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This is Wikitravel's '''Travel news''' section, about issues affecting travelers, both positively and negatively. For more general news, see [http://en.wikinews.org/ Wikinews].
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This is Wikitravel's '''Travel news''' section, about issues affecting travellers, both positively and negatively. For more general news, see [http://en.wikinews.org/ Wikinews].
  
{{disclaimerbox|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]]. }}
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{{disclaimerbox|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]].}}
  
=Future=
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==April==
''The news items in this section refer to future events and have not been displayed on the Main Page yet. They should be copied there when the date approaches and then shifted to the monthly archives below.''
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{{newsitem| [[Nepal]] quake relief drive intensifies |26 Apr|  Rescue efforts in Nepal are intensifying after nearly 2,000 people were killed on Saturday in the worst earthquake there in more than 80 years. Many countries and charities have offered aid to deal with the disaster.
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Seventeen people have been killed on Mount Everest by avalanches - the mountain's worst-ever disaster. Meanwhile a powerful aftershock was felt on Sunday in [[Nepal]], [[India]] and [[Bangladesh]], and more avalanches were reported near Everest. The 6.7 magnitude tremor, centred 60km (40 miles) east of Nepal's capital [[Kathmandu]], sent people running in panic for open ground in the city. Screams and the sound of an avalanche could be heard as an Indian mountaineer was interviewed by phone from near Everest by Reuters news agency. The death toll from the original earthquake could rise, as the situation is unclear in remote areas which remain cut off or hard to access. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32470731]}}
  
=Current and past=
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{{newsitem|[[Baltimore]] protest turns violent |26 Apr| More than 1,000 protesters have marched in Baltimore over the death of a black man in police custody a week ago.
==July 2012==
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But after hours of peaceful demonstrations, some protesters smashed police windows and shop fronts. At least 12 people were arrested. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32470490]}}
{{newsitem|Islamist Rebels Destroy Historic Shrines of Timbuktu—a UNESCO World Heritage Site|1 July 2012|Members of the rebel group Ansar Dine called for the destruction of all of the historic shrines of [[Timbuktu]] and began carrying out the destruction of several over the past few days. The group has implemented sharia law in areas it controls, including mandatory veils for women, the stoning of adulterers, & mutilation of thieves. The Islamist rebels have now called for the destruction of ''all'' shrines in the city, considering them to be a form of idolatry forbidden in their view of Islam (although revered by local Sufis). One shrine was destroyed in May and this past weekend armed men, including many foreigners, surrounded six shrines and began to destroy them using shovels, axes, and smashing objects inside. Thirteen other shrines, dating from as early as the 13th century, are among those composing the World Heritage Site. Mali's government has called the actions a 'war crime' and there has been plenty of outcry from UNESCO members as well. An Ansar Dine spokesperson replied "We are subject to religion and not to international opinion." The group, along with secular Tuareg rebels, captured much of northern Mali in March, and after a short joint rule, the former gained control of the region, forcing over 300, 000 residents to flee, including most of Timbuktu's population. There is also concern for 700, 000 ancient manuscripts kept in the city .[http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-18665522 BBC article] [http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/119 UNESCO WHS listing]}}
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{{newsitem|Solomon Islands Host Quadrennial Festival of Pacific Arts|1 July 2012|The [[Solomon Islands]] will host the largest cultural festival in the South Pacific, the quadrennial Festival of Pacific Arts, which runs from July 1-14. The festival, held every 4 years since 1972, brings together artisans from 27 Pacific nations and territories to showcase crafts, music, dance, literature, and more. The theme for this festival is "Culture in Harmony With Nature". Delegates are selected by their home country/territory and attend the festival to showcase their home rather than compete—a rare cultural exchange between somewhat simmilar cultures that are separated by long distances and few transport options. Events will be held in purpose built a purpose-built village near [[Honiara]], with some festivities held in other locations. The Solomon Islands claim this to be their biggest tourism event ever and are improving tourist facilities and cleaning up the image of Honiara. National airline Solomons Airlines is adding extra flights between Honiara-Brisbane, Australia around the festival. The next FoPA won't be held until 2016 in Guam. [http://www.festivalofpacificarts.com/index.html]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Syria]] Islamists take northern town |26 Apr|Islamist rebels in Syria have taken over the key north-western town of Jisr al-Shughur, activists say. It was the last major town under government control in Idlib province. Correspondents say it may give rebels a route to the ruling elite's heartland. The Islamist forces, including the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, began the assault on Thursday. State media said the army had redeployed outside the town "to avoid civilian casualties". They quoted a military official as saying that, before withdrawing, troops had engaged in fierce fighting with "armed terrorist groups" who arrived in large numbers from the Turkish border. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32461693]}}
  
==June 2012==
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{{newsitem| [[Niger]] battles meningitis outbreak |26 Apr|Niger has begun a mass vaccination campaign as it struggles to control a meningitis outbreak that has now killed 129 people. Health Minister Mano Aghali announced on public radio that the death toll had risen from 85 in less than a week. The effort to immunise children between two and 15 has started despite a shortage of vaccines. Schools in and around Niger's capital, [[Niamey]], were shut this week to contain the virus. It was a shortage of vaccines to treat the current strain that caused the outbreak to spread, the authorities say. There is a "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from [[Senegal]] to [[Ethiopia]], with high rates of the disease, the WHO says. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32444865]}}
  
{{newsitem|California Adventure expands|15 June 2012|Disney California Adventure, the little-sister second gate at [[Disneyland]] in Anaheim, California, today unveils the largest expansion in its eleven-year history. The entrance area has been re-themed to resemble 1920s-era Los Angeles, the time when a young Walt Disney arrived to begin his storied career.  In the back of the park, a new land called Cars Land recreates the [[Route 66]] town of Radiator Springs from the ''Cars'' films, with three much-anticipated new rides and truly monumental theming.}}
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{{newsitem|[[Chile]] volcano causes flight problems |26 Apr|Niger has begun a mass vaccination campaign as it struggles to control a meningitis outbreak that has now killed 129 people. Health Minister Mano Aghali announced on public radio that the death toll had risen from 85 in less than a week. The effort to immunise children between two and 15 has started despite a shortage of vaccines. Schools in and around Niger's capital, [[Niamey]], were shut this week to contain the virus. It was a shortage of vaccines to treat the current strain that caused the outbreak to spread, the authorities say. There is a "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from [[Senegal]] to [[Ethiopia]], with high rates of the disease, the WHO says. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32444865]}}
  
==May 2012==
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{{newsitem|[[Statue of Liberty]] evacuated over suspicious package|24 Apr| The [[Statue of Liberty]] and [[Manhattan/Lower Manhattan#New York Harbor|Liberty Island]] in [[New York City|New York]] have been evacuated due to a suspicious package. The island is home to the world-famous statue, a major tourist destination for people visiting the United States. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32452819]}}
  
{{newsitem|New low-cost airline in Colombia|30 May 2012|VivaColombia, the new airline, will use [[Medellín]] international airport as the hub, with one-way flights starting at COP 54.000 (USD 30). The maiden flight was from Medellín to Bogotá on May 24th.[http://colombiareports.com/travel-in-colombia/113-general/24252-low-cost-airline-vivacolombia-takes-to-the-skies.html] }}
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{{newsitem|[[Chile]] volcano causes flight problems|24 Apr| International flights are being delayed or cancelled because of concerns over the ash cloud created by the Calbuco volcano in Chile. The eruption on Thursday created a cloud of ash that went up 20km (12 miles) into the air. Volcanic ash can be extremely dangerous to aircraft as the fine particles can damage engines. Many international flights have been affected in the last few hours, with one forced to turn back to [[Australia]]. Qantas flight QF27 was five hours into its journey to [[Santiago]] when it had to turn back to [[Sydney]] late on Friday. A Qantas spokeswoman in Sydney said it returned because of concerns over the ash cloud. Two flights from the [[United States]] to [[Buenos Aires]], one with Delta Air Lines and one with American Airlines, had to return to their departure airports. One Air France flight from [[Paris]] to [[Santiago]] had to land in [[Sao Paulo]], [[Brazil]], and another destined for Buenos Aires landed in Rio de Janeiro. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32452754]}}
  
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{{newsitem|[[Chile]] evacuations as volcano erupts|23 Apr| The Calbuco volcano in southern [[Chile]] has erupted twice in the space of a few hours - having lain dormant for decades. Footage from the area shows a huge column of lava and ash being sent several kilometres into the air. The authorities have declared a red alert and evacuated more than 4,000 people within a 20km (12 mile) radius. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32425370]}}
  
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{{newsitem|Post-storm [[New South Wales]] clean-up|23 Apr| A clean-up operation has begun in [[New South Wales]] in the wake of violent storms that battered the [[Australia|Australian]] state. Police have confirmed the deaths of four people. Three were killed in Dungog, where homes have been washed away by flooding. An 86-year-old woman died in the Central Hunter region when her car was swept into floodwaters. Emergency services have declared 12 communities natural disaster areas.  [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-32424810]}}
  
{{newsitem|Ice hockey world championship kicks off in Finland and Sweden|4 May 2012|For the first time the annual world championship in ice hockey will be held in two countries - Finland and Sweden. Half of the matches are to be played in [[Stockholm]] and the other half in [[Helsinki]] where also the final match takes place on the 20th of May.[http://www.iihf.com/channels-12/iihf-world-championship-wc12/home/welcome.html] }}
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{{newsitem|[[Nigeria]] begins Sambisa offensive against Boko Haram|22 Apr| Nigerian ground troops have joined an offensive on the last known hideout of the Boko Haram Islamist militants, a military spokesman has told the BBC.
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The vast north-eastern Sambisa forest is where they have many bases - and it has been subject to aerial bombardments since February. There has been speculation that some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than a year ago are being held there. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32416155]}}
  
==April 2012==
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{{newsitem|[[Saudi Arabia]] ends [[Yemen]] air campaign|21 Apr| A Saudi Arabia-led coalition has ended its bombing campaign against rebels in Yemen having "achieved its military goals", officials say. The month-long Decisive Storm campaign had targeted Houthi rebels but largely failed to halt their advance. A new operation called Restoring Hope will focus on a political solution in Yemen and on counter-terrorism at home, the coalition said. Iran welcomed the end of air strikes as a step forward. Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia has accused Shia-led Iran of backing the Houthis, something Tehran denies. Yemen has been in chaos since the Houthi, or Zaidi Shia, rebels, took control of the capital, [[Sanaa]], in January and placed President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi under house arrest. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32402688]}}
{{newsitem|Earthquake off Indonesia triggers tsunami alert|11 April 2012|An undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 8.7, which was felt as far away as [[India]], has struck near [[Aceh]] Province of [[Indonesia]]. A regional tsunami alert has been issued. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17675399]}}
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==March 2012==
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{{newsitem|Three dead in [[New South Wales]] storm|21 Apr| Three people have died in New South Wales as powerful storms batter the [[Australia]]n state. The two men and a woman were found dead in [[Dungog]] north of Sydney, one of the worst affected areas, where homes have been washed away by flooding. Some 215,000 homes are without power in Sydney and across New South Wales. People have been urged to head home, as Australia's weather agency warned more severe weather would hit parts of the state on Tuesday night. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has issued a severe weather warning for the [[Sydney]] area, [[Hunter]] and [[Illawarra]] forecasting "damaging and locally destructive winds, damaging winds, heavy rainfall and damaging surf". Winds of up to 135km/h (85 mph) were recorded in some areas, with up to 200mm of rainfall forecast for Tuesday. The State Emergency Service (SES) said it had received more than 4,400 calls for help, and carried out dozens of flood rescues. People were reported to be trapped in cars and homes and stuck on the rooftops of houses. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-32390793]}}
{{newsitem|Walk About Love starts Walking|20 March 2012|Israel's biggest traveling festival is about to Walk again, Backpackers from all over the world unite with a message to walk in Peace across entire Israel & Palestine, they will start walking from Eilat on the Red Sea in South Israel and cross the entire Negev & Judea deserts and up to Jerusalem than to Tel Aviv and north to Mt. Hermon all through April, May & June. [http://www.walkaboutlove.org.il]}}
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{{newsitem|Japan Introduces New and Cheaper Airlines|1 March 2012|In order to remain competitive in the airline industry and to encourage travel in [[Japan]], a few new airlines have begun operation in Japan with bases in different parts and even some international flights. The new airlines are Air Asia ([[Tokyo]]-based), Jet Star Japan (Tokyo), Peach Aviation ([[Osaka]]), SkyMark (Tokyo and [[Kobe]]), and Air Do (Tokyo and [[Sapporo]]). The list of available flights is currently small but over the next few months new flights are being added, and some will even offer flights to [[Seoul]], [[Taipei]], [[Hong Kong]] and [[Busan]].[http://www.japan-guide.com/news/0020.html]}}
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{{newsitem|EU to set measures for [[Mediterranean Sea|Mediterranean]] migrants|19 Apr|The [[European Union|EU]] has set out a package of measures to try to ease the migrant boat crisis in the [[Mediterranean Sea|Mediterranean]]. Its Frontex border surveillance service will be strengthened and a military mandate sought to destroy people-smugglers' boats. An emergency summit of [[European Union|EU]] leaders will be held on Thursday. As the leaders met, fresh distress calls from migrant boats were received. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32383126]}}
  
==February 2012==
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{{newsitem|Deadly air strike in [[Sana'a]]|19 Apr|At least 18 people were killed and 300 injured in [[Yemen]]'s capital [[Sana'a]] after an air strike on a missile base caused a huge blast that flattened buildings. Witnesses compared the blast, which sent a plume of smoke hundreds of metres into the sky, to an earthquake. The explosion occurred in the Faj Attan area of the capital, near the presidential compound.
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A Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign has been targeting Yemen's Shia Houthi rebels since late March. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32385946]}}
  
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{{newsitem|Mystery disease' kills 18 in [[Nigeria]]|19 Apr|A "mysterious" disease has killed at least 18 people in the past several days in south-eastern Nigeria, local officials say. The outbreak started in the Ode-Irele town, Ondo state, and spread rapidly. The disease - characterised by blurred vision, headache and loss of consciousness - killed the victims within 24 hours of falling ill. Local health officials and World Health Organization experts are now in the town to try to identify the disease. Laboratory tests have so far ruled out Ebola or any other virus, Ondo government spokesman Kayode Akinmade was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. He described the illness as "mysterious". WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told AFP that all of those affected started showing symptoms between 13-15 April. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32365830]}}
  
{{newsitem|Kairakuen Reopens for the First Time After Quake|7 February 2012|The earthquake that struck Japan last March, nearly a year ago, caused damage to Kairakuen Garden in [[Mito]], one of the official [[Japan's Top 3|top three gardens]] of Japan which forced them to close the garden in order to repair and restore the damaged sections. Now, restoration work has finally finished and the garden is open just in time for its famous plum blossom festival.}}
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{{newsitem|Hundreds feared dead in Med sinking|19 Apr|Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the [[Mediterranean Sea]], the [[Italy|Italian]] coastguard says. A major rescue operation is under way after the vessel carrying "between 500 and 700 migrants" capsized at midnight local time, south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. So far 28 people have been rescued. Earlier this week, four hundred people were feared to have drowned when their vessel capsized north of [[Libya]]. Last year a record 170,000 people fleeing poverty and conflict in [[Africa]] and the [[Middle East]] made the perilous crossing to Italy.
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With improving weather conditions, the number of people making the crossing of at least 500km (300 miles) has surged. But vessels provided by people smugglers are often underpowered and overcrowded. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32371348]}}
  
{{Newsitem|Floods in Eastern Australia|3 February 2012|Residents of the [[Australia]]n states of [[New South Wales]] and [[Queensland]] are battling floods that have trapped over 17000 residents after heavy rains. 16 towns in NSW have been declared disaster zones, and the rains are expected to continue. [http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/residents-trapped-as-floodwaters-isolate-towns-20120203-1qxk6.html] [http://media.smh.com.au/news/environment-news/moree-and-taree-worst-hit-by-floods-2934288.html]}}
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{{newsitem|Many dead in [[Afghanistan]] bank blast|19 Apr| At least 33 people have been killed and 100 injured in a suicide bomb attack in the eastern Afghan city of [[Jalalabad]]. The blast happened outside a bank where government staff and military personnel were collecting their salaries. A spokesman for a group claiming to represent Islamic State in Afghanistan said it carried out the attack, though it is still unverified the claim. Police said another bomb was discovered nearby, and was destroyed in a controlled explosion. Another blast was also reported outside a shrine in Jalalabad on Saturday morning. There were no reported casualties. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32363749]}}
  
{{Newsitem|Deep Freeze in Eastern Europe|3 February 2012|[[Eastern Europe]] has been experiencing extremely cold winter weather during the last days. Over hundred, chiefly homeless persons, have died in [[Ukraine]] when the temperature has dropped to -35°C (-31°F). The cold weather together with heavy snowfall is affecting major parts of Eastern Europe all the way down to [[Bulgaria]]. Temperatures are also low in other parts of Europe - for instance in [[UK]] the temperature has fallen to -11°C (12F), [[Italy]] has experienced the coldest week in 27 years and in [[Finland]] heavy snowfall has messed up all modes of traffic in the [[Helsinki|capital region]]. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-16868194] [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-16860872] [http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Massive+delays+in+Helsinki+public+transport+as+accidents+caused+by+snow+and+ice+compound+the+chilly+conditions+/1135270321801]}}
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{{newsitem|Three dead in [[Mexico|Mexican]] gun battle| 19 Apr| Gun battles have left at least three people dead on the streets of [[Reynosa]], a Mexican city on the border with the US that has been plagued by drug cartel violence. Fighting broke out after the arrest of a leader of one of the main gangs in the area. "The same criminal group reacted by attacking federal forces," officials said in a statement. The statement described the dead men as "armed civilians". Officials said parts of the city had been blocked with vehicles set on fire by gunmen. Authorities issued an urgent notice warning residents not to use various main roads because of shooting and blockades. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32363587]}}
  
