Monday 21 January 2019

35 injured as tornado knocks over Ferris wheel at fairground in Spain

A TORNADO has swept through a fairground in a Spanish town, knocking down a Ferris wheel and injuring 35 people, while the death toll from flooding in the same southern region of the country rose to 10, authorities said yesterday.

The tornado damaged several rides and cut electricity in the temporary fair set up in the main square of Gandia, according to the website of its town hall.

It said 15 of the injured were seriously hurt. Local media reported that the fair in Valencia province was closed to the public at the time of a thunderstorm and that all the injured were fair workers.

Poles protest against prime minister

TENS of thousands of protesters marched through the Polish capital yesterday, the start of an opposition drive to capitalise on the spluttering economy with the aim of loosening prime minister Donald Tusk's grip on power.

Poland's economy has grown robustly even while its neighbours slipped into recession, handing Mr Tusk high levels of support and leaving his opponents struggling to gain credibility with voters.

However, economic growth is expected to slow to just above 2 per cent next year. That is healthy by the standards of most European countries but a jarring deceleration for Poles who have become used to two decades of uninterrupted growth.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the opposition Law and Justice Party, said ordinary Poles were no longer prepared to give Tusk's government, now in its second term, the benefit of the doubt.

Woman falls to death from cruise ship

The search for a British woman who fell overboard from a cruise ship in the Mediterranean was called off yesterday after a body was recovered.

The passenger was reported missing on the Aurora as it sailed from the Spanish city of La Coruna to Barcelona yesterday, P&O Cruises said. The ship's crew were alerted and ordered an immediate search for the woman, who has not yet been named.

Bo Xilai loses legislature's protection

Chinese state media has said a local legislative committee has stripped disgraced politician Bo Xilai of his qualifications to serve on the national legislature.

The expulsion, once confirmed by the national body, will clear the way for Mr Bo to be prosecuted on charges ranging from corruption to abetting the cover-up of a murder by Mr Bo's wife of businessman Neil Heywood.

Delegates to the national legislature have immunity from prosecution unless there is special approval.

Ford workers sticker Paris Auto Show

Workers at a Ford factory in France protested at the Paris Auto Show with giant stickers, plastering about 20 cars around the hall to protest over lost jobs in the automotive industry.

About 400 workers, most from a factory in the south-western city of Blanquefort, joined the protest.

Repatriation for Guantanamo prisoner

The last western detainee held at Guantanamo Bay is being repatriated to Canada, an official has said.

Omar Khadr, 26, was 15 when he was captured in 2002 in Afghanistan and has spent a decade at the US naval base in Cuba.

The son of an alleged al-Qaeda financier, Khadr was convicted in 2010 of throwing a grenade that killed US army sergeant 1st Class Christopher Speer in Afghanistan in 2002, and was jailed for eight years.

John Norris, Khadr's Canadian lawyer, has said his client would be eligible for parole in the spring of 2013.

Aleppo souks burn as clashes continue

FIRES sparked by clashes between government troops and rebels raged through the medieval marketplace of Aleppo yesterday, destroying hundreds of shops lining the vaulted passageways where foods, fabrics, perfumes and spices have been sold for centuries, activists said.

Some described the overnight blaze