:30 GMT, but at a reduced speed and only one of the two tunnels is open. At least 12,000 passengers were affected when the tunnel was closed for most of Saturday. Eurostar said passengers should expect delays of up to two hours from when they board. Eurotunnel, which operates car and lorry services, said there was a three-hour wait to board shuttles, and the tunnel affected by the fire would remain closed throughout Sunday. [287]


Armenia clashes over Russian soldier

Armenia clashes over Russian soldier

18 Jan

At least 12 people have been wounded in clashes in Armenia between police and protesters demanding the handover of a Russian soldier accused of killing six members of a local family. The violence erupted when thousands of protesters in Gyumri tried to march on the Russian consulate in Armenia's second-largest city. Valery Permyakov, a soldier at a Russian base in Armenia, is suspected of killing the family on Monday. He is being held at the Russian base. Russia has promised to investigate the shootings, but has so far refused to hand the soldier over to Armenian authorities. [288]


Malawi floods kill 170 and leave thousands homeless

Malawi floods kill 170 and leave thousands homeless

16 Jan

The authorities in Malawi say at least 170 people have died in flash floods - a sharp rise on previous figures. Heavy rain over the past month has swept many houses away and caused residents to flee to higher ground, some crossing the border to Mozambique. Vice-President Saulos Chilima said more than 100,000 people had been displaced from their homes, mostly in the south. [289]


Belgian anti-terror raid in Verviers leaves two dead

Belgian anti-terror raid in Verviers leaves two dead

15 Jan

Two people have been killed in an anti-terror operation in eastern Belgium, local officials say. A third person was wounded during the raid in the town of Verviers, according to Belgian TV. A source in the mayor's office told AFP news agency that "an operation is under way". Another official said the raid was "jihadist-related". Witnesses reported hearing heavy gunfire for several minutes and at least three explosions. [290]


New US-Cuba travel and trade rules start on Friday

New US-Cuba travel and trade rules start on Friday

15 Jan

New travel and trade rules between the US and Cuba are to take effect on Friday, US officials say. Measures include allowing US citizens to use credit cards in Cuba and for US businesses to export some technologies. Americans will be able to take home up to $100 (£66) in alcohol and tobacco from Cuba. Correspondents say it means the US ban on Cuban cigars is over. [291]


Double sieges in France come to an end

Double sieges in France come to an end

9 Jan

French police have stormed two hostage sites in the Paris area, killing three hostage takers. Two brothers suspected in the Charlie Hebdo magazine shootings died in an assault at a warehouse where they had been holding a hostage north of Paris. In the second incident, anti-terror forces stormed a supermarket in eastern Paris where several hostages were being held by a gunman. Four hostages there were killed prior to the police assault, reports say. [292]


Charles De Gaulle Airport Flights Diverted

Charles De Gaulle Airport Flights Diverted

9 Jan

France’s largest airport is operating a reduced service amid a nearby ongoing siege involving the Charlie Hebdo shooting suspects. Up to two of the four runways at Charles de Gaulle Airport are affected, and at least two planes have been diverted from landing there. [293]


Charlie Hebdo suspects rob service station

Charlie Hebdo suspects rob service station

8 Jan

The two main suspects in the Islamist attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris are said to have robbed a service station in the north of France. Anti-terrorism police have converged on an area near Villers-Cotterêts where the gunmen were reported by French media to have stolen food and petrol. [294]


France: Gun attack on magazine kills 12

France: Gun attack on magazine kills 12

7 Jan

Gunmen have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in an apparent militant Islamist attack. Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor, were among those killed, as well as two police officers. A major police operation is under way to find three gunmen who fled by car. [295]


Australia races to control bushfires

Australia races to control bushfires

5 Jan

More than 30 homes are already feared destroyed in the hills behind the city of Adelaide. More than 500 firefighters are tackling the fires, which have been burning since Friday. Officials say the blaze is the worst in the area since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983, which left 75 dead. Temperatures are forecast to hit 34C in Adelaide on Monday before rising to as high as 38C on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. [296]


Malian town attacked by militants

Malian town attacked by militants

5 Jan

Islamist insurgents have attacked the Malian town of Nampala near the Mauritanian border, killing at least five people in a dawn raid. Witnesses said the militants opened fire on soldiers after arriving in pick-up trucks. Other reports said they came on motorbikes and on foot. One report said Malian soldiers fled the attack; another said troops fought back and clashes lasted several hours. The militants have been fighting the Malian army for a number of years. [297]


Deadly suicide bomb rocks Mogadishu

Deadly suicide bomb rocks Mogadishu

5 Jan

A suicide car bomb attack by Islamist group al-Shabab has killed four people in the Somali capital Mogadishu, officials say. Witnesses said the blast was close to the international airport, where African Union troops, UN staff and several Western embassies are based. Plumes of black smoke were seen in the area and the sound of gunfire was heard shortly after the explosion. Security has improved but al-Shabab still attacks Mogadishu regularly. [298]


Italy coastguards board abandoned migrant ship Ezadeen

Italy coastguards board abandoned migrant ship Ezadeen

2 Jan

. Italian authorities have taken control of a ship with 450 migrants, thought to be Syrian, that was abandoned by its crew off Italy's coast. The Italian coastguard said it was now being towed to an Italian port after a rescue team managed to board. The Ezadeen, sailing under the flag of Sierra Leone, lost power in rough seas overnight off the south-east of Italy. [299]


Cuba arrests protesting activists

Cuba arrests protesting activists

2 Jan

Cuban dissidents say police have arrested a group of political activists who had been protesting outside a jail in the capital, Havana. Dozens of dissidents have been taken into custody in Cuba since Tuesday. The police operation began just a few hours before a planned open microphone protest at Havana's Revolution Square. It comes two weeks after Cuba and the United States announced they had agreed to restore diplomatic and economic relations, severed in the early 1960s. [300]


Kashmir clashes kill five troops

Kashmir clashes kill five troops

2 Jan

Indian forces in Kashmir have killed four Pakistani troops on the border ending a year in which hostilities between the neighbours have escalated. Firing took place on the international border between Samba sector and Pakistan after an Indian soldier was killed in an attack blamed on Pakistan. A ceasefire agreed in 2003 remains in place, but it is often violated. [301]



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