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{{newsitem|Tributes to Everest avalanche dead |19 Apr| Relatives, guides and mountaineers have marked the first anniversary of an avalanche that killed 16 sherpas on Mount Everest. The guides died in an area just above Base Camp at 5,800m (19,000ft). The avalanche was the worst accident in modern history on the world's highest peak. As a mark of respect, climbing was suspended for the day on Saturday. Services were also held at Base Camp and in [[Nepal]]'s capital, [[Kathmandu]]. Monks held prayers with relatives of those who died. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32364166]}}
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{{newsitem|Foreign-owned [[South Africa|South African]] shops looted|16 Apr|Foreign-owned shops in [[South Africa]] have been attacked and looted in east [[Johannesburg]], the latest in a series of xenophobic attacks. A standoff developed in the city, with police forming a barrier between an angry crowd and foreign-owned shops. The violence comes despite Thursday's rally against xenophobia in the coastal city of [[Durban]], and condemnation from President Jacob Zuma. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32347305]}}
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{{newsitem|IS steps up assault on [[Iraq|Iraqi]] city|16 Apr|Islamic State (IS) has stepped up its assault on the western [[Iraq|Iraqi]] city of Ramadi, launching a series of suicide bomb attacks, officials say. Anbar provincial council member Athal al-Fahdawi said the government compound was within range of IS weapons and that it and the city were "in great danger". Hundreds of people have fled Ramadi and the surrounding area in recent days. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32333630]}}
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{{newsitem|Migrants killed on [[Mediterranean Sea|Mediterranean]] boat|16 Apr|Italian police say they have arrested 15 Muslim migrants after they allegedly threw 12 Christians overboard following a row on a boat heading to [[Italy]]. The Christian migrants, said to be from [[Ghana]] and [[Nigeria]], are all feared dead. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32337725]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Malawi]] to evacuate citizens from [[South Africa]]|15 Apr|[[Malawi]] says it will repatriate its nationals from [[South Africa]], following an upsurge in xenophobic violence. At least five foreigners, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed in attacks in [[South Africa]]'s coastal city of [[Durban]] since last week. Some foreign-owned shops in the main city Johannesburg have shut amid fears that the violence could spread. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32316731]}}
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{{newsitem| Hundreds of migrants feared drowned off [[Libya]]|14 Apr|About 400 migrants are feared drowned after their boat capsized off [[Libya]], survivors have told Save the Children. The [[Italy|Italian]] coast guard had rescued 144 people on Monday and launched an air and sea search operation in hopes of rescuing others. Save the Children said that many of the survivors were "young men, probably minors". [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32311358]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Siberia]] wildfires kill 15 |13 Apr|Wildfires have killed at least 15 people and injured about 400 in the [[Khakassia]] region of southern [[Siberia]], Russian media report. Officials say the fires, fuelled by high winds and dry weather, destroyed 1,200 houses in 30 towns and villages. Firefighters have now managed to extinguish the flames, the Rossiya 24 TV news channel reports. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32284731]}}
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{{newsitem| Bomb explodes outside embassy in [[Libya]]|13 Apr|A bomb has exploded at the gates of the [[Morocco|Moroccan]] embassy in the Libyan capital, [[Tripoli]], security officials say, hours after two people were shot dead outside South Korea's embassy. There was some damage to cars nearby, but no reports of injuries. The embassy is not currently operational. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32281961]}}
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{{newsitem| Deadly bomb attacks strike [[Sinai]] |12 Apr|At least 13 people have been killed in separate bomb attacks in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, security forces have said. At least six people died and 30 others were injured in an explosion outside a police station in El-Arish. Elsewhere, seven soldiers lost their lives and two were wounded in an attack on an armoured vehicle, near the northern town of Sheikh Zuweid. Militants from the Sinai Province group, affiliated to Islamic State, have said they carried out the attacks. Sinai has become increasingly lawless since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011. Insurgents have intensified attacks since his Islamist successor Mohammed Morsi was ousted in 2013. North Sinai has been under a state of emergency and a curfew since October, when an attack on a checkpoint killed dozens of soldiers. Major military operations in the region have so far failed to quell the violence. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32277286]}}
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{{newsitem|Tornado tears through [[Illinois]]|10 Apr|A severe tornado has killed one person and injured seven more in a small town in northern [[Illinois]] in the US. Fire officials told local media the victim was a 67-year-old woman. Most of the 50 structures in Fairdale were flattened and all were damaged, the fire department said. More than 850 flights were cancelled at Chicago's O'Hare airport as a severe weather system tore through parts of [[Iowa]], [[Illinois]] and [[Ohio]] on Thursday.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32246763]}}
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{{newsitem|Deadly gun battle in [[Afghanistan|Afghan]] city|9 Apr|Gunmen dressed in military uniforms have stormed the office of the attorney general in the northern [[Afghanistan|Afghan]] city of Mazar-e-Sharif, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 65. Four attackers were seen entering the office, followed by heavy gunfire and several explosions. Five security officers - including a police chief - were among the dead and 26 government officials among the hurt.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32230399]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Kenya]] bombs terrorist bases in [[Somalia]]|6 Apr|Kenyan fighter jets have bombed positions of militant Islamist group al-Shabab in neighbouring [[Somalia]], a military spokesman has told the BBC. The warplanes had targeted two camps in the [[Gedo]] region, used by al-Shabab to cross into [[Kenya]], the spokesman added. This is [[Kenya]]'s first response to the al-Shabab assault which left 148 people dead at Garissa University last week.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32194722]}}
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{{newsitem|Terrorists attack [[Kenya|Kenyan]] university|2 Apr|The death toll in the attack by al-Shabab Islamist militants on a university in north-eastern [[Kenya]] has risen to 147, Kenyan government officials say. They added that the operation to secure the the Garissa University College campus was now over, with all four attackers killed.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32169080]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Thailand]] lifts martial law|1 Apr|[[Thailand]]'s military government has announced it is lifting martial law, 10 months after it was imposed. It was introduced in May 2014, shortly before the army staged a coup. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, announced the move in a televised statement and has said it will be replaced by a new security order. However the new measure has drawn considerable criticism, with many fearing that it could give the military more power than it had before. Gen Prayuth made the announcement late on Wednesday, saying the king had given his formal approval to the lifting of martial law.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32152893]}}
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==March==
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{{newsitem|[[Turkey]] power cut hits big cities|31 Mar|A massive power cut has hit dozens of provinces across [[Turkey]], with officials saying a break in connections with mainland [[Europe]] could be to blame. The cuts affected power stations and public transport, including Istanbul's tram and metro systems. A crisis centre has been set up at the energy ministry.  [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32130567]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Burundi]] hit by landslides|30 Mar|At least 10 people are missing, feared dead, in [[Burundi]] after landslides which have destroyed hundreds of homes, officials say. Some 3,000 people have been left homeless, according to a BBC reporter who has been to the scene. Their houses were destroyed after mud and rocks, dislodged by the rain, plunged down the hillside. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32114539]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Kashmir]] flood alert|30 Mar|A flood alert has been issued in Indian-administered [[Kashmir]] following torrential rain and a surge in the water level of the Jhelum river. Authorities have asked people living near the river to leave their homes and move to safer places. At least 10 people are missing after landslides buried a number of houses. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-32111898]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Chile]] declares forest fires alert|30 Mar|[[Chile]] has declared a national alert because of wildfires in three national parks and reserves threatening trees, some a thousand years old. Firefighters have been fighting the flames for more than a week in the southern region of Araucania hit by years of drought. The fires are affecting a park famous for its centuries-old pines known as monkey puzzle trees.  [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32045870]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Sierra Leone]] in lockdown|28 Mar|The authorities in Sierra Leone are enforcing a three-day lockdown to curb the spread of Ebola, with the entire population ordered to stay at home. There is a two-hour exemption on Friday to allow Muslim prayers and a five-hour window for Christians on Sunday. Volunteers are going door-to-door, looking for people with signs of the disease and reminding others how to stay safe. Dozens of new cases are still being reported in Sierra Leone every week.
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However, the three West African countries worst affected by Ebola - [[Sierra Leone]], [[Liberia]] and [[Guinea]] - have seen a steep reduction in infections in recent weeks. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32083363]}}
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{{newsitem| [[US]] issues [[Uganda]] travel warning|28 Mar|The US embassy in Uganda has warned that Westerners - including Americans - may be targeted for "terrorist" attacks in the capital [[Kampala]]. It said it had "received information of possible threats" at city locations where Western nationals gather. Uganda's government said the US had warned of a possible suicide bomber trying to enter the country. Uganda was under threat because its troops were fighting militant Islamists in Somalia, a spokesman added. In 2010, Somalia's al-Shabab militants carried out a suicide bombing in Kampala, killing 76 people as they watched the football World Cup final. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32061733]}}
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{{newsitem| Flooding hits [[Chile]] deser region|28 Mar|Flash floods in one of the driest regions in the world - Chile's Atacama desert - have left two people dead and 24 missing, officials say. They say thousands of people are now without electricity or water, as heavy rains in the Andes sent floodwater down into the valleys and towns below.
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In the city of [[Copiapo]], the river burst its banks. Rescuers have begun evacuating people using helicopters because of fears of mudslides. More rain is expected.
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Chile's emergency officials said one person was electrocuted on the street, while another died in a mudslide. The government is now describing the situation in the desert town of Chanaral as "critical". [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-32062039]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Nigeria|Nigerian]] army retakes Boko Haram HQ|27 Mar|The Nigerian army says it has retaken the north-eastern town of Gwoza, believed to be the headquarters of militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The insurgents had now been driven from virtually all the territory they had held, it said. Some militants were now fleeing towards border areas, the military said.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32087211]}}
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{{newsitem|Deadly tornado rips though [[Oklahoma]]|26 Mar|At least one person has been killed and several others were injured after a tornado roared through [[Tulsa]], [[Oklahoma]]. Tulsa police said the death occurred inside a mobile home park near suburban Sand Springs on Wednesday. The park was nearly destroyed in the storm. "It could have been much worse," Sheriff's Capt Billy McKinley said.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-32061728]}}
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{{newsitem|Germanwings airliner 4U 9525 crashes in [[French Alps]]|24 Mar|The plane, flight 4U 9525, had been en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf with 142 passengers and six crew on board. French President Francois Hollande said: "The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32030270]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Paris]] imposes car restrictions|23 Mar|The French authorities have introduced measures to combat a sharp increase in pollution affecting Paris and other cities in [[Northern France|northern France]]. On Monday the number of cars on the road in [[Paris]] will be cut in half - only motorists with odd-numbered plates will be allowed to drive. Public transportation will be free as well car-sharing and bike-sharing programmes.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32006727]}}
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{{newsitem|Shia rebels seize [[Yemen]] city|22 Mar|Yemen's third largest city [[Ta'izz|Taiz]] and its airport have been seized by Shia Houthi rebels, officials say. Residents took to the streets in protest and one was killed as the rebels fired on them and used tear gas. The insurgents already hold the capital, [[Sanaa]], after overthrowing President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in February. He fled to Aden in the south. Instability has been growing in Yemen, where al-Qaeda and Islamic State sympathisers also pose a threat.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32016730]}}
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{{newsitem|Red Sea shark attack kills tourist|22 Mar|A German tourist has been killed in a rare shark attack off an [[Egypt|Egyptian]] Red Sea resort, police say. The shark reportedly bit off the 52-year-old man's leg at the knee. The attack took place on Sunday off the coastal city al-Qusair, the first such incident in five years. The species of shark has not been confirmed. A spate of attacks in 2010 that also led to one death was believed to have been carried out by an oceanic whitetip. Those attacks forced the closure of part of the major resort of [[Sharm el-Sheikh]] for a week. The area that saw Sunday's attack witnessed another in 2009 that killed a Frenchwoman. The German embassy in Cairo said it had been informed of the latest death but could not comment further. Egypt is one of the world's leading diving destinations. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32008678]}}
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{{newsitem|Climate change big threat to [[China]]|22 Mar|Climate change could have a "huge impact" on China, reducing crop yields and harming the environment, the country's top weather scientist has warned, in a rare official admission. Zheng Guogang told Xinhua news agency that climate change could be a "serious threat" to big infrastructure projects. He said temperature rises in China were already higher than global averages. China, the world's biggest polluter, has said its emissions of gases that cause climate change will peak by 2030. However, the country has not set a specific target for cutting emissions of the gases, mainly carbon dioxide. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-32006972]}}
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{{newsitem|Suspects arrested for links to [[Tunis]] attack|19 Mar|Nine people have been arrested in connection with Wednesday's gun attack in [[Tunis]] that left 23 people dead, including 20 foreign tourists, the Tunisian presidency says. It alleged that four were directly linked to the attack and five had "ties to the cell". The army will also be deployed to major cities, the presidency added. In another development, Islamic State said in an audio message that it was behind the attack.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31960926]}}
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{{newsitem|Riots in [[Frankfurt]] target new ECB HQ|18 Mar|Dozens of people have been hurt and some 350 people arrested as anti-austerity demonstrators clashed with police in the [[Germany|German]] city of [[Frankfurt]]. Police cars were set alight and stones were thrown in a protest against the opening of a new base for the European Central Bank (ECB). Violence broke out close to the city's Alte Oper concert hall hours before the ECB building's official opening. "Blockupy" activists are expected to attend a rally later on Wednesday.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31938592]}}
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{{newsitem|Gunmen kill tourists in [[Tunis]] attack|18 Mar|Nineteen people, including 17 foreign tourists, have been killed after gunmen targeted a museum in the Tunisian capital, the prime minister says. Italian, Spanish, Polish and German citizens were among those killed, as well as a Tunisian and a police officer, PM Habib Essid said. Media reports suggest the death toll could be as high as 22.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31941672]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Boston]] breaks record for snowiest winter|16 Mar|[[Boston]] has broken the record for the snowiest winter in the city's recorded history. The National Weather Service said the city received 108.6in (275.8cm) of snow this winter, beating the 1995-1996 record of 107.6 inches. The record was broken around 19:00 local time (23:00 GMT) on Sunday, when 2.9in fell on the city.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31909353]}}
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{{newsitem|Cyclone devastates [[Vanuatu]]|16 Mar|[[Vanuatu]] is in "immediate" need after Cyclone Pam tore through the country at the weekend, its president says. President Baldwin Lonsdale said the storm had "wiped out" all development of recent years and his country would have to rebuild "everything". Aid has begun arriving in the storm-hit nation - one of the world's poorest - but contact has still not been made with some of its more remote islands. Aid agencies say it could be one of the worst disasters ever to hit the region. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31866783]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Cuba]] approves first public wi-fi in Havana|16 Mar| [[Cuba]]'s state telecom agency Etecsa has granted approval to the artist Kcho to open the country's first public wireless hub at his cultural centre. Kcho, who has close ties to the Cuban government, is operating the hub using his own, government-approved internet connection, and paying approximately $900 (£600) per month to run it. Only an estimated 5% - 25% of Cubans have any type of internet service. That is because internet access is incredibly expensive. [http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31905794]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Chile]] firefighters contain blaze|16 Mar| Firefighters in [[Chile]] say they have managed to control a huge forest fire around the port cities of [[Valparaiso]] and [[Vina del Mar]]. One person was killed and thousands were evacuated as the fire spread fanned by strong winds. Officials said they would bring charges against the owner of an illegal landfill site, where the fire is believed to have started. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31909277]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Costa Rica]]'s volcano eruption|14 Mar| Costa Rican officials have reopened the country’s principle airport in the capital of San Jose after the eruption of the Turrialba volcano filled the sky with ash. The Juan Santamaria international airport reopened around midday Friday after remaining closed through Thursday night. The Turrialba volcano erupted three times Thursday and state observers recorded a smaller eruption Friday morning. Costa Rica’s air security agency says the ash on the runways could pose a risk, as could the impaired visibility from the plume of ash. The local Tobias Bolanos airport also was closed intermittently. The country’s public education ministry suspended classes Friday at 12 schools near the volcano. [http://globalnews.ca/news/1882525/watch-costa-rican-volcano-erupts-1-km-into-the-air/]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Egypt]] unveils plans for new capital|14 Mar| The Egyptian government has announced plans to build a new capital to the east of the present one, [[Cairo]]. Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the project would cost $45bn (£30bn) and take five to seven years to complete. He said the aim was to ease congestion and overpopulation in Cairo over the next 40 years. The announcement was made at an investment conference that aims to revive the Egyptian economy. The gathering, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, has attracted pledges worth $12bn (£8bn) in aid and investment from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Mr Madbouly said the population of greater Cairo, estimated at about 18 million, was expected to double within 40 years. [http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31874886]}}
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{{newsitem|Dozens feared dead after cyclone hits [[Vanuatu]]|13 Mar| The death toll from a category five tropical storm that has hit islands in the [[Oceania|South Pacific]] could run into the dozens, the UN's relief agency says. Cyclone Pam battered [[Vanuatu]] with winds of up to 270kph (170mph) on Friday. Authorities on the islands had earlier issued a red alert to residents after the cyclone changed direction and began moving towards populated areas. It has already caused major damage on other Pacific islands, including [[Kiribati]] and the [[Solomon Islands]]. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31865001]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Angola]] floods kill 62|12 Mar| Floods caused by torrential rains have killed 62 people - 35 of them children - in the [[Angola|Angolan]] city of Lobito, local authorities say. The Angop state news agency says the flood water has reached 3m (9.8ft) in some areas of the city since Wednesday. Scores of homes have been destroyed and rescue teams are still searching for missing people. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31862881]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Colombia]] explosion injures police officers|12 Mar| An explosive device has injured five police officers and two other people in the [[Colombia|Colombian]] capital [[Bogotá|Bogota]] in the early hours. The device, which was packed with shrapnel, went off as a police convoy was driving through the southern neighbourhood of Quiroga. It is not yet clear who may be behind the attack. Small-scale explosions are not unusual in the capital, but this device seems more complex than previous ones. Bogota's police commander, Humberto Guatibonza, said the attack had been aimed at his officers.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31849188]}}
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{{newsitem|Iraqi troops advance in [[Tikrit]]|11 Mar| [[Iraq|Iraqi]] government forces have retaken a large part of north-western [[Tikrit]] as they battle IS militants to recapture the city, security officials say. Soldiers and Shia militiamen have reportedly raised the Iraqi flag at a hospital in the Qadisiya district, two-thirds of which is under their control. But they have so far not made much progress in [[Tikrit]]'s south and west. The operation to retake the hometown of Saddam Hussein is the biggest offensive yet by the Iraqi government.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31833592]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Australia]] braces for two cyclones|10 Mar| Residents in parts of [[Western Australia]] and [[Queensland]] have been warned to prepare for stormy weather as two cyclones develop offshore. Forecasters say a low-pressure system off [[Western Australia]] could cause hurricane force winds along parts of the coast at the end of the week. Another system off the coast of northern [[Queensland]]is expected to bring gale force winds late on Tuesday.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-31808517]}}
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{{newsitem|IS kidnaps 9 foreign oil workers| 9 Mar| Nine foreign oil workers have been seized by Islamic State militants in an attack on a Libyan oil field, the Austrian foreign ministry says. The workers - from [[Austria]], the [[Czech Republic]] and seven non-EU nationals - were taken alive, the statement said. The attack on the al-Ghani field about 700km (440 miles) south-east of [[Tripoli]] happened on Friday, a Libyan army spokesman has told the BBC. He said eight guards had been killed in the attack. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31802393]}}
