Help Wikitravel grow by contributing to an article! Learn how.
New users, please see Help or go to the Pub to ask questions.

Travel news

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search

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

December

School attack in Peshawar, Pakistan leaves 141 dead

School attack in Peshawar, Pakistan leaves 141 dead

16 Dec

Militants from the Pakistani Taliban have attacked a school in Peshawar, killing 141 people, 132 of them children, the military say. Pakistani officials say the attack is now over, with all of the attackers killed. A total of seven militants took part, according to the army. Scores of survivors are being treated in hospitals as frantic parents search for news of their children. The attack is the deadliest ever by the Taliban in Pakistan. [1]


Strikes bring Belgium to standstill

Strikes bring Belgium to standstill

15 Dec

A nationwide strike in Belgium has brought air, rail and road transport to a standstill and forced many businesses to close. Hundreds of flights to and from Belgium have been cancelled, as well as Eurostar services to Brussels. The widespread industrial action is the latest in a series of strikes protesting against the new centre-right coalition's austerity policies. The 24-hour strike is the largest to have taken place in Belgium for many years. It has forced government offices and schools to close, and the country's ports have been blockaded. [2]


Sydney siege puts CBD in lockdown

Sydney siege puts CBD in lockdown

15 Dec

Up to a dozen hostages are being held inside the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Sydney's Martin Place where an Islamic flag is pressed up against one of its windows. Parts of the CBD have been placed in lockdown and Prime Minister Tony Abbott has met with the national security committee of cabinet since the siege began just before 10am on Monday. [3]


Turkey raids target media critics

Turkey raids target media critics

14 Dec

Turkish police have made at least 23 arrests during raids on a newspaper and TV station with close ties to US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. Those detained are accused of forming an illegal organisation and trying to seize control of the state. Among those arrested are journalists, producers, scriptwriters and a police chief in eastern Turkey. [4]


Death toll spikes in DRC boat tragedy

Death toll spikes in DRC boat tragedy

14 Dec

At least 129 people have drowned after a boat capsized on Thursday night on Lake Tanganyika in the southeast of Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a new official death toll, the AFP news agency said. "Rescue workers recovered a total of 129 bodies," an official told AFP. The vessel, which was travelling north from Kalemie in Katanga province to Uvira in South Kivu province, sank in the early hours of Friday, survivors speaking by telephone from Katanga's capital Lubumbashi said. Deadly shipwrecks are frequent on the lakes and rivers of DRC, where boats are often overloaded, life jackets frequently missing and many people cannot swim. Lake Tanganyika is the longest freshwater lake in the world and also borders Tanzania, as well as Burundi and Zambia. [5]


Chechnya human rights office burnt

Chechnya human rights office burnt

14 Dec

Attackers have set alight the office of one of the few human rights groups active in Chechnya after it criticised the Russian republic's president. They attacked the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) office in the Chechen capital, Grozny, on Saturday evening. Nobody was hurt but there are concerns over the safety of two activists. A demonstration was held on Saturday in Grozny against the human rights group, after which armed men tried unsuccessfully to enter its office before setting it on fire. [6]


Afghanistan hit by day of violence

Afghanistan hit by day of violence

13 Dec

At least 20 people - including 12 members of a landmine-clearing team - have been killed in a series of attacks blamed on the Taliban. President Ashraf Ghani said the attack on the de-miners in Helmand province was the work of Afghanistan's enemies. Separately, a suicide bomber targeted a bus in the capital, Kabul, killing seven soldiers. Elsewhere in the city, a top court official was shot dead. The Taliban has intensified attacks as foreign troops prepare to withdraw. [7]


Flights disrupted after computer failure at UK control centre

Flights disrupted after computer failure at UK control centre

12 Dec

Passengers are facing widespread flight disruption after a computer failure at the UK's air traffic control centre. Nats said it was in the process of returning to normal operations after a "technical problem" at its Swanwick control centre caused delays and grounded some flights. Problems were reported around the UK.[8]


'Weather bomb' brings disruption to northern UK

'Weather bomb' brings disruption to northern UK

10 Dec

High winds and huge waves are affecting north-western parts of the UK as bad weather hits power supplies and travel. The "weather bomb" has brought hundreds of lightning strikes, temporarily cutting power across the Western Isles, affecting 17,000 homes. The Met Office has warned parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland to "be prepared" as the rapidly developing storm threatens gusts of up to 80mph. Wind speeds are expected to peak on Wednesday afternoon and early evening. [9]


Palestinian minister dies at protest

Palestinian minister dies at protest

10 Dec

A Palestinian minister has died after a confrontation with Israeli troops at a protest in the West Bank. Palestinian medics told the BBC that Ziad Abu Ein died from complications related to tear gas exposure. But several witnesses said the minister had been hit and shoved by soldiers. One said he had been hit in the chest by a tear-gas canister fired by them. Israel's Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon expressed regret for the minister's death in a statement. [10]


Suicide attacks near Nigeria market

Suicide attacks near Nigeria market

10 Dec

At least four people have been killed and seven injured in a double attack by female suicide bombers near a market in Kano, northern Nigeria, police say. One blast hit a vehicle loading area at the Kantin Kwari textile market. Boko Haram militants are suspected of being behind the attacks. Last month more than 100 people died in a gun and bomb attack during prayers at one of the biggest mosques in Kano. Some 2,000 have died in attacks blamed on the Islamists so far this year. [11]


Bangladesh oil spill at dolphin site

Bangladesh oil spill at dolphin site

10 Dec

The Bangladeshi navy has sent four ships to deal with an oil spill from a crashed tanker that is threatening a rare dolphin sanctuary. The tanker, believed to be carrying 350,000 litres (75,000 gallons) of oil, and another vessel collided in the Sundarbans region. Forestry officials said the spill happened in a sanctuary for dolphins including the rare Irrawaddy species. The government has lodged a legal case against the owners of the two vessels. [12]


Strikes in Belgium disrupt transport

Strikes in Belgium disrupt transport

8 Dec

Transport services in Belgium have been severely disrupted by strikes protesting against government austerity measures. Monday's action halted all underground trains, buses and trams in Brussels. High-speed trains to France, the Netherlands, and Germany were suspended, along with Eurostar services to London. [13]


Australia bushfires Victoria warned to prepare

Australia bushfires Victoria warned to prepare

8 Dec

New report says Victoria's bushfire season outlook has been upgraded from "above normal" to "major". The cost of bushfires in the state in 2014 is projected to be more than A$172m ($142m; £91m). The report by climate change research group the Climate Council (CC) comes as the state government launches a major bushfire advertising campaign. [14]


Powerful Typhoon Hagupit nears Philippines

Powerful Typhoon Hagupit nears Philippines

5 Dec

Hagupit, known locally as Ruby, has gusts of up to 230km/h (143mph) and is due to hit land on Saturday evening.It is on course for the Eastern and Northern Samar provinces and the city of Tacloban, where thousands were killed by Typhoon Haiyan a year ago. Local residents, many of them still living in temporary shelters, are moving away from coastal areas. [15]


Car bomb attacks kill 35 in Iraq

Car bomb attacks kill 35 in Iraq

4 Dec

At least 35 people have been killed in a series of car bomb attacks in the Iraqi capital Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk. In Kirkuk, at least 16 people died in a blast outside a cafe on a busy street in a Kurdish neighbourhood. There was also a spate of bombings targeting restaurants and markets in Shia areas of Baghdad. Baghdad has seen frequent attacks but there have been fewer in Kirkuk, which is in the hands of Kurdish peshmerga. No-one has yet said they carried out the attacks, but many in the past have been carried out by extremist Sunni Islamic State militants. The group seized control of vast swathes of western and northern Iraq over the summer and has been battling Shia and Kurdish forces. [16]


Mexico boosts security in Acapulco

Mexico boosts security in Acapulco

4 Dec

Federal security forces have been sent to dozens of towns in the Mexican states of Guerrero, Mexico, Michoacan and Morelos. Federal police and troops will replace municipal forces in the resort of Acapulco and more than 30 other towns. The deployment comes a week after President Enrique Pena Nieto unveiled a plan to reform the police. The reform is aimed at tackling mistrust in the authorities following the disappearance of 43 students. The disappearance of the 43 has trigged protests across the country by Mexicans angry at the government's handling of the case. National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido said the goal of the deployment was "to restore security conditions and re-establish the rule of law and peace in all the towns of this region". He said that he hoped that, with the Christmas holidays approaching, visitors would "have the certainty that they will have the necessary guarantees to enjoy their time off" in the popular Pacific resort of Acapulco. Two weeks ago, the US embassy in Mexico cautioned its citizens to "defer non-essential travel to Acapulco, by air or land". [17]


Rebel attack rocks Chechen capital

Rebel attack rocks Chechen capital

4 Dec

Rebel gunmen have shot their way into the heavily fortified Chechen capital, Grozny, in a night-time attack which left as many as 16 people dead. Arriving at 01:00 (22:00 GMT Wednesday) in cars, they fired on a traffic police checkpoint before attacking a media building and a school. An Islamist group said it had launched a suicide attack to avenge attacks by security forces on Muslim women. Chechnya's Moscow-backed president said the situation was under control. Ramzan Kadyrov said none of the attackers had escaped. The controversial Chechen strongman has suppressed rebel activity in Chechnya since Russia ousted the separatist government there at the beginning of the century. [18]


Typhoon Hagupit nears Philippines

Typhoon Hagupit nears Philippines

4 Dec

People in the Philippines are braced for the arrival of Typhoon Hagupit, expected to hit land on Saturday. Hagupit, which is building strength over the Pacific, is slowly bearing down on the region devastated by Typhoon Haiyan a year ago. Hagupit has gusts of up to 170km/h (105mph) and is expected to be a category 4 storm by Saturday. Thousands of people, many still living in temporary shelters, have been told to go to evacuation centres. Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda, was the most powerful typhoon ever recorded over land. It tore though the central Philippines in November 2013, leaving more than 7,000 dead or missing. [19]


Israeli desert hit by major oil spill

Israeli desert hit by major oil spill

4 Dec

Millions of litres of crude oil have caused severe damage after spilling from a pipeline in what is described as one of the worst environmental accidents in Israel's history. The spill reached the Evrona nature reserve north of the southern port city of Eilat, close to the Jordan border. Israeli and Jordanian media report that 80 people near Aqaba have been taken to hospital with breathing difficulties. Israeli officials say rehabilitation of the area could take months, even years. The pipeline was breached during maintenance at a spot some 20km from Eilat on Wednesday evening. [20]


New battle rages at Donetsk airport

New battle rages at Donetsk airport

1 Dec

Ukraine says its troops are still holding Donetsk airport despite an intensive assault by pro-Russian rebels "backed by Russian special forces". Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said "heavy fighting" was raging at the airport's old terminal. He denied an earlier report that the terminal had been blown up. Ukrainian reports say the separatists began a fresh assault on Saturday. The airport, just outside the city, has been battered by shelling for months. "It makes no sense to blow up the [old] terminal - it is one of the defensive structures for our troops," Mr Lysenko said. There has been no confirmation of the fighting from the rebel side. [21]


Two Nigerian cities under attack

Two Nigerian cities under attack

1 Dec

Suspected Boko Haram militants have struck in two state capitals in north-east Nigeria, with suicide attacks by female bombers in Maiduguri and a raid on a police base in Damaturu. At least five people were killed in the twin blasts at a crowded market in Maiduguri, police said. In Damaturu, explosions and gunfire were heard as militants rampaged through the city, residents said. Boko Haram has vowed to create an Islamic state in areas it controls. [22]


Hong Kong protesters told not to return

Hong Kong protesters told not to return

1 Dec

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung has warned pro-democracy activists not to return to the streets following the latest outbreak of violence. His comments come after some of the worst clashes between protesters and police since the pro-democracy demonstrations began two months ago. Police armed with pepper spray, batons and water hoses cleared activists from Lung Wo Road in the Admiralty district. Government offices were briefly shut on Monday. [23]


November

Morocco flash flood drownings in south

Morocco flash flood drownings in south

24 Nov

Flooding in southern Morocco has killed 32 people and six others are missing after the heavy rains. Around 100 mud-brick homes were partly or totally destroyed and 100 roads, including six national highways, were cut off in the floods, officials said. [24]


Madagascar plague outbreak kills 40

Madagascar plague outbreak kills 40

22 Nov

An outbreak of plague in Madagascar has killed 40 people and infected almost 80 others, the World Health Organization has said. The WHO warned of the danger of a "rapid spread" of the disease in the capital, Antananarivo. The situation is worsened by high levels of resistance among fleas to a leading insecticide, the WHO added. Humans usually develop the bubonic form of the plague after being bitten by an infected flea carried by rodents. If diagnosed early, bubonic plague can be treated with antibiotics. [25]


Buffalo faces flooding

Buffalo faces flooding

22 Nov

Residents of western New York may soon have to worry about the water in their basements as well as the snow on their roofs. After a three-day onslaught that dumped a historic 7 feet of snow on the Buffalo area and killed at least 12 people, the sun came out Friday, but so did predictions of flooding caused by rain, temperatures up to 60 degrees and blocked catch basins. "We are preparing now for more flooding than we've seen in a long, long time," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. "We still have that challenge to look forward to." Cuomo said the state was sending in pumps, boats, helicopters and high-axle vehicles that can operate in 4 to 5 feet of water. [26]


'Historic' snowstorm hits US north

'Historic' snowstorm hits US north

20 Nov

A fierce storm is bringing more snow to parts of the US north-east, with officials warning residents to be prepared for 3ft (1m) of new snow. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called it a "historic event", while a local official dubbed the storm "gigantic". Some places, including the city of Buffalo, are already underneath 5ft of snow, and eight people have died in New York state. Weather-related deaths were also reported in New Hampshire and Michigan. Freezing temperatures have continued in many parts of the US, with heavy disruption to travel. The new storm blast spread across New York early on Thursday, bringing thunder, lightning and the spectre of several more feet of snow. "It's a force of nature, a massive force of nature, Deputy Erie County Commissioner Richard Tobe told reporters. "We're prepared, but the storm is gigantic and persistent." [27]


Tear gas fired in Nigeria parliament

Tear gas fired in Nigeria parliament

20 Nov

Nigerian security forces have fired tear gas inside parliament, just before a crucial debate on security in the conflict-ridden north-east. Reports say the police were trying to stop House of Representatives speaker Aminu Tambuwal from entering. [28]


Mudslides hit Switzerland and Italy

Mudslides hit Switzerland and Italy

17 Nov

At least four people have been killed in landslides in southern Switzerland and northern Italy following days of torrential rain. Two women died when a wall of mud destroyed a house near the Swiss town of Lugano. Over the border, a pensioner and his granddaughter were killed when a mudslide engulfed their home. The heavy rain is expected to continue across the region, and both countries have issued major flood alerts. The levels of lakes Lugano and Maggiore are already dangerously high. [29]


Deadly car bomb hits Somali capital

Deadly car bomb hits Somali capital

16 Nov

A car bomb has exploded in the Somali capital Mogadishu, killing one person and injuring one other. Al-Shabab told Al Jazeera they had claimed responsibility for the attack, which they said targeted Mukhtar Dheere, an immigration official at Mogadishu's international airport who they said had died. "We believe that the bomb was attached to the car," police officer Ahmed Siyad told the AFP news agency on Sunday. The blast on Maka al Mukarama, one of the seaside capital's busiest central roads, set the car on fire. The road leads to the city's government district. The identity of the person injured is still unknown. [30]


Several killed in series of blasts in Baghdad

Several killed in series of blasts in Baghdad

16 Nov

At least five people have been killed and 20 wounded in a series of blasts in and around the capital Baghdad, police officials have said. The first attack happened on Sunday near a police station in the suburb of Radwaniya, southwest of the city. Police also reported a roadside bombing on a commercial street in the Hay Jami'a neighbourhood, which killed three people and wounded nine. Near Baghdad International Airport, officers say a car bomb tore through a car park at one of the checkpoints leading to the airport, wounding five people and causing extensive damage to vehicles. In another incident near the airport, a suicide car bomb attack targeted a UN convoy, causing no injuries among UN staff, a UN statement and security officials said. [31]


HK protesters denied Beijing flight

HK protesters denied Beijing flight

16 Nov

Three pro-democracy student leaders from Hong Kong have been stopped from boarding a plane to Beijing. They had hoped to meet China's leaders as part of their push for greater democracy, but were told at the airport that their travel permits were invalid. Protesters have been camped out on the streets of the territory since late September. They want Beijing to allow more candidates to stand in the territory's next leadership election in 2017. The group were greeted at the airport by fellow democracy activists, who unfurled yellow umbrellas - a symbol of Hong Kong's democracy movement. [32]


Indonesia tsunami alert lifted

Indonesia tsunami alert lifted

16 Nov

Brief tsunami warnings have been lifted after a 7.3-magnitude earthquake under the Molucca Sea in eastern Indonesia. The earthquake struck at a depth of 46km (28 miles) northwest of Kota Ternate in the Maluku islands, according to the US Geological Survey. A 9cm (3.5 inch) wave reached the island of Jailolo but caused no damage, according to Indonesia's meteorological agency. There were no immediate reports of casualties. Shortly after the first quake, another measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale was monitored off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the US Geological Survey said. Indonesia lies on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" plate boundaries, and is prone to frequent earthquakes. [33]


Protesters clash at Dutch event

Protesters clash at Dutch event

16 Nov

Police arrested 90 people as protesters for and against the controversial "Black Pete" clashed at a traditional Dutch festival for children which critics say is racist, but that many locals defend as harmless fun in the run-up to Christmas. The event which started on Saturday in the central city of Gouda re-enacts the arrival of Saint Nicholas, bringing presents for children and helped by his sidekick Black Pete, who is invariably played by a white person with a blackened face. "Sixty people were arrested for demonstrating in unauthorised areas, and 30 for disturbing the peace," during the procession attended by thousands and broadcast live on national television, police spokeswoman Yvette Verboon told the AFP news agency. "Arrests were made on both sides," Verboon said amid an increasingly acrimonious and racially-charged debate in the Netherlands. State broadcaster NOS showed images of minor scuffles breaking out on the main square, where Saint Nicholas appeared on a balcony, with protesters unfurling a large banner reading "Black Pete Racism". [34]


Moscow covered by sulphurous fog

Moscow covered by sulphurous fog

10 Nov

A massive cloud smelling like 'hell' sparked a widespread panic in Moscow. Residents were afraid of a toxic gas after warnings to stay indoors. The source of the rotten eggs smell turned out to be a leak from a sulfur dioxide processing facility at an oil refinery in Moscow, the Emergencies Ministry confirmed. The city’s ecology watchdog and the Emergencies Ministry said that the level of hydrogen sulfide was over the permitted level for a short period of time, while the levels of sulfur dioxide remained within the norm. The two gases are byproducts of oil processing. The smell created a wave of panic on local social media. [35]


Nigeria school blast kills dozens

Nigeria school blast kills dozens

10 Nov

At least 46 students have been killed by a suicide bomber at a school assembly in the north-eastern Nigerian town of Potiskum, police have said. A suicide bomber dressed as a student is believed to have caused the blast at the boys' school in Yobe state . Police suggested the militant group Boko Haram carried out the attack. Yobe state's governor has shut all public schools around Potiskum and criticised the government for not tackling the group. In a statement governor Ibrahim Gaidam said: "Urgent action must be taken right now to restore a fast-waning public confidence by doing whatever it takes to stop the escalating violence." Boko Haram has targeted schools during a deadly five-year insurgency aimed at establishing an Islamic state. [36]


South Sudan clashes despite truce

South Sudan clashes despite truce

10 Nov

Government and rebel forces have clashed in three states in South Sudan, just days after their leaders agreed to unconditionally end fighting. A rebel spokesman blamed the government for attacking their positions, including oil fields. But the army accused the rebels of restarting the conflict, saying their attacks were repelled. On Friday, regional body Igad gave the two sides a 15-day deadline to end conflict or risk sanctions. The fighting has displaced some 1.5 million people and more than seven million are at risk of hunger and disease, the United Nations (UN) says. [37]


Germany hit by 'longest rail strike'

Germany hit by 'longest rail strike'

6 Nov

A four-day rail strike, billed as the longest in German history, has hit passenger trains and threatens to disrupt celebrations marking the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall. The stoppage by the 20,000-member GDL union hit intercity and regional services alike on Thursday and is due to last until early on Monday. As commuters struggled to work, on the roads and on restricted rail services, there was widespread concern that the strike would hit up to two million people travelling to Berlin for the 25th anniversary celebrations of the fall of the wall. Events are being held throughout the weekend, with concerts, a street festival at the Brandenburg Gate, and guests of honour such as former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. Deutsche Bahn, facing the longest strike in its 20-year history, complained of "massive disturbances" for travellers. The company's request for an injunction will be heard by a court in Frankfurt later. [38]


