Saturday 22 October 2016

Six tourists and pilot die in helicopter crash on New Zealand's Fox Glacier

Published 22/11/2015 | 02:30

Four tourists from Britain and two from Australia were among seven people killed when a helicopter crashed on a scenic New Zealand glacier.

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Police said the wreckage was wedged between walls of ice in a crevasse on the Fox Glacier. The difficult terrain had prevented rescuers from reaching the wreck, but police said they believed all six tourists along with the pilot had been killed. They are hoping to recover the bodies today. They said they had been talking with embassy officials to notify relatives, but that formal identification of the bodies could take some time.

The helicopter crashed at about 11am yesterday at the popular tourist destination on the South Island.

Grey district mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the weather was marginal at the time of the crash, with intermittent rain showers and low clouds. "It was not ideal for helicopter flying," he added.

Five indicted in Vatican leak scandal

A Vatican judge has indicted five people, including two journalists and a high-ranking Vatican monsignor, in the latest scandal involving leaked documents that informed two books alleging financial malfeasance in the Roman Catholic Church bureaucracy.

Two members of the Pope's reforms commission and an assistant were indicted on charges of disclosing confidential Vatican information, while two journalists were indicted on a charge of exerting pressure to obtain the information.

Monsignor Lucio Vallejo Balda and Francesca Chaouqui were arrested by the Vatican earlier this month; Balda is being held while Chaouqui was released after agreeing to co-operate with the investigation. The indictment also identifies for the first time an assistant to Balda, Nicola Maio, as under suspicion. The three Vatican insiders also face an additional charge of forming a criminal organisation.

Journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi both published books this month recounting instances of greed and financial abuse at the Vatican, citing Vatican documents. If the Vatican tribunal convicts the two authors, it will come down to a political question as to whether the Holy See will request their extradition from Italy - and whether Italy will oblige. Trial will begin on Tuesday.

Angry migrants stage border protest

About 1,300 migrants protested in the Greek town Idomeni yesterday against the decision by Macedonian authorities across the border to turn away migrants who are not from war zones such as Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Most of the protesters were from Morocco, but some were also from Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Congo. They demanded to be allowed in, shouting slogans, such as "Freedom!", "We are not terrorists" and "We are not going back". An undetermined number have also gone on hunger strike. Greek police gathered at the border but the protest has been peaceful.

Macedonian authorities took the decision to exclude migrants from non-war countries earlier this week on the heels of similar action by Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.

Adele album launch prompts queues

Adele prompted the unusual sight of US fans queuing up in record stores to buy a CD after withholding her long-awaited third album 25 from streaming services.

Released at midnight last Thursday, the album upon which the entire music industry is said to have vested its hopes, is poised for a record-breaking opening week. But some fans have expressed disappointment that they could not listen to the album for free, after Adele's record company declined to make it available for streaming. Streaming is the industry's fastest-growing revenue stream, but Adele is seeking to maximise full-price sales.

Few expect 25 to match the 30 million sales of its 2011 predecessor, 21. The albums market has fallen by 30pc since then, with streaming yet to plug the revenues gap.

Pakistan to execute paraplegic man

Pakistan's only paraplegic death-row inmate will be executed in the coming days at a high-security prison in the industrial city of Faisalabad.

Abdul Basit (43) has been paralysed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair since contracting meningitis in prison in 2010. According to his lawyer and family, he has been on death row since 2009 after being convicted of killing a man over a financial dispute in Punjab province.

Yesterday, Basit's mother, Nusrat Perveen, said jail officials asked her to have a final meeting with her son on Tuesday before he is hanged the following morning. "I appeal to the president and prime minister of Pakistan to pardon my son on medical and humanitarian grounds," she said. The decision has been widely condemned by rights groups.

Stench baffles Barcelona residents

They may disagree over Catalan independence but the citizens of Barcelona have united to ask another question: what's that smell?

For two days, Spain's second city has been under something of a cloud, with residents reporting a lingering, putrid stink. Officials have blamed a local agricultural park, but its owners say they have not done anything out of the ordinary.

An investigation has pinned the blame on spilled fertiliser in the nearby Baix Llobregat county. But the farmers said that they spread manure over only a small area on Wednesday and that it was insufficient to cause a smell that would affect the entire city.

Paintings stolen from Italian museum

Masterpieces by Rubens, Tintoretto and Bellini, were among 17 paintings snatched in a raid on an Italian museum last week that the gallery's director has called "a massacre" for the art world.

Three armed thieves forced their way into the Castelvecchio museum in Verona, overpowered the only remaining staff member and security guard, before making a beeline for the most valuable works, believed to be worth millions - a fact that suggests the paintings were stolen to order. Museum director Paola Marini said: "This is a terrible thing, without precedent. It's impossible to quantify the loss, but for the art world it's a real massacre."

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