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{{newsitem|Three blasts hit Maiduguri in northeast [[Nigeria]]| 7 Mar| Three blasts hit the northeastern [[Nigeria]]n town of [[Maiduguri]] in the worst attack on the city since suspected Boko Haram militants failed in a bid to seize the state capital at the end of January. Maiduguri is the state capital of [[Borno]], the heartland of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram which has long coveted the city as the capital of an Islamic state they want to carve out of religiously mixed Nigeria. A military source said bombs had caused the explosions, with the first on Baga road near a market and the second at the Monday market. The location of the third blast was not immediately known and there was no word on casualties [http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/07/us-nigeria-violence-idUSKBN0M30EV20150307]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Venezuela]] food crisis| 7 Mar| Foreign ministers from 12 South American nations gathering in [[Caracas]] have promised to help Venezuela overcome an ongoing shortage of food, medicine and other products. The regional Unasur bloc agreed with President Nicolas Maduro to provide items that have gone missing from many Venezuelan supermarkets. The shortage of staples has contributed to popular discontent. Unasur highlighted the importance of safeguarding democratic stability. "The idea is to get all the countries to support the distribution of staples," said Ernesto Samper, Secretary-General of Unasur (Union of South American Nations). "We will work together with the Venezuelan authorities to strengthen the distribution networks in our countries so they help Venezuela," said Mr Samper. He criticised recent anti-government protests in Venezuela that descended into violence. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31774333]}}
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{{newsitem|Militants kill 5 in attack in [[Mali]] capital| 7 Mar| Militants killed five people in a gun attack on a restaurant in Mali's capital, including a French citizen and a Belgian security officer with the EU delegation in the country, authorities said.
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Mali's desert north, where French forces wrested control of territory from separatist rebels and al Qaeda-linked fighters, is plagued by frequent political violence - but this is the first militant attack for years in Bamako, in the south.
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Three Malians were killed in the violence in and around La Terrasse restaurant, which is popular with expatriates, the government said. [http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/07/us-mali-attacks-idUSKBN0M305G20150307]}}
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{{newsitem| Last known [[Liberia|Liberian]] ebola patient discharged|6 Mar|[[Liberia]]’s last Ebola patient was discharged on Thursday after a ceremony in the capital, [[Monrovia]], bringing to zero the number of known cases in the country and marking a milestone in [[West Africa]]’s battle against the disease. If no new cases emerge, the epidemic in [[Liberia]] will be considered over officially on April 4, or 42 days after the last known infection. The 42-day marker is twice the longest incubation period for Ebola, 21 days.[http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/06/world/africa/last-ebola-patient-in-liberia-beatrice-yardolo-discharged-from-treatment.html]}}
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{{newsitem| Thousands flee Iraqi advance on [[Tikrit]]|5 Mar|A military operation to retake the [[Iraq|Iraqi]] city of [[Tikrit]] from Islamic State (IS) has caused about 28,000 people to flee their homes, the UN says. Those displaced are headed towards the city of [[Samarra]], the UN said, but many families are stranded at checkpoints. Aid convoys carrying relief supplies are being sent to the area by UN agencies to help those affected. The operation to retake [[Tikrit]], involving some 30,000 soldiers and Shia militiamen, is now in its fourth day. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31753727]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Chile]] volcano erupts |3 Mar|The [[Villarrica]] volcano in [[Southern Chile]] erupted in the early hours of Tuesday morning, spewing ash and lava up to 1,000m (3,300ft) into the air. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from the volcano's vicinity. The mayor of the nearby town of [[Pucon]] said residents had left "calmly". President Michelle Bachelet said she would travel to the area on Tuesday to assess the situation. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31708312]}}
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{{newsitem| Wildfires across [[Cape Town]] mountains |2 Mar| More than 100 [[South Africa|South African]] firefighters are battling wildfires on the mountains around Cape Town. Thousands of hectares of vegetation have been reduced to ashes on Chapman's Peak, while several homes and a holiday lodge have been destroyed. More than 50 people - residents of a retirement home - have been treated for smoke inhalation, officials say.  [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31697433]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Iraq]] moves against IS in [[Tikrit]] |2 Mar| [[Iraq]] has launched a military operation to recapture [[Tikrit]], the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein, from Islamic State (IS) and its allies. A force of about 30,000 troops and militia were said to be attacking on different fronts, backed by air strikes from Iraqi fighter jets. Fighting is reported in towns to the north and south of [[Tikrit]].  [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31689433]}}
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==February==
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{{newsitem| [[Russia]] opposition politician shot dead|27 Feb|A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in [[Moscow]], Russian officials say. An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr. Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say. He died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in [[Moscow]] against the war in [[Ukraine]]. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31669061]}}
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{{newsitem| [[China]] sets one-year ban on ivory imports|26 Feb|[[China]] has imposed a one-year ban on the import of ivory, amid criticism that demand among Chinese consumers is fuelling poaching in [[Africa]]. The announcement was made by the State Forestry Administration, with officials saying they hoped it would be a first step towards protecting wild elephants.  [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31648475]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Afghanistan]] hit by deadly avalanches|25 Feb|A series of avalanches has struck north of the [[Afghanistan|Afghan]] capital, [[Kabul]], leaving at least 90 dead, officials say. Local governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri said mosques, schools and at least 100 homes had been ruined in Panjshir province. The sudden snowfall after a mild winter surprised many residents, who were reportedly trying to dig out survivors using their bare hands in some areas. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31619534]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Bolivia]] flooding displaces thousands|25 Feb|Flooding has forced more than 4,000 people from their homes in the town of Cobija in northern [[Bolivia]] after the river Acre burst its banks. Heavy rains have also caused the nearby river Tahuamanu to burst its banks. Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera travelled to Cobija on Tuesday to deliver aid to the town. He said some of the neighbourhoods located closest to the river would have to be moved and promised government help to relocate their residents. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31620668]}}
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{{newsitem| [[United Kingdom|UK]] to help train [[Ukraine]] army|24 Feb|[[United Kingdom|British]] military personnel are to be sent to [[Ukraine]] in the next few weeks to provide advice and training, says Prime Minister David Cameron. As he spoke, pro-Russian rebels said they were pulling back heavy weapons from the front line in eastern [[Ukraine]] as part of a ceasefire. However, the government in [[Kiev]] has disputed the rebel claims. Mr. Cameron said he would push for more sanctions on [[Russia]] if the separatists failed to observe the truce. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31610026]}}
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{{newsitem| IS abducts dozens of Christians in [[Syria]]|24 Feb| Islamic State (IS) has abducted dozens of Assyrian Christians from villages in north-eastern [[Syria]], activists say. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 90 men, women and children were seized in a series of dawn raids near the town of Tal Tamr. Some Assyrians managed to escape and made their way east to the largely Kurdish-controlled city of Hassakeh. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31601451]}}
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{{newsitem| [[France]] seizes passports of six Syria-bound citizens|23 Feb| [[France|French]] authorities have for the first time confiscated the passports of six nationals who were allegedly planning to travel to [[Syria]] to join jihadists. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the intelligence services believed the men wanted to join the Islamic State (IS) militant group. The measure is part of new counter-terrorism laws adopted last November. Meanwhile, [[France]] has deployed an aircraft carrier off Bahrain to be used against Islamic State (IS) militants. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31587651]}}
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{{newsitem| [[India]] struggles with swine flu outbreak|20 Feb| [[India|Indian]] health officials are struggling to contain a swine flu outbreak that has killed more than 700 people since it took hold in mid-December. The number of cases has doubled since last week to more than 11,000. Critics have accused the government of failing to distribute medicines, but officials insisted the situation was under control. This year's outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which causes swine flu, is the deadliest in India since 2010.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31549280]}}
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{{newsitem| IS attack kills 40 in al-Qubbah|20 Feb| A bombing by suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in [[Libya]] has killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens in the eastern town of al-Qubbah. Three bombs exploded, targeting a petrol station, a police station and the home of parliamentary speaker Agila Salah, a security source told BBC News. According to an online statement, IS fighters said they struck in retaliation for Egyptian air strikes. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31549280]}}
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{{newsitem| Tropical cyclone Marcia hits [[Queensland]]| 19 Feb| A "very destructive" storm has hit the coast of [[Queensland]], forcing evacuations from coastal communities, Australian officials say. Forecasters warn Category Five tropical cyclone Marcia - with wind gusts up to 285km/h (177 mph) - is bringing heavy rain and "abnormally high tides". The cyclone made landfall between St Lawrence and [[Yeppoon]]. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-31544694]}}
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{{newsitem| Record-breaking cold in [[United States|US]] East| 19 Feb| Bitterly cold air from [[Siberia]] has brought dangerously frigid and likely record-setting temperatures to the eastern half of the [[United States|US]]. Temperatures are 20 to 40 degrees F below normal for February from the [[Mid-Atlantic]] to the [[South (United States of America)|South]]. Schools in [[Chicago]] have closed and trains in the north-east corridor have been affected by the cold. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31538987]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Libya]] urges UN to lift arms embargo| 18 Feb| [[Libya]] has asked the UN Security Council to lift an arms embargo so that it can deal with the Islamic State (IS) group and other militants. Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi said that it would help the government build its army and deal with "rampant terrorism". [[Egypt]] said it supported [[Libya]]'s request at an emergency session of the UN council on Wednesday. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31523944]}}
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{{newsitem|  Air strike kills 37 in [[Niger]]| 18 Feb | Thirty-seven people have died in an air strike in southern [[Niger]] during military operations targeting Boko Haram, local officials say. They were attending a funeral ceremony in Abadam village on the border with [[Nigeria]] when an unidentified plane began dropping bombs. More than 300 militants were killed in north-east [[Nigeria]] during the operation, the Nigerian army says. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31521279]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Egypt]] seeks UN mandate for [[Libya]] intervention| 17 Feb | [[Egypt]]'s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called for a [[United Nations]] resolution allowing international forces to intervene in [[Libya]]. There was no other choice, he told French radio. "We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children." Egyptian jets bombed IS targets on Monday in response to a militant video of the apparent beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians. Rival militias have been battling for control in [[Libya]] since 2011. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31500382]}}
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{{newsitem| Battle rages for Debaltseve despite truce| 17 Feb | Fierce fighting is reported inside the key [[Ukraine|Ukrainian]] town of Debaltseve despite a ceasefire agreed last week. Rebels say they have taken most of Debaltseve, a transport hub, but the government says it is still holding its positions. International observers tasked with monitoring the ceasefire have been unable to enter the town. Meanwhile, [[Ukraine]] accused separatists of breaching the ceasefire and said hopes for peace were being destroyed. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31495099]}}
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{{newsitem| Boko Haram militants attack [[Chad]] for first time| 13 Feb | Nigerian Boko Haram militants have carried out an attack on [[Chad]] overnight, the first such assault on Chadian soil, officials say. Fighters crossed [[Lake Chad]] in four motorboats and attacked a village, an army spokesman told the BBC. The Islamist militants were pushed back by Chadian troops after killing several people, residents said. [[Chad]] recently joined [[Nigeria]], [[Niger]], and [[Cameroon]] in a military coalition against Boko Haram. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31453951]}}
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{{newsitem| Leaders agree peace roadmap for [[Ukraine]] crisis| 12 Feb | An agreement aimed at ending the fighting in [[Ukraine]] has been reached, following marathon talks in [[Belarus]]. The leaders of [[Russia]], [[Ukraine]], [[Germany]] and [[France]] announced that a ceasefire would begin on 15 February. The deal also includes weapon withdrawals and prisoner exchanges, but key issues remain to be settled. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31435812]}}
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{{newsitem| Over 300 Migrants killed in [[Mediterranean Sea|Mediterranean]] tragedy| 11 Feb | At least 300 migrants are feared to have drowned after attempting to cross the [[Mediterranean Sea]] from [[North Africa]] this week in rough seas, the UN says. UNHCR official Vincent Cochetel said it was a "tragedy on an enormous scale". Survivors brought to the Italian island of [[Lampedusa]] said they were forced to risk the bad weather on ill-equipped vessels by human traffickers in [[Libya]]. They were rescued from two of four dinghies that got into trouble after leaving [[Libya]] for [[Europe]] on Saturday. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31414009]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Niger]] to send troops to [[Nigeria]]| 10 Feb | [[Niger]]'s parliament has voted to send troops to [[Nigeria]] to join the fight against militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The vote took place after Boko Haram attacked a prison and detonated a car bomb on Monday in the town of Diffa, near [[Niger]]'s border with [[Nigeria]]. MPs said parliament unanimously authorised deploying 750 soldiers with a regional force battling Boko Haram. Boko Haram has increasingly drawn in [[Nigeria]]'s neighbours. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31351614]}}
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{{newsitem| Battles rage ahead of [[Minsk]] talks| 10 Feb | Fighting has surged in eastern [[Ukraine]] as government forces and [[Russia|pro-Russian]] rebels try to make gains ahead of expected peace talks on Wednesday. Rebels carried out rocket attacks on a key military base and a residential area in Kramatorsk, officials say, killing at least seven civilians. Meanwhile, [[Ukraine]]'s volunteer Azov battalion has launched an offensive against separatists around Mariupol. More than 5,400 people have died since the conflict began last April.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31357588]}}
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{{newsitem| Volcano evacuations in [[Guatemala]]| 9 Feb | Scores of residents have been evacuated from their homes in southern [[Guatemala]] after the Fuego volcano erupted, the country's president says. Clouds of black ash belched into the sky, while showers of rock and dust fell on to surrounding towns. The international airport in the capital [[Guatemala City]] was closed as result of the explosion, President Otto Perez said. It is expected to reopen later on Sunday, reports suggest.  [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-31231744]}}
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{{newsitem| Boko Haram kidnaps 20 in [[Nigeria]]| 9 Feb | Suspected militants from Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram have hijacked a bus in northern [[Cameroon]], abducting at least 20 people, residents say. Militants reportedly seized a bus carrying market-goers and drove it toward the border with [[Nigeria]]. Some reports put the total number kidnapped in [[Cameroon]] as high as 30. Boko Haram has escalated its attacks outside [[Nigeria]] in recent weeks, targeting neighbouring [[Cameroon]] and [[Niger]].[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31313590]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Bangladesh]] firebomb attacks kill nine| 7 Feb | Nine people have been killed after attackers hurled petrol bombs at a bus and truck in Bangladesh, police say. Police reportedly blamed opposition activists for the violence, which also injured 30 others. At least 70 people have been killed in attacks since anti-government protests began last month. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) called for a general shutdown in January, on the anniversary of last year's disputed election. The BNP had boycotted that election, saying it would be rigged, and is now trying to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down and call new polls. Six people died when petrol bombs hit a packed bus from the northern district of Gaibandha to Dhaka on Friday, police said. A similar arson attack on a truck in the southern district of Barisal killed three people early on Saturday, police added. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31191812]}}
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{{newsitem| Boko Haram in first [[Niger]] attack| 7 Feb | The Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram has attacked a town in Niger for the first time, witnesses say. Niger's government said it killed more than 100 of the group's fighters as it repulsed the attack on the border town of Bosso. The group reportedly killed at least 70 people in an attack on the town of Fotokol in Cameroon on Wednesday. The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands dead and displaced more than a million over the past six years. The militants control a large stretch of land in north-eastern Nigeria. Its neighbours have promised to send troops to help it fight the militants, who are now attacking those countries. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31162979]}}
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{{newsitem| Water pollution concern for [[Rio]] 2016| 7 Feb | Organisers of the Rio 2016 Olympics admit they are "concerned" about water pollution in the sailing venue, but say the Games will be delivered "on time". About 48% of sewage pumped into the Guanabara Bay is untreated, while illegal dumping is a big problem.
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Last month government officials stated they would miss their target of an 80% reduction  in water pollution by the start of the Olympics next August. "There is a huge problem with garbage," Mario Andrada told BBC Sport. The Rio 2016 director of communications continued: "It [the state of the sailing venue] is a concern because the water is not fully clean, but it will be safe for the Olympics." [http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/olympics/31134429]}}
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{{newsitem| New [[Ukraine]] peace push launched| 5 Feb | Diplomatic efforts are under way to end renewed fighting in eastern [[Ukraine]]. [[French]] President Francois Hollande and [[German]] Chancellor Angela Merkel have arrived in the capital Kiev to present a new peace initiative. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is also in [[Kiev]], said the [[United States|US]] wanted a diplomatic solution, but would not close its eyes to [[Russian]] aggression. Fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels has killed more than 5,000 people since last April. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31143983]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Jordan]] jets strike Islamic State| 5 Feb | [[Jordan]] says its warplanes have carried out their first air strikes on Islamic State (IS) targets since the militants released a video showing the killing of a captured Jordanian pilot. On their way back, the planes flew over the village of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Their flight coincided with a visit to the village by Jordanian King Abdullah II, who was meeting the pilot's family. The king has vowed to the step up the fight against IS. Jordan is part of a US-led coalition bombing the militants. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31153217]}}
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{{newsitem| Boko Haram kill 70 in [[Cameroon]] border town of Fotokol| 4 Feb | Boko Haram militants have reportedly killed at least 70 people in an attack on the [[Cameroon|Cameroonian]] town of Fotokol, on the border with [[Nigeria]]. The Islamist militants attacked civilians in their homes and in the town's mosque, local officials said, setting many buildings on fire. The attack comes a day after a regional force said it had driven the militants from a [[Nigeria|Nigerian]] town near Fotokol. The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands dead over the last six years. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31141097]}}
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{{newsitem| King of [[Jordan]] vows severe response to IS | 4 Feb | [[Jordan]]'s King Abdullah II has promised to fight back hard against Islamic State, saying that the death of a Jordanian pilot at the militants' hands will not be in vain. The remarks were made as the king held a crisis meeting with security chiefs. He cut short a [[United States|US]] trip after IS posted a video appearing to show pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31125835]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Chad|Chadian]] troops kill Boko Haram militants | 4 Feb | [[Chad]]'s army says it has killed more than 200 militant Islamists and lost nine men during a battle to recapture a key town in north-eastern [[Nigeria]]. Boko Haram militants killed about 30 people after fleeing from the battle to [[Cameroon]], a resident said. It was the most intense battle known to involve[[Chad|Chadian]] troops since they entered the conflict in [[Nigeria]]. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31132068]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Taiwan]] TransAsia plane crashes into river | 4 Feb | A plane carrying mostly Chinese tourists has crashed into a river in [[Taiwan]], killing at least 31 people. Dramatic video footage emerged showing the TransAsia Airways plane clipping a bridge as it came down shortly after take-off from a [[Taipei]] airport. The plane, carrying 58 people, broke up as it plunged into [[Taipei]]'s Keelung River. The fuselage was later salvaged by crane. There were 15 survivors pulled from the wreckage but 12 people remain missing. [http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31125052]}}