Brussels protest ends in clashes

Brussels protest ends in clashes

6 Nov

Belgian police have used tear gas and water cannon against violent anti-austerity protesters in central Brussels after a largely peaceful march by about 100,000 workers. Several vehicles were set ablaze by protesters at the end of the march. They also hurled cobblestones and smoke flares at police in the capital. Belgium's new government plans to raise the pension age, freeze wages and make public service cuts to meet EU targets. Trade unions plan a series of strikes. Thursday's march was one of Belgium's biggest labour demonstrations since World War Two. In the ensuing violence at least 14 people were injured, the Associated Press news agency reported. [39]


HK protesters scuffle with police

HK protesters scuffle with police

6 Nov

Protesters in Hong Kong have scuffled with police in the first increase in tensions for more than a fortnight. The clashes took place in the Mong Kong area after dozens of people wearing Guy Fawkes masks staged a march. Activists are angry about a decision by China to screen candidates for Hong Kong's 2017 leadership election. A top Hong Kong adviser has suggested that student activists, who have called for direct dialogue with Beijing, be given a say in the screening process. The latest bout of clashes with police which happened after midnight on Thursday. Protesters gathered on a pavement near the Mong Kok protest site and scuffled with officers trying to push them back. At least three people were arrested, said local media. [40]


Nigeria reveals wave of jailbreaks

Nigeria reveals wave of jailbreaks

6 Nov

More than 2,000 prisoners have escaped over the past five years in Nigeria, officials say, mainly as a result of attacks on jails by the Islamist militant Boko Haram group. They say that dozens of prison staff have been killed during the raids. Last month hundreds of prisoners escaped when jihadists overran Mubi town. This week they blew a hole in a jail in Kogi State to free dozens more. Almost 500 prisoners escaped in the city of Maiduguri in 2009. A total of 2,251 prisoners have got away and most of them are still at large, officials say. [41]


Burkina Faso travel alert

Burkina Faso travel alert

1 Nov

Foreign governments alert citizens of the risks of travel to or residing in Burkina Faso and recommend defer all non-essential travel. On 31 October, Burkina Faso’s President Compaore resigned. The status of a transitional government remains unclear. There are incidents of looting throughout the capital city of Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, and other parts of Burkina Faso. The situation is dynamic and closures or openings of border and airports are likely to change and remain unpredictable for some time. Currently, land and air borders have been closed. [42], [43]


Fierce clashes at Benghazi port

Fierce clashes at Benghazi port

1 Nov

Fierce fighting has erupted in the Libyan city of Benghazi, as the army attempts to retake the area from Islamist militias. Smoke could be seen rising from Benghazi's port, where a ship was hit. The army had asked residents in the central al-Sabri district to evacuate the area by noon on Monday (10:00 GMT) ahead of a major military operation. More than 200 people have been killed in Benghazi since the army began its offensive last month. Libya has been in a state of flux since Colonel Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011. [44]


Maine Snowstorm

Maine Snowstorm

1 Nov

Thousands of people in Maine woke up to a dark Monday morning after an icy blast knocked out power and buried parts of the state in almost two feet (600mm) of snow seven weeks ahead of winter. More than 130,000 homes and businesses were left without electricity as of Sunday night and Maine Governor Paul LePage declared a state of emergency. Although Monday was expected to bring warmer weather across the East, snow was still set to fall until lunchtime in parts of northeast Maine. As much as 21 inches (530mm) fell in Cary, near the border with Canada, and double-digit totals peppered the Maine map. [45]


October

Emergency rule in Burkina Faso

Emergency rule in Burkina Faso

30 Oct

Burkina Faso's military has announced emergency measures - including the formation of a transitional government - after a day of violent protests. Demonstrators angered by President Blaise Compaore's bid to extend his 27-year rule earlier set fire to parliament and government buildings. Protesters in the capital, Ouagadougou, are calling for him to resign. The emergency moves announced by army chief Gen Honore Traore did not say who would lead the interim administration. At a press conference, he declared the imposition of an overnight curfew, as well as the dissolution of parliament. Similar protests hit the south-western city of Bobo Dioulasso, and other towns in the poor West African state. [46]


Clashes in Jerusalem

Clashes in Jerusalem

30 Oct

Clashes have erupted between Israeli security forces and Palestinian youths in occupied East Jerusalem a day after a gunman on a motorcycle shot and seriously wounded a far-right rabbi. Israel temporarily shutdown the Al-Aqsa mosque following the shooting of Yehuda Glick, which police called an attempted assassination. The mosque will be open for Friday prayers but police will only allow access to Muslim men over the age of 50, with no restrictions for women. The earlier closure prompted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to declare the move as tantamount to a "declaration of war". [47]


Plane crush near Wichita airport

Plane crush near Wichita airport

30 Oct

Four people died after a small plane crashed into a building near Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport in southern Kansas, city Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said. No information has yet been released on the identities of those in the plane or in the building. According to one aviation website, the aircraft can carry as many as 13 passengers. Flights were operating normally, though some roads around the airport have been blocked off, the airport said in a tweet. [48]


Heavy rains lash Argentina

Heavy rains lash Argentina

30 Oct

Torrential rains and strong winds in central Argentina have caused severe flooding, damaged homes and forced dozens of people to evacuate. The Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, was also affected, with flight delays and cancellations at its two airports. The National Weather Service has maintained an alert throughout Buenos Aires province. About 100 people were evacuated from the city of Bragado, 200km (124 miles) west of the capital, reports said. The city suffered power cuts and damage to property after roofs collapsed and trees fell. The authorities in the city of Lujan, near the capital, have called on residents to leave their homes because of rising water levels. The violent storm affected several other towns and cities and caused chaos in transport systems, including the metro, commuter trains and buses in Buenos Aires. [49]


Lebanon army steps up Tripoli battle

Lebanon army steps up Tripoli battle

26 Oct

The Lebanese army has launched a fierce assault against Sunni militants in Tripoli, forcing a retreat from the Old City on a third day of fighting. The battle has now shifted to a Sunni neighborhood, where the army is using tanks and armored vehicles. At least five soldiers and two civilians have died in the fighting. The militants, thought to be linked to Islamic State and al-Qaeda, threatened to kill soldiers they have captured unless the army halts its operations. There have been several bouts of fighting in Tripoli since war broke out in Syria, but this was the first time the militants had occupied the Old City, its historic heart. [50]


HK protesters cancel vote plan

HK protesters cancel vote plan

26 Oct

Protesters in Hong Kong have abandoned plans to hold a ballot over whether to accept several government concessions. Protest leaders said they decided to "adjourn" the vote after disagreements over its format and apologised for a "lack of discussion" with protesters. The vote was to be held electronically and was cancelled just four hours before it was meant to start. Tens of thousands of protesters have joined a sit-in calling for full democracy in Hong Kong since September. [51]


Protesters scuffle at N Korea border

Protesters scuffle at N Korea border

26 Oct

Scuffles have broken out near the tense North Korean border between South Korean residents and activists launching balloons into the North. Tens of thousands of leaflets carrying messages critical of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un were released near the South Korean town of Gimpo. Some local residents tried to stop the activists, throwing eggs and yelling "don't put our lives in danger." Residents fear leafleting could lead to cross-border exchanges of fire. North Korea called the activists "human scum" and said the distribution of the leaflets could cause "all-out war". [52]


NYC Ebola case no public threat

NYC Ebola case no public threat

24 Oct

A Doctors Without Borders physician is the first diagnosed Ebola case in New York City. [53]


Buildings in Ottawa’s downtown core are under lockdown

Buildings in Ottawa’s downtown core are under lockdown

22 Oct

Gunfire erupted at the National War Memorial, then moved to Centre Block and has also been reported at the Chateau Laurier hotel east of Parliament Hill. [54]


Syria air force 'steps up strikes'

Syria air force 'steps up strikes'

22 Oct

The Syrian military has stepped up air strikes on rebel areas dramatically, carrying out more than 200 in recent days, opposition activists say. The intensified strikes come as US-led forces continue to bomb Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and Iraq. US and Arab jets have been attacking IS positions around the northern Syrian town of Kobane, where Kurdish fighters are under siege. [55]


Ukraine faces cluster bomb claim

Ukraine faces cluster bomb claim

22 Oct

A leading human rights group says it has strong evidence Ukraine attacked populated areas of Donetsk with cluster bombs, banned by many other states. Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses the army of using the deadly weapon, which scatters bomblets, to shell the rebel-held city earlier this month. Ukrainian forces denied using "banned weapons" or shelling civilian areas. Violence has continued in eastern Ukraine despite a ceasefire which came into place on 5 September. At least 3,700 people have been killed in the conflict which broke out in April between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatist rebels in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. [56]


Days of deadly rains hit Nicaragua

Days of deadly rains hit Nicaragua

19 Oct

Twenty-two people have died in Nicaragua during several days of heavy rains. Nine of them were killed in the capital Managua when a wall collapsed during a torrential downpour. In other areas of the city, emergency crews evacuated families from areas at risk from mudslides. A government spokeswoman said they would join thousands of people housed in temporary shelters because of downpours since September. The spokeswoman, Rosario Murillo, said the authorities had decided to evacuate all families who were considered to be living in critical areas of the city vulnerable to flooding and mudslides. Over 30,000 people have been affected by the rains in Nicaragua. El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala have also been affected. [57]


Hong Kong protesters strike back

Hong Kong protesters strike back

18 Oct

Pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong have retaken streets in the Mong Kok district, just hours after they were cleared by the authorities. Activists clashed with police, as about 9,000 protesters re-occupied the area. At least 26 people have been arrested. Demonstrators have been occupying parts of the city for weeks, angered at China's curbs on who can stand in the next leadership election in 2017. [58]


Hurricane Gonzalo blacks out Bermuda

Hurricane Gonzalo blacks out Bermuda

18 Oct

Hurricane Gonzalo has roared through Bermuda, cutting power to most of its inhabitants and threatening floods. Emergency services are waiting for daybreak to assess the full damage wreaked by the second powerful storm to strike the island in less than a week. Strong winds and heavy surf continued after the eye of the hurricane moved north into the Atlantic, and tidal surges are still possible. Top wind speeds of about 175km/h (110mph) were reported. Bermuda, an affluent British overseas territory in the western Atlantic, frequently sees strong tropical storms. Just days ago, Tropical Storm Fay damaged homes and knocked down trees and power lines on the island. "To be struck twice by two different cyclones is unusual, to say the least," said Max Mayfield, a former director of the US National Hurricane Center in Miami. One person died in the Dutch territory of St Maarten after Gonzalo passed over the Caribbean. [59]


Air raids and clashes hit Benghazi

Air raids and clashes hit Benghazi

18 Oct

Gunfire and air strikes have been reported in Libya's second city, Benghazi, amid an offensive to drive out Islamist militias. The offensive is said to involve forces loyal to ex-general Khalifa Haftar, who is also reportedly backed by the army. Egypt has denied a report by the Associated Press news agency that its aircraft bombed targets in Benghazi. Libya has been gripped by a power struggle between the militias who drove out Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. The interim government, recognised internationally, has fled to the city of Tobruk because of unrest in the capital, Tripoli. However, militias who control Tripoli and Benghazi have announced the formation of their own government. [60]


Baghdad attacks leave dozens dead

Baghdad attacks leave dozens dead

18 Oct

More than 40 people have been killed and dozens wounded in a series of attacks in mainly Shia areas of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officials say. In the deadliest incident, two car bombs exploded simultaneously in the western district of Dawlai, killing 14. No-one claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they bore the hallmarks of previous operations by Islamic State. The Sunni jihadist group has seized large swathes of Iraq and is only 20km (12 miles) west of Baghdad's airport. [61]


South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season

South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season

10 Oct

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens residing in or travelling to the South Pacific region about the ongoing threat of tropical cyclones affecting the area. While tropical cyclones in the South Pacific may occur throughout the year, the current South Pacific Tropical Cyclone Season begins on November 1, 2014, and ends April 30, 2015. U.S. citizens living in or travelling to the region should monitor local weather reports and take other appropriate action as needed. This Travel Alert expires on April 30, 2015. [62]


Ebola outbreak deaths exceed 4,000

Ebola outbreak deaths exceed 4,000

10 Oct

The number of people killed in the Ebola outbreak has risen above 4,000, the World Health Organization has said. The latest figures show there have been 8,376 cases and 4,024 deaths in the worst-affected West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The news comes as Liberian MPs refused to grant the president additional powers to deal with the Ebola crisis. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has already declared a state of emergency that allows her to impose quarantines. One parliamentarian, Bhofal Chambers, warned that creeping extra powers could turn Liberia into a "police state". [63]


Thousands protest in Hong Kong

Thousands protest in Hong Kong

10 Oct

Thousands of people are demonstrating in Hong Kong's financial district after protest leaders called for a show of strength. It comes after the territory's deputy leader called off talks with student leaders scheduled for Friday. Carrie Lam said the students' refusal to end their protest had made "constructive dialogue" impossible. The protesters, demanding full democratic elections in 2017, paralysed parts of Hong Kong in recent weeks. Throughout the week only a few hundred protesters, mostly students, remained on the streets around the financial and government district of Admiralty and in Mong Kok north of the harbour. But after the talks were cancelled, leaders of the student movement called on supporters to return to the streets. [64]


Heavy smog engulfs parts of China

Heavy smog engulfs parts of China

10 Oct

Parts of northern China have suffered the worst bout of smog since July, pushing pollution well past healthy levels and reducing visibility. Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province have issued an orange alert, the second highest. The elderly and those with heart or lung problems have been advised to stay indoors. China has seen harmful levels of pollution for years caused by the use of coal to generate electricity. [65]


Cyclone Hudhud approaches India

Cyclone Hudhud approaches India

10 Oct

Authorities in India say they are planning evacuations and stocking up on rations as a powerful cyclone heads for the south-eastern coast. Cyclone Hudhud, categorised as "severe" by weather forecasters, is expected to hit Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states on Sunday. The Meteorological Department has predicted the storm will bring winds of up to 140km/h (87mph). A super-cyclone in 1999 killed more than 10,000 people in Orissa. The Meteorological Department said Cyclone Hudhud was due to make landfall on Sunday afternoon, Indian time. The centre of the storm was expected to hit the key port city of Vishakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Authorities have begun planning mass evacuations and stocking shelters with rations. Disaster relief teams are also being sent to the two states which will bear the brunt of the storm. [66]


Yemen suicide bombings kill dozens

Yemen suicide bombings kill dozens

10 Oct

At least 47 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack on supporters of a Shia rebel group in the centre of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, reports say.The blast struck as hundreds of people were arriving in Tahrir Square for a demonstration called by the Houthis. Later, a suicide bomb attack on an army checkpoint in the eastern province of Hadramawt left 20 soldiers dead. The attacks come amid a deepening political crisis triggered by the rebels' takeover of Sanaa last month. The Houthis have rejected the president's candidate to lead the new government which is meant to be formed as part of a deal that brought an end to the deadly fighting between the Houthis and government forces. [67]


Hong Kong protests enter second week

Hong Kong protests enter second week

5 Oct

Fresh scuffles erupted between pro-democracy activists occupying central parts of Hong Kong and riot police, as the protests entered their second week. Thousands of people held a rally overnight, defying the Beijing-backed authorities, although by Sunday morning many of the protesters had gone home. On Saturday Hong Kong's leader warned that police would ensure government offices and schools reopened on Monday. Activists oppose China's plans to vet candidates in 2017 elections. During the overnight rally thousands chanted: "Democracy now! Democracy in Hong Kong!" as speakers from the pro-democracy movement urged them to persist in their campaign, AP news agency reported. [68]


Heavy fighting for Ukraine airport

Heavy fighting for Ukraine airport

5 Oct

There have been more fierce clashes in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists are trying to capture Donetsk airport. Heavy firing could be heard near the airport - strategically important for both sides in the conflict. A government spokesman said the rebels had broken into one of the terminals but were later pushed back. The rebels say they have seized the airport. A truce agreed in eastern Ukraine on 5 September looks increasingly fragile. [69]


September

Thousands join Hong Kong protest

Thousands join Hong Kong protest

30 Sep

Thousands more people have been joining pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, ahead of what organisers hope will be the largest day of protests so far. Tens of thousands of people have been blocking parts of the city for days. They are demanding that China withdraw plans to vet candidates for the next leadership election in 2017. The demonstrators - who include students, supporters of the Occupy Central group and others angered by the police response - said they were confident that they would step up the protests for Wednesday's National Day holiday, which marks the anniversary of the founding of Communist China. [70]


Catalans rally for independence vote

Catalans rally for independence vote

30 Sep

Thousands of Catalans have joined protests against Spain's Constitutional Court after it suspended a proposed regional independence referendum. About 5,000 people took to the streets of the regional capital Barcelona to demand their right to vote on Tuesday. Earlier, the Catalan government said it was halting its publicity campaign for the referendum while it sought to overturn the court's ruling. The vote was suspended after a request from the Spanish central government. [71]


UK relaxes travel advice for Nairobi

UK relaxes travel advice for Nairobi

30 Sep

The UK has relaxed its travel advice for the Kenyan capital Nairobi, removing cautions against travelling to "township or slum areas" of the city. The advice had been in place since 2007 following post-election violence. But concerns over terrorism mean warnings against travel to the city's Eastleigh suburb remain, along with two sections of the coast and areas within 40 miles (60km) of the Somalia border. Relaxing the travel advisory brings Nairobi in line with other cities. The Foreign Office says in other comparable cities worldwide it does not detail particular areas that may or may not be safe to enter. The advice it has relaxed warned against all but essential travel to "low income areas of Nairobi, including all township or slum areas". But it still urges UK citizens to be alert in such areas, particularly after dark and have awareness of local conditions at all times.[72]


Donetsk airport clash violates truce

Donetsk airport clash violates truce

30 Sep

Officials in eastern Ukraine say artillery is pounding the Donetsk airport area, where Ukrainian troops are resisting pro-Russian separatists. The fighting comes despite the 5 September ceasefire agreement, which has been holding in most other areas. Ukrainian media say the rebels fired Grad rockets at Ukrainian positions at the airport. The rebels say they fired back in response to mortar fire. Grad rocket fire was also reported in Popasna, a town in Luhansk region. [73]


Japan volcano eruption intensifies

Japan volcano eruption intensifies

30 Sep

Efforts to recover the bodies of at least 24 climbers have been suspended again after the eruption on Japan's Mount Ontake intensified. The volcano has been shooting out even more ash, smoke and rocks than before. At least 36 people are thought to have died in Saturday's unexpected eruption. Dozens of other people were injured in the incident on the mountain, which is about 200km (125 miles) west of Tokyo. Hundreds of firefighters, police and troops have been involved in search operations. [74]


Hong Kong's democracy protests turn violent

Hong Kong's democracy protests turn violent

28 Sep

Hong Kong police have fired tear gas at pro-democracy campaigners who massed on major city centre highways in their tens of thousands. There were chaotic scenes, with protesters shouting as they tried to run away from the clouds of gas, the reporter said. The use of tear gas is extremely rare in Hong Kong. Central Hong Kong descended into chaos as chanting pro-democracy protesters converged on police barricades surrounding their colleagues despite the territory's leader calling for a halt to "illegal" demonstrations. Chanting "remove the blockade", thousands of protesters blocked one of the busiest streets, Gloucester Road, and milled among the stalled traffic. Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying pledged "resolute" action against a movement known as Occupy Central with Love and Peace. Inside the cordon, thousands huddled in plastic capes, masks and goggles, a defence against any further use of pepper spray, as they waited for a fresh police charge to clear the area before Hong Kong, a global financial centre, opens for business on Monday morning. [75]


Air France pilots end long strike

Air France pilots end long strike

28 Sep

Air France pilots have called off a strike that has lasted for two weeks and cost the airline hundreds of millions of euros. Pilots' union SNPL and the airline have yet to reach an agreement over a dispute about the carrier's plans to expand its budget subsidiary Transavia. However, a union spokesman said it was ending the strike so negotiations could "continue in a calmer climate". The loss-making airline wants to cut costs to compete with budget carriers. Although the strike is now over, the two parties failed to resolve their differences during weekend talks. [76]


Floods hit north-east India states

Floods hit north-east India states

23 Sep

Authorities in India's north-east have asked people to move to higher ground as monsoon rains triggered deadly floods and landslides in two states. Heavy rains have been battering Assam and Meghalaya states since Monday, with floods damaging bridges and sweeping away roads and houses. At least 10 people have died in Meghalaya state. Earlier this month, more than 270 people were killed by monsoon rains in Indian-administered Kashmir. The reports said the army had been deployed in the North Garo Hills district, where at least 100 villages have been submerged, and hundreds of villagers had taken shelter in schools and churches located on high ground. In neighbouring Assam state, troops and federal personnel have rescued scores of people trapped by floodwaters in Goalpara district, local official Pritam Saikia told the Associated Press news agency. Two days of incessant rains have also led to massive flooding in the state capital, Guwahati - many neighbourhoods are under water and schools and colleges are shut. The Bharalu river, which runs through Guwahati, is also threatening to breach its banks, as more rains are forecast in the region over the next two days. In July 2012, floods in Assam killed more than 100 people and forced over five million people to leave their homes. [77]