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{{newsitem| New [[Ukraine]] clashes catastrophic | 3 Feb | Up to 16 civilians have been killed and dozens more injured in the space of 24 hours in fighting in eastern Ukraine, as the UN warns that the fresh surge in violence is proving "catastrophic". Government and rebel representatives reported the latest deaths in locations across the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Ukraine's army also said five soldiers had died fighting pro-Russian rebels near the strategic town of Debaltseve. Civilian casualties have risen sharply in recent weeks amid a rebel offensive. The latest deaths were in the city of [[Donetsk]], Debaltseve and several villages under government control in the Luhansk region. The exact numbers could not be independently confirmed. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31113652] }}
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{{newsitem| [[Chad]] troops join [[Nigeria]] battle| 3 Feb | Chadian troops have entered Nigeria to join the battle against militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Armoured vehicles and infantry crossed a bridge from Cameroon following air strikes and mortar attacks on Boko Haram positions, officials say. Fighting focused on the key north-eastern town of Gamboru, Nigerian security spokesman Mike Omeri said. Chad's deepening involvement shows how the conflict with Boko Haram is taking a regional dimension. Last week, Chadian troops reportedly moved into Malumfatori, a Nigerian town which lies near the borders of Chad and Niger, after a ground and air assault against the militants. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened to create a caliphate, incorporating parts of [[Nigeria]], [[Niger]], [[Chad]] and [[Cameroon]]. The African Union has responded by backing plans to establish a 7,500-strong regional force to fight the group. The Chadian contingent of about 2,000 troops crossed the frontier without a shot being fired, AFP news agency reports from the scene. Chad warplanes had earlier carried out air strikes for about an hour. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31113513]}}
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{{newsitem| Most [[China]] cities fail air test | 3 Feb | Only eight out of China's 74 biggest cities passed the government's basic air quality standards in 2014, the environment ministry has said. The most polluted cities were in north-eastern [[Hebei]], the province that surrounds the capital [[Beijing]]. Beijing and [[Shanghai]] both failed the assessment, which was based on measurements of major pollutants. China is attempting to cut pollution but the country still relies heavily on coal for its energy needs. The government shut more than 8,000 coal-burning factories in Hebei last year. But the BBC's Celia Hatton in Beijing says like many places in China, the authorities are struggling to balance factory closures with the demands of the country's slowing economy. The environment ministry's statement published on its website (in Chinese) noted that the 2014 result was an improvement over the previous year, where only three cities met the standards. But it added that "presently, the country's air pollution situation remains serious". [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-31110408] }}
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{{newsitem| [[Bangladesh]] petrol bomb attack | 3 Feb | At least seven people have been burned to death and 15 others injured, some seriously, in a petrol bomb attack on a bus in eastern Bangladesh. Police said the bus had been full of sleeping passengers when it was attacked near the town of Chauddagram. It is the latest in a spate of attacks on buses, lorries and cars since anti-government protests began last month. Opposition leader Khaleda Zia called for the protests on the anniversary of last year's disputed election. However, she has denied that her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist allies are behind the firebombings. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31104161] }}
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{{newsitem| Blast hits [[Nigeria]] election rally| 3 Feb | A female suicide bomber has blown up herself in northern Nigeria's [[Gombe]] city, minutes after President Goodluck Jonathan left a campaign rally there. At least one person was killed and 18 others were wounded in the blast, police and hospital sources said. Mr Jonathan is standing for re-election on 14 February against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in the run-up to the contest. Explosions have also ripped through court buildings in three towns in oil-rich southern Nigeria in what police described as co-ordinated attacks. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31099348]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Liberia]]'s Ebola vaccine trial begins| 3 Feb | The first large-scale trials of two experimental vaccines against Ebola have begun in Liberia. The potentially preventative medicines were taken under strict security to a secret location in the West African country. Scientists aim to immunise 30,000 volunteers, including front-line health workers. More than 8,500 people have died in the Ebola outbreak, the vast majority in [[Guinea]], [[Liberia]] and [[Sierra Leone]]. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-31087727] }}
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==January==
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{{newsitem| [[Egypt]] military targeted in deadly [[Sinai]] attacks | 29 Jan| At least 26 people have been killed in a series of attacks by Islamist militants in the north of [[Egypt]]'s [[Sinai|Sinai peninsula]]. A car bomb and mortars hit military targets in the North [[Sinai]] capital El-Arish, killing a number of soldiers. Other attacks took place in the nearby town of Sheik Zuwayid and the town of Rafah, bordering [[Gaza]]. Militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which pledges allegiance to Islamic State, said it carried out the attacks.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31052064]}}
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{{newsitem| [[US]] north-east digs out of heavy snow | 28 Jan| Residents of the US north-east are digging out after up to 36in (91cm) of snow fell in a day-long blizzard. The storm, which also destroyed part of a seawall and flooded parts of coastal [[Massachusetts]], is being blamed for two deaths in [[Long Island]]. Clean-up is being hindered by freezing temperatures in the coming days forecast to be as low as 10F (-12C). But [[New York City]] and areas south were spared from an earlier prediction of a "potentially historic blizzard". City officials imposed a driving ban and took the unprecedented step of shutting the subway on Monday evening but less than a foot of snow fell overnight. [[Portland]], [[Maine]] and [[Providence]], [[Rhode Island]] both set a daily record for snowfall. A 110-ft replica of a Revolutionary War ship in Newport, Rhode Island was damaged after the storm flipped it. Wind gusts were as high as 78mph (125km/h) On Wednesday, [[Boston]]'s transport system began running again and the first flight since Monday took off from Logan Airport. But snowploughs struggled to clear the roads, and Boston police drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31025776]}}
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{{newsitem| Israel-Hezbollah clashes kill 3 | 28 Jan| Two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish UN peacekeeper have been killed as Hezbollah militants trade fire with Israeli forces on the [[Lebanon|Lebanese]] border. A spokesman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) urged "maximum restraint to prevent an escalation". The peacekeeper was killed close to the disputed Shebaa Farms area, where an Israeli convoy was earlier hit by anti-tank missiles, killing two soldiers. The Israeli military responded by firing shells into southern Lebanon.  Hezbollah said it carried out the missile attack in retaliation for an Israeli air strike that killed six of its fighters and an Iranian Revolutionary Guards general in the Syrian Golan Heights 10 days ago. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-31015862]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Northeastern United States]] braced for huge snowstorm | 26 Jan| A "potentially historic blizzard" could dump up to 90cm (3ft) of snow on the [[Northeastern United States|US north-east]] coast, the National Weather Service has warned. [[New York City| New York's]] mayor said the storm could be the city's biggest ever, telling residents to "prepare for the worst". Heavy snowfall is forecast from [[Philadelphia]] to [[Maine]], pre-emptively closing many schools and offices. A blizzard warning has been issued across [[New York]] and [[Boston]] from Monday afternoon until Tuesday.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30978320]}}
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{{newsitem| Syrian Kurds drive Islamic State out of Kobane | 26 Jan| Kurdish forces have driven Islamic State (IS) militants from Kobane, officials say, ending a four-month battle for the northern [[Syria|Syrian]] town. Fighters from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) were said to have entered outlying areas in the east of the town after the jihadists retreated. However, the US said it was not yet prepared to declare the battle over. Kobane was seen as a major test of the US-led coalition's strategy to combat IS in [[Syria]] with air strikes. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30991612]}}
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{{newsitem| Sixteen killed in [[Egypt]] protests | 25 Jan| At least 16 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters across Egypt, officials said. One policeman was among the dead and dozens of protesters were also injured, health officials confirmed. The clashes follow the death of an activist in a march in [[Cairo]]. The protests were staged to mark the fourth anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising, which toppled long-time leader Hosni Mubarak. Security in major cities was tightened ahead of the anniversary, and key locations in Cairo were blocked off. Dozens of people were killed in similar protests last year. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30974291]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Ukraine]] vows to 'calm' fighting | 25 Jan| Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to "calm" fighting with pro-Russia rebels in east Ukraine after 30 people were killed there on Saturday. Speaking after an emergency meeting of Ukraine's security council, Mr Poroshenko said that a peace deal signed in September in [[Minsk]] was the only solution to the conflict. [[Russia]]'s foreign minister also urged "comprehensive political dialogue". Both sides blame each other for the continuing fighting. More than 5,000 people have been killed in fighting since the rebels seized a large swathe of Donetsk and Luhansk regions last April, UN officials say. More than a million people have been displaced. Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of arming the rebels and sending its troops into Ukrainian territory. Russia has denied directly arming the separatists, and blames Ukraine for the upsurge in fighting. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30974283]}}
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{{newsitem| Boko Haram assaults [[Nigeria]]n city | 25 Jan| Nigerian Islamist Boko Haram fighters have attacked the strategically important north-eastern city of [[Maiduguri]], with dozens reported dead. Earlier on Sunday they captured the north-eastern town of Monguno. US Secretary of State John Kerry meanwhile has arrived in Nigeria to call for peaceful elections next month which need to set "a new standard". The vote looks set to be the closest since the end of military rule 15 years ago. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30972534]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Venezuela]]ns protest over shortages| 25 Jan| Thousands of Venezuelans have attended an opposition march in [[Caracas]], blaming government policies for the country's worsening economic crisis. Saturday's march was the first attempt by the opposition in months to revive the protest movement that rocked the country last year. Many banged empty pots, in reference to the shortage of many staple foods. Riot police blocked the demonstrators' access to the city centre, but there were no major clashes. Opposition politician Maria Corina Machado said Mr Maduro "must step aside now, so the Venezuelan people can stand united again". Demonstrators voiced discontent at high inflation, crime and shortages. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-30971615]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Yemen]] President and PM resign as rebels tighten hold | 22 Jan| The president of [[Yemen]] has resigned along with his prime minister as Shia Houthi rebels tighten their grip on the capital [[Sanaa]]. President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah tendered their resignations to parliament which reportedly refused to accept them. The move came despite a deal to make political concessions to the rebels. Rebel figures welcomed the news with one reportedly proposing the creation of a ruling presidential council. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30936940]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Japan]] PM vows to save hostages| 21 Jan| Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned an apparent threat by the Islamic State group to kill two Japanese hostages. A video purportedly from the group shows a militant threatening to kill two hostages unless a ransom is paid. In the video, which has not been independently verified, the militant also criticises [[Japan]] for pledging aid to countries fighting IS. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30893735]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Nepal]] violence over new constitution| 20 Jan| Scuffles broke out in Nepal's parliament and police arrested protesters in the capital as tensions rose before a deadline to draft a new national constitution. Opposition lawmakers threw chairs and microphones and attacked the parliamentary Speaker early on Tuesday. The Maoist opposition accuse the ruling coalition of trying to push through their proposals without consensus. Nepal's leaders have set 22 January as a deadline for the draft constitution. The country's political parties have been trying to reach agreement on a new constitution since the former kingdom's first Constituent Assembly was elected in 2008. Deadlines have repeatedly been missed. The 2008 elections followed a peace deal with Maoist rebels who had fought a decade-long civil war in which more than 12,000 people died. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-30894714]}}
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{{newsitem| Deadly [[Congo]] clashes over Kabila| 20 Jan| SAt least four people have been killed in protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down next year. The protests continued on Tuesday in the capital, [[Kinshasa]], and internet connections were blocked following Monday's clashes between opposition supporters and security forces. Demonstrators say government plans for a census are a ploy to delay elections. Mr Kabila is constitutionally barred from running for a third term. The government admits next year's elections could be delayed, but says the census is vital to ensure free and fair elections. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30898405]}}
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{{newsitem| [[Argentina|Argentine]] death sparks protests| 20 Jan| Thousands of Argentines took to the streets in protest on Monday following the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Mr Nisman was found shot dead in his apartment in Buenos Aires on Sunday. He had been investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in [[Buenos Aires]] in which 85 people died. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-30895518]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Ukraine]] battles rage in [[Donetsk]] and [[Lugansk]]| 19 Jan| Dozens of people have been killed or wounded as fighting escalates along the front line in eastern [[Ukraine]] and the battle for [[Donetsk]] airport continues. Artillery fire was reported in several areas of the eastern [[Donetsk]] and [[Lugansk]] regions and a hospital in [[Donetsk]] city was hit, reports said.[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30878406]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Niger]] protesters set churches on fire| 18 Jan| At least three people have been killed and six churches attacked in Niger amid fresh protests against French magazine Charlie Hebdo's cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Protests began outside [[Niamey]]'s grand mosque and reportedly spread to other parts of the country, a day after five were killed in Niger's second city. Niger's president condemned the violence and appealed for calm. Last week, Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo's offices. The cover of the magazine's latest edition, published after the attack, featured a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad weeping while holding a sign saying "I am Charlie".[http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30863159]}}
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{{newsitem|Channel Tunnel trains resume with delays| 18 Jan|Passengers using the Channel Tunnel are still experiencing delays after it reopened following a lorry fire. Services resumed on Sunday morning but passengers have reported being held at the tunnels in both [[UK]] and [[France]]. Eurostar trains started moving through the tunnel again about 11:30 GMT, but at a reduced speed and only one of the two tunnels is open. At least 12,000 passengers were affected when the tunnel was closed for most of Saturday. Eurostar said passengers should expect delays of up to two hours from when they board. Eurotunnel, which operates car and lorry services, said there was a three-hour wait to board shuttles, and the tunnel affected by the fire would remain closed throughout Sunday. [http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30868990]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Armenia]] clashes over Russian soldier| 18 Jan|At least 12 people have been wounded in clashes in Armenia between police and protesters demanding the handover of a Russian soldier accused of killing six members of a local family. The violence erupted when thousands of protesters in [[Gyumri]] tried to march on the Russian consulate in Armenia's second-largest city. Valery Permyakov, a soldier at a Russian base in Armenia, is suspected of killing the family on Monday. He is being held at the Russian base. Russia has promised to investigate the shootings, but has so far refused to hand the soldier over to Armenian authorities. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30843361]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Malawi]] floods kill 170 and leave thousands homeless| 16 Jan| The authorities in [[Malawi]] say at least 170 people have died in flash floods - a sharp rise on previous figures. Heavy rain over the past month has swept many houses away and caused residents to flee to higher ground, some crossing the border to Mozambique. Vice-President Saulos Chilima said more than 100,000 people had been displaced from their homes, mostly in the south.  [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30854140]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Belgium|Belgian]] anti-terror raid in [[Verviers]] leaves two dead| 15 Jan| Two people have been killed in an anti-terror operation in eastern [[Belgium]], local officials say. A third person was wounded during the raid in the town of [[Verviers]], according to Belgian TV. A source in the mayor's office told AFP news agency that "an operation is under way". Another official said the raid was "jihadist-related". Witnesses reported hearing heavy gunfire for several minutes and at least three explosions. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30840160]}}
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{{newsitem|New [[United States|US]]-[[Cuba]] travel and trade rules start on Friday | 15 Jan| New travel and trade rules between the [[United States|US]] and [[Cuba]] are to take effect on Friday, [[United States|US]] officials say. Measures include allowing [[United States|US]] citizens to use credit cards in [[Cuba]] and for [[United States|US]] businesses to export some technologies. Americans will be able to take home up to $100 (£66) in alcohol and tobacco from [[Cuba]]. Correspondents say it means the US ban on Cuban cigars is over. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-30836679]}}
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{{newsitem|Double sieges in [[France]] come to an end | 9 Jan| French police have stormed two hostage sites in the [[Paris]] area, killing three hostage takers. Two brothers suspected in the Charlie Hebdo magazine shootings died in an assault at a warehouse where they had been holding a hostage north of [[Paris]]. In the second incident, anti-terror forces stormed a supermarket in eastern [[Paris]] where several hostages were being held by a gunman. Four hostages there were killed prior to the police assault, reports say. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30752239]}}
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{{newsitem|Charles De Gaulle Airport Flights Diverted | 9 Jan| [[France]]’s largest airport is operating a reduced service amid a nearby ongoing siege involving the Charlie Hebdo shooting suspects. Up to two of the four runways at Charles de Gaulle Airport are affected, and at least two planes have been diverted from landing there. [http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/01/09/charliehebdo-charles-de-gaulle-airport-flights-diverted-standoff-charlie-hebdo-shooting-suspects_n_6441658.html]}}
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{{newsitem|Charlie Hebdo suspects rob service station | 8 Jan| The two main suspects in the Islamist attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in [[Paris]] are said to have robbed a service station in the north of [[France]]. Anti-terrorism police have converged on an area near [[Villers-Cotterêts]] where the gunmen were reported by French media to have stolen food and petrol. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30721677]}}
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{{newsitem|[[France]]: Gun attack on magazine kills 12| 7 Jan| Gunmen have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in an apparent militant Islamist attack. Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor, were among those killed, as well as two police officers. A major police operation is under way to find three gunmen who fled by car. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30710883]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Australia]] races to control bushfires| 5 Jan| More than 30 homes are already feared destroyed in the hills behind the city of Adelaide. More than 500 firefighters are tackling the fires, which have been burning since Friday. Officials say the blaze is the worst in the area since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983, which left 75 dead. Temperatures are forecast to hit 34C in Adelaide on Monday before rising to as high as 38C on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-30677472]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Mali|Malian]] town attacked by militants| 5 Jan| Islamist insurgents have attacked the Malian town of Nampala near the [[Mauritania| Mauritanian]] border, killing at least five people in a dawn raid. Witnesses said the militants opened fire on soldiers after arriving in pick-up trucks. Other reports said they came on motorbikes and on foot. One report said Malian soldiers fled the attack; another said troops fought back and clashes lasted several hours. The militants have been fighting the Malian army for a number of years. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30681908]}}
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{{newsitem| Deadly suicide bomb rocks [[Mogadishu]]| 5 Jan| A suicide car bomb attack by Islamist group al-Shabab has killed four people in the Somali capital Mogadishu, officials say. Witnesses said the blast was close to the international airport, where African Union troops, UN staff and several Western embassies are based. Plumes of black smoke were seen in the area and the sound of gunfire was heard shortly after the explosion. Security has improved but al-Shabab still attacks Mogadishu regularly. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-30672660]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Italy]] coastguards board abandoned migrant ship Ezadeen| 2 Jan|. Italian authorities have taken control of a ship with 450 migrants, thought to be Syrian, that was abandoned by its crew off [[Italy]]'s coast. The Italian coastguard said it was now being towed to an Italian port after a rescue team managed to board. The Ezadeen, sailing under the flag of [[Sierra Leone]], lost power in rough seas overnight off the south-east of Italy. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30653742]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Cuba]] arrests protesting activists| 2 Jan|Cuban dissidents say police have arrested a group of political activists who had been protesting outside a jail in the capital, [[Havana]]. Dozens of dissidents have been taken into custody in Cuba since Tuesday. The police operation began just a few hours before a planned open microphone protest at Havana's Revolution Square. It comes two weeks after Cuba and the United States announced they had agreed to restore diplomatic and economic relations, severed in the early 1960s. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-30651906]}}
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{{newsitem|[[Kashmir]] clashes kill five troops | 2 Jan|Indian forces in Kashmir have killed four Pakistani troops on the border ending a year in which hostilities between the neighbours have escalated. Firing took place on the international border between Samba sector and Pakistan after an Indian soldier was killed in an attack blamed on Pakistan. A ceasefire agreed in 2003 remains in place, but it is often violated. [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-30647502]}}
  
{{Newsitem|Hungarian National Airline Malev Closes Down|3 February 2012|Due to financial problems the national carrier of [[Hungary]], Malev, has closed down its operations. Malev has racked up a debt equal to the revenue of a whole year and after it was ordered to pay back various governmental subsidizes Malev is unable to continue its businesses. There are no more departures after today morning 5 AM (GMT).  [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16866872]}}
 
  
 
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Latest revision as of 09:11, 26 April 2015

Contents

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.


April

Nepal quake relief drive intensifies

Nepal quake relief drive intensifies

26 Apr

Rescue efforts in Nepal are intensifying after nearly 2,000 people were killed on Saturday in the worst earthquake there in more than 80 years. Many countries and charities have offered aid to deal with the disaster. Seventeen people have been killed on Mount Everest by avalanches - the mountain's worst-ever disaster. Meanwhile a powerful aftershock was felt on Sunday in Nepal, India and Bangladesh, and more avalanches were reported near Everest. The 6.7 magnitude tremor, centred 60km (40 miles) east of Nepal's capital Kathmandu, sent people running in panic for open ground in the city. Screams and the sound of an avalanche could be heard as an Indian mountaineer was interviewed by phone from near Everest by Reuters news agency. The death toll from the original earthquake could rise, as the situation is unclear in remote areas which remain cut off or hard to access. [1]


Baltimore protest turns violent

Baltimore protest turns violent

26 Apr

More than 1,000 protesters have marched in Baltimore over the death of a black man in police custody a week ago. But after hours of peaceful demonstrations, some protesters smashed police windows and shop fronts. At least 12 people were arrested. [2]


Syria Islamists take northern town

Syria Islamists take northern town

26 Apr

Islamist rebels in Syria have taken over the key north-western town of Jisr al-Shughur, activists say. It was the last major town under government control in Idlib province. Correspondents say it may give rebels a route to the ruling elite's heartland. The Islamist forces, including the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, began the assault on Thursday. State media said the army had redeployed outside the town "to avoid civilian casualties". They quoted a military official as saying that, before withdrawing, troops had engaged in fierce fighting with "armed terrorist groups" who arrived in large numbers from the Turkish border. [3]


Niger battles meningitis outbreak

Niger battles meningitis outbreak

26 Apr

Niger has begun a mass vaccination campaign as it struggles to control a meningitis outbreak that has now killed 129 people. Health Minister Mano Aghali announced on public radio that the death toll had risen from 85 in less than a week. The effort to immunise children between two and 15 has started despite a shortage of vaccines. Schools in and around Niger's capital, Niamey, were shut this week to contain the virus. It was a shortage of vaccines to treat the current strain that caused the outbreak to spread, the authorities say. There is a "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia, with high rates of the disease, the WHO says. [4]


Chile volcano causes flight problems

Chile volcano causes flight problems

26 Apr

Niger has begun a mass vaccination campaign as it struggles to control a meningitis outbreak that has now killed 129 people. Health Minister Mano Aghali announced on public radio that the death toll had risen from 85 in less than a week. The effort to immunise children between two and 15 has started despite a shortage of vaccines. Schools in and around Niger's capital, Niamey, were shut this week to contain the virus. It was a shortage of vaccines to treat the current strain that caused the outbreak to spread, the authorities say. There is a "meningitis belt" in sub-Saharan Africa, stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia, with high rates of the disease, the WHO says. [5]


Statue of Liberty evacuated over suspicious package

Statue of Liberty evacuated over suspicious package

24 Apr

The Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island in New York have been evacuated due to a suspicious package. The island is home to the world-famous statue, a major tourist destination for people visiting the United States. [6]


Chile volcano causes flight problems

Chile volcano causes flight problems

24 Apr

International flights are being delayed or cancelled because of concerns over the ash cloud created by the Calbuco volcano in Chile. The eruption on Thursday created a cloud of ash that went up 20km (12 miles) into the air. Volcanic ash can be extremely dangerous to aircraft as the fine particles can damage engines. Many international flights have been affected in the last few hours, with one forced to turn back to Australia. Qantas flight QF27 was five hours into its journey to Santiago when it had to turn back to Sydney late on Friday. A Qantas spokeswoman in Sydney said it returned because of concerns over the ash cloud. Two flights from the United States to Buenos Aires, one with Delta Air Lines and one with American Airlines, had to return to their departure airports. One Air France flight from Paris to Santiago had to land in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and another destined for Buenos Aires landed in Rio de Janeiro. [7]


Chile evacuations as volcano erupts

Chile evacuations as volcano erupts

23 Apr

The Calbuco volcano in southern Chile has erupted twice in the space of a few hours - having lain dormant for decades. Footage from the area shows a huge column of lava and ash being sent several kilometres into the air. The authorities have declared a red alert and evacuated more than 4,000 people within a 20km (12 mile) radius. [8]


Post-storm New South Wales clean-up

Post-storm New South Wales clean-up

23 Apr

A clean-up operation has begun in New South Wales in the wake of violent storms that battered the Australian state. Police have confirmed the deaths of four people. Three were killed in Dungog, where homes have been washed away by flooding. An 86-year-old woman died in the Central Hunter region when her car was swept into floodwaters. Emergency services have declared 12 communities natural disaster areas. [9]


Nigeria begins Sambisa offensive against Boko Haram

Nigeria begins Sambisa offensive against Boko Haram

22 Apr

Nigerian ground troops have joined an offensive on the last known hideout of the Boko Haram Islamist militants, a military spokesman has told the BBC. The vast north-eastern Sambisa forest is where they have many bases - and it has been subject to aerial bombardments since February. There has been speculation that some of the Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped more than a year ago are being held there. [10]


Saudi Arabia ends Yemen air campaign

Saudi Arabia ends Yemen air campaign

21 Apr

A Saudi Arabia-led coalition has ended its bombing campaign against rebels in Yemen having "achieved its military goals", officials say. The month-long Decisive Storm campaign had targeted Houthi rebels but largely failed to halt their advance. A new operation called Restoring Hope will focus on a political solution in Yemen and on counter-terrorism at home, the coalition said. Iran welcomed the end of air strikes as a step forward. Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia has accused Shia-led Iran of backing the Houthis, something Tehran denies. Yemen has been in chaos since the Houthi, or Zaidi Shia, rebels, took control of the capital, Sanaa, in January and placed President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi under house arrest. [11]


Three dead in New South Wales storm

Three dead in New South Wales storm

21 Apr

Three people have died in New South Wales as powerful storms batter the Australian state. The two men and a woman were found dead in Dungog north of Sydney, one of the worst affected areas, where homes have been washed away by flooding. Some 215,000 homes are without power in Sydney and across New South Wales. People have been urged to head home, as Australia's weather agency warned more severe weather would hit parts of the state on Tuesday night. The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has issued a severe weather warning for the Sydney area, Hunter and Illawarra forecasting "damaging and locally destructive winds, damaging winds, heavy rainfall and damaging surf". Winds of up to 135km/h (85 mph) were recorded in some areas, with up to 200mm of rainfall forecast for Tuesday. The State Emergency Service (SES) said it had received more than 4,400 calls for help, and carried out dozens of flood rescues. People were reported to be trapped in cars and homes and stuck on the rooftops of houses. [12]


EU to set measures for Mediterranean migrants

EU to set measures for Mediterranean migrants

19 Apr

The EU has set out a package of measures to try to ease the migrant boat crisis in the Mediterranean. Its Frontex border surveillance service will be strengthened and a military mandate sought to destroy people-smugglers' boats. An emergency summit of EU leaders will be held on Thursday. As the leaders met, fresh distress calls from migrant boats were received. [13]


Deadly air strike in Sana'a

Deadly air strike in Sana'a

19 Apr

At least 18 people were killed and 300 injured in Yemen's capital Sana'a after an air strike on a missile base caused a huge blast that flattened buildings. Witnesses compared the blast, which sent a plume of smoke hundreds of metres into the sky, to an earthquake. The explosion occurred in the Faj Attan area of the capital, near the presidential compound. A Saudi-led coalition bombing campaign has been targeting Yemen's Shia Houthi rebels since late March. [14]


Mystery disease' kills 18 in Nigeria

Mystery disease' kills 18 in Nigeria

19 Apr

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


Hundreds feared dead in Med sinking

Hundreds feared dead in Med sinking

19 Apr

Hundreds of people are feared to have drowned after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, the Italian coastguard says. A major rescue operation is under way after the vessel carrying "between 500 and 700 migrants" capsized at midnight local time, south of the Italian island of Lampedusa. So far 28 people have been rescued. Earlier this week, four hundred people were feared to have drowned when their vessel capsized north of Libya. Last year a record 170,000 people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa and the Middle East made the perilous crossing to Italy. With improving weather conditions, the number of people making the crossing of at least 500km (300 miles) has surged. But vessels provided by people smugglers are often underpowered and overcrowded. [16]


Many dead in Afghanistan bank blast

Many dead in Afghanistan bank blast

19 Apr

At least 33 people have been killed and 100 injured in a suicide bomb attack in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. The blast happened outside a bank where government staff and military personnel were collecting their salaries. A spokesman for a group claiming to represent Islamic State in Afghanistan said it carried out the attack, though it is still unverified the claim. Police said another bomb was discovered nearby, and was destroyed in a controlled explosion. Another blast was also reported outside a shrine in Jalalabad on Saturday morning. There were no reported casualties. [17]


Three dead in Mexican gun battle

Three dead in Mexican gun battle

19 Apr

Gun battles have left at least three people dead on the streets of Reynosa, a Mexican city on the border with the US that has been plagued by drug cartel violence. Fighting broke out after the arrest of a leader of one of the main gangs in the area. "The same criminal group reacted by attacking federal forces," officials said in a statement. The statement described the dead men as "armed civilians". Officials said parts of the city had been blocked with vehicles set on fire by gunmen. Authorities issued an urgent notice warning residents not to use various main roads because of shooting and blockades. [18]


Tributes to Everest avalanche dead

Tributes to Everest avalanche dead

19 Apr

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


Foreign-owned South African shops looted

Foreign-owned South African shops looted

16 Apr

Foreign-owned shops in South Africa have been attacked and looted in east Johannesburg, the latest in a series of xenophobic attacks. A standoff developed in the city, with police forming a barrier between an angry crowd and foreign-owned shops. The violence comes despite Thursday's rally against xenophobia in the coastal city of Durban, and condemnation from President Jacob Zuma. [20]


IS steps up assault on Iraqi city

IS steps up assault on Iraqi city

16 Apr

Islamic State (IS) has stepped up its assault on the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, launching a series of suicide bomb attacks, officials say. Anbar provincial council member Athal al-Fahdawi said the government compound was within range of IS weapons and that it and the city were "in great danger". Hundreds of people have fled Ramadi and the surrounding area in recent days. [21]


Migrants killed on Mediterranean boat

Migrants killed on Mediterranean boat

16 Apr

Italian police say they have arrested 15 Muslim migrants after they allegedly threw 12 Christians overboard following a row on a boat heading to Italy. The Christian migrants, said to be from Ghana and Nigeria, are all feared dead. [22]


Malawi to evacuate citizens from South Africa

Malawi to evacuate citizens from South Africa

15 Apr

Malawi says it will repatriate its nationals from South Africa, following an upsurge in xenophobic violence. At least five foreigners, including a 14-year-old boy, have been killed in attacks in South Africa's coastal city of Durban since last week. Some foreign-owned shops in the main city Johannesburg have shut amid fears that the violence could spread. [23]


Hundreds of migrants feared drowned off Libya

Hundreds of migrants feared drowned off Libya

14 Apr

About 400 migrants are feared drowned after their boat capsized off Libya, survivors have told Save the Children. The Italian coast guard had rescued 144 people on Monday and launched an air and sea search operation in hopes of rescuing others. Save the Children said that many of the survivors were "young men, probably minors". [24]


Siberia wildfires kill 15

Siberia wildfires kill 15

13 Apr

Wildfires have killed at least 15 people and injured about 400 in the Khakassia region of southern Siberia, Russian media report. Officials say the fires, fuelled by high winds and dry weather, destroyed 1,200 houses in 30 towns and villages. Firefighters have now managed to extinguish the flames, the Rossiya 24 TV news channel reports. [25]