Hong Kong HK students escalate protest

Hong Kong HK students escalate protest

23 Sep

More than 1,000 Hong Kong students have taken their pro-democracy march to government offices, as part of a week-long boycott of classes. The march came a day after student leaders said 13,000 students had taken part in a rally at a university campus. They are protesting against a decision by Beijing to rule out fully democratic elections in Hong Kong in 2017. Brief scuffles broke out as protesters rushed towards Chief Executive CY Leung as he left the government offices. The students' boycott is seen as a prelude to a larger demonstration planned for 1 October, organised by pro-democracy group Occupy Central, which has vowed to block the financial district. [78]


Yemen president warns of civil war

Yemen president warns of civil war

23 Sep

Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi has vowed to restore state authority and warned of a "civil war" in the Sunni-majority country as Shia rebels were seen in near-total control of the capital, Sanaa. "Sanaa is facing a conspiracy that will lead towards civil war," Hadi said in a speech at the presidential palace, two days after the rebels took control of all other key state institutions in the capital, overshadowing a UN-brokered peace deal. "Many powers came together, either those who lost their interests in Yemen or those pushed by their personal grievances to take their revenge on their country rather than on individual, or the opportunistic who take advantage of any disaster to attack the country," said Hadi. The president's comments had created a lot of confusion in the country. Hundreds of rebel fighters manned checkpoints on the airport road and other major thoroughfares in the capital on Tuesday, while heavily armed patrols cruised the streets in four-wheel-drive vehicles, AFP news agency reported. [79]


Clashes in Yemen capital Sanaa

Clashes in Yemen capital Sanaa

19 Sep

Fighting between Shia rebels and Sunni militias in Yemen has escalated, with clashes on the edge of the capital. Armed rebels, known as Houthis, shelled buildings of the state TV and the main Sunni Islamist party, Islah, in Sanaa. Hundreds of residents have fled their homes and international flights to the city have been suspended. About 40 people have been killed since Tuesday, reports say. The rebels have staged protests for weeks, demanding political and economic reforms. President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi has dismissed the government and promised to review a decision to cut fuel subsidies. Over the past few weeks the rebels have occupied protest camps on the road to the airport and staged sit-ins at ministry buildings, as well as clashed with fighters loyal to Islah.[80]


Sierra Leone begins Ebola lockdown

Sierra Leone begins Ebola lockdown

19 Sep

A three-day curfew is under way in Sierra Leone to let health workers find and isolate cases of Ebola, in order to halt the spread of the disease. Many people have been reluctant to seek medical treatment for Ebola, fearing that diagnosis might mean death as there is no proven cure. A team of 30,000 people is going house-to-house to find those infected and distribute soap. But critics say the lockdown will damage public trust in doctors. Meanwhile in neighbouring Guinea, the bodies of eight missing health workers and journalists involved in the Ebola campaign have been found. [81]


Manila floods: Thousands evacuated

Manila floods: Thousands evacuated

19 Sep

Thousands of people have been evacuated in the Philippine capital Manila and nearby provinces as tropical storm Fung-Wong brought flooding. Schools and government offices were shut and several flights were grounded. The waters were up to neck height in some areas and the ceilings of ground floor apartments in others. The storm arrived as the capital was recovering from last week's Typhoon Kalmaegi, which left eight people dead and thousands displaced. Local media reported a river burst its banks in an eastern part of Manila, prompting the evacuation of more than 20,000 people. A dam in another part of the city also showed signs of overflowing, according to GMA News.[82]


Australia raises terror threat level

Australia raises terror threat level

13 Sep

Australia has raised its terrorism threat level from medium to high, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has announced. The move comes in response to growing concern over the domestic impact of militant conflicts in Iraq and Syria. Security officials were concerned by the growing number of Australians "working with, connected to or inspired by" Islamist groups, Mr Abbott said. But he said that there was no specific intelligence regarding a planned attack. "I want to stress that this does not mean that a terror attack is imminent. We have no specific intelligence of particular plots," he told a press conference. "What we do have is intelligence that there are people with the intent and capability to mount attacks here in Australia." Officials say dozens of Australians have gone to fight for jihadist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra (also known as the al-Nusra Front) in the Middle East. They are worried about the impact of both returning fighters and supporters of these groups on domestic security. [83]


Alert as Pakistan flood river peaks

Alert as Pakistan flood river peaks

13 Sep

Pakistan's Multan city and surrounding areas in Punjab province are on high alert as the Chenab river continues to surge south at extremely high levels. Punjab government authorities are taking measures to protect two crucial bridges in the district. The waters have been moving south through Punjab, inundating large tracts of farmland. Meanwhile in Indian-administered Kashmir, where waters are receding, thousands are still stranded. [84]


Eritrea Travel Warning

Eritrea Travel Warning

13 Sep

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Eritrea and strongly recommends U.S. citizens not travel to the country since there is increasing possibility U.S. citizens will not receive the requisite exit permit from Eritrean authorities. The Eritrean government continues to restrict the travel of all foreign nationals. These restrictions require all visitors and residents, including US diplomats (who must apply 10 days in advance) for permission to travel 25km outside Asmara's city limits. Permission is usually granted to areas such as Massawa and Keren, which are known tourist destinations; however, requests to areas near the borders and regions not frequently traveled by diplomats are typically turned down. [85]


Monsoon floods in India and Pakistan

Monsoon floods in India and Pakistan

7 Sep

Landslides and flash floods triggered by heavy monsoon rains have killed nearly 300 people in large swaths of northern India and Pakistan, officials said. Five days of incessant rain in Indian-controlled Kashmir has killed at least 120 people in the region's worst flooding in more than five decades, submerging hundreds of villages and triggering landslides, officials said. In neighboring Pakistan, more than 160 people have died and thousands of homes have collapsed, with an official saying the situation was becoming a "national emergency." Rescuers in both countries were using helicopters and boats to try to reach tens of thousands of people stranded in their homes as floodwaters rose and submerged many villages. Rescue efforts in Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, were hampered by fast-moving floodwaters that submerged large parts of the city. The rains had stopped on Sunday, but officials said the spreading water that had overflowed from the Jhelum River was moving too fast to allow boats to reach many people stranded in Srinagar. [86]


Hurricane Norbert drenches Mexico

Hurricane Norbert drenches Mexico

7 Sep

Hurricane Norbert lashed Mexico's west coast with strong winds and drenching rains, the latter of which triggered mudslides that cut off some communities. The U.S. National Hurricane Center predicted that 3 to 6 inches will likely fall in the central and northern Baja California peninsula, with 10 inches possible in some spots. All that water has already caused dangerous mudslides and damage. "There are no terrestrial communications" in two communities in the Loreto municipality after landslides, said Baja California official Jose Luis Perpuly Drew, according to the Notimex state news agency. Local authorities working with army, navy and civil protection forces are moving to bring food and medical supplies to Ague Verde and San Cosme, said Drew. There are also efforts underway to rebuild a wall that serves as a key buffer in Comondu, Notimex reported. The storm also prompted the evacuation of more than 450 people from two hostels in Puerto San Carlos, according to the news agency. Hurricane Norbert is expected to cause large swells, dangerous surf and rip currents along Mexico's west coast through the Gulf of California, the National Hurricane Center said. [87]


Ebola lockdown will not help

Ebola lockdown will not help

7 Sep

A three-day lockdown announced by Sierra Leone to combat Ebola will not help contain the virus, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) says. The charity said a lockdown would force people underground, destroy trust between doctors and the public and ultimately help spread the disease. Sierra Leone officials say the measure, due to begin on 19 September, will let health workers isolate new cases. About 2,100 people in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea have so far died. MSF, whose staff are helping to tackle the outbreak, said in a statement that quarantines and lockdowns "end up driving people underground and jeopardising the trust between people and health providers". "This leads to the concealment of potential cases and ends up spreading the disease further," the group said. [88]


Lesotho Travel Warning

Lesotho Travel Warning

7 Sep

The Department of State warns US citizens to defer travel to Lesotho at this time due to concerns over a possible deterioration of the security situation in Lesotho. The Department of State has ordered the departure of non-working eligible family members of the US Embassy in Maseru, Lesotho. The US Peace Corps is also taking steps to ensure safety of its staff and volunteers. Following a violent confrontation between police and the army on Saturday, 30 August 2014, leaders of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service have publicly stated that the LMPS is not capable of performing its duties. The LMPS are not in uniform for fear of further attacks from the Lesotho Defence Force and are not conducting normal police security functions. [89]


Nigeria militants 'seize' major town

Nigeria militants 'seize' major town

1 Sep

Nigeria's militant Islamist group Boko Haram has seized the key north-eastern town of Bama after fierce fighting with government forces, residents say. Thousands of civilians have fled the town, along with soldiers, they added. The military has not yet officially commented on the claim that it has lost control of Bama, the second biggest town in Borno state. Last month, Boko Haram said it had established an Islamic state in areas it controls in north-eastern Nigeria. [90]


Pakistan protests

Pakistan protests

2 Sep

Pakistan's political crisis has become increasingly farcical in the past few days - but it remains deadly serious. The mess has been growing since Saturday. Several hundred protesters armed with sticks and stones have been fighting running battles with the police on Constitution Avenue, a high-security zone which is the seat of power and houses all the important state buildings. Thousands of policemen deployed to keep the violence in check have been telling reporters of their frustration at not being allowed to use more force against the demonstrators. Most of them had been stationed in the capital for well over two weeks when the protesters forced their way into the central district and staged a sit-in. On Saturday night, protesters overran parts of Parliament House after smashing the outer fence of the building with the help of a truck. [91]


Ecuador volcano increases activity

Ecuador volcano increases activity

2 Sep

Seismologists in Ecuador say the Tungurahua volcano is showing increased activity. About 40 explosions were registered on Monday and even though their intensity diminished, experts have not ruled out a renewed sudden increase. An ash cloud up to 3km (1.8 miles) in height has been rising from the volcano over the past few days. Tungurahua, which had been dormant until 1999, lies 135km (85 miles) south-east of the capital, Quito. The 5,023m-high Tungurahua, meaning "throat of fire" in the indigenous Quechua language, is one of South America's most active volcanoes. [92]


Cuba introduces new customs limits

Cuba introduces new customs limits

2 Sep

Cuba is bringing in new rules limiting personal imports of foreign goods into the country, where locally-made items are scarce and expensive. Some USD2bn (GBP1.2bn) in goods have been flown into Cuba in travellers' baggage each year since air travel restrictions were lifted in 2009. Many ordinary Cubans say the new rules will throttle one of their few sources of high-quality consumer goods. The changes across Cuba are taking effect on Monday, and the Communist government has already published a list of the restrictions. Travellers will now be allowed to bring in 10kg (22lb) of detergent instead of 44kg and 24 bras instead of 48. But four car tyres and two flat-screen TVs will still be permitted. Many Cubans fly to the US and also Europe each year and return home with luggage bursting with goods that are often scarce, badly made or expensive in Cuba. The baggage carousels at Havana airport often seem to be offloading what looks like the entire contents of a supermarket warehouse. But the changes have angered many Cubans. [93]


Dengue Fever Tokyo

Dengue Fever Tokyo

1 Sep

The authorities blocked off an area in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park, where the three are believed to have contracted the Dengue Fever, and sprayed insecticide to exterminate mosquitoes. Dengue fever is transmitted through mosquito bites. The disease does not spread from person to person. [94] [95]


August

Earthquake rocks Northern California

Earthquake rocks Northern California

24 Aug

An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 has shaken northern California, reports the US Geological Survey. The USGS said it struck at 03:20 local time (10:20 GMT) four miles (6km) north-west of American Canyon, at a depth of 6.7 miles. The site is 51 miles from Sacramento and about 30 miles north-east of San Francisco, where many Twitter users say it woke them up. There were no immediate reports of injuries or serious damage. More than 10,000 households were without power in Napa County, about six miles from the earthquake's epicentre, and the surrounding area, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company said. The California Highway Patrol in the San Francisco Bay Area tweeted that it was "checking over crossings and bridges for obvious signs of structural integrity" and asked residents to report any signs of problems. [96]


Strong quakes hit Iceland volcano

Strong quakes hit Iceland volcano

24 Aug

Two new earthquakes have shaken the Barbardunga volcano in Iceland, which is already under a "red alert" aviation warning because of fears an eruption. They are the strongest earthquakes to hit the volcano since seismic activity began on Tuesday. Authorities said there had not been a major eruption but have closed the airspace in the area as a precaution. Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010, producing ash that disrupted air travel across Europe. [97]


Tension high as Libya airport seized

Tension high as Libya airport seized

24 Aug

An armed militia alliance in Libya has captured Tripoli's international airport after a battle lasting nearly a month. Islamist-affiliated forces from Misrata and other cities took over the airport from the Zintan militia, which has held it for three years. Libya's new parliament, largely opposed to the Islamists, condemned the move. Violence in Libya has surged recently between the rival groups who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi in the 2011 uprising. The airport, Libya's largest, has been closed for over a month because of the fighting. Hundreds have died since fighting broke out in Tripoli in July. Millions of dollars in damage has been caused to the airport. [98]


Gaza comes under fresh Israeli airstrikes

Gaza comes under fresh Israeli airstrikes

23 Aug

Israeli warplanes have pounded Gaza, killing seven - including five Palestinians from the same family - as Hamas said it would support a Palestinian effort to investigate war crimes in the conflict. The deadliest Israeli air strike on Saturday levelled a home in Al-Zawayda in central Gaza, killing a couple, their sons aged three and four, and a 45-year-old aunt, medics said. Another seven Palestinians were wounded in an Israeli strike that struck a house in Zeitoun, east of Gaza City, medics said. Witnesses and Palestinian officials said two mosques were destroyed in the Khan Yunis area of southern Gaza, while a third, in the Shati refugee camp, which had already been damaged, was bombed again. The Israeli military said it had carried out about 20 air strikes over the Gaza Strip early on Saturday. Israeli officials said that more than 80 rockets were fired from Gaza on Friday. Loud explosions and thick plumes of smoke could be seen over Gaza City on Saturday morning as fighting continued between Israel and Hamas, according to the AP news agency. [99]


Dozens die in Donetsk fighting

Dozens die in Donetsk fighting

20 Aug

Fighting in Ukraine's mostly rebel-held region of Donetsk has killed 34 local residents and wounded 29 others in the past 24 hours, authorities have said. Government troops trying to quell the pro-Russia insurgency in eastern Ukraine have been focusing on encircling Donetsk, the largest city still in rebel hands, and driving the rebels out of the city of Luhansk. Several neighbourhoods in Donetsk have been hit with artillery fire in the last few days as fighting on the outskirts of the city has intensified. Ukrainian official said nine troops were killed in overnight fighting in a town near Donetsk as the government battled to gain control of a major railroad and highway.

The Ukrainian government has also pursued diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict, which has killed more than 2,000 people and displaced 300,000 since fighting began in mid-April. [100]


Liberia troops enforce quarantine

Liberia troops enforce quarantine

20 Aug

Security forces in Liberia's capital Monrovia have deployed to enforce a quarantine in a large slum area in order to contain the spread of Ebola. The move set off protests from angry residents in West Point and people gathered at roadblocks to complain. The president has also ordered a countrywide night-time curfew as part of new anti-Ebola measures. Since the beginning of the year, 1350 people have died of the virus in four West African countries. New UN figures show that between 17 and 18 August, there were 221 new cases and 106 deaths. [101]


Iceland evacuates area near volcano

Iceland evacuates area near volcano

20 Aug

Iceland's authorities have evacuated an area close to the country's Bardarbunga volcano over fears it could erupt. The area, which is more than 300km (190 miles) from the capital Reykjavik, has no permanent residents but sits within a national park popular with tourists. The move came as geologists said about 300 earthquakes had been detected in the area since midnight on Tuesday. Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010, producing an ash cloud that severely disrupted air travel. The national civil protection agency said the decision to evacuate more than 300 people close to Bardarbunga was a "precautionary" safety measure. "It cannot be ruled out that the seismic activity in Bardarbunga could lead to a volcanic eruption," it added. [102]


Sierra Leone Travel Warning

Sierra Leone Travel Warning

15 Aug

After review of health conditions and limited availability of medical evacuation options, the US Department of State ordered the departure of family members residing with Embassy staff in Freetown to begin 14 August 2014. US government employees in Freetown will remain on active duty at the Embassy. As of 11 August, there have been 759 confirmed cases and 293 confirmed deaths due to an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Sierra Leone. The outbreak of EVD has overwhelmed Sierra Leone’s health system due to the lack of sufficient staff and/or resources to address the continuing transmission of EVD. Options for obtaining routine medical care are severely limited. In addition, most medical evacuation companies have suspended service to Ebola-affected countries and several airlines have suspended service to Freetown. This severely limits options for medical evacuation in the case of EVD and non-EVD medical cases. [103]


Pakistan protesters head towards capital

Pakistan protesters head towards capital

15 Aug

Thousands of opposition activists in Pakistan are heading towards the capital, Islamabad, demanding that the prime minister step down. They are heeding to separate calls by two leading figures, Imran Khan of the Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party, and an influential religious leader, Tahir ul-Qadri, to converge on the capital to mount pressure on the prime minister. The rallies are seen as the strongest challenge yet to the government of Nawaz Sharif, just a year after he took office in the first democratic transfer of power in a country long plagued by military coups. As of Friday morning, Qadri's convoy was about 150km from Islamabad, and Khan's 75km further away - both with a few thousand protesters in tow. The protesters set out on Thursday from the city of Lahore in cars, trucks and buses, while others walked or drove motorcycles as they embarked on the 300km long journey to Islamabad. The protest comes after days of escalating political tensions in Pakistan. Khan, the leader of the PTI, the third-largest party in parliament, is demanding a fresh general election, alleging that Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party rigged the 2013 polls. [104]


Mogadishu hit by intense gun battles

Mogadishu hit by intense gun battles

15 Aug

Heavy fighting has broken out in Mogadishu after government troops launched a dawn attack on a house belonging to a former militia leader as part of a disarmament campaign, residents and officials said. Explosions and gunfire were heard on Friday in the Somali capital as government troops backed by African Union forces battled militiamen. Launched last week, the Somali government's latest disarmament campaign is an attempt to reduce the number of weapons that could fall into the hands of al-Qaeda-linked fighters. Raids over the last week have netted about 500 guns and hundreds of boxes of ammunition, said Mohamed Yusuf, the spokesman for Somalia's national security ministry. [105]


Police fire on Tibetan protesters

Police fire on Tibetan protesters

15 Aug

Ten people were injured when Chinese police opened fire on Tibetan protesters demonstrating against the detention of a village leader, two activist groups and overseas news reports say. The incident is said to have taken place on Tuesday in Sichuan province's Ganzi prefecture, also known as Kardze. Arrests were also made and some people fled, the activist groups said. The incident does not appear to have been reported in Chinese state media. Obtaining independent confirmation of events both in Tibet and in ethnic Tibetan areas in surrounding regions is extremely difficult. Both access to these areas and information flow out of them is tightly controlled. Chinese state media does confirm some of the incidents but not all. Accounts from activist groups have proved reliable in the past. [106]


Ebola crisis vastly underestimated

Ebola crisis vastly underestimated

15 Aug

The scale of the Ebola outbreak appears to be "vastly underestimated", the UN's health agency says, as the death toll from the disease reaches 1,069. The World Health Organization said its staff had seen evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths do not reflect the scale of the crisis. It said in a statement that "extraordinary measures" were needed. The outbreak began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. [107]


Donetsk rocked by heavy shelling

Donetsk rocked by heavy shelling

15 Aug

Artillery shells have hit close to the centre of Ukraine's separatist-held city of Donetsk, killing at least one person, witnesses said. It was not immediately clear if the artillery was fired by government or rebel forces. Two shells landed 200 metres from the Park Inn Radisson, one of the city's main hotels, shattering windows. The blasts blew a hole on the third floor of an apartment block and left a broad crater on the pavement. Fierce clashes between government forces and rebel fighters have killed 74 civilians over the last three days in east Ukraine's war-torn Donetsk region, local authorities said. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government announced that it was dispatching its own convoy of humanitarian aid to troubled eastern Ukraine. [108]