Bomb explodes outside embassy in Libya

Bomb explodes outside embassy in Libya

13 Apr

A bomb has exploded at the gates of the Moroccan embassy in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, security officials say, hours after two people were shot dead outside South Korea's embassy. There was some damage to cars nearby, but no reports of injuries. The embassy is not currently operational. [26]


Deadly bomb attacks strike Sinai

Deadly bomb attacks strike Sinai

12 Apr

At least 13 people have been killed in separate bomb attacks in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, security forces have said. At least six people died and 30 others were injured in an explosion outside a police station in El-Arish. Elsewhere, seven soldiers lost their lives and two were wounded in an attack on an armoured vehicle, near the northern town of Sheikh Zuweid. Militants from the Sinai Province group, affiliated to Islamic State, have said they carried out the attacks. Sinai has become increasingly lawless since Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in 2011. Insurgents have intensified attacks since his Islamist successor Mohammed Morsi was ousted in 2013. North Sinai has been under a state of emergency and a curfew since October, when an attack on a checkpoint killed dozens of soldiers. Major military operations in the region have so far failed to quell the violence. [27]


Tornado tears through Illinois

Tornado tears through Illinois

10 Apr

A severe tornado has killed one person and injured seven more in a small town in northern Illinois in the US. Fire officials told local media the victim was a 67-year-old woman. Most of the 50 structures in Fairdale were flattened and all were damaged, the fire department said. More than 850 flights were cancelled at Chicago's O'Hare airport as a severe weather system tore through parts of Iowa, Illinois and Ohio on Thursday.[28]


Deadly gun battle in Afghan city

Deadly gun battle in Afghan city

9 Apr

Gunmen dressed in military uniforms have stormed the office of the attorney general in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-e-Sharif, killing at least 10 people and injuring more than 65. Four attackers were seen entering the office, followed by heavy gunfire and several explosions. Five security officers - including a police chief - were among the dead and 26 government officials among the hurt.[29]


Kenya bombs terrorist bases in Somalia

Kenya bombs terrorist bases in Somalia

6 Apr

Kenyan fighter jets have bombed positions of militant Islamist group al-Shabab in neighbouring Somalia, a military spokesman has told the BBC. The warplanes had targeted two camps in the Gedo region, used by al-Shabab to cross into Kenya, the spokesman added. This is Kenya's first response to the al-Shabab assault which left 148 people dead at Garissa University last week.[30]


Terrorists attack Kenyan university

Terrorists attack Kenyan university

2 Apr

The death toll in the attack by al-Shabab Islamist militants on a university in north-eastern Kenya has risen to 147, Kenyan government officials say. They added that the operation to secure the the Garissa University College campus was now over, with all four attackers killed.[31]


Thailand lifts martial law

Thailand lifts martial law

1 Apr

Thailand's military government has announced it is lifting martial law, 10 months after it was imposed. It was introduced in May 2014, shortly before the army staged a coup. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, announced the move in a televised statement and has said it will be replaced by a new security order. However the new measure has drawn considerable criticism, with many fearing that it could give the military more power than it had before. Gen Prayuth made the announcement late on Wednesday, saying the king had given his formal approval to the lifting of martial law.[32]


March

Turkey power cut hits big cities

Turkey power cut hits big cities

31 Mar

A massive power cut has hit dozens of provinces across Turkey, with officials saying a break in connections with mainland Europe could be to blame. The cuts affected power stations and public transport, including Istanbul's tram and metro systems. A crisis centre has been set up at the energy ministry. [33]


Burundi hit by landslides

Burundi hit by landslides

30 Mar

At least 10 people are missing, feared dead, in Burundi after landslides which have destroyed hundreds of homes, officials say. Some 3,000 people have been left homeless, according to a BBC reporter who has been to the scene. Their houses were destroyed after mud and rocks, dislodged by the rain, plunged down the hillside. [34]


Kashmir flood alert

Kashmir flood alert

30 Mar

A flood alert has been issued in Indian-administered Kashmir following torrential rain and a surge in the water level of the Jhelum river. Authorities have asked people living near the river to leave their homes and move to safer places. At least 10 people are missing after landslides buried a number of houses. [35]


Chile declares forest fires alert

Chile declares forest fires alert

30 Mar

Chile has declared a national alert because of wildfires in three national parks and reserves threatening trees, some a thousand years old. Firefighters have been fighting the flames for more than a week in the southern region of Araucania hit by years of drought. The fires are affecting a park famous for its centuries-old pines known as monkey puzzle trees. [36]


Sierra Leone in lockdown

Sierra Leone in lockdown

28 Mar

The authorities in Sierra Leone are enforcing a three-day lockdown to curb the spread of Ebola, with the entire population ordered to stay at home. There is a two-hour exemption on Friday to allow Muslim prayers and a five-hour window for Christians on Sunday. Volunteers are going door-to-door, looking for people with signs of the disease and reminding others how to stay safe. Dozens of new cases are still being reported in Sierra Leone every week. However, the three West African countries worst affected by Ebola - Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea - have seen a steep reduction in infections in recent weeks. [37]


US issues Uganda travel warning

US issues Uganda travel warning

28 Mar

The US embassy in Uganda has warned that Westerners - including Americans - may be targeted for "terrorist" attacks in the capital Kampala. It said it had "received information of possible threats" at city locations where Western nationals gather. Uganda's government said the US had warned of a possible suicide bomber trying to enter the country. Uganda was under threat because its troops were fighting militant Islamists in Somalia, a spokesman added. In 2010, Somalia's al-Shabab militants carried out a suicide bombing in Kampala, killing 76 people as they watched the football World Cup final. [38]


Flooding hits Chile deser region

Flooding hits Chile deser region

28 Mar

Flash floods in one of the driest regions in the world - Chile's Atacama desert - have left two people dead and 24 missing, officials say. They say thousands of people are now without electricity or water, as heavy rains in the Andes sent floodwater down into the valleys and towns below. In the city of Copiapo, the river burst its banks. Rescuers have begun evacuating people using helicopters because of fears of mudslides. More rain is expected. Chile's emergency officials said one person was electrocuted on the street, while another died in a mudslide. The government is now describing the situation in the desert town of Chanaral as "critical". [39]


Nigerian army retakes Boko Haram HQ

Nigerian army retakes Boko Haram HQ

27 Mar

The Nigerian army says it has retaken the north-eastern town of Gwoza, believed to be the headquarters of militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The insurgents had now been driven from virtually all the territory they had held, it said. Some militants were now fleeing towards border areas, the military said.[40]


Deadly tornado rips though Oklahoma

Deadly tornado rips though Oklahoma

26 Mar

At least one person has been killed and several others were injured after a tornado roared through Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa police said the death occurred inside a mobile home park near suburban Sand Springs on Wednesday. The park was nearly destroyed in the storm. "It could have been much worse," Sheriff's Capt Billy McKinley said.[41]


Germanwings airliner 4U 9525 crashes in French Alps

Germanwings airliner 4U 9525 crashes in French Alps

24 Mar

The plane, flight 4U 9525, had been en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf with 142 passengers and six crew on board. French President Francois Hollande said: "The conditions of the accident, which have not yet been clarified, lead us to think there are no survivors.[42]


Paris imposes car restrictions

Paris imposes car restrictions

23 Mar

The French authorities have introduced measures to combat a sharp increase in pollution affecting Paris and other cities in northern France. On Monday the number of cars on the road in Paris will be cut in half - only motorists with odd-numbered plates will be allowed to drive. Public transportation will be free as well car-sharing and bike-sharing programmes.[43]


Shia rebels seize Yemen city

Shia rebels seize Yemen city

22 Mar

Yemen's third largest city Taiz and its airport have been seized by Shia Houthi rebels, officials say. Residents took to the streets in protest and one was killed as the rebels fired on them and used tear gas. The insurgents already hold the capital, Sanaa, after overthrowing President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in February. He fled to Aden in the south. Instability has been growing in Yemen, where al-Qaeda and Islamic State sympathisers also pose a threat.[44]


Red Sea shark attack kills tourist

Red Sea shark attack kills tourist

22 Mar

A German tourist has been killed in a rare shark attack off an Egyptian Red Sea resort, police say. The shark reportedly bit off the 52-year-old man's leg at the knee. The attack took place on Sunday off the coastal city al-Qusair, the first such incident in five years. The species of shark has not been confirmed. A spate of attacks in 2010 that also led to one death was believed to have been carried out by an oceanic whitetip. Those attacks forced the closure of part of the major resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for a week. The area that saw Sunday's attack witnessed another in 2009 that killed a Frenchwoman. The German embassy in Cairo said it had been informed of the latest death but could not comment further. Egypt is one of the world's leading diving destinations. [45]


Climate change big threat to China

Climate change big threat to China

22 Mar

Climate change could have a "huge impact" on China, reducing crop yields and harming the environment, the country's top weather scientist has warned, in a rare official admission. Zheng Guogang told Xinhua news agency that climate change could be a "serious threat" to big infrastructure projects. He said temperature rises in China were already higher than global averages. China, the world's biggest polluter, has said its emissions of gases that cause climate change will peak by 2030. However, the country has not set a specific target for cutting emissions of the gases, mainly carbon dioxide. [46]


Suspects arrested for links to Tunis attack

Suspects arrested for links to Tunis attack

19 Mar

Nine people have been arrested in connection with Wednesday's gun attack in Tunis that left 23 people dead, including 20 foreign tourists, the Tunisian presidency says. It alleged that four were directly linked to the attack and five had "ties to the cell". The army will also be deployed to major cities, the presidency added. In another development, Islamic State said in an audio message that it was behind the attack.[47]


Riots in Frankfurt target new ECB HQ

Riots in Frankfurt target new ECB HQ

18 Mar

Dozens of people have been hurt and some 350 people arrested as anti-austerity demonstrators clashed with police in the German city of Frankfurt. Police cars were set alight and stones were thrown in a protest against the opening of a new base for the European Central Bank (ECB). Violence broke out close to the city's Alte Oper concert hall hours before the ECB building's official opening. "Blockupy" activists are expected to attend a rally later on Wednesday.[48]


Gunmen kill tourists in Tunis attack

Gunmen kill tourists in Tunis attack

18 Mar

Nineteen people, including 17 foreign tourists, have been killed after gunmen targeted a museum in the Tunisian capital, the prime minister says. Italian, Spanish, Polish and German citizens were among those killed, as well as a Tunisian and a police officer, PM Habib Essid said. Media reports suggest the death toll could be as high as 22.[49]


Boston breaks record for snowiest winter

Boston breaks record for snowiest winter

16 Mar

Boston has broken the record for the snowiest winter in the city's recorded history. The National Weather Service said the city received 108.6in (275.8cm) of snow this winter, beating the 1995-1996 record of 107.6 inches. The record was broken around 19:00 local time (23:00 GMT) on Sunday, when 2.9in fell on the city.[50]


Cyclone devastates Vanuatu

Cyclone devastates Vanuatu

16 Mar

Vanuatu is in "immediate" need after Cyclone Pam tore through the country at the weekend, its president says. President Baldwin Lonsdale said the storm had "wiped out" all development of recent years and his country would have to rebuild "everything". Aid has begun arriving in the storm-hit nation - one of the world's poorest - but contact has still not been made with some of its more remote islands. Aid agencies say it could be one of the worst disasters ever to hit the region. [51]


Cuba approves first public wi-fi in Havana

Cuba approves first public wi-fi in Havana

16 Mar

Cuba's state telecom agency Etecsa has granted approval to the artist Kcho to open the country's first public wireless hub at his cultural centre. Kcho, who has close ties to the Cuban government, is operating the hub using his own, government-approved internet connection, and paying approximately $900 (£600) per month to run it. Only an estimated 5% - 25% of Cubans have any type of internet service. That is because internet access is incredibly expensive. [52]


Chile firefighters contain blaze

Chile firefighters contain blaze

16 Mar

Firefighters in Chile say they have managed to control a huge forest fire around the port cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. One person was killed and thousands were evacuated as the fire spread fanned by strong winds. Officials said they would bring charges against the owner of an illegal landfill site, where the fire is believed to have started. [53]


Costa Rica's volcano eruption

Costa Rica's volcano eruption

14 Mar

Costa Rican officials have reopened the country’s principle airport in the capital of San Jose after the eruption of the Turrialba volcano filled the sky with ash. The Juan Santamaria international airport reopened around midday Friday after remaining closed through Thursday night. The Turrialba volcano erupted three times Thursday and state observers recorded a smaller eruption Friday morning. Costa Rica’s air security agency says the ash on the runways could pose a risk, as could the impaired visibility from the plume of ash. The local Tobias Bolanos airport also was closed intermittently. The country’s public education ministry suspended classes Friday at 12 schools near the volcano. [54]


Egypt unveils plans for new capital

Egypt unveils plans for new capital

14 Mar

The Egyptian government has announced plans to build a new capital to the east of the present one, Cairo. Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly said the project would cost $45bn (£30bn) and take five to seven years to complete. He said the aim was to ease congestion and overpopulation in Cairo over the next 40 years. The announcement was made at an investment conference that aims to revive the Egyptian economy. The gathering, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, has attracted pledges worth $12bn (£8bn) in aid and investment from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Mr Madbouly said the population of greater Cairo, estimated at about 18 million, was expected to double within 40 years. [55]


Dozens feared dead after cyclone hits Vanuatu

Dozens feared dead after cyclone hits Vanuatu

13 Mar

The death toll from a category five tropical storm that has hit islands in the South Pacific could run into the dozens, the UN's relief agency says. Cyclone Pam battered Vanuatu with winds of up to 270kph (170mph) on Friday. Authorities on the islands had earlier issued a red alert to residents after the cyclone changed direction and began moving towards populated areas. It has already caused major damage on other Pacific islands, including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. [56]


Angola floods kill 62

Angola floods kill 62

12 Mar

Floods caused by torrential rains have killed 62 people - 35 of them children - in the Angolan city of Lobito, local authorities say. The Angop state news agency says the flood water has reached 3m (9.8ft) in some areas of the city since Wednesday. Scores of homes have been destroyed and rescue teams are still searching for missing people. [57]


Colombia explosion injures police officers

Colombia explosion injures police officers

12 Mar

An explosive device has injured five police officers and two other people in the Colombian capital Bogota in the early hours. The device, which was packed with shrapnel, went off as a police convoy was driving through the southern neighbourhood of Quiroga. It is not yet clear who may be behind the attack. Small-scale explosions are not unusual in the capital, but this device seems more complex than previous ones. Bogota's police commander, Humberto Guatibonza, said the attack had been aimed at his officers.[58]


Iraqi troops advance in Tikrit

Iraqi troops advance in Tikrit

11 Mar

Iraqi government forces have retaken a large part of north-western Tikrit as they battle IS militants to recapture the city, security officials say. Soldiers and Shia militiamen have reportedly raised the Iraqi flag at a hospital in the Qadisiya district, two-thirds of which is under their control. But they have so far not made much progress in Tikrit's south and west. The operation to retake the hometown of Saddam Hussein is the biggest offensive yet by the Iraqi government.[59]


Australia braces for two cyclones

Australia braces for two cyclones

10 Mar

Residents in parts of Western Australia and Queensland have been warned to prepare for stormy weather as two cyclones develop offshore. Forecasters say a low-pressure system off Western Australia could cause hurricane force winds along parts of the coast at the end of the week. Another system off the coast of northern Queenslandis expected to bring gale force winds late on Tuesday.[60]


IS kidnaps 9 foreign oil workers

IS kidnaps 9 foreign oil workers

9 Mar

Nine foreign oil workers have been seized by Islamic State militants in an attack on a Libyan oil field, the Austrian foreign ministry says. The workers - from Austria, the Czech Republic and seven non-EU nationals - were taken alive, the statement said. The attack on the al-Ghani field about 700km (440 miles) south-east of Tripoli happened on Friday, a Libyan army spokesman has told the BBC. He said eight guards had been killed in the attack. [61]


Three blasts hit Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria

Three blasts hit Maiduguri in northeast Nigeria

7 Mar

Three blasts hit the northeastern Nigerian town of Maiduguri in the worst attack on the city since suspected Boko Haram militants failed in a bid to seize the state capital at the end of January. Maiduguri is the state capital of Borno, the heartland of the militant Islamist group Boko Haram which has long coveted the city as the capital of an Islamic state they want to carve out of religiously mixed Nigeria. A military source said bombs had caused the explosions, with the first on Baga road near a market and the second at the Monday market. The location of the third blast was not immediately known and there was no word on casualties [62]


Venezuela food crisis

Venezuela food crisis

7 Mar

Foreign ministers from 12 South American nations gathering in Caracas have promised to help Venezuela overcome an ongoing shortage of food, medicine and other products. The regional Unasur bloc agreed with President Nicolas Maduro to provide items that have gone missing from many Venezuelan supermarkets. The shortage of staples has contributed to popular discontent. Unasur highlighted the importance of safeguarding democratic stability. "The idea is to get all the countries to support the distribution of staples," said Ernesto Samper, Secretary-General of Unasur (Union of South American Nations). "We will work together with the Venezuelan authorities to strengthen the distribution networks in our countries so they help Venezuela," said Mr Samper. He criticised recent anti-government protests in Venezuela that descended into violence. [63]


Militants kill 5 in attack in Mali capital

Militants kill 5 in attack in Mali capital

7 Mar

Militants killed five people in a gun attack on a restaurant in Mali's capital, including a French citizen and a Belgian security officer with the EU delegation in the country, authorities said. Mali's desert north, where French forces wrested control of territory from separatist rebels and al Qaeda-linked fighters, is plagued by frequent political violence - but this is the first militant attack for years in Bamako, in the south. Three Malians were killed in the violence in and around La Terrasse restaurant, which is popular with expatriates, the government said. [64]