Typhoon Halong batters Japan

Typhoon Halong batters Japan

10 Aug

Typhoon Halong slammed into western Japan, leaving dozens of people injured while the coastguard searched for a man who went missing apparently while surfing when the storm hit. Halong was over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) as of 15:00 (06:00 GMT), some 100km (60 miles) west-southwest of the central city of Kanazawa, after making landfall on the largest and most populous island of Honshu. Packing winds of up to 162km/h, the typhoon was moving north-northeast at 35km/h and expected to move away from the Japanese archipelago, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. But the weather agency maintained its highest warning against torrential rain for some areas of Honshu. [109]


Fresh fears for Gaza talks in Cairo

Fresh fears for Gaza talks in Cairo

10 Aug

Talks in Cairo aimed at securing a fresh ceasefire in Gaza are under renewed strain, with both sides in the conflict issuing warnings. Palestinian negotiators said they would leave on Sunday if Israel did not attend without preconditions. Israel says it will not negotiate "under fire", warning its military campaign "will take time". The UK, France and Germany have called for a new truce, after a 72-hour ceasefire ended on Friday morning. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in broadcast remarks at the weekly meeting of his cabinet in Tel Aviv: "The operation will continue until its objective - the restoration of quiet over a protracted period - is achieved. [110]


Iranian plane crash 'kills 48'

Iranian plane crash 'kills 48'

10 Aug

Forty-eight people were killed when a small passenger plane crashed in the west of the Iranian capital Tehran, according to Iranian state TV. The aircraft, which was heading to the eastern city of Tabas, went down in a residential area near Mehrabad airport on Sunday morning, state media said. Iran has suffered a series of plane crashes, blamed on its ageing aircraft and poor maintenance record. Iran is still flying planes bought before the Islamic Revolution in 1979. International trade sanctions were imposed after the hostage crisis which followed, during which 52 Americans were held hostage in Tehran for 444 days. Many Iranian planes are fitted with unofficial spare parts. There have been more than 200 accidents involving Iranian planes in the past 25 years, leading to more than 2,000 deaths. Initial reports indicate the latest incident involved an Iran-140 jet carrying 48 people, including 40 passengers and eight crew. [111]


Liberia health system falling apart

Liberia health system falling apart

10 Aug

The charity Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) co-ordinator in Liberia said official figures were "under-representing the reality", and that the health system was "falling apart". Nearly 1,000 people have died and 1,800 have become infected in West Africa. Meanwhile, neighbouring Guinea has denied earlier reports that it had sealed its borders. On Saturday Liberian police broke up a protest against the government's response. The Ebola outbreak - the worst ever - is centreed on Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, but has spread to other countries in recent months. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that the virus was a global health emergency. [112]


Deadly clashes with police in Pakistan

Deadly clashes with police in Pakistan

10 Aug

Violent clashes between the police and opponents of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif swept across Pakistan’s Punjab Province, leaving at least two people dead and more than 100 injured as Mr. Sharif’s 14-month-old government sought to forestall a series of planned street protests aimed at ousting it. For the second consecutive day, the Pakistani police confronted supporters of Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri, a firebrand preacher who has vowed to topple Mr. Sharif through a “peaceful revolution.” The cleric’s supporters — some of them armed with staves, others wearing gas masks — overturned police barricades and engaged in street battles in towns across Punjab, Mr. Sharif’s political power base. [113]


Venezuela to close border at night

Venezuela to close border at night

10 Aug

Venezuela says it will close its border with Colombia at night from Monday, to try to stop large-scale smuggling of petrol and food. The government says that tonnes of goods - produced in Venezuela and heavily subsidised - are sold in Colombia at much higher prices. The shortage of many staples in Venezuela's western border area this year led to anti-government protests. The border closure was agreed with the Colombian government. The 2,200km-long (1,360 miles) border will be closed between 22:00 local time and 05:00 every night. Cargo vehicles, including vans and lorries, will be banned from crossing from Venezuela to Colombia between 18:00 and 05:00. [114]


Airlines cancelling flights in wake of Ebola outbreak

Airlines cancelling flights in wake of Ebola outbreak

6 Aug

Airlines are cancelling flights to West Africa over Ebola outbreak concerns. [115]


TAP airlines has scheduled a strike

TAP airlines has scheduled a strike

on August 9 2014

If you have a flight booked for this date to or from Portugal it is best to re-schedule your flight. [116]


Israel strikes university in Gaza City

Israel strikes university in Gaza City

2 Aug

Israeli aircraft have struck a major university and other targets in the Gaza Strip as troops continued their military campaign on the Palestinian enclave for a 26th day. A large part of the Islamic University in Gaza City was damaged by Saturday morning’s air strike. Glass from broken windows and notebooks belonging to some of the thousands of students who attended the university were scattered around the premises. No casualties were reported in the strike. "The university is now in complete ruins," Al Jazeera’s Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from the scene just two hours after the bombardment, said. The Israeli army said it targeted a "weapon development" centre in the university. In a twitter post, the military said it struck 200 "terror targets" in 24 hours. One of Gaza City's largest mosques, Shifa mosque, was also badly damaged by an Israeli strike. [117]


Ebola spreading too fast - WHO

Ebola spreading too fast - WHO

2 Aug

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is spreading faster than efforts to control it, World Health Organization (WHO) head Margaret Chan has said. She told a summit of regional leaders that failure to contain Ebola could be "catastrophic" in terms of lives lost. But she said the virus, which has claimed 728 lives in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February, could be stopped if well managed. Ebola kills up to 90% of those infected. It spreads by contact with infected blood, bodily fluids, organs - or contaminated environments. Patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment. Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external haemorrhaging from the eyes and gums, and internal bleeding that can lead to organ failure. A US relief agency says it will repatriate two of its American staff who have contracted the virus in Liberia. They are believed to be the first Ebola patients ever to be treated in the US. Hundreds of US Peace Corps volunteers have already been evacuated from the West African countries. [118]


Sudan floods wipe off thousands of homes

Sudan floods wipe off thousands of homes

2 Aug

More than 3,000 homes have been destroyed by floods that hit almost half of Sudan's states over Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holidays, official media said. At least 184 people were injured and 6,100 families were displaced many of whom were from the Nile and North Kordofah states, the SUNA news agency reported on Saturday. "Twenty-two districts in eight states were affected by flooding and heavy rain," the report said citing the federal health ministry. Homes in the capital Khartoum were also inundated when rain and high winds lashed the region on Tuesday night and on July 25 at the start of the rainy season. Among the victims were more than 3,000 residents of Jaborona, near Khartoum's twin city of Omdurman, said Kabi Jeremiah, humanitarian attache at the South Sudanese embassy. Shelters housing mostly South Sudanese residents in Sudan's capital have also been destroyed, he told AFP on Thursday. "That one is washed away," he said. Residents tried to move their meagre belongings to dry ground while they manually dug out channels to drain the water, according to the South Sudanese embassy. Thousands of impoverished South Sudanese have been living in rough shelters in Jaborona and numerous other outdoor settlements in the Khartoum area. [119]


Massive landslide near Nepal capital

Massive landslide near Nepal capital

2 Aug

A massive landslide has buried dozens of homes in Nepal, with eight people confirmed dead and many missing. The landslide has blocked the Sunkoshi river, east of the capital Kathmandu, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes and move to higher ground. Officials said army technicians were trying to unblock the river and allow the water to run off. There are fears that the death toll will rise, as rescue work continues in the district of Sindhupalchowk. Sindhupalchowk is 120 km (75 miles) east of Kathmandu. "Police and army officials are trying to find the missing people and evacuate the villages on the riverside" a police official told AFP. Officials said dozens of people were still missing. The Arniko highway to Tibet has been closed and the area declared a "flood crisis zone" by the government. Landslides are common during the June-September monsoon season in Nepal. Dozens of people die every year from flooding and landslides. [120]


UK suspends Tripoli embassy services

UK suspends Tripoli embassy services

2 Aug

The UK is to temporarily close its embassy in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, because of worsening violence. The Foreign Office, which has urged Britons to leave the country immediately, said consular assistance would not be available from Monday. Ambassador Michael Aron described the situation as "very sad" and said staff would return to the embassy "as soon as security allows". Arrangements are being made to help British nationals leave Libya. The country has been gripped by instability and a power struggle among rival groups since the overthrow of former leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. More than 200 people have been killed in Tripoli and the eastern city of Benghazi in the past two weeks. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the two cities on Friday to denounce militias who have been fighting Libyan armed forces. [121]


July

Mass casualties as Gaza market area bombed

Mass casualties as Gaza market area bombed

30 Jul

At least 17 Palestinians have been killed and 200 wounded in the bombardment of an area of Shujayea during a "humanitarian pause" unilaterally announced by Israel. The attack came on the outskirts of the Shujayea, between Gaza City and the Israeli border, shortly after the Israeli army said it was observing a limited, four-hour Wednesday ceasefire from midday GMT, or 3pm local time. [122]


Ebola epidemic 'out of control'

Ebola epidemic 'out of control'

30 Jul

Global medical charity Doctors Without Borders has given warning that the Ebola crisis in West Africa is "unprecedented, absolutely out of control", as states across the world took steps to prevent its spread. "This epidemic ... can only get worse, because it is still spreading, above all in Liberia and Sierra Leone, in some very important hotspots," said Bart Janssens, the charity's director of operations. "We are extremely worried by the turn of events, particularly in these two countries where there is a lack of visibility on the epidemic. If the situation does not improve fairly quickly, there is a real risk of new countries being affected. "That is certainly not ruled out, but it is difficult to predict, because we have never known such an epidemic." More than 670 people have died of Ebola in the outbreak, the largest on record since the disease was detected in the 1970s. [123]


Rain, hail and lightning hit SE England

Rain, hail and lightning hit SE England

26 Jul

Homes were evacuated and people left stranded in their cars as lightning, hail, heavy rain and flash flooding hit east and south-east England. The freak weather brought roads and railway services to a standstill in parts of Sussex, Essex and London. More than half the average total rain for England in July fell in an hour in some areas, the Met Office said. London Fire Brigade said it had to help people trapped in their cars across the capital. Network Rail said most train services were returning to normal following earlier delays and cancellations caused by flooding and an electricity substation being struck by lightning. However, services to Brighton are not stopping at Worthing because of flooding in the station subway. [124]


US evacuates embassy staff from Libya

US evacuates embassy staff from Libya

26 Jul

The US says it has temporarily evacuated its staff from the Libyan capital Tripoli over security concerns. Staff, including marine guards providing security to the embassy, have been transferred to Tunisia "due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias," it adds. It comes amid fierce clashes between rival militias in the capital, with intense fighting at Tripoli airport. Libya has been gripped by instability since the 2011 uprising, with swathes of the country controlled by militias. With no army, Libya's central government has increasingly lost control over the country to rogue and powerful militias in the last two years. [125]


S Sudan food crisis 'world's worst'

S Sudan food crisis 'world's worst'

26 Jul

South Sudan's food crisis is the worst in the world, the UN Security Council has warned, calling for urgent action. It said there was a "catastrophic food insecurity" in the country, urging donor nations who pledged $618m (£364m) in aid to make good on their promise. More than a million people have fled their homes since fighting erupted between different factions of South Sudan's ruling party last December. Thousands have now died in the conflict that started as a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his deputy Riek Machar but has since escalated into ethnic violence. Months of fighting have prevented farmers from planting or harvesting crops, causing food shortages nationwide. The onset of the rainy season has added to the problem, dashing hopes that displaced farmers plant crops to feed themselves in the future. [126]


Attacks across Afghanistan

Attacks across Afghanistan

26 Jul

Attacks across Afghanistan, involving hundreds of Taliban fighters swarming police checkpoints across the south, killed at least 30 people Saturday, officials said, as a recount in the country's presidential election was halted before a major holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The attacks mainly targeted Kandahar province, where Taliban fighters killed six police officers in assaults on some 15 checkpoints, said a spokesman for the provincial governor. Reinforcements later arrived to combat the Taliban fighters, the spokesman added, as the combat continued into Saturday night. In Helmand province, a bomb hidden inside a motorcycle killed four civilians and wounded four others in Marjah district, according to a spokesman for the governor of Helmand. In Kabul, a bomb blast killed an army officer and wounded his driver, police officials said. In Herat province, a security official confirmed that gunmen on motorcycles shot and killed two army officers in the city of Herat. [127]


Washington fire destroys 300 homes

Washington fire destroys 300 homes

25 Jul

A sheriff in Washington State said Friday that a massive wildfire has burned 300 homes, double the number previously estimated. Frank Rogers, the sheriff of Okanogan County in north-central Washington, said the Carlton Complex of fires has consumed about 300 homes this month. His office previously placed the number at 150, but he said then he knew it would rise because officials had note been able to reach some burned areas. Rogers said he and his deputies have driven 750 miles of roadway through the devastated area, and "every road lost something." He said that the blackened area looks like a moonscape, and that he has seen hundreds of dead livestock. The fire was started by lightning and has burned about 400 square miles in the area about 100 miles northeast of Seattle. [128]


First bodies from MH17 flown out of Ukraine

First bodies from MH17 flown out of Ukraine

23 Jul

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Netherlands would observe its first national day of mourning in more than 50 years on Wednesday. [129]


Delta Cancels All Flights to Israel Indefinitely

Delta Cancels All Flights to Israel Indefinitely

22 Jul

Delta Air Lines is canceling all flights to Israel until further notice, citing reports that a rocket landed near Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport. [130]


Typhoon MATMO (HENRY) Update Number 007

Typhoon MATMO (HENRY) Update Number 007

21 Jul

Typhoon MATMO (HENRY) continues to move north-northwest across the warm waters of the Philippine Sea...threatens Northern Cagayan and the Calayan-Babuyan-Batanes Group of Islands. The potential landfall area of this typhoon shall be over Eastern Taiwan by Wednesday morning. [131]


Malaysian Plane 'Shot Down' With 295 On Board

Malaysian Plane 'Shot Down' With 295 On Board

17 Jul

A Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur comes down in Ukraine after reportedly being hit by a ground-to-air missile. [132]


Five-hour Gaza ceasefire agreed

Five-hour Gaza ceasefire agreed

16 Jul

Hamas and Israel have both agreed to respect a five-hour ceasefire in Gaza after nine days of fighting. The Israeli military said it would stop firing from 10:00 to 15:00 (07:00-12:00 GMT) on Thursday to allow residents in Gaza to stock up on supplies. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zukhri later confirmed that his group would also stop rocket attacks in that time. Officials in Gaza say Israeli raids have left 220 Palestinians dead. Hamas rocket attacks have killed one Israeli. Israeli army officer Brig Gen Yoav Mordechai told BBC Arabic that the ceasefire had been requested by the UN and other international organisations. An Israeli military statement warned that Israel would respond "firmly and decisively" should Hamas launch attacks during the ceasefire window [133]


Typhoon batters central Philippines

Typhoon batters central Philippines

16 Jul

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have been left without power many have fled their homes as Typhoon Rammasun hit Luzon island. The typhoon, also known as Glenda, barrelled across the island with gusts of up to 185km/h (115 mph). Authorities said at least 20 people had been killed by the storm. Officials said the eye of the storm passed south of the capital, Manila, but the severe weather brought it to a standstill. At least five people are still missing. Government offices and schools were shut on Wednesday and flights were cancelled. More than 370,000 people, mostly in the eastern province of Albay which was the first to be hit by the typhoon, had been evacuated, the Philippine National Red Cross said. The storm is in the South China Sea and is expected to reach China by the end of the week. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have been left without power many have fled their homes as Typhoon Rammasun hit Luzon island. [134]


Israel and Gaza trade fresh fire

Israel and Gaza trade fresh fire

12 Jul

Palestinian deaths are continuing to mount as Israel and militants in Gaza traded fresh rounds of rocket and missile-fire on Saturday. At least 133 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its operation five days ago, Palestinian sources say. Two nephews of Hamas ex-PM Ismail Haniyeh were among those killed on Saturday, as Gaza was hit by multiple strikes, Palestinian officials said. Israel says it has been hit by 43 rockets since Friday, suffering damage. It has vowed to press on with its campaign until rocket attacks stop. Israel says it is targeting militants and militant facilities, including the homes of senior operatives. It says "dozens of terrorists" are among those killed. [135]


Ukraine conflict

Ukraine conflict

12 Jul

A suburb of the rebel-held Ukrainian city of Donetsk has come under heavy bombardment, a day after the army suffered some of its heaviest losses. Apartment blocks were hit as shelling continued through the night and into Saturday in Marinka, west of the city. Pro-Russian rebels said 30 civilians had died in government shelling while the government reportedly accused the rebels of shelling Marinka themselves. On Friday, a rebel attack in Luhansk region killed at least 19 soldiers. President Petro Poroshenko vowed to retaliate, saying: "For every soldier's life, the militants will pay with tens and hundreds of their own." The rebels, who declared independence in Donetsk and Luhansk in April, retreated towards the city of Donetsk last week after a government siege of their symbolic stronghold, Sloviansk. More than 1,000 civilians and combatants are believed to have died in the fighting since April. The EU slapped travel bans and asset freezes on 11 rebel figures in eastern Ukraine on Saturday. [136]


Rio ramps up security for World Cup final

Rio ramps up security for World Cup final

12 Jul

Brazilian authorities say they are planning Rio de Janeiro's largest ever security operation for the World Cup final on Sunday. More than 25,000 security personnel will be deployed in the city for the tournament's final match between Germany and Argentina, officials say. Heads of state, including German leader Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin, will attend the match. About 75,000 fans are expected to watch the final at Rio's Maracana stadium. Police, soldiers and firefighters will be involved in security operations, and 25 ships are expected to monitor the city's coast. "This will be the biggest security operation that the city or country has ever seen," senior local government official Jose Mariano Beltrane said. "We need to ensure that this event goes off like all the other games in the World Cup... I prefer to have a large number of men ready than to be taken by surprise." [137]


Ebola deaths mount in Sierra Leone

Ebola deaths mount in Sierra Leone

12 Jul

High numbers of new cases of the Ebola virus are being reported in Sierra Leone and Liberia, with 19 deaths over three days this week, the UN's World Health Organization (WHO) says. Such figures showed that it was a race against time to control the epidemic in Sierra Leone, medical charity MSF said. In total there have been 539 deaths in West Africa since the outbreak began in neighbouring Guinea in Feb. Regional leaders have now agreed to set up a fund to combat its spread. Ebola spreads through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids and there is no vaccine or cure. It kills up to 90% of those infected but if patients receive early treatment, they have a better chance of survival. [138]


New Kenya travel warning for Britons

New Kenya travel warning for Britons

12 Jul

The Foreign Office has warned Britons to avoid travelling to areas of the Kenyan coast, after attacks by militants left at least 87 people dead. The advice warns against all but "essential" travel to the coastal counties of Lamu and Tana River. Warnings also remain in place for areas around the Kenya-Somali border, as well as parts of the capital, Nairobi. Meanwhile, the Kenyan government has advised its citizens not to travel through London Heathrow airport. In a statement from the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it warned Kenyans not to travel through Heathrow due to the "substantial threat of a possible attack" by Al Qaeda operatives. [139]


Strong quake off east Japan coast

Strong quake off east Japan coast

12 Jul

A magnitude-6.8 earthquake has hit an ocean area east of Iwaki city on the Japanese island of Honshu, the US Geological Survey (USGS) has said. It hit 131km (81 miles) off Iwaki, at a depth of 10km, the USGS said. A tsunami warning has been issued. [140]


New wave of Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza

New wave of Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza

10 Jul

As fears of an Israeli ground assault grew among Gaza residents on Thursday, Israel revealed it has beefed up its forces by calling about 30,000 reservists to their units. The Israeli Cabinet has authorized the military to call up 40,000 troops if needed. That is 10,000 more than were called up during Israel's offensive into Gaza in November 2012. Government spokesman Mark Regev said many of the reservists have been deployed. "We're ready to go, if we need to go," he told Blitzer. Regev said Israel didn't want a situation where Hamas was given a "timeout" where it could regroup before restarting its attacks. The mood is grim in Gaza, where Israeli airstrikes have killed at least 90 Palestinians, including women and children, and injured more than 620 since they began Monday, Palestinian officials said. They said 23 people died in strikes Thursday and four more people succumbed to their injuries. [141]


Uganda Possible threat of attack

Uganda Possible threat of attack

03 Jul

The Entebbe International Airport could be attacked on Thursday between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. local time, the embassy said on its website, citing information obtained from Ugandan police. The statement urged U.S. citizens travelling through Entebbe around that time to “review their plans in light of this information. [142]


Africa Ebola outbreak in Africa

Africa Ebola outbreak in Africa

02 Jul

As the largest Ebola outbreak in history continues unabated, health authorities from 11 West African countries and international agencies began a two-day crisis meeting today in Accra, Ghana, on how to combat the crisis. The World Health Organization (WHO) says "drastic action" is needed to stem the outbreak, which since March has grown to 759 confirmed cases in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, including 467 deaths. [143]