Last known Liberian ebola patient discharged

Last known Liberian ebola patient discharged

6 Mar

Liberia’s last Ebola patient was discharged on Thursday after a ceremony in the capital, Monrovia, bringing to zero the number of known cases in the country and marking a milestone in West Africa’s battle against the disease. If no new cases emerge, the epidemic in Liberia will be considered over officially on April 4, or 42 days after the last known infection. The 42-day marker is twice the longest incubation period for Ebola, 21 days.[65]


Thousands flee Iraqi advance on Tikrit

Thousands flee Iraqi advance on Tikrit

5 Mar

A military operation to retake the Iraqi city of Tikrit from Islamic State (IS) has caused about 28,000 people to flee their homes, the UN says. Those displaced are headed towards the city of Samarra, the UN said, but many families are stranded at checkpoints. Aid convoys carrying relief supplies are being sent to the area by UN agencies to help those affected. The operation to retake Tikrit, involving some 30,000 soldiers and Shia militiamen, is now in its fourth day. [66]


Chile volcano erupts

Chile volcano erupts

3 Mar

The Villarrica volcano in Southern Chile erupted in the early hours of Tuesday morning, spewing ash and lava up to 1,000m (3,300ft) into the air. More than 3,000 people have been evacuated from the volcano's vicinity. The mayor of the nearby town of Pucon said residents had left "calmly". President Michelle Bachelet said she would travel to the area on Tuesday to assess the situation. [67]


Wildfires across Cape Town mountains

Wildfires across Cape Town mountains

2 Mar

More than 100 South African firefighters are battling wildfires on the mountains around Cape Town. Thousands of hectares of vegetation have been reduced to ashes on Chapman's Peak, while several homes and a holiday lodge have been destroyed. More than 50 people - residents of a retirement home - have been treated for smoke inhalation, officials say. [68]


Iraq moves against IS in Tikrit

Iraq moves against IS in Tikrit

2 Mar

Iraq has launched a military operation to recapture Tikrit, the hometown of former leader Saddam Hussein, from Islamic State (IS) and its allies. A force of about 30,000 troops and militia were said to be attacking on different fronts, backed by air strikes from Iraqi fighter jets. Fighting is reported in towns to the north and south of Tikrit. [69]


February

Russia opposition politician shot dead

Russia opposition politician shot dead

27 Feb

A leading Russian opposition politician, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, has been shot dead in Moscow, Russian officials say. An unidentified attacker in a car shot Mr. Nemtsov four times in the back as he crossed a bridge in view of the Kremlin, police say. He died hours after appealing for support for a march on Sunday in Moscow against the war in Ukraine. [70]


China sets one-year ban on ivory imports

China sets one-year ban on ivory imports

26 Feb

China has imposed a one-year ban on the import of ivory, amid criticism that demand among Chinese consumers is fuelling poaching in Africa. The announcement was made by the State Forestry Administration, with officials saying they hoped it would be a first step towards protecting wild elephants. [71]


Afghanistan hit by deadly avalanches

Afghanistan hit by deadly avalanches

25 Feb

A series of avalanches has struck north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, leaving at least 90 dead, officials say. Local governor Abdul Rahman Kabiri said mosques, schools and at least 100 homes had been ruined in Panjshir province. The sudden snowfall after a mild winter surprised many residents, who were reportedly trying to dig out survivors using their bare hands in some areas. [72]


Bolivia flooding displaces thousands

Bolivia flooding displaces thousands

25 Feb

Flooding has forced more than 4,000 people from their homes in the town of Cobija in northern Bolivia after the river Acre burst its banks. Heavy rains have also caused the nearby river Tahuamanu to burst its banks. Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera travelled to Cobija on Tuesday to deliver aid to the town. He said some of the neighbourhoods located closest to the river would have to be moved and promised government help to relocate their residents. [73]


UK to help train Ukraine army

UK to help train Ukraine army

24 Feb

British military personnel are to be sent to Ukraine in the next few weeks to provide advice and training, says Prime Minister David Cameron. As he spoke, pro-Russian rebels said they were pulling back heavy weapons from the front line in eastern Ukraine as part of a ceasefire. However, the government in Kiev has disputed the rebel claims. Mr. Cameron said he would push for more sanctions on Russia if the separatists failed to observe the truce. [74]


IS abducts dozens of Christians in Syria

IS abducts dozens of Christians in Syria

24 Feb

Islamic State (IS) has abducted dozens of Assyrian Christians from villages in north-eastern Syria, activists say. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 90 men, women and children were seized in a series of dawn raids near the town of Tal Tamr. Some Assyrians managed to escape and made their way east to the largely Kurdish-controlled city of Hassakeh. [75]


France seizes passports of six Syria-bound citizens

France seizes passports of six Syria-bound citizens

23 Feb

French authorities have for the first time confiscated the passports of six nationals who were allegedly planning to travel to Syria to join jihadists. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the intelligence services believed the men wanted to join the Islamic State (IS) militant group. The measure is part of new counter-terrorism laws adopted last November. Meanwhile, France has deployed an aircraft carrier off Bahrain to be used against Islamic State (IS) militants. [76]


India struggles with swine flu outbreak

India struggles with swine flu outbreak

20 Feb

Indian health officials are struggling to contain a swine flu outbreak that has killed more than 700 people since it took hold in mid-December. The number of cases has doubled since last week to more than 11,000. Critics have accused the government of failing to distribute medicines, but officials insisted the situation was under control. This year's outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which causes swine flu, is the deadliest in India since 2010.[77]


IS attack kills 40 in al-Qubbah

IS attack kills 40 in al-Qubbah

20 Feb

A bombing by suspected Islamic State (IS) militants in Libya has killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens in the eastern town of al-Qubbah. Three bombs exploded, targeting a petrol station, a police station and the home of parliamentary speaker Agila Salah, a security source told BBC News. According to an online statement, IS fighters said they struck in retaliation for Egyptian air strikes. [78]


Tropical cyclone Marcia hits Queensland

Tropical cyclone Marcia hits Queensland

19 Feb

A "very destructive" storm has hit the coast of Queensland, forcing evacuations from coastal communities, Australian officials say. Forecasters warn Category Five tropical cyclone Marcia - with wind gusts up to 285km/h (177 mph) - is bringing heavy rain and "abnormally high tides". The cyclone made landfall between St Lawrence and Yeppoon. [79]


Record-breaking cold in US East

Record-breaking cold in US East

19 Feb

Bitterly cold air from Siberia has brought dangerously frigid and likely record-setting temperatures to the eastern half of the US. Temperatures are 20 to 40 degrees F below normal for February from the Mid-Atlantic to the South. Schools in Chicago have closed and trains in the north-east corridor have been affected by the cold. [80]


Libya urges UN to lift arms embargo

Libya urges UN to lift arms embargo

18 Feb

Libya has asked the UN Security Council to lift an arms embargo so that it can deal with the Islamic State (IS) group and other militants. Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Dairi said that it would help the government build its army and deal with "rampant terrorism". Egypt said it supported Libya's request at an emergency session of the UN council on Wednesday. [81]


Air strike kills 37 in Niger

Air strike kills 37 in Niger

18 Feb

Thirty-seven people have died in an air strike in southern Niger during military operations targeting Boko Haram, local officials say. They were attending a funeral ceremony in Abadam village on the border with Nigeria when an unidentified plane began dropping bombs. More than 300 militants were killed in north-east Nigeria during the operation, the Nigerian army says. [82]


Egypt seeks UN mandate for Libya intervention

Egypt seeks UN mandate for Libya intervention

17 Feb

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called for a United Nations resolution allowing international forces to intervene in Libya. There was no other choice, he told French radio. "We will not allow them to cut off the heads of our children." Egyptian jets bombed IS targets on Monday in response to a militant video of the apparent beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians. Rival militias have been battling for control in Libya since 2011. [83]


Battle rages for Debaltseve despite truce

Battle rages for Debaltseve despite truce

17 Feb

Fierce fighting is reported inside the key Ukrainian town of Debaltseve despite a ceasefire agreed last week. Rebels say they have taken most of Debaltseve, a transport hub, but the government says it is still holding its positions. International observers tasked with monitoring the ceasefire have been unable to enter the town. Meanwhile, Ukraine accused separatists of breaching the ceasefire and said hopes for peace were being destroyed. [84]


Boko Haram militants attack Chad for first time

Boko Haram militants attack Chad for first time

13 Feb

Nigerian Boko Haram militants have carried out an attack on Chad overnight, the first such assault on Chadian soil, officials say. Fighters crossed Lake Chad in four motorboats and attacked a village, an army spokesman told the BBC. The Islamist militants were pushed back by Chadian troops after killing several people, residents said. Chad recently joined Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon in a military coalition against Boko Haram. [85]


Leaders agree peace roadmap for Ukraine crisis

Leaders agree peace roadmap for Ukraine crisis

12 Feb

An agreement aimed at ending the fighting in Ukraine has been reached, following marathon talks in Belarus. The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France announced that a ceasefire would begin on 15 February. The deal also includes weapon withdrawals and prisoner exchanges, but key issues remain to be settled. [86]


Over 300 Migrants killed in Mediterranean tragedy

Over 300 Migrants killed in Mediterranean tragedy

11 Feb

At least 300 migrants are feared to have drowned after attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa this week in rough seas, the UN says. UNHCR official Vincent Cochetel said it was a "tragedy on an enormous scale". Survivors brought to the Italian island of Lampedusa said they were forced to risk the bad weather on ill-equipped vessels by human traffickers in Libya. They were rescued from two of four dinghies that got into trouble after leaving Libya for Europe on Saturday. [87]


Niger to send troops to Nigeria

Niger to send troops to Nigeria

10 Feb

Niger's parliament has voted to send troops to Nigeria to join the fight against militant Islamist group Boko Haram. The vote took place after Boko Haram attacked a prison and detonated a car bomb on Monday in the town of Diffa, near Niger's border with Nigeria. MPs said parliament unanimously authorised deploying 750 soldiers with a regional force battling Boko Haram. Boko Haram has increasingly drawn in Nigeria's neighbours. [88]


Battles rage ahead of Minsk talks

Battles rage ahead of Minsk talks

10 Feb

Fighting has surged in eastern Ukraine as government forces and pro-Russian rebels try to make gains ahead of expected peace talks on Wednesday. Rebels carried out rocket attacks on a key military base and a residential area in Kramatorsk, officials say, killing at least seven civilians. Meanwhile, Ukraine's volunteer Azov battalion has launched an offensive against separatists around Mariupol. More than 5,400 people have died since the conflict began last April.[89]


Volcano evacuations in Guatemala

Volcano evacuations in Guatemala

9 Feb

Scores of residents have been evacuated from their homes in southern Guatemala after the Fuego volcano erupted, the country's president says. Clouds of black ash belched into the sky, while showers of rock and dust fell on to surrounding towns. The international airport in the capital Guatemala City was closed as result of the explosion, President Otto Perez said. It is expected to reopen later on Sunday, reports suggest. [90]


Boko Haram kidnaps 20 in Nigeria

Boko Haram kidnaps 20 in Nigeria

9 Feb

Suspected militants from Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram have hijacked a bus in northern Cameroon, abducting at least 20 people, residents say. Militants reportedly seized a bus carrying market-goers and drove it toward the border with Nigeria. Some reports put the total number kidnapped in Cameroon as high as 30. Boko Haram has escalated its attacks outside Nigeria in recent weeks, targeting neighbouring Cameroon and Niger.[91]


Bangladesh firebomb attacks kill nine

Bangladesh firebomb attacks kill nine

7 Feb

Nine people have been killed after attackers hurled petrol bombs at a bus and truck in Bangladesh, police say. Police reportedly blamed opposition activists for the violence, which also injured 30 others. At least 70 people have been killed in attacks since anti-government protests began last month. The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) called for a general shutdown in January, on the anniversary of last year's disputed election. The BNP had boycotted that election, saying it would be rigged, and is now trying to force Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to step down and call new polls. Six people died when petrol bombs hit a packed bus from the northern district of Gaibandha to Dhaka on Friday, police said. A similar arson attack on a truck in the southern district of Barisal killed three people early on Saturday, police added. [92]


Boko Haram in first Niger attack

Boko Haram in first Niger attack

7 Feb

The Nigerian Islamist militant group Boko Haram has attacked a town in Niger for the first time, witnesses say. Niger's government said it killed more than 100 of the group's fighters as it repulsed the attack on the border town of Bosso. The group reportedly killed at least 70 people in an attack on the town of Fotokol in Cameroon on Wednesday. The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands dead and displaced more than a million over the past six years. The militants control a large stretch of land in north-eastern Nigeria. Its neighbours have promised to send troops to help it fight the militants, who are now attacking those countries. [93]


Water pollution concern for Rio 2016

Water pollution concern for Rio 2016

7 Feb

Organisers of the Rio 2016 Olympics admit they are "concerned" about water pollution in the sailing venue, but say the Games will be delivered "on time". About 48% of sewage pumped into the Guanabara Bay is untreated, while illegal dumping is a big problem. Last month government officials stated they would miss their target of an 80% reduction in water pollution by the start of the Olympics next August. "There is a huge problem with garbage," Mario Andrada told BBC Sport. The Rio 2016 director of communications continued: "It [the state of the sailing venue] is a concern because the water is not fully clean, but it will be safe for the Olympics." [94]


New Ukraine peace push launched

New Ukraine peace push launched

5 Feb

Diplomatic efforts are under way to end renewed fighting in eastern Ukraine. French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have arrived in the capital Kiev to present a new peace initiative. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who is also in Kiev, said the US wanted a diplomatic solution, but would not close its eyes to Russian aggression. Fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels has killed more than 5,000 people since last April. [95]


Jordan jets strike Islamic State

Jordan jets strike Islamic State

5 Feb

Jordan says its warplanes have carried out their first air strikes on Islamic State (IS) targets since the militants released a video showing the killing of a captured Jordanian pilot. On their way back, the planes flew over the village of pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Their flight coincided with a visit to the village by Jordanian King Abdullah II, who was meeting the pilot's family. The king has vowed to the step up the fight against IS. Jordan is part of a US-led coalition bombing the militants. [96]


Boko Haram kill 70 in Cameroon border town of Fotokol

Boko Haram kill 70 in Cameroon border town of Fotokol

4 Feb

Boko Haram militants have reportedly killed at least 70 people in an attack on the Cameroonian town of Fotokol, on the border with Nigeria. The Islamist militants attacked civilians in their homes and in the town's mosque, local officials said, setting many buildings on fire. The attack comes a day after a regional force said it had driven the militants from a Nigerian town near Fotokol. The Boko Haram insurgency has left thousands dead over the last six years. [97]



King of Jordan vows severe response to IS

King of Jordan vows severe response to IS

4 Feb

Jordan's King Abdullah II has promised to fight back hard against Islamic State, saying that the death of a Jordanian pilot at the militants' hands will not be in vain. The remarks were made as the king held a crisis meeting with security chiefs. He cut short a US trip after IS posted a video appearing to show pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh being burned alive. [98]



Chadian troops kill Boko Haram militants

Chadian troops kill Boko Haram militants

4 Feb

Chad's army says it has killed more than 200 militant Islamists and lost nine men during a battle to recapture a key town in north-eastern Nigeria. Boko Haram militants killed about 30 people after fleeing from the battle to Cameroon, a resident said. It was the most intense battle known to involveChadian troops since they entered the conflict in Nigeria. [99]


Taiwan TransAsia plane crashes into river

Taiwan TransAsia plane crashes into river

4 Feb

A plane carrying mostly Chinese tourists has crashed into a river in Taiwan, killing at least 31 people. Dramatic video footage emerged showing the TransAsia Airways plane clipping a bridge as it came down shortly after take-off from a Taipei airport. The plane, carrying 58 people, broke up as it plunged into Taipei's Keelung River. The fuselage was later salvaged by crane. There were 15 survivors pulled from the wreckage but 12 people remain missing. [100]


New Ukraine clashes catastrophic

New Ukraine clashes catastrophic

3 Feb

Up to 16 civilians have been killed and dozens more injured in the space of 24 hours in fighting in eastern Ukraine, as the UN warns that the fresh surge in violence is proving "catastrophic". Government and rebel representatives reported the latest deaths in locations across the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Ukraine's army also said five soldiers had died fighting pro-Russian rebels near the strategic town of Debaltseve. Civilian casualties have risen sharply in recent weeks amid a rebel offensive. The latest deaths were in the city of Donetsk, Debaltseve and several villages under government control in the Luhansk region. The exact numbers could not be independently confirmed. [101]


Chad troops join Nigeria battle

Chad troops join Nigeria battle

3 Feb

Chadian troops have entered Nigeria to join the battle against militant Islamist group Boko Haram. Armoured vehicles and infantry crossed a bridge from Cameroon following air strikes and mortar attacks on Boko Haram positions, officials say. Fighting focused on the key north-eastern town of Gamboru, Nigerian security spokesman Mike Omeri said. Chad's deepening involvement shows how the conflict with Boko Haram is taking a regional dimension. Last week, Chadian troops reportedly moved into Malumfatori, a Nigerian town which lies near the borders of Chad and Niger, after a ground and air assault against the militants. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has threatened to create a caliphate, incorporating parts of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The African Union has responded by backing plans to establish a 7,500-strong regional force to fight the group. The Chadian contingent of about 2,000 troops crossed the frontier without a shot being fired, AFP news agency reports from the scene. Chad warplanes had earlier carried out air strikes for about an hour. [102]