South Sudan bans foreign taxi drivers

South Sudan bans foreign taxi drivers

02 Jul

The interior ministry issued the rule last week without warning, angry taxi drivers told Radio Tamazuj, a Dutch station that covers the inter-Sudanese border area. They say officials are impounding their taxis in Juba and demanding a steep fee of 600 South Sudanese pounds (£61; $150) to have them released. As a result about 500 Sudanese drivers have had to quit work, not only affecting their livelihood but also, they say, causing a "transport crisis" in Juba. [144]


June

Airlines halt flights to Peshawar

Airlines halt flights to Peshawar

26 Jun

Qatar Airways has joined Emirates and Etihad in stopping its jets flying to the Pakistani city of Peshawar after a deadly attack on an airliner. The Pakistan International Airlines flight was fired on as it landed on Tuesday, killing a passenger on board. Police have arrested scores of people but say they do not have full control of areas around the airport where the shots are thought to have originated. Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific says it is suspending all flights to Pakistan. The move, which it said would come into effect by late June, follows a deadly attack on Karachi airport earlier this month. The all-night siege at Karachi's international airport, the largest in Pakistan, left at least 39 people dead, 10 of them heavily armed gunmen. The Pakistani Taliban and an allied Uzbek militant group said they jointly carried out the Karachi attack. There was no immediate claim for Tuesday night's machine-gun attack on the PIA jet in Peshawar. [145]



France Travel Warning

France Travel Warning

25 Jun

Ryanair was forced to cancel more than 160 flights from its schedule today. These included flights from Dublin, Cork, Knock and Shannon to destinations including Madrid, Barcelona, Nice and Faro. Departures from and arrivals to Paris Beauvais, Marseilles and London Stansted were also affected. Ryanair customers are advised to check the status of their flight on the airline's website. The carrier has said affected customers will be updated on their flight status via email or phone. Ryanair is also advising customers who want to rebook flights to avoid rebooking them today and tomorrow as there is a possibility of further disruption within that time. Aer Lingus has not cancelled any flights today but around 20 were delayed. The airline said passengers travelling to or from France, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands may experience delays of up to three hours. Aer Lingus is advising customers to check their flight status online and to arrive early if checking in at the airport. Meanwhile, CityJet has said none of its flights from or into Ireland have been affected. The strike, by a leading French union, centres on planned changes to European air traffic according to traffic flows rather than national borders, which the union argues will undermine an efficient air navigation service in France. [146]


Central Africa Travel Warning

Central Africa Travel Warning

24 Jun

Seventeen of the deaths occurred when a mainly Christian militia attacked a village in the north-west, they added. One witness told Reuters news agency that he had counted 22 bodies, some of them chopped into pieces. Some 7,000 peacekeepers are battling to end the conflict which has displaced about 25% of the population. Violence broke out in March 2013 after the Seleka rebel group - led by a Muslim, Michel Djotodia - seized power in the majority Christian country. [147]


Honduras Travel Warning

Honduras Travel Warning

24 Jun

The Department of State continues to warn U.S. citizens that the level of crime and violence in Honduras remains critically high. This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning dated December 24, 2013, and includes additional information on crime and security in Honduras, as well as updated contact information. Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens visit Honduras each year for study, tourism, business, and volunteer work without incident. However, crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country, and the Government of Honduras lacks the resources to address these issues. [148]


Large earthquake near Alaska triggers tsunami warning

Large earthquake near Alaska triggers tsunami warning

23 Jun

An earthquake off the southwestern coast of Alaska on Monday triggered a tsunami warning, according to the National Tsunami Warning Center. The magnitude 8.0 earthquake off the coast of Alaska, the U.S. state with the most quakes each year, occurred about 15 miles southeast of Little Sitkin Island, the U.S. Geological Survey reported Monday afternoon. As a result, a tsunami warning was issued for Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, while a tsunami advisory was issued for other coastal areas in Alaska. [149]


Iraq key refinery 'seized by rebels'

Iraq key refinery 'seized by rebels'

23 Jun

Sunni rebels in Iraq say they have fully captured the country's main oil refinery at Baiji, north of Baghdad. The refinery had been under siege for 10 days with the militant offensive being repulsed several times. The complex supplies a third of Iraq's refined fuel and the battle has already led to petrol rationing. Insurgents, led by the group Isis, are expanding their control of towns in the north and west and have captured all border crossings to Syria and Jordan. They are also bearing down on a vital dam near Haditha. [150]


Suicide car bomb rocks Beirut

Suicide car bomb rocks Beirut

23 Jun

A suicide bomber has detonated a car bomb near a Lebanese army checkpoint in the capital, Beirut, officials say. The blast, which caused a huge fire, occurred in a southern suburb mainly inhabited by Shia Muslims. It is unclear whether anyone else was killed. Lebanon has suffered a rise in sectarian tension linked to the conflict in neighbouring Syria. Last week a policeman was killed and 30 people injured when a suicide bomber detonated his car in eastern Lebanon. The latest explosion occurred just after midnight local time (21:00 GMT) near a checkpoint and a cafe where people had gathered to watch World Cup matches. [151]


Deadly shoot-out in Rio de Janeiro

Deadly shoot-out in Rio de Janeiro

23 Jun

Three people have been killed in a shoot-out between police and alleged drug traffickers in a shanty town in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. Two youths and a police officer died in the incident in the Complexo do Alemao shanty town, local media reported. Another officer and a youth were injured in the shooting, which happened in the early hours of Monday. The shooting comes as tens of thousands of football fans are in Rio, one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup. [152]


Ukraine to implement unilateral ceasefire

Ukraine to implement unilateral ceasefire

18 Jun

Ukraine's President announced that he will implement a unilateral cease-fire to ease the crisis in the restive eastern part of the country. Ukrainian forces are putting their arms down only shortly, President Petro Poroshenko said, referring to a time in which he expects separatist groups to disarm. "We expect that hostages and seized premises will be liberated. We expect that a large number of civilians will use the security guarantees for the citizens of Donbas," Poroshenko said, referring to Ukraine's eastern region. The plan would also include the closure of the Ukraine-Russia border and changes to the constitution to decentralize power. Ukraine's government is carrying out what it calls an anti-terrorist operation, centered in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, to try to regain control from pro-Russian separatists. [153]


American Airlines cuts flights to Venezuela

American Airlines cuts flights to Venezuela

18 Jun

American Airlines says it is cutting almost 80% of its flights to Venezuela from next month. From July 2, American will operate only 10 flights per week instead of the current 48. The move comes as part of a continuing dispute over the repatriation of revenue due to tight currency controls in the oil-rich country. A number of airlines have already suspended or reduced the number of flights to Venezuela. American said it would only fly to Venezuela from Miami, suspending its flights from New York, Dallas and Puerto Rico. Tight foreign currency controls make it difficult for foreign airlines to repatriate money from ticket sales in Venezuela. American Airlines is the largest foreign carrier serving Venezuela. Air Canada has suspended service citing security concerns, while others like Lufthansa and Copa Airlines have reduced the number of tickets made available in local currency. [154]


West Africa Ebola deaths pass 300

West Africa Ebola deaths pass 300

18 Jun

The number of people killed by the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa has risen to 337, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said. Fourteen deaths and 47 new cases were reported across the region over the last week, it added. Guinea is worst-affected with 264 Ebola-related deaths. In Sierra Leone, there have been 49 deaths and in Liberia 24, the WHO said. The three countries have been battling to contain the outbreak since February. The outbreak began in southern Guinea's Guekedou region, but then spread to its neighbours. More than 500 suspected or confirmed cases of the virus have been recorded, the WHO said. There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola - one of the world's deadliest viruses. [155]


Curfew lifted nationwide in Thailand

Curfew lifted nationwide in Thailand

13 Jun

The junta announced the end of a curfew in other parts of the country minutes after coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha pledged for a quick end of the nighttime ban. The ban on activities between midnight and 4am had already been lifted in 25 provinces including most tourist areas, but its enforcement in Bangkok was dismaying businesses looking to cash in on the World Cup. [156].


Ukraine forces win back port city

Ukraine forces win back port city

13 Jun

Government troops in eastern Ukraine have won back the port city of Mariupol from pro-Russian separatist rebels after heavy fighting. Five pro-Russian rebels were reported killed and four government soldiers injured in the city in Donetsk region. Hundreds of combatants and civilians have been killed since pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and neighbouring Luhansk regions declared independence after holding referendums last month, which were deemed illegal by the government in Kiev. The rebellion began after February's ousting of the elected President, Viktor Yanukovych, whose last-minute decision not to sign a landmark treaty with the EU in November sparked mass protests in Kiev. [157]


France rail strike halts many trains

France rail strike halts many trains

13 Jun

A nationwide strike by train staff in France has halted many rail services and is set to run into the weekend. The strike began on Tuesday and is one of the longest to hit the railways. It has halted about half of inter-city trains and even more local trains. Trade unions object to a government plan to unite the SNCF train operator with the RFF railway network. Workers fear the reform will mean job losses. [158]


DR Congo and Rwanda in border clashes

DR Congo and Rwanda in border clashes

11 Jun

Rwandan forces and troops from DR Congo are fighting each other on their shared border, the Congolese information minister says. The battle began when a unit of Rwandan soldiers crossed over the border and attacked early on Wednesday. After fighting for nearly two hours, the Rwandans kidnapped an army corporal and went home, he said. Clashes resumed when the Congolese learnt the officer had been killed. The Rwandan authorities have yet to comment on the violence. The neighbours have had a fractious relationship since the 1994 genocide when those accused of involvement in the killings of an estimated 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus set up a militia in eastern DR Congo. [159]


Iraqi insurgents seize new city

Iraqi insurgents seize new city

11 Jun

Islamist insurgents in Iraq have seized the city of Tikrit, their second major gain after capturing Mosul the day before, security officials say. Tikrit, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein, lies 150km (95 miles) north of the capital Baghdad. Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki vowed to fight back against the jihadists and punish those in the security forces who fled offering little or no resistance. The insurgents are from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). ISIS, which is also known as ISIL, is an offshoot of al-Qaeda. It controls considerable territory in eastern Syria and western and central Iraq, in a campaign to set up a Sunni militant enclave straddling the border. There were also reports of fighting further south, in Samarra, 110km north of Baghdad. Separately, at least 21 people were killed and 45 hurt by a suicide bomber at a Shia meeting in Baghdad, police said. As many as 500,000 people fled Mosul after the militants attacked the city. The head of the Turkish mission in Mosul and almost 50 consulate staff are being held by the militants, Turkish officials say. Turkey's foreign minister warned there would be "harsh retaliation" if any of its citizens were harmed. [160]


European cities hit by strikes

European cities hit by strikes

11 Jun

Transport in major European cities has been disrupted by strikes affecting taxis and rail services. Taxi drivers blocked roads in Paris, Madrid, London, Milan, Berlin and other cities in protest against the rise of services booked using smartphone apps. They say there has been a lack of regulation concerning rival mobile service Uber. Travellers in France were also hit by a rail strike that stopped two-thirds of trains in some areas. The biggest taxi associations in the Spanish capital asked their drivers to observe a 24-hour stoppage until 06:00 on Thursday. More than 15,000 licensed vehicles operate in Madrid, Spanish media say. No taxis were visible at Barajas airport or Atocha station, reports said, despite Uber not yet being available in the capital. At one point, a car suspected of being a private taxi came under attack from demonstrators. The strike was also observed in Barcelona, where the mobile app is in operation. [161]


São Paulo metro strike suspended

São Paulo metro strike suspended

11 Jun

Metro workers in Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, have suspended a strike over pay to allow for negotiations. The five-day stoppage had caused traffic chaos in one of the world's most congested cities just days ahead of the football World Cup. The union warned that the strike would resume on Thursday - when Sao Paulo hosts the opening match - if its demands are not matched. A strike would make it hard for fans to reach the stadium on Thursday. Arena de Sao Paulo, where the tournament kicks off with a match between Brazil and Croatia, is located on the city's outskirts and a metro strike could cause major disruption. [162]


Egypt's government levies $25 tax on tourists

Egypt's government levies $25 tax on tourists

5 Jun

Egyptian authorities have levied a new airport tax on tourists leaving the country, a move that has been criticized as being a further deterrent for vacationers considering the country as a holiday destination, an airport official said. The government started applying the roughly $25 fee on ticket purchases through airline companies last month, the official said. Since then, he said airline companies have been passing the charge directly on to customers buying tickets to and from the country, with it appearing as an additional tax on the ticket price. Most foreign visitors to Egypt already pay approximately $15 for an entrance visa, though the cost varies depending on the traveler's nationality. Egypt's tourism industry has been hit hard by the three years of turmoil since the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. From a high of more than 14 million tourists in 2010, only around 9.6 million came to Egypt in 2011. According to the Tourism Ministry, 9.5 million tourists visited Egypt in 2013. [163]


Strike halts traffic in Sao Paulo

Strike halts traffic in Sao Paulo

5 Jun

A public transport strike has caused traffic chaos in Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, a week before it hosts the opening match of the World Cup. Half of the underground stations were closed by striking transport workers, who are demanding a 10% pay rise. Angry commuters stormed the Itaquera station, nearest the stadium where Brazil will play Croatia on 12 June. Police and other public sector workers say they will go on strike in the next few weeks if their demands are not met. The authorities said they would sack staff if they failed to meet legal requirements and keep at least 70% of services running. Sao Paulo's traffic problem is bad at the best of times, but when metro workers go on strike it gets a whole lot worse. People here are frustrated - inflation is high and many feel it is eating into their hard-earned wages. As the world looks to Brazil, they see it as a good opportunity to pressure the government. And the government is certainly feeling it - public transport is the only viable option to get to the opening match. A public transport strike would cause chaos for fans and be a huge embarrassment for Brazil. [164]


Mass jailbreak in eastern DR Congo

Mass jailbreak in eastern DR Congo

5 Jun

At least 250 prisoners in the Democratic Republic of Congo have escaped in a mass jailbreak at dawn in Bukavu. Three people died, including a guard who was overpowered as the prisoners made their escape, the official in the South Kivu governor's office said. Police are patrolling Bukavu, which is built on the shores of Lake Kivu in eastern DR Congo, looking for them. Civil society activists say the number of escapees could be higher as more than 1,500 inmates were inside at the time and officials estimate 80% of the prisoners escaped.[165]


Venezuela Travel Warning

Venezuela Travel Warning

5 Jun

The Department of State has issued this Travel Warning to inform U.S. citizens about the security situation in Venezuela. Tens of thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Venezuela each year for study, tourism, business, and volunteer work. However, violent crime in Venezuela is pervasive, both in the capital, Caracas, and in the interior. Moreover, since February 2014, frequent demonstrations have taken place throughout Venezuela, and may pose a security risk. This Travel Warning updates the Travel Warning issued on November 22, 2013, to include information on the ongoing demonstrations and additions to the movement policy for U.S. Embassy personnel and their families. [166]


Ukraine rebels attack border guard camp

Ukraine rebels attack border guard camp

2 Jun

Hundreds of pro-Russia insurgents attacked a border guard base in eastern Ukraine on Monday, with some firing rocket-propelled grenades from the roof of a nearby residential building. At least five rebels were killed when the guards returned fire, a spokesman for the border guard service said. Rebels in uniform near the Luhansk base promised safety for the officers if they surrendered and laid down their arms. The pro-Russian insurgents, who have seized government and police buildings across eastern Ukraine, have waged increasingly aggressive attacks on government-held checkpoints and garrisons in an attempt to seize weapons and ammunition from Ukrainian forces. The initial attack by about 100 insurgents was met by gunfire from the border guards, and the number of attackers swelled to around 400 a few hours later. The conflict between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian insurgents escalated markedly in the past week, with rebels attempting to seize a major airport and the shooting-down of a Ukrainian military helicopter. [167]


Strong sandstorm kills four in Iran

Strong sandstorm kills four in Iran

2 Jun

A powerful sandstorm has hit Iran's capital, Tehran, killing at least four people and injuring about 30. At its peak, the storm brought winds of up to 110km/hour (70mph), knocking over trees and damaging windows. The storm caused power cuts and traffic accidents from poor visibility as dust and sand engulfed parts of the capital. Some domestic flights to central Iran have been diverted, AP news agency reports. [168]


Hurricane and Typhoon Season

Hurricane and Typhoon Season

2 Jun

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the upcoming Hurricane and Typhoon Seasons in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Hurricane Season in the Atlantic begins June 1 and ends November 30. The Typhoon Season will last through the end of 2014, though most tropical cyclones typically develop between May and October. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends that those in hurricane- and typhoon-prone regions begin preparations for the upcoming seasons now. [169]


Clashes at India gang-rape protest

Clashes at India gang-rape protest

2 Jun

Indian police have fired water cannons to disperse hundreds of protesters in Uttar Pradesh state where two teenage cousins were gang-raped and hanged. The protesters, many of them women, were demonstrating outside the office of state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Police have detained five people, including two policemen, in connection with the attacks. Meanwhile, reports say another woman has been found dead after being gang-raped elsewhere in the state. Scrutiny of sexual violence in India has grown since the 2012 gang-rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus. The government tightened laws on sexual violence last year after widespread protests following the attack. [170]


Libya clashes: 18 killed in Benghazi

Libya clashes: 18 killed in Benghazi

2 Jun

At least 18 people have been killed in intense fighting in eastern Libya, medics say. The fighting started when Ansar al-Sharia militants attacked forces loyal to renegade General Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi, who hit back with airstrikes. Benghazi is at the centre of a two-week long campaign by Gen Haftar's forces against Islamist armed groups. The government in the capital Tripoli has condemned the campaign, calling it an "attempted coup". While Libya and in particular Benghazi has been plagued with violence since the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi, the latest fighting has been particularly ferocious. Combat helicopters have reportedly been used to carry out strikes against rival armed groups in the west of Benghazi. Eyewitnesses said one of the rockets fired on Sunday missed its target and instead hit a university engineering faculty. [171]


Volcanic ash affects Bali flights

Volcanic ash affects Bali flights

2 Jun

Air passengers travelling to Bali face more disruption because of ash spewed from a nearby volcano. Australian carrier Jetstar said in a statement it had cancelled two flights on Monday "due to the ash cloud emanating from Sangeang Api". Indonesia's Mount Sangeang Api volcano first erupted on Friday, creating ash clouds that grounded flights over northern Australia and Indonesia. Most airlines had resumed a full service by Monday. But Jetstar's cancellations raises the prospect of more travel disruption. Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss warned after the weekend's problems it could take days for services to return to normal. The fine particles of volcanic ash can potentially damage plane engines. [172]


May

Separatists shoot down Ukrainian helicopter

Separatists shoot down Ukrainian helicopter

29 May

Pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian military helicopter in Sloviansk , killing at least 12 soldiers including a senior leader of Ukraine’s efforts to recapture control of its rebellious east. A rebel leader, meanwhile, said his fighters were holding four election monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. The town of Sloviansk has seen fierce fighting between separatists and government forces in recent weeks.[173]


Clashes in Barcelona

Clashes in Barcelona

29 May

Police in the Spanish city of Barcelona have clashed with gangs of hooded youths in the third night of violence triggered by moves to demolish a well-known squat. At least 25 people were arrested overnight when police were confronted by about 2,000 protesters. The demonstrators pelted them with bottles and stones. A police spokeswoman told the AFP news agency that helmeted police charged protesters after they breached a security line. The rioters responded by tipping over rubbish bins, breaking windows and pelting them with missiles. Spain has seen numerous demonstrations against home evictions and cuts to public services since its economic crisis erupted in 2008. [174]


Fresh Brazil anti-World Cup protests

Fresh Brazil anti-World Cup protests

27 May

Police in Brazil have fired tear gas at anti-World Cup and indigenous demonstrators in the capital, Brasilia. Stones were hurled at security forces as hundreds of protesters tried to reach the National Stadium – where the golden tournament cup is on display. A group of indigenous people who were demanding land rights at Congress eventually joined the protest. This is the latest in a series of demonstrations in Brazil against the cost of staging the tournament. Authorities say around 1,500 people were taking part in demonstration, which blocked one of the main roads of the city. As the crowd tried to walk towards the National Stadium, host to several tournament matches, mounted police blocked their way. [175]


Ukraine army recaptures airport

Ukraine army recaptures airport

27 May

Ukraine's interior ministry says the military is now in full control of the airport in the eastern city of Donetsk after a day of bloody clashes. More than 30 pro-Russia separatists were reported killed after an attempt to seize the airport early on Monday. New President Petro Poroshenko vowed to tackle the eastern uprising in hours, not months. Russia has called for an immediate end to military action.[176]


Libya travel warning

Libya travel warning

27 May

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against all travel to Libya and recommends that U.S. citizens currently in Libya depart immediately. Due to security concerns, the Department of State has limited staffing at Embassy Tripoli and is only able to offer very limited emergency services to U.S. citizens in Libya. The security situation in Libya remains unpredictable and unstable. The Libyan government has not been able to adequately build its military and police forces and improve security following the 2011 revolution. Many military-grade weapons remain in the hands of private individuals, including antiaircraft weapons that may be used against civilian aviation. Crime levels remain high in many parts of the country. [177]


Rare North Dakota tornado

Rare North Dakota tornado

27 May

rare North Dakota tornado that critically injured a 15-year-old girl and hurt eight other people at a workers' camp in the heart of the state's booming oil patch packed winds that peaked at 120 mph, the National Weather Service said. The twister touched down on 26 May night at a camp just south of Watford City, about 50 miles southeast of Williston, and damaged or destroyed 15 trailers. Tornadoes are rarely reported in McKenzie County, with only 14 since 1950, with no fatalities, according to weather service data. Monday's tornado, which hit about 7:50 p.m., was an EF-2 in strength on the 0-to-5 enhanced Fujita or EF scale, the weather service said Tuesday afternoon. Preliminary information suggests the winds of the twister peaked at 120 mph, the weather service said. A second brief tornado possibly occurred in the area based on eyewitness accounts, it said. [178]


Thailand travel alert

Thailand travel alert

23 May

The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens reconsider any non-essential travel to Thailand, particularly Bangkok, due to ongoing political and social unrest and restrictions on internal movements, including an indefinite nighttime curfew throughout Thailand. The Department of State has advised official U.S. government travelers to defer all non-essential travel to Thailand until further notice. This Travel Alert supersedes the Travel Alert issued on May 16, 2014, and will expire on August 21, 2014.[179]


Brazilian anti-World Cup protests

Brazilian anti-World Cup protests

16 May

Riot police in Brazil have fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro who marched against the cost of hosting the football World Cup. Some demonstrators hurled stones while other burned tyres and blocked roads. They say they are angry that billions of dollars are being spent on next month's football tournament, rather than social projects and housing. Protests also took place in many other cities, including the capital Brasilia. Teachers and civil servants, among others, were also on strike across Brazil. In Rio, aerial images showed hundreds of people marching in rush-hour traffic on a main thoroughfare. The city will host the final match of the World Cup on 13 Jul. Protesters there and in Sao Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, clashed with police before beginning to disperse. The number of people on the streets was much lower than during similar protests last year. Some of those taking part, however, promised the demonstrations would get bigger and more frequent as the World Cup gets closer. Last June, more than a million people took to the street over poor public services, corruption and the high cost of hosting the World Cup. The tournament is due to kick off on 12 June. [180]


Nairobi rocked by two deadly explosions

Nairobi rocked by two deadly explosions

16 May

At least 10 killed by blasts in Kenyan capital as hundreds of British tourists evacuated due to renewed terror threat. Two blasts have hit Nairobi, killing 10 people and injuring 70 as hundreds of British tourists were evacuated from the country due to the renewed terror threat. Nairobi police chief, Benson Kibue, said two improvised explosive devices were detonated in a market area near central Nairobi. One blast hit a mini-van used for public transportation. The two blasts in the Kenyan capital came shortly after 400 British holidaymakers were told they would be evacuated from Mombasa, on the east coast of Kenya, due to an "unacceptably high" threat level. The US embassy also issued a travel alert, warning American citizens of a continued terrorist threat in the country where the US embassy was hit by a devastating attack in 1998. [181]


Protesters, police clash in Turkey

Protesters, police clash in Turkey

16 May

Police in Soma, Turkey, used tear gas, plastic pellets and a water cannon on protesters angry over the government's response to a coal mine fire that killed at least 292 people. Protesters chanting "Don't sleep, Soma, remember your dead!" coursed through city streets a few miles from the disaster site, trying to reach a statue honoring miners. The clash comes two days after a photograph surfaced of an aide to Turkey's Prime Minister kicking a protester, an image that quickly became a symbol of the anger felt by many against the government, and amid mounting questions over safety practices at the mine. The complex exploded into fire for unknown reasons on 13 May trapping many miners deep underground. [182]


Libyan rebels clash in Benghazi

Libyan rebels clash in Benghazi

16 May

Fierce clashes in Libya have killed several people, after a paramilitary force led by a former general attacked Islamist militias in Benghazi.Local media reported that government troops had also joined the attack against the Islamists. But acting Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni condemned the operation as "a coup against the revolution". Libya's leaders have struggled to bring stability to the country since Muammar Gaddafi was removed from power in 2011. Benghazi, the heart of the anti-Gaddafi uprising, has been the scene of frequent clashes between the army and Islamist militias. The death toll remains unclear but sources in the city said at least 12 people had been killed and dozens more injured. [183]


UN warns on Ukraine human rights

UN warns on Ukraine human rights

16 May

The UN has warned of an "alarming deterioration" in human rights in eastern Ukraine, where separatists are fighting security forces. It also found "serious problems" of harassment and persecution of ethnic Tatars in Crimea, the mainly ethnic Russian region Moscow annexed in March. Russia condemned the report, saying it ignored abuses by Ukraine's government. Meanwhile, a third-party initiative to restore law and order in one troubled city, Mariupol, seems to be succeeding. Violence between separatists and pro-Ukrainian forces has left dozens dead in the east and south this month. Separatists control towns in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where they have been skirmishing with units of the Ukrainian security forces, sent in to reassert government control. The revolt in the east gained momentum after Russia annexed Ukraine's mainly ethnic Russian region of Crimea in March. [184]


Bosnia and Serbia hit by floods

Bosnia and Serbia hit by floods

16 May

States of emergency have been declared in parts of Bosnia and Serbia after the heaviest rain and worst floods since records began 120 years ago. Overflowing rivers have burst into towns and villages, cutting off whole communities, while landslides have buried houses. At least three people have drowned. Army helicopters have been sent to evacuate thousands of stranded residents but reports say bad weather is hampering the rescue efforts. [185]


Ukraine's Donetsk region asking to join Russia

Ukraine's Donetsk region asking to join Russia

12 May

A separatist leader declared that eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region was not only independent, but also would ask to join Russia - a day after referendum organizers claim voters in the region chose to break away from Kiev. Denis Pushilin, self-declared leader of the Donetsk People's Republic, told a crowd that no further referendum was needed to ask Russia to annex it. Pro-Russian separatists held a referendum Sunday asking residents of the Donetsk region whether it should declare independence from Ukraine. Nearly 90% of voters in the area favored secession, an election official said. A similar question was put to voters in Luhansk. [186]


Brazil launches border security plan

Brazil launches border security plan

12 May

Brazil has begun a massive military operation to secure its lengthy borders ahead of next month's World Cup. More than 30,000 troops from the army, navy and air force are taking part in what authorities said was Brazil's "single largest mobilization ever". There are still concerns over whether some venues for the tournament will be ready in time. Authorities are also concerned about the recurrence of street protests against the cost of holding the event. The border security operation – codename Agata – was first carried out in 2011 and usually takes place three times a year. It targets illegal immigration as well as drugs and arms smuggling. Troops also monitor rivers and lakes as part of their operations in Brazil's dense jungle. They have not indicated when the operation will finish, but previous operations lasted between one and two weeks. A border security operation mounted ahead of the Confederations Cup last year led to the seizure of almost 20 tonnes of drugs. More than 600,000 tourists are expected to arrive in Brazil for this year's tournament, between 12 June and 13 July. [187]


China tightens security in Beijing

China tightens security in Beijing

12 May

China has deployed armed police patrol vehicles in Beijing after three attacks at transport hubs around the country. The 150 vehicles are tasked with "countering street terrorism and fighting severe violence", state-run Xinhua news agency said. Petrol purchases would also be tightened, with buyers required to register with police, reports said. The move follows station attacks in Kunming, Urumqi and Guangzhou, and comes before the Tiananmen anniversary. Xinhua said the armed police patrols would be stationed at major road junctions and manned by at least nine police officers and other assistants. They would cover an area of 3km (1.8 miles) and would be required to respond within three minutes, Xinhua added. Meanwhile, those buying petrol would have to explain their intentions in a move that aimed to prevent the use of gasoline "to create disturbances", People's Daily newspaper said. [188]


Large anti-China protests in Vietnam

Large anti-China protests in Vietnam

12 May

Hundreds of people across Vietnam have protested against China's role in a sea dispute - the largest rallies of their kind recently in the communist country. In the capital, Hanoi, demonstrators sang patriotic songs and held up placards opposite the Chinese embassy. Tensions have been running high after Vietnamese ships clashed with Chinese vessels guarding an oil rig in a contested area of the South China Sea. The protests appear to have the Vietnamese government's approval. The country's communist authorities have broken up previous anti-China demonstrations because of fears that they may be hijacked by pro-democracy activists, says the BBC's Asia Pacific editor, Charles Scanlon. Nevertheless, he says, Hanoi has also used the demonstrations to communicate its anger over what it sees as Beijing's aggressive infringement of Vietnamese sovereignty. [189]


Syria troops move into Homs Old City

Syria troops move into Homs Old City

9 May

Syrian forces have moved into previously rebel-held areas of Homs after the evacuation of opposition fighters following a two-year siege. Troops have begun sweeping the Old City for explosives, state media quoted Homs Governor Talal al-Barazi as saying. The UN-supervised evacuation marks the end of three years of resistance in Homs, once dubbed the "capital of the revolution". Much of Homs fell to the opposition in 2011, but over the past two years government forces have gradually regained control by subjecting areas once home to tens of thousands of people to continuous siege and bombardment. Civilians began returning the devastated zone of the Old City to find what remained of their homes, reports say. [190]


Strong earthquake hits Mexico

Strong earthquake hits Mexico

9 May

An earthquake of 6.4 magnitude has shaken parts of Mexico, causing buildings to sway in the capital. The US Geological Survey said it was centred near the town of Tecpan de Galeana in southern Guerrero state, about 190 miles (300km) south-west of Mexico City. It was also felt in the resort city of Acapulco, the Associated Press says. There are no reports of any damage or injuries but frightened office workers ran into the streets in the capital. [191]


Protests in Thailand

Protests in Thailand

9 May

Thai police have fired water cannons and tear gas at protesters in Bangkok, two days after a court ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Hundreds of protesters have been holding a rally outside a government compound in the city. The protesters want the government out and the political system reformed. At least five people were injured outside the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order when they tried to topple concrete barriers that were topped with barbed wire, the Associated Press news agency said. Government supporters have planned a mass rally over the weekend [192]


Deadly clashes erupt in Ukraine

Deadly clashes erupt in Ukraine

5 May

Ukrainian security forces and antigovernment rebels clashed on the edges of Slovyansk as the acting president, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, said roadblocks were being set up around Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, because of fears of disturbances or violence during an emotionally charged holiday later in the week. As many as 10 rebels and four soldiers were killed in the fighting, according to the official accounts from both sides, along with a woman who was shot while standing on an apartment balcony during a bloody firefight along the highway to Slovyansk’s east. But at the end of the day the violence accomplished little for either side besides deepening resentments and anger and appearing to push the crisis further from a chance at peaceful resolution. The rebels yielded a single checkpoint to the government, at Rybkhoz, from which they withdrew during a morning advance by a Ukrainian armored unit. But the antigovernment forces still held Slovyansk, where residents continued to fell trees and stack tires to create obstacles to any military push. [193]


Plains Burning Up

Plains Burning Up

5 May

A blistering heat wave has set in across the drought-scorched Plains, with all-time record high temperatures set in Kansas and Oklahoma during the past few days. The hot, dry weather there has sparked deadly wildfires, and it contrasts sharply with the deluge that recently struck the Gulf Coast, as well as the cooler-than-average spring in the Midwest and Northeast, where 19% of the Great Lakes are still covered in ice. In Wichita, Kansas, the temperature hit 102 degrees Fahrenheit on May 4, which broke the record for the earliest 100 degree or higher temperature on record there, beating the old record of May 9. Drought conditions are contributing to the early heat wave, since more of the sun's energy can go toward heating the ground and air when soils are dry compared to when they are wet, which diverts some incoming solar energy to evaporation. [194]


Dozens killed in Odessa clashes

Dozens killed in Odessa clashes

2 May

Police in the Black Sea port of Odessa said that 31 people died when a union hall was set ablaze as pro-Russia demonstrators battled in the streets with Ukrainian loyalists. Most victims were killed by smoke, while eight others died when they jumped from the upper floors, Reuters reported. Police initially put the death toll at 38. Later, the Interfax-Ukraine news service said that in addition to those killed in the fire, 12 others lost their lives and 123 were hurt in the day's violence. The day's death toll is the highest since more than 70 people died Feb. 20 on Independence Square in Kiev during the so-called EuroMaidan Revolution, which toppled pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich. The fire came hours after Ukraine's new president said that "many" pro-Russian rebels had been killed or wounded in a crackdown by Ukrainian troops in eastern city of Slovyansk, which had been held for days by separatists. [195]


Afghan landslide kills hundreds

Afghan landslide kills hundreds

2 May

At least 350 people have been killed and many more are missing, the UN says, after a landslide hit the north-east Afghan province of Badakhshan. Hundreds of homes were buried under mud and rocks when a section of a mountain collapsed following torrential rain. Rescuers have reached the area and are searching for survivors. Much of north and east Afghanistan has been hit by heavy rain in recent days, and some 150 people have died in flooding. "The number of deceased has increased to 350 and significant displacement is expected," the UN mission in Afghanistan said in a statement. "The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is helping local authorities to rescue those still trapped." Local officials say that more than 2,000 people are missing. About 1,000 houses were affected - 300 of them buried immediately after the side of a mountain gave way. [196]


Deadly Protests in Ethiopia

Deadly Protests in Ethiopia

2 May

At least nine students have died during days of protests in Ethiopia's Oromia state, the government has said. Witnesses say Ethiopian police have killed at least 17 protesters during demonstrations in Ethiopia's Oromia region against plans to annex territory to expand the capital, Addis Ababa. Authorities put the protest-related death toll at 11 and have not said how the demonstrators were killed. The main opposition party says 17 people were killed while witnesses and residents say the death toll is much higher. Residents say that an elite government security force opened fire on protesters at three university campuses. The demonstrations erupted last week against plans by the Ethiopian government to incorporate part of Oromia into the capital. Oromia is Ethiopia's largest region and Oromos are the country's largest ethnic group. Oromos say the government wants to weaken their political power. They say expanding the capital threatens the local language, which is not taught in Addis Ababa schools. Ethiopian officials say the master plan for expansion was publicized long ago and would bring city services to remote areas. They accuse those they call "anti-peace forces" of trying to destroy Ethiopia's ethnic harmony. [197]


South Korea subway crash

South Korea subway crash

2 May

Dozens of people have been injured after two subway cars collided in the South Korean capital Seoul. As many as 170 people were hurt - and a number were taken to hospital for treatment - but no-one suffered serious injuries, officials said. The accident happened after one train ran into the back of another that had stopped at a station in east Seoul. It comes as the nation continues to mourn the deaths of about 300 people in last month's ferry disaster. [198]



Explosive Fire Conditions, California

Explosive Fire Conditions, California

2 May

Soaring temperatures, low humidity and Santa Ana winds created the perfect conditions for fire this week in Southern California, where firefighters are facing what could be the most dangerous fire season yet. "In 2014, we've had over a thousand fires here in California," said Forester Glenn Barley of Cal Fire. "In a normal year we would have a little over 400 fires." Throughout the West, bigger and more expensive fires have become the norm. Now that the wildfire season is underway, states will spend billions to contain the flames. [199]


April

Ukraine rebels storm Luhansk offices

Ukraine rebels storm Luhansk offices

29 Apr

Pro-Russia activists have stormed several official buildings in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk. They seized the regional government's headquarters and prosecutor's office before opening fire with automatic weapons at the main police station. Interim President Olexander Turchynov criticised local police for their "inaction" and "criminal treachery". Until now, only the local office of the State Security Service (SBU) in Luhansk, a city of 465,000 people less than 30km (20 miles) from the Russian border, had been targeted. A group of men armed with sticks and metal bars broke into the building. They pulled down the Ukrainian flag flying from the roof and replaced it with a Russian tricolour and the flag of Donetsk People's Republic. Crowds of pro-Russia activists then overran the building housing the prosecutor's office before attacking the headquarters of the interior ministry's police force. Hours later, an AFP news agency journalist reported that officers had abandoned the police station and been taken away in buses, as an angry crowd shouted at them to "Go home". [200]


Syria blasts kill dozens in Homs

Syria blasts kill dozens in Homs

29 Apr

At least 37 people have been killed in explosions in the Syrian city of Homs, officials say. The attacks, which involved at least one car bomb, also injured dozens. Earlier, at least 14 people were killed and more than 80 wounded in a mortar attack on a technical institute in central Damascus. The attacks come a day after President Bashar al-Assad registered to stand for re-election, defying calls to step down as a way of ending Syria's civil war. There are conflicting details about the number of deaths in the government-held, predominantly Alawite district of Zahra, east of the Old City in Homs. A government official said at least 37 people were killed and 85 hurt. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights gave the same death toll figures, with 80 injured. [201]


Severe weather threatens eastern US

Severe weather threatens eastern US

29 Apr

Severe weather is threatening as many as 73 million Americans in the eastern states, after two days of powerful storms killed up to 34 people. Government forecasters have warned of severe thunderstorms from the Gulf of Mexico up to the Great Lakes. On Sunday and Monday, tornadoes cut a broad track of death and destruction through the southern US states. The storms flattened buildings, overturned cars, and left thousands of residents without power. "Widespread thunderstorms are forecast across the central Gulf Coast region, with several severe [or] supercell storms possible," the National Weather Service wrote in a morning forecast. More than two million people are said to be at risk of tornadoes and high winds in parts of Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday. As the storm moves further east, parts of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are expected to be under threat of severe weather, forecasters say. [202]


Tornado outbreak in Southern USA

Tornado outbreak in Southern USA

28 Apr

A ferocious storm system threatened tens of millions of people across the U.S. Southeast, a day after it spawned a series of tornadoes that killed 16 people, injured more than 100 and tossed cars around like toys in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Rescue workers, volunteers and victims have been sifting through the rubble in the hardest-hit state of Arkansas, looking for survivors in central Faulkner County where a tornado reduced homes to splinters, snapped power lines and mangled countless trees. The National Weather Service said there was a tornado risk for Mississippi, Alabama and western Georgia as the storm system that produced the twisters headed east toward the Mid-Atlantic states. [203]


Iraq suicide bomb at rally kills 30

Iraq suicide bomb at rally kills 30

28 Apr

A suicide bombing at a rally in north-eastern Iraq has killed 30 people, security officials say. The attack took place at a political gathering in the town of Khanaqin, which has a large Kurdish population. It was the deadliest bombing among a wave of attacks to hit Iraq on Monday. Iraqis are voting in the country's first parliamentary election since the withdrawal of US troops almost three years ago, but it comes amid the worst unrest since 2008. People at the rally had gathered to watch television footage of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, casting his vote in Germany. Mr Talabani suffered a stroke in December 2012 and has been receiving treatment in Germany. The attack was one of several attacks across Iraq on Monday. A total of at least 50 people were killed.[204]


Saudi Mers death toll passes 100

Saudi Mers death toll passes 100

28 Apr

Saudi Arabia says more than 100 patients infected with the Mers coronavirus have now died since the outbreak began in 2012. The health ministry said another eight deaths occurred on Sunday, taking the toll to 102. The acting health minister says three hospitals in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam have been designated specialist centres for treating Mers. Mers causes symptoms including fever, pneumonia and kidney failure. The rate of infections is increasing and the World Health Organization (WHO) has offered to help Saudi Arabia investigate infection patterns. [205]


Dangerous tornado threat in Central USA

Dangerous tornado threat in Central USA

24 Apr

A dangerous multiple-day severe weather outbreak will begin this weekend over the South Central states and will include the potential for nighttime tornadoes in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. A storm will move slowly across the United States over the next seven to 10 days. The storm will affect Southern California with locally drenching rain and mountain snow on Friday. Its next stop will be the Central states this weekend. While the central and southern Plains are in need of rain, it will come with the price tag of violent storms. [206]


New clashes in Rio de Janeiro

New clashes in Rio de Janeiro

23 Apr

Deadly protests have broken out in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro following the death of a young man allegedly beaten by police. Demonstrators from the favela set barricades of tyres alight, leading to the closure of streets in the nearby tourist area of Copacabana. The violence comes weeks before Brazil hosts the football World Cup. Witnesses said cars were set ablaze, the local police station was attacked and gunfire could be heard from the favela. "There was smoke everywhere, shots in the street and people racing for their homes," one resident living nearby told AFP news agency. [207]