Most China cities fail air test

Most China cities fail air test

3 Feb

Only eight out of China's 74 biggest cities passed the government's basic air quality standards in 2014, the environment ministry has said. The most polluted cities were in north-eastern Hebei, the province that surrounds the capital Beijing. Beijing and Shanghai both failed the assessment, which was based on measurements of major pollutants. China is attempting to cut pollution but the country still relies heavily on coal for its energy needs. The government shut more than 8,000 coal-burning factories in Hebei last year. But the BBC's Celia Hatton in Beijing says like many places in China, the authorities are struggling to balance factory closures with the demands of the country's slowing economy. The environment ministry's statement published on its website (in Chinese) noted that the 2014 result was an improvement over the previous year, where only three cities met the standards. But it added that "presently, the country's air pollution situation remains serious". [103]


Bangladesh petrol bomb attack

Bangladesh petrol bomb attack

3 Feb

At least seven people have been burned to death and 15 others injured, some seriously, in a petrol bomb attack on a bus in eastern Bangladesh. Police said the bus had been full of sleeping passengers when it was attacked near the town of Chauddagram. It is the latest in a spate of attacks on buses, lorries and cars since anti-government protests began last month. Opposition leader Khaleda Zia called for the protests on the anniversary of last year's disputed election. However, she has denied that her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist allies are behind the firebombings. [104]


Blast hits Nigeria election rally

Blast hits Nigeria election rally

3 Feb

A female suicide bomber has blown up herself in northern Nigeria's Gombe city, minutes after President Goodluck Jonathan left a campaign rally there. At least one person was killed and 18 others were wounded in the blast, police and hospital sources said. Mr Jonathan is standing for re-election on 14 February against former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. Militant Islamist group Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in the run-up to the contest. Explosions have also ripped through court buildings in three towns in oil-rich southern Nigeria in what police described as co-ordinated attacks. [105]


Liberia's Ebola vaccine trial begins

Liberia's Ebola vaccine trial begins

3 Feb

The first large-scale trials of two experimental vaccines against Ebola have begun in Liberia. The potentially preventative medicines were taken under strict security to a secret location in the West African country. Scientists aim to immunise 30,000 volunteers, including front-line health workers. More than 8,500 people have died in the Ebola outbreak, the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. [106]


January

Egypt military targeted in deadly Sinai attacks

Egypt military targeted in deadly Sinai attacks

29 Jan

At least 26 people have been killed in a series of attacks by Islamist militants in the north of Egypt's Sinai peninsula. A car bomb and mortars hit military targets in the North Sinai capital El-Arish, killing a number of soldiers. Other attacks took place in the nearby town of Sheik Zuwayid and the town of Rafah, bordering Gaza. Militant group Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which pledges allegiance to Islamic State, said it carried out the attacks.[107]


US north-east digs out of heavy snow

US north-east digs out of heavy snow

28 Jan

Residents of the US north-east are digging out after up to 36in (91cm) of snow fell in a day-long blizzard. The storm, which also destroyed part of a seawall and flooded parts of coastal Massachusetts, is being blamed for two deaths in Long Island. Clean-up is being hindered by freezing temperatures in the coming days forecast to be as low as 10F (-12C). But New York City and areas south were spared from an earlier prediction of a "potentially historic blizzard". City officials imposed a driving ban and took the unprecedented step of shutting the subway on Monday evening but less than a foot of snow fell overnight. Portland, Maine and Providence, Rhode Island both set a daily record for snowfall. A 110-ft replica of a Revolutionary War ship in Newport, Rhode Island was damaged after the storm flipped it. Wind gusts were as high as 78mph (125km/h) On Wednesday, Boston's transport system began running again and the first flight since Monday took off from Logan Airport. But snowploughs struggled to clear the roads, and Boston police drove several dozen doctors and nurses to work at hospitals. [108]


Israel-Hezbollah clashes kill 3

Israel-Hezbollah clashes kill 3

28 Jan

Two Israeli soldiers and a Spanish UN peacekeeper have been killed as Hezbollah militants trade fire with Israeli forces on the Lebanese border. A spokesman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) urged "maximum restraint to prevent an escalation". The peacekeeper was killed close to the disputed Shebaa Farms area, where an Israeli convoy was earlier hit by anti-tank missiles, killing two soldiers. The Israeli military responded by firing shells into southern Lebanon. Hezbollah said it carried out the missile attack in retaliation for an Israeli air strike that killed six of its fighters and an Iranian Revolutionary Guards general in the Syrian Golan Heights 10 days ago. [109]


Northeastern United States braced for huge snowstorm

Northeastern United States braced for huge snowstorm

26 Jan

A "potentially historic blizzard" could dump up to 90cm (3ft) of snow on the US north-east coast, the National Weather Service has warned. New York's mayor said the storm could be the city's biggest ever, telling residents to "prepare for the worst". Heavy snowfall is forecast from Philadelphia to Maine, pre-emptively closing many schools and offices. A blizzard warning has been issued across New York and Boston from Monday afternoon until Tuesday.[110]


Syrian Kurds drive Islamic State out of Kobane

Syrian Kurds drive Islamic State out of Kobane

26 Jan

Kurdish forces have driven Islamic State (IS) militants from Kobane, officials say, ending a four-month battle for the northern Syrian town. Fighters from the Popular Protection Units (YPG) were said to have entered outlying areas in the east of the town after the jihadists retreated. However, the US said it was not yet prepared to declare the battle over. Kobane was seen as a major test of the US-led coalition's strategy to combat IS in Syria with air strikes. [111]


Sixteen killed in Egypt protests

Sixteen killed in Egypt protests

25 Jan

At least 16 people have been killed in clashes between police and protesters across Egypt, officials said. One policeman was among the dead and dozens of protesters were also injured, health officials confirmed. The clashes follow the death of an activist in a march in Cairo. The protests were staged to mark the fourth anniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprising, which toppled long-time leader Hosni Mubarak. Security in major cities was tightened ahead of the anniversary, and key locations in Cairo were blocked off. Dozens of people were killed in similar protests last year. [112]


Ukraine vows to 'calm' fighting

Ukraine vows to 'calm' fighting

25 Jan

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has vowed to "calm" fighting with pro-Russia rebels in east Ukraine after 30 people were killed there on Saturday. Speaking after an emergency meeting of Ukraine's security council, Mr Poroshenko said that a peace deal signed in September in Minsk was the only solution to the conflict. Russia's foreign minister also urged "comprehensive political dialogue". Both sides blame each other for the continuing fighting. More than 5,000 people have been killed in fighting since the rebels seized a large swathe of Donetsk and Luhansk regions last April, UN officials say. More than a million people have been displaced. Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of arming the rebels and sending its troops into Ukrainian territory. Russia has denied directly arming the separatists, and blames Ukraine for the upsurge in fighting. [113]


Boko Haram assaults Nigerian city

Boko Haram assaults Nigerian city

25 Jan

Nigerian Islamist Boko Haram fighters have attacked the strategically important north-eastern city of Maiduguri, with dozens reported dead. Earlier on Sunday they captured the north-eastern town of Monguno. US Secretary of State John Kerry meanwhile has arrived in Nigeria to call for peaceful elections next month which need to set "a new standard". The vote looks set to be the closest since the end of military rule 15 years ago. [114]


Venezuelans protest over shortages

Venezuelans protest over shortages

25 Jan

Thousands of Venezuelans have attended an opposition march in Caracas, blaming government policies for the country's worsening economic crisis. Saturday's march was the first attempt by the opposition in months to revive the protest movement that rocked the country last year. Many banged empty pots, in reference to the shortage of many staple foods. Riot police blocked the demonstrators' access to the city centre, but there were no major clashes. Opposition politician Maria Corina Machado said Mr Maduro "must step aside now, so the Venezuelan people can stand united again". Demonstrators voiced discontent at high inflation, crime and shortages. [115]


Yemen President and PM resign as rebels tighten hold

Yemen President and PM resign as rebels tighten hold

22 Jan

The president of Yemen has resigned along with his prime minister as Shia Houthi rebels tighten their grip on the capital Sanaa. President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah tendered their resignations to parliament which reportedly refused to accept them. The move came despite a deal to make political concessions to the rebels. Rebel figures welcomed the news with one reportedly proposing the creation of a ruling presidential council. [116]


Japan PM vows to save hostages

Japan PM vows to save hostages

21 Jan

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has condemned an apparent threat by the Islamic State group to kill two Japanese hostages. A video purportedly from the group shows a militant threatening to kill two hostages unless a ransom is paid. In the video, which has not been independently verified, the militant also criticises Japan for pledging aid to countries fighting IS. [117]


Nepal violence over new constitution

Nepal violence over new constitution

20 Jan

Scuffles broke out in Nepal's parliament and police arrested protesters in the capital as tensions rose before a deadline to draft a new national constitution. Opposition lawmakers threw chairs and microphones and attacked the parliamentary Speaker early on Tuesday. The Maoist opposition accuse the ruling coalition of trying to push through their proposals without consensus. Nepal's leaders have set 22 January as a deadline for the draft constitution. The country's political parties have been trying to reach agreement on a new constitution since the former kingdom's first Constituent Assembly was elected in 2008. Deadlines have repeatedly been missed. The 2008 elections followed a peace deal with Maoist rebels who had fought a decade-long civil war in which more than 12,000 people died. [118]


Deadly Congo clashes over Kabila

Deadly Congo clashes over Kabila

20 Jan

SAt least four people have been killed in protests in the Democratic Republic of Congo calling for President Joseph Kabila to step down next year. The protests continued on Tuesday in the capital, Kinshasa, and internet connections were blocked following Monday's clashes between opposition supporters and security forces. Demonstrators say government plans for a census are a ploy to delay elections. Mr Kabila is constitutionally barred from running for a third term. The government admits next year's elections could be delayed, but says the census is vital to ensure free and fair elections. [119]


Argentine death sparks protests

Argentine death sparks protests

20 Jan

Thousands of Argentines took to the streets in protest on Monday following the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman. Mr Nisman was found shot dead in his apartment in Buenos Aires on Sunday. He had been investigating the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre in Buenos Aires in which 85 people died. [120]


Ukraine battles rage in Donetsk and Lugansk

Ukraine battles rage in Donetsk and Lugansk

19 Jan

Dozens of people have been killed or wounded as fighting escalates along the front line in eastern Ukraine and the battle for Donetsk airport continues. Artillery fire was reported in several areas of the eastern Donetsk and Lugansk regions and a hospital in Donetsk city was hit, reports said.[121]


Niger protesters set churches on fire

Niger protesters set churches on fire

18 Jan

At least three people have been killed and six churches attacked in Niger amid fresh protests against French magazine Charlie Hebdo's cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Protests began outside Niamey's grand mosque and reportedly spread to other parts of the country, a day after five were killed in Niger's second city. Niger's president condemned the violence and appealed for calm. Last week, Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo's offices. The cover of the magazine's latest edition, published after the attack, featured a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad weeping while holding a sign saying "I am Charlie".[122]


Channel Tunnel trains resume with delays

Channel Tunnel trains resume with delays

18 Jan

Passengers using the Channel Tunnel are still experiencing delays after it reopened following a lorry fire. Services resumed on Sunday morning but passengers have reported being held at the tunnels in both UK and France. Eurostar trains started moving through the tunnel again about 11:30 GMT, but at a reduced speed and only one of the two tunnels is open. At least 12,000 passengers were affected when the tunnel was closed for most of Saturday. Eurostar said passengers should expect delays of up to two hours from when they board. Eurotunnel, which operates car and lorry services, said there was a three-hour wait to board shuttles, and the tunnel affected by the fire would remain closed throughout Sunday. [123]


Armenia clashes over Russian soldier

Armenia clashes over Russian soldier

18 Jan

At least 12 people have been wounded in clashes in Armenia between police and protesters demanding the handover of a Russian soldier accused of killing six members of a local family. The violence erupted when thousands of protesters in Gyumri tried to march on the Russian consulate in Armenia's second-largest city. Valery Permyakov, a soldier at a Russian base in Armenia, is suspected of killing the family on Monday. He is being held at the Russian base. Russia has promised to investigate the shootings, but has so far refused to hand the soldier over to Armenian authorities. [124]


Malawi floods kill 170 and leave thousands homeless

Malawi floods kill 170 and leave thousands homeless

16 Jan

The authorities in Malawi say at least 170 people have died in flash floods - a sharp rise on previous figures. Heavy rain over the past month has swept many houses away and caused residents to flee to higher ground, some crossing the border to Mozambique. Vice-President Saulos Chilima said more than 100,000 people had been displaced from their homes, mostly in the south. [125]


Belgian anti-terror raid in Verviers leaves two dead

Belgian anti-terror raid in Verviers leaves two dead

15 Jan

Two people have been killed in an anti-terror operation in eastern Belgium, local officials say. A third person was wounded during the raid in the town of Verviers, according to Belgian TV. A source in the mayor's office told AFP news agency that "an operation is under way". Another official said the raid was "jihadist-related". Witnesses reported hearing heavy gunfire for several minutes and at least three explosions. [126]


New US-Cuba travel and trade rules start on Friday

New US-Cuba travel and trade rules start on Friday

15 Jan

New travel and trade rules between the US and Cuba are to take effect on Friday, US officials say. Measures include allowing US citizens to use credit cards in Cuba and for US businesses to export some technologies. Americans will be able to take home up to $100 (£66) in alcohol and tobacco from Cuba. Correspondents say it means the US ban on Cuban cigars is over. [127]


Double sieges in France come to an end

Double sieges in France come to an end

9 Jan

French police have stormed two hostage sites in the Paris area, killing three hostage takers. Two brothers suspected in the Charlie Hebdo magazine shootings died in an assault at a warehouse where they had been holding a hostage north of Paris. In the second incident, anti-terror forces stormed a supermarket in eastern Paris where several hostages were being held by a gunman. Four hostages there were killed prior to the police assault, reports say. [128]


Charles De Gaulle Airport Flights Diverted

Charles De Gaulle Airport Flights Diverted

9 Jan

France’s largest airport is operating a reduced service amid a nearby ongoing siege involving the Charlie Hebdo shooting suspects. Up to two of the four runways at Charles de Gaulle Airport are affected, and at least two planes have been diverted from landing there. [129]


Charlie Hebdo suspects rob service station

Charlie Hebdo suspects rob service station

8 Jan

The two main suspects in the Islamist attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris are said to have robbed a service station in the north of France. Anti-terrorism police have converged on an area near Villers-Cotterêts where the gunmen were reported by French media to have stolen food and petrol. [130]


France: Gun attack on magazine kills 12

France: Gun attack on magazine kills 12

7 Jan

Gunmen have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in an apparent militant Islamist attack. Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor, were among those killed, as well as two police officers. A major police operation is under way to find three gunmen who fled by car. [131]


Australia races to control bushfires

Australia races to control bushfires

5 Jan

More than 30 homes are already feared destroyed in the hills behind the city of Adelaide. More than 500 firefighters are tackling the fires, which have been burning since Friday. Officials say the blaze is the worst in the area since the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983, which left 75 dead. Temperatures are forecast to hit 34C in Adelaide on Monday before rising to as high as 38C on Tuesday and Wednesday, according to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology. [132]


Malian town attacked by militants

Malian town attacked by militants

5 Jan

Islamist insurgents have attacked the Malian town of Nampala near the Mauritanian border, killing at least five people in a dawn raid. Witnesses said the militants opened fire on soldiers after arriving in pick-up trucks. Other reports said they came on motorbikes and on foot. One report said Malian soldiers fled the attack; another said troops fought back and clashes lasted several hours. The militants have been fighting the Malian army for a number of years. [133]


Deadly suicide bomb rocks Mogadishu

Deadly suicide bomb rocks Mogadishu

5 Jan

A suicide car bomb attack by Islamist group al-Shabab has killed four people in the Somali capital Mogadishu, officials say. Witnesses said the blast was close to the international airport, where African Union troops, UN staff and several Western embassies are based. Plumes of black smoke were seen in the area and the sound of gunfire was heard shortly after the explosion. Security has improved but al-Shabab still attacks Mogadishu regularly. [134]


Italy coastguards board abandoned migrant ship Ezadeen

Italy coastguards board abandoned migrant ship Ezadeen

2 Jan

. Italian authorities have taken control of a ship with 450 migrants, thought to be Syrian, that was abandoned by its crew off Italy's coast. The Italian coastguard said it was now being towed to an Italian port after a rescue team managed to board. The Ezadeen, sailing under the flag of Sierra Leone, lost power in rough seas overnight off the south-east of Italy. [135]


Cuba arrests protesting activists

Cuba arrests protesting activists

2 Jan

Cuban dissidents say police have arrested a group of political activists who had been protesting outside a jail in the capital, Havana. Dozens of dissidents have been taken into custody in Cuba since Tuesday. The police operation began just a few hours before a planned open microphone protest at Havana's Revolution Square. It comes two weeks after Cuba and the United States announced they had agreed to restore diplomatic and economic relations, severed in the early 1960s. [136]


Kashmir clashes kill five troops

Kashmir clashes kill five troops

2 Jan

Indian forces in Kashmir have killed four Pakistani troops on the border ending a year in which hostilities between the neighbours have escalated. Firing took place on the international border between Samba sector and Pakistan after an Indian soldier was killed in an attack blamed on Pakistan. A ceasefire agreed in 2003 remains in place, but it is often violated. [137]



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