Deadly car bomb strikes Nairobi

Deadly car bomb strikes Nairobi

23 Apr

A car bomb has exploded outside a police station in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, killing four people. Police were taking the occupants of the car in for questioning in the Pangani neighbourhood when it exploded, the interior ministry said. Two of those killed were police. It is unclear who was behind the blast, but Nairobi has been targeted in the past in attacks attributed to Somali al-Shabab militants, who oppose Kenya's military involvement in Somalia. grenade also found at the scene was detonated by police, the ministry said. Kenya has been on alert for attacks since last September's assault by al-Shabab gunmen on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi left 67 people dead. [208]


Everest Sherpas discuss boycott

Everest Sherpas discuss boycott

23 Apr

Sherpa guides in Nepal are meeting climbers at Everest base camp to decide whether to cancel ascents after an avalanche on Friday 18 Apr killed 16 sherpas. The sherpas have threatened a boycott unless they get a bigger share of revenue from foreign climbers. Friday's was the single deadliest accident in modern mountaineering on the world's highest peak. The avalanche struck in an area just above Everest base camp at 5,800m (19,000ft). Everest has been scaled by more than 3,000 climbers since 1953. The rising number of tourists has raised concerns about safety and environmental damage, although Nepal still plans to cut fees from next year for those wishing to make the climb. Some 250 climbers have died on the mountain, which is on the border between Nepal and the Chinese region of Tibet, and can be climbed from both sides. [209]


Venezuelan capital hit by new protests

Venezuelan capital hit by new protests

22 Apr

Fresh clashes have occurred in Venezuela's capital, with hooded anti-government protesters hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails at riot police who returned fire with rubber bullets, tear-gas and water cannon. Four people were reported injured in the unrest that erupted in Caracas's upscale Chacao neighbourhood on Sunday 20 Apr, a stronghold of anti-government opposition. Venezuela has been rocked by two months of deadly protests, with at least 41 people killed since a wave of demonstrations against the leftist government of Nicolas Maduro broke out in early February. About 600 people have also been injured in the protests, and around 100 have been detained. [210]


Ukraine clash ends in deaths

Ukraine clash ends in deaths

17 Apr

A clash outside a military base ended with the first deaths so far in a Ukraine anti-militant operation as Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted in a radio interview that Russian soldiers did secretly invade Crimea to help pro-Russian Ukrainians take over the province by force. Three pro-Russian militants were killed in a skirmish outside a Ukrainian National Guard base in the Black Sea port of Mariupol in an attack Ukraine's interior ministry called the bloodiest to date by militants who want the entire East Ukraine to go the way of Crimea. [211]


Brazil troops guard strike-hit Bahia

Brazil troops guard strike-hit Bahia

17 Apr

Brazil has sent thousands of federal troops to maintain order in the north-eastern state of Bahia after police there went on strike over pay. Shops and supermarkets in the state capital, Salvador, have been looted and public transport was severely reduced following attacks on some buses. The Brazilian city is due to host six matches during this year's football World Cup, which begins in June. Another strike in 2012 led to a spike in murders and other violent crimes. Back then, more than 130 people were killed and 12 officers were arrested, including the leader of the current labour dispute, Marco Prisco. The 2012 strike lasted 12 days, and troops were also sent to the streets of Salvador, Brazil's third most populous city. [212]


Nicaragua on high alert after quakes

Nicaragua on high alert after quakes

17 Apr

The authorities in Nicaragua have put the entire country on an "extreme red alert", the highest possible, after the country was hit by a series of tremors. Nicaraguans were asked to sleep outdoors as seismologists warned of the possibility of a powerful earthquake rocking the Central American country. Officials said the recent tremors had reactivated a fault which caused a devastating earthquake in 1972. Between 5,000 and 10,000 people were killed in the disaster. Soldiers have been erecting field hospitals and the Red Cross urged people to donate blood to replenish the country's blood banks. Some people considered to be at high risk either because of their age or because they live in houses at risk of crumbling have been moved to shelters. In the past week, Nicaragua was hit by three quakes of magnitudes ranging between 5.1 and 6.7, as well as dozens of aftershocks. Two people have died and dozens been injured. [213]


Fresh Syria gas attack alleged

Fresh Syria gas attack alleged

17 Apr

Activists in Syria have published what they say is evidence of a chlorine gas attack by government forces. Footage posted online, which cannot be verified, shows medics trying to revive four young men suffering what appear to be symptoms of poisoning. A voice off-screen says the location is Harasta, just outside the capital Damascus. Use of chlorine as a weapon of war is banned and Syria committed to declaring and giving up its stocks last year. Four days ago, activists said the Syrian government carried out another alleged chlorine attack north of the city of Hama. The Syrian government blamed the opposition. [214]


Pakistan Taliban end ceasefire

Pakistan Taliban end ceasefire

17 Apr

The Pakistani Taliban have announced that they will not extend the ceasefire they began in March, effectively ending their truce with the government. A Pakistani Taliban (TTP) spokesman said the move was due to the government ignoring their demands, but that they remained committed to peace talks. Negotiations between the Pakistani government and the Taliban continued for some time but lately reports of a deadlock had emerged. Despite the recent ceasefire, Pakistan has continued to be hit by attacks in the past month, including a bomb attack in an Islamabad market that killed at least 20. [215]


Ferry sinks off South Korea's coast

Ferry sinks off South Korea's coast

16 Apr

Divers fighting strong currents have searched three compartments of a submerged South Korean ferry, but found no sign of 284 people — most of them high school students — still missing after the vessel sank off South Korea's southern coast. At least four of the 459 people aboard are confirmed dead and 55 are injured. More than 100 navy, coast guard and other vessels and aircraft are engaged in the search for survivors in a broad swath of water 12 miles off the island of Byeongpoong where the ferry went down. [216]


Powerful cyclone hits Australia

Powerful cyclone hits Australia

11 Apr

Tens of thousands of people hunkered down as warnings of severe gales, flash flooding and storm tides continued through the night."Destructive winds with gusts to 140 kilometres per hour are possible between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation for a period this morning," the Bureau of Meteorology said. The storm was moving at nine kilometres per hour and was "expected to continue moving south-southwest" and weaken through the early morning. Nonetheless, winds gusting in excess of 110 kilometres per hour were expected to hit Port Douglas and Cairns later Saturday morning, and as far south as Cardwell, which is some 1,500 kilometres from Brisbane. [217]


Clashes as squatters evicted in Rio

Clashes as squatters evicted in Rio

11 Apr

A huge police operation to evict hundreds of families from abandoned buildings in Rio de Janeiro has ended with violent clashes and some injuries. More than 1,500 police officers had arrived at dawn to evict nearly 5,000 people from the site, belonging to a telecommunication company. Some families left peacefully, but clashes began when others resisted. Groups of squatters threw rocks at police who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Hundreds of children were among the crowds. Vehicles were set on fire and supermarkets were looted. [218]


General strike grips Argentina

General strike grips Argentina

11 Apr

Public transport in Argentina has been severely disrupted by a huge nationwide strike against the economic policies of the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. Most buses, commuter trains and metro lines across Argentina did not operate. The 24-hour strike was called by unions amid public discontent over high inflation, taxes and wages. The government said the stoppage was "anti-democratic" because it affected those who wanted to go to work. Airlines were forced to cancel flights and ports came to a near standstill. Many shops also closed because commuters could not get to work. [219]


Donetsk 'people's republic' declared

Donetsk 'people's republic' declared

7 Apr

Pro-Russian protesters who seized the regional government building in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk are reported to have declared a "people's republic". The rebels have called for a referendum on secession from Ukraine by 11 May. Ukrainian security officials are being sent to the eastern cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv after pro-Russia groups occupied government buildings. Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov called the unrest an attempt by Russia to "dismember" Ukraine. In an address on national TV, he said it was "the second wave" of a Russian operation to destabilise Ukraine, overthrow the government and disrupt planned elections. Russia's foreign ministry accused Kiev of "blaming" Moscow for all its troubles. [220]


Ecuador volcano spews huge plume

Ecuador volcano spews huge plume

7 Apr

A volcano just south of Ecuador's capital Quito has erupted, creating a spectacular plume of ash, 10km (six miles) high. The volcano has been erupting since 1999, but has been particularly active in the last two months. Tungurahua is one of eight active volcanoes in Ecuador, which lies in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire. [221]


Kenya Travel Warning

Kenya Travel Warning

7 Apr

The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of travel to Kenya. U.S. citizens in Kenya, and those considering travel to Kenya, should evaluate their personal security situation in light of continuing and recently heightened threats from terrorism and the high rate of violent crime in some areas. The U.S. government continues to receive information about potential terrorist threats aimed at U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in Kenya, including in the Nairobi area and in the coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani. Terrorist acts can include suicide operations, bombings – to include car bombings - kidnappings, attacks on civil aviation, and attacks on maritime vessels in or near Kenyan ports. Although the pursuit of those responsible for previous terrorist activities continues, many of those involved remain at large and still operate in the region. [222]


Powerful earthquake strikes off Chile

Powerful earthquake strikes off Chile

1 Apr

n 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chile, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The quake was centered some 50 miles west-northwest of Iquique at a depth of 6.2 miles. A tsunami warning was in effect for Chile, Peru and Ecuador. A tsunami watch was issued for Colombia, Panama and Costa Rica, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.[223]


Ebola outbreak in Guinea 'limited'

Ebola outbreak in Guinea 'limited'

1 Apr

The deadly Ebola outbreak in Guinea, West Africa, remains in a "limited geographic area", the World Health Organization has said. Guinea says 80 people have so far been killed by Ebola, which is spread by close contact and kills between 25% and 90% of its victims. It has now spread to neighboring Liberia, as well as Guinea's capital, Conakry, which has a population of two million people. Liberia has recorded a total of seven suspected and confirmed cases, including four deaths. Outbreaks of Ebola occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests, the WHO says. [224]


Fresh street battles in Venezuela

Fresh street battles in Venezuela

1 Apr

Clashes erupted once again in the Venezuelan capital, as hooded activists erected barricades on the streets of Caracas, causing massive disruption. Protesters smashed shop windows and set fire to cars before the riot police arrived and dispersed them using tear gas and water cannons. Elsewhere in the west of Venezuela violence was reported in the cities of Maracaibo and San Cristobal, killing two people and bringing the total death toll in Venezuela to 39. Protests have been held throughout Venezuela for the past month and a half, with the population frustrated over inflation, mass power cuts and a lack of basic goods. The Venezuelan government claims that the largely peaceful protest movement has been hijacked by extremist, right-wing, political elements backed by the US, whose aim is to ouster President Nicolas Maduro.[225]


Brazil secures Rio slum in mass raid

Brazil secures Rio slum in mass raid

1 Apr

Brazilian security forces have moved into a slum near Rio airport, as part of efforts to drive out drugs gangs before this year's football World Cup. The vast Mare favela is considered to be one of the most dangerous drug-trafficking areas in the city. Authorities have been carrying out a slum "pacification" programme aimed at making the city - which also hosts the 2016 Olympics - safer. [226]


Kenya in mass arrests after blasts

Kenya in mass arrests after blasts

1 Apr

At least 627 people have been arrested in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, following explosions that killed six people, the police chief has said. David Kimaiyo said about 200 of them were thought to be sympathisers of the militant Islamist group al-Shabab. The rest of those arrested were still being screened, he added. The arrests took place in the mainly Somali neighbourhood of Eastleigh.[227]


Koreas trade fire across sea border

Koreas trade fire across sea border

1 Apr

North and South Korea have exchanged fire into the sea across the disputed western sea border, South Korea says. North Korea announced early on Monday that it would hold live-fire drills in seven parts of the border area. South Korea says it returned fire after North Korean shells landed in its territorial waters. The area has been a flashpoint between the two Koreas. The UN drew the western border after the Korean War, but North Korea has never recognised it. In late 2010, four South Koreans were killed on a border island by North Korean artillery fire. Border fire was also briefly exchanged in August 2011. [228]


Lufthansa pilots' strike

Lufthansa pilots' strike

1 Apr

German airline Lufthansa says will cancel 3,800 flights this week because of a strike by pilots over pay and working conditions. The airline said 425,000 passengers would be affected by the stoppages, due to take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Lufthansa added it would inform passengers via text message or email about the flight changes. Its freight carrier, Lufthansa Cargo, will also be affected. Lufthansa said the impact on profits would be "in the range of tens of millions of euros". "The announcement alone has already caused significant damages since passengers have already rebooked flights and logistic customers have made arrangements with other cargo airlines to secure the transport of their goods," it said in a statement. [229]


March

Deadly ebola outbreak in Guinea

Deadly ebola outbreak in Guinea

26 Mar

Health officials in Guinea are working to contain an outbreak of Ebola that has killed at least 60 people and sickened dozens more, according to the World Health Organization.The outbreak is spreading through forests in the West African country’s southeast, and may have crossed borders into Liberia and Sierra Leone, WHO said. “Multidisciplinary teams have been deployed to the field to strengthen surveillance, sensitize and educate the public, manage case and implement appropriate infection prevention and control measures in health facilities and communities affected,” WHO said in a statement. ABC News


Nigeria conflict 'affects millions'

Nigeria conflict 'affects millions'

26 Mar

More than three million people are facing a humanitarian crisis in three northern Nigerian states hit by an Islamist-led insurgency, the government's relief agency has said. The conflict has displaced about 250,000 people since January, it added. President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in the three states last year to crush the insurgency. However, the militant Islamist group Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in recent months. The group operates mostly in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, where the state of emergency is in force. In a statement, the Nigerian government's National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said the "needs of the affected population are increasing by the day and the support of all is urgently required". Borno was worst affected, with about 1.3 million people - most of them women, children and the elderly - in need of aid, NEMA said. In Adamawa, the number stood at around one million and in Yobe at more than 770,000, it said. About 250,000 people were living in camps or with relatives and friends after being forced out of their homes, NEMA added. Nigerian Red Cross Society representative Soji Adeniyi said what has happening in the north-east was unprecedented. BBC


US mudslide death toll rises to 16

US mudslide death toll rises to 16

26 Mar

Authorities say they have recovered the bodies of two more people killed in a massive mudslide in the US state of Washington, bringing the total to 16. The officials said they thought they had located eight more bodies under the mud but were unable to retrieve them. As many as 176 people remain unaccounted for. A 177ft (54m) wall of mud buried the town of Oso, north of Seattle, on 22 Mar. The sudden, catastrophic mudslide destroyed about 30 houses, temporarily damming a river and leaving a square-mile field of muck and debris in its wake. BBC


Pakistan holds Taliban peace talks

Pakistan holds Taliban peace talks

26 Mar

A first day of peace talks between the Pakistani government and the Pakistani Taliban has concluded in the tribal region of North Waziristan. Local media reported that a ceasefire has been extended, but there was no official confirmation from either side. It was the first direct contact between the two sides since peace moves began last month. Militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been waging an insurgency in Pakistan since 2007. Since that time thousands have been killed and many more injured in Pakistan's militant violence. BBC


Clashes in Lebanon

Clashes in Lebanon

26 Mar

At least three people were killed in fighting between rival religious sects in Lebanon's second city, Tripoli , medical and security sources said, as violence from Syria spills over into the small Mediterranean country. The long-running rivalry between Tripoli's Sunni Muslims and members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam, has been worsened by Syria's three-year-old conflict. The civil war has become increasingly sectarian as mostly Sunni rebels - who represent the majority in Syria - battle President Bashar al-Assad, an Alawite. That has in turn exacerbated tensions in Lebanon, which is home to Sunnis, Shi'ites, Christians and a number of smaller sects, and is still recovering from its own 1975-90 civil war. At least 27 people have been killed in fighting in Tripoli over roughly the last two weeks, including one Lebanese soldier. Reuters


Ukraine proposes demilitarized zone in Crimea

Ukraine proposes demilitarized zone in Crimea

20 Mar

Ukraine has proposed that Crimea, scene of a Russian-backed armed takeover, be declared a demilitarised zone by the United Nations with a pull-out by both Russian and Ukrainian forces. "The Ukrainian government will immediately appeal to the United Nations to recognise Crimea as a demilitarised zone and take necessary measures for Russian forces to leave Crimea and prepare conditions for redeployment of Ukrainian forces," security chief Andriy Parubiy said on 18 Mar. Referring to his demilitarisation proposal, Parubiy, secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, said he hoped the UN would support the idea. Al Jazeera


Somali militants attack army hotel

Somali militants attack army hotel

20 Mar

A car bomb exploded by the hotel in Bulo-burde where African Union (AU) and Somali officers were staying and gunfire continued for another five hours, witnesses said. Six soldiers were killed, including a top Somali army commander, the AU said. The al-Shabab Islamist group said it was behind the attack and that 30 AU and army officers had been killed. A spokesman for the 22,000-strong AU force in Somalia (Amisom), Col Ali Adan Humad, said all the al-Shabab fighters involved in the raid had been killed, without specifying numbers. Al-Shabab, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has waged an eight-year insurgency to overthrow the weak UN-backed government and create an Islamic state in Somalia. BBC


Crimea votes to leave Ukraine for Russia

Crimea votes to leave Ukraine for Russia

17 Mar

Voters in the Crimea region of Ukraine voted overwhelmingly on 16 Mar to secede from their country and join Russia, in a major victory for Moscow that followed days of international condemnation that the referendum itself was illegitimate. The results of the vote in the predominantly ethnic Russian peninsula were not unexpected, coming several weeks after Kremlin-led forces took control of the region. But the crucial step toward official annexation by Russia will further raise tensions with Ukraine, as well as with the U.S. and Europe, which have promised an escalation of sanctions. An election official said 95% of voters supported joining Russia, with about half of ballots counted, the Associated Press reports. The military threat Russia poses was palpable during the vote in Crimea, with Russian warships circling Crimea and Moscow-directed troops blockading Ukrainian troops in their bases. Russia said at the time of its initial intervention that it was protecting the majority ethnic Russian population against the new Ukrainian government in Kiev after the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.Time magazine


Earthquake hits LA area

Earthquake hits LA area

17 Mar

A 4.4-magnitude earthquake shook the Los Angeles area on Monday morning, jolting some people awake just before sunrise but bringing no immediate reports of serious damage. The quake, centered about 6 miles north-northwest of Westwood and about 15 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, happened at 6:25 a.m., the U.S. Geological Survey said. At least six aftershocks followed the quake, the strongest of which was a magnitude 2.7, said Egill Hauksson, a California Institute of Technology seismologist. CNN


Deadly bomb blast at Libyan barracks

Deadly bomb blast at Libyan barracks

17 Mar

A car bomb at a barracks has left at least five soldiers dead in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, medical sources say. The attack is said to have targeted people leaving a graduation ceremony for officers. Benghazi is often the scene of attacks blamed on hard-line Islamist groups.It is the largest city in eastern Libya, where some groups want more autonomy and a greater share of the region's oil wealth. BBC


Mauritania Travel Warning

Mauritania Travel Warning

17 Mar

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the risks of traveling to Mauritania, and urges those who travel to Mauritania to exercise extreme caution because of activities by terrorist groups in the region, including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). AQIM continues to demonstrate its intent and ability to conduct attacks against foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens. U.S. State Department


Protests rage in Venezuela

Protests rage in Venezuela

14 Mar

It's been a month since violent clashes between opposition demonstrators and government forces in Venezuela first grabbed global attention. Protests rage on, and demonstrators show no sign of backing down. A government tally released 11 Mar said at least 23 people had been killed nationwide and more than 200 others have been injured since protests started. The tally did not specify whether the casualties occurred among demonstrators or government forces, or both. Venezuela celebrates Chavez anniversary. Violence surged this week in Tachira state, which borders Colombia. CNN


Nigeria attack

Nigeria attack

14 Mar

Suspected Islamist militants from Boko Haram have attacked an army barracks in the Nigerian city of Maiduguri. The army said it had repelled the attack, inflicting heavy casualties. Eyewitnesses said there were deaths on both sides. The assault on the barracks was an attempt by the attackers to free colleagues held there, a military spokesman said. Militants suspected to be from Boko Haram have killed 500 people this year. Residents said there was a heavy exchange of fire and explosions near Giwa barracks, as the military battled the insurgents. BBC


NYC blast site rescue continues

NYC blast site rescue continues

14 Mar

Rescue operations are continuing two days after a gas leak blast demolished two buildings in East Harlem, New York City, killing eight people. With one person still unaccounted for, authorities are searching the rubble for survivors at the scene. Telescopic cameras and sound devices have been deployed to search small spaces in the wreckage. Less than 50% of debris has been removed from the site after the incident on 12 Mar, which injured more than 60. Bulldozers are removing debris from the scene in the Park Avenue and 116th Street area, with authorities aiming to reach the first floor by 15 Mar and then on to the basement to search for victims. City officials and utility company Con Edison continue to search for the source of a gas leak believed to have caused the explosion. BBC


Clashes in Turkey

Clashes in Turkey

11 Mar

Clashes have erupted at a hospital in Istanbul where a boy has died nine months after he was struck on the head by a tear gas canister fired by police. In Ankara, police fired tear gas to disperse some 2,000 protesters. Further protests were reported in the coastal cities of Antalya and Izmir. BBC


Another storm to hit Midwest

Another storm to hit Midwest

11 Mar

The relentless winter of 2013-14 has another trick up its sleeve: A potent snowstorm is forecast to blast portions of the Midwest and Northeast tonight, Wednesday and Thursday with as much as 2 feet of snow. If enough snow falls, the storm could break Detroit's seasonal snowfall record and give Chicago its second snowiest winter. It also could bring the heaviest snowfall of the year to Burlington, Vt., where 12-16 inches are forecast. "The corridor from northern Illinois to northern New England has the greatest potential of being targeted by the substantial snow," according to AccuWeather meteorologist. USA Today


Flooding in central Montana

Flooding in central Montana

11 Mar

Floods that washed out rural roads in central Montana left hundreds of people stranded and forced the evacuation of 30 homes in one small town, as forecasts predicted more rain and snow that could worsen conditions in the region. The flooding, which saw water begin streaming over rural roadways near the ranching community of Roundup during the weekend, came as warmer-than-usual temperatures rapidly melted deep snows amid recent storms that brought abundant rains, weather forecasters said. Floods also threatened to inundate three towns in north-central Wyoming where vast ice formations blocked the flow of the Bighorn River and caused it to spill from its banks. Reuters


Crimea military base stand-off over

Crimea military base stand-off over

7 Mar

A stand-off involving pro-Russian soldiers at a Ukrainian military base outside the Crimean city of Sevastopol has reportedly ended without incident. Troops wearing Russian uniform without insignia have blockaded bases since taking control of Crimea last week. The incident came hours after Russian parliamentarians promised to support Crimea if it wanted to become part of Russia. Crimea's parliament announced it would hold a referendum on 16 March on whether to join Russia or remain part of Ukraine. BBC


Rio rubbish collectors strike

Rio rubbish collectors strike

7 Mar

Rubbish is still piling up in Rio de Janeiro as the Brazilian city's street cleaners continue a strike, despite an announced agreement with the union. Hundreds of refuse workers protested at the mayor's office demanding better pay and working conditions. Tonnes of rubbish left after many street parties and by samba schools and beach goers were left piling up in the city for days.BBC


Flooding in Charlotte

Flooding in Charlotte

7 Mar

Meteorologists say utility crews and North Carolina residents will get several days of spring-like weather to help them clear away the mess left by the most damaging winter storm in more than a decade. While the powerful low pressure system was mostly an inconvenience in the immediate Charlotte area, it left flooded roads in Cabarrus and Union counties and much bigger problems to the north, where more than 460,000 customers were without electricity. Forecasters say much nicer conditions are ahead this weekend and into early next week. High temperatures are predicted to reach the mid and upper 60s Saturday and Sunday and then the lower 70s early in the week. Charlotte Observer


Protests in Kashmir

Protests in Kashmir

7 Mar

Hundreds of students in Kashmir protested today against the treatment of 67 Kashmiri students studying in India who were suspended and faced sedition charges after they cheered for the Pakistan cricket team in a televised match against India. Although the sedition charges were withdrawn last night, the issue has snowballed into a larger controversy, exposing what critics say is a shrinking space for freedom of expression within the Indian democracy and the deep fault lines that run between India and Kashmir. Christian Science Monitor.


Malaria 'spreading to new altitudes'

Malaria 'spreading to new altitudes'

7 Mar

Researchers have found that people living in the highlands of Africa and South America are at an increased risk of catching the mosquito-borne disease during hotter years. They believe that temperature rises in the future could result in millions of additional cases in some areas. The research is published in the journal Science. To investigate, scientists looked at densely populated areas in the highlands of Colombia and Ethiopia, where there are detailed records of both temperature and malaria cases from the 1990s to 2005. They found that in warmer years, malaria shifted higher into the mountains, while in cooler years it was limited to lower elevations. BBC


February

Big storm headed to California

Big storm headed to California

26 Feb

California is bracing for two storms which are expected to dump the most significant rainfall in almost three years, promising a brief respite to the state’s drought. Moderate to heavy showers on Feb 26 were due to be followed on Feb 28 by heavier torrents, a blessing for farmers and water management authorities but unwelcome news for motorists and organisers of the Oscars. The deluge is expected to dump between one and three inches of rain in coastal and valleys areas and five to seven inches in hills and mountains – a dramatic event by California’s desiccated standards. [230]


Barricades go up in Venezuela

Barricades go up in Venezuela

25 Feb

As Venezuelan opposition leaders push for demonstrators to stay in the streets, "he who tires, loses" is their mantra. Opposition leader Henrique Capriles called for demonstrators to keep demanding change from the South American country's government and described President Nicolas Maduro as "an error in the history of the country." Outrage at soaring crime and a tanking economy triggered protests earlier this month.Venezuelan Attorney General Luisa Ortega Diaz said that 13 people have died and at least 147 people have been injured in clashes since protests began. [231]


Pollution hides Beijing skyline

Pollution hides Beijing skyline

25 Feb

Beijing remained cloaked in hazardous white pollution hiding much of its skyline, despite the announced closures or production cuts at 147 of the city's industrial plants. PM2.5, a key measure of pollution, reached 444 micrograms per cubic meter in central Beijing, according to the National Meteorological Center. The World Health Organization considers 25 micrograms a safe level. The meteorological center said moderate or severe pollution had persisted in northern China, and that it was particularly serious in Beijing and its surrounding area. It forecast that the pollution would continue in parts of eastern, northern and central China, when precipitation and wind should help to disperse it. [232]


Kashmir villagers clash with Indian troops

Kashmir villagers clash with Indian troops

25 Feb

Hundreds of angry villagers have clashed with police in Indian-administered Kashmir following suspicions that security forces shot dead seven civilians they mistook for rebels, a police officer and a witness said. The villagers torched a police station in the forested Kupwara region close to the defacto border with Pakistn to demand security forces hand over the bodies for identification and for burial, an unnamed officer said. "Police fired tear gas and warning shots in the air to disperse the angry crowd who were hurling rocks at them," the officer said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to media. [233]


Mass arrest of protesters in Russia

Mass arrest of protesters in Russia

25 Feb

Russian police have made nearly 500 arrests at opposition rallies in the country's two main cities, including several well-known protest figures. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was among those picked up in Moscow, as he attended an unapproved rally near the Kremlin. While the rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg were called to protest at the Bolotnaya sentences, some demonstrators also made shows of solidarity with the protesters in Ukraine, who brought down President Viktor Yanukovych last week.


Clash erupts on Temple Mount in Jerusalem

Clash erupts on Temple Mount in Jerusalem

25 Feb

Israeli police have clashed with Palestinian protesters on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. A police spokesman said about 20 youths threw stones and fireworks at officers from the holy site, known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). Police then entered the compound and arrested three people, he added. The unrest came as the Israeli parliament prepared to debate a motion calling on Israel to "realise its sovereignty over the Temple Mount". [234]


Ukraine truce crumbles amid gunfire

Ukraine truce crumbles amid gunfire

20 Feb

A short-lived truce crumbled as gunfire erupted at Independence Square, the center of anti-government protests and an increasingly violent crisis that threatens catastrophe for this divided nation. As protesters fortified barricades and some tried to dodge apparent sniper bullets, Western leaders denounced the violence. Russia's United Nations ambassador accused the opposition of trying to stage a coup. The head of the protesters' medical service said 100 people died and 500 were injured in clashes on Feb 20, just hours after the government declared a truce in fighting that had shocked world leaders with the deaths of 28 people two days before. The violence inflames a crisis that started in November, when President Viktor Yanukovych reversed a decision to sign a trade deal with the European Union and instead turned toward Russia. Ukraine has long been divided between historic loyalties to Europe and its eastern neighbor. [235]


Violence escalates in divided Venezuela

Violence escalates in divided Venezuela

20 Feb

Venezuelan security forces and demonstrators faced off in streets blocked by burning barricades in several cities in an escalation of protests against President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government, witnesses said. At least five people have died since the unrest turned violent last week, with scores of injuries and arrests. The demonstrators, mainly students, blame the government for violent crime, high inflation, product shortages and alleged repression of opponents. In affluent east Caracas overnight, security forces fired teargas and bullets, chasing youths who threw Molotov cocktails and blocked streets with burning trash, witnesses said. Tensions have escalated since opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, a 42-year-old Harvard-educated economist, turned himself in to troops this week. He is being held in Caracas' Ramo Verde jail and faces charges of fomenting the violence. [236]


Snowstorm sweeps into New York

Snowstorm sweeps into New York

13 Feb

A powerful storm system that left thousands of commuters stranded in the South and caused power failures along the East Coast swept into New York, blanketing the city yet again in a cover of white. Local and state officials in more than a dozen states scrambled to handle the blast of winter weather, the latest in a series of storms that have left many communities short on critical supplies – especially salt — needed to mitigate the effects of snow and ice. “It is a storm that has brought wide-ranging effects, from heavy snow and ice to severe weather, including strong winds and hail, down south,” said Joey Picca, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service. Related Coverage. In New York City, the storm gathered in intensity just as people were heading to work, producing near white-out conditions in some areas. The visibility in Central Park was less than a quarter mile, according to the National Weather Service, and snow fell at a pace of nearly two inches per hour.[237]


Anti-government protests in Venezuela

Anti-government protests in Venezuela

13 Feb

Armed vigilantes on motorcycles attacked anti-government demonstrators, setting off a stampede by firing into crowds after the biggest protest to date against President Nicolas Maduro’s year-old administration. Two people were killed. Chaos erupted in downtown Caracas when the gang roared up and began shooting at more than 100 protesters who had been sparring with security forces at the tail end of heated but otherwise peaceful protests organized by hard-line members of the opposition. Most participants in the demonstrations had already gone home. [238]


Floods hit homes in England

Floods hit homes in England

13 Feb

Exceptionally strong winds in western England and Wales may add to people's woes. The Met Office, the UK's national weather service, issued a "red" warning, its most serious, saying winds were expected to gust at 80 mph across a wide area and might reach 100 mph in the most exposed parts of west and northwest Wales. After the wettest January in England since 1766, even if the heavy rain stops, ground water levels are so high that it could be weeks before life returns to normal. Streets have turned into rivers, cars are submerged up to their windshields, and homes have been abandoned. And Britain is not the only place facing wild weather. Huge waves are crashing onto the Portuguese coast, causing extensive damage, and there are high wind alerts in parts of Ireland, which faces the worst storm yet of the winter. [239]


Bomb explosions in Somalia

Bomb explosions in Somalia

13 Feb

At least six people have died after a car bomb exploded close to the gate of the international airport in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, police say. Most of those who died were passers-by and several UN body guards were wounded in the explosion, the witnesses said. The al-Shabab Islamist group has said it was behind the explosion in one of the most heavily fortified areas in the city - where many embassies are based. Residents also report an increase in sustained night-time attacks, with mortar and gunfire, on the northern outskirts of the city. [240]


Flood Emergency Declared, Bolivia

Flood Emergency Declared, Bolivia

4 Feb

Officials in Bolivia say the number of people who have died due to torrential rain since the beginning of the year has risen to 29. More than 35,000 families have been affected by the rains and the flooding, the ministry of defense said. The worst affected province is Beni, in north-eastern Bolivia, where 10 people have died, followed by La Paz in the north-west and central Cochabamba. The rainy season in Bolivia usually lasts until March. [241]


Ecuador Tungurahua volcano spews ash

Ecuador Tungurahua volcano spews ash

4 Feb

The Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador has been spewing lava and ash, covering villages hundreds of kilometres away with a white dusting. The ash travelled as far as Loja province, on the border with Peru. The volcano, which became active again in 1999 after a long period of dormancy, lies 135km (85 miles) south-east of the capital, Quito. The latest series of eruptions began on 1 Feb with two moderate explosions followed by a third of greater size. The blasts launched an 8km-high column of ash above the volcano. The lava reached the Acupashal mountain pass, blocking the route to the town of Banos, local authorities said, The authorities have declared an orange alert, the second highest, but the president of the Emergency Operations Committee, Hermuy Calle, said the activity was "simply a release of pressure", and that the volcanic activity was not expected to increase further in the coming hours. [242]


Heavy snow cuts power to Iran homes

Heavy snow cuts power to Iran homes

4 Feb

Heavy snow in northern Iran has left around 480,000 homes without power and some towns and villages cut off. An official in Mazandaran province, on the Caspian Sea, said the winter storms were the worst in 50 years, with two metres of snow falling in some areas since the weekend. The head of Iran's Red Crescent said around 11,000 people had been rescued after getting stuck in heavy snow. "Some 3,800 people have also been settled in emergency shelters," Pir Hossein Kolivand was quoted as saying by the official Irna news agency. Irna reported that 79 people had been taken to hospital as a result of the bad weather. [243]


January 2014

Bangkok state of emergency

Bangkok state of emergency

21 Jan

The Thai government has declared a state of emergency in the capital Bangkok and surrounding areas to cope with protests aimed at forcing the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, from power. Chalerm Yubumrung, Thailand's labour minister, announced that the restrictions would last 60 days. "We need it because the protesters have closed government buildings, banks and escalated the situation, which has caused injuries and deaths. The government sees the need to announce the emergency decree to keep the situation under control," the minister said. The decree will allow security agencies to impose curfews, detain suspects without charge, censor media, ban political gatherings of more than five people and declare areas off-limits. Yingluck said police, not the military, would mainly be used and her government had no intention of confronting the protesters. [244]


East Coast Snowstorm, NYC

East Coast Snowstorm, NYC

21 Jan

The storm, which threatened to dump more than a foot of snow on New York City, already grounded thousands of flights in the region, and the evening commute promised to be treacherous for millions of workers. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority urged customers using Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road to leave work early, warning that snow drifts as tall as two feet could cause significant delays. In Washington, the government was shut down. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who canceled his inaugural ball on Ellis Island because of the storm, declared a state of emergency. [245]


Clashes in Ukraine

Clashes in Ukraine

21 Jan

Violent clashes between anti-government protesters and police continued in the center of Ukraine's capital, Kiev. Demonstrators have been rallying since the weekend in defiance of new laws that limit the right to protest. The Interior Ministry said Tuesday that more than 30 protesters had been detained and 119 police officers injured since Jan 19, when the clashes began. The city health care department reported 122 injured and 50 hospitalized. The number injured is probably higher, as many people reportedly turn to medical volunteers for help rather than official services for fear of consequences. Protest organizers said those treated in hospitals are questioned by police and registered as participants of mass protests, which may lead to arrest and criminal charges. The controversial new protest laws go into effect on Jan 22, raising concerns they could be used to put down demonstrations. [246]


Thousands displaced by Jakarta deadly floods

Thousands displaced by Jakarta deadly floods

21 Jan

Several Indonesians have been killed and thousands displaced by deadly floods in Indonesia's capital. More than 10,000 Indonesians have fled their homes in the capital due to flooding that has left five dead, an official said, with people using rubber dinghies and wading through waist-deep water to reach safer ground. "So far 10,530 people in Jakarta have been displaced by floods caused by heavy rains," disaster agency official Tri Budiarto said. Buildings in some parts of the capital, which has a population of 10 million and is regularly afflicted by floods during the six-month rainy season, were half submerged, with roads blocked in many areas. [247]


Shangrila destroyed by heater blaze

Shangrila destroyed by heater blaze

21 Jan

Chinese authorities have arrested a guesthouse owner whose heater allegedly sparked a fire that burned for nearly 10 hours and destroyed an ancient Tibetan town. More than 2,000 firefighters, soldiers, police, local officials and volunteers responded to the early morning blaze , which destroyed 343 houses and many historic artifacts in Dukezong, Shangri La county's old neighbourhood. Once called Gyaitang Zong, the county surrounding Dukezong renamed itself Shangri La in 2001, hoping to draw tourists by referencing the mythical Himalayan land described in James Hilton's 1933 novel. [248]


Military airstrikes in northwestern Pakistan kill dozens

Military airstrikes in northwestern Pakistan kill dozens

21 Jan

At least 40 people were killed and scores were wounded in overnight airstrikes by the Pakistani military on areas in the country's northwest where militants are based. The airstrikes in the northwest came after recent militant bombings that struck military targets. The strikes by fighter jets and helicopter gunships targeted areas in North Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold bordering Afghanistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. It was unclear whether there were any civilian casualties in the attacks. The military official said the dead and wounded were militants. [249]


Australia heat wave sparks wildfires

Australia heat wave sparks wildfires

16 Jan

Temperatures soared to more than 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit) in southeastern Australia as a heat wave strained electricity supplies and sparked wildfires. Extreme heat across the states of Victoria and South Australia is causing high demand for electricity and as many as 100,000 homes and businesses may be affected by power outages and reduced supply. Bushfire warnings were in place across the two states and New South Wales, with high winds forecast to increase the danger, emergency authorities said. [250]


13 dead, 40,000 displaced in Indonesia floods

13 dead, 40,000 displaced in Indonesia floods

16 Jan

Landslides and rising waters have cut off several villages in one district of the province of North Sulawesi province, leaving about 1,000 residents stranded, the Indonesian National Disaster Mitigation Agency (NDMA) said. Heavy rains started drenching the region and have resulted in about 40,000 people leaving their homes to seek temporary shelter, according to the NDMA. Power is down in most parts of the region and communication lines are disrupted. There are four main rivers in Manado, the provincial capital, that are overflowing, the NDMA said.This year's floods are far worse than previous ones, NDMA spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said. Heavy rains have also caused deadly landslides and flooding this week on the southern Philippines island of Mindanao -- roughly 500 kilometers (320 miles) north of North Sulawesi. [251]


Thailand crisis

Thailand crisis

13 Jan

Protesters are blocking roads in parts of the Thai capital, Bangkok, in a bid to oust the government before snap elections on 2 February. The protesters have built barricades and occupied key road junctions, and want to replace the government with an unelected "People's Council". The government has deployed 18,000 security personnel to maintain order. Thousands are reported to have turned out for demonstrations. Protesters say they intend to achieve what they are calling a shutdown of the capital. [252]


Tonga damaged by powerful cyclone

Tonga damaged by powerful cyclone

13 Jan

Homes have been flattened and trees uprooted in the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga after it was hit by one of the most powerful storms on record. Cyclone Ian battered the central Ha'apai islands, home to 8,000 people, over the weekend, packing gusts of up to 287km/h (178mph). It was a "miracle" only one woman lost her life, said emergencies director Leveni Aho. Rebuilding could take years, said aid agency Oxfam. "It's not only the people's houses that need to be rebuilt, it's also the infrastructure like the ferry terminal, the port, the roads. It's really badly damaged," Oxfam New Zealand executive director told Radio New Zealand. [253]


Tibetan town fire system shut off

Tibetan town fire system shut off

13 Jan

The fire-fighting system in an ancient Tibetan town in Shangri-La county which was destroyed by a blaze was shut off at the time, Chinese officials say. The equipment was closed down to prevent pipes from bursting in below-freezing temperatures, the local fire brigade said. Nearly 300 mostly wooden houses were destroyed in the blaze in Dukezong in Yunnan province on 11 Jan. The town, which dates back 1,300 years, is popular with tourists. Officials said that more than 2,600 people have lost their homes in the blaze, which raged for nearly 10 hours before it was put out by 2,000 firefighters, police and volunteers. No fatalities were reported. A store owner surnamed Pan told AP on Monday that they would likely be rebuilding what they had lost. "Travel is really the only industry here," he said. [254]


Puerto Rico Earthquake

Puerto Rico Earthquake

13 Jan

Puerto Rico was hit with a large earthquake on 12 Jan. A 6.4 magnitude quake hit about 35 miles north of Hatillo. The tremors were felt by several villages along the northern coast. The National Weather Service's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was a small possibility of a local tsunami following the earthquake off the coast. However experts don't think there is a widespread, destructive tsunami impending. It was later determined that no tsunami formed, the Associated Press reports. [255]


Eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra

Eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra

04 Jan

The emergency response to the eruption of Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra has been extended until January 4, 2014 as the volcano still shows signs of increased activity.[256]


Blizzard to reach from NYC to Boston Thursday night

Blizzard to reach from NYC to Boston Thursday night

02 Jan

During Thursday and Thursday night, the storm will affect 20 states with more than 120 million people in the Midwest (United States of America) and the Northeast combined and could have a major negative impact on travel for people returning from holiday destinations, heading back to school or resuming business activities.[257]


Heatwave hits inland Australia

Heatwave hits inland Australia

01 Jan

Heatwave: temperatures climb towards 50C in parts of Australia. Weatherzone says intense air mass is centred over northern NSW and western Queensland, but it's cooler in the capital cities.[258]


Old News

Variants

Actions

Destination Docents

In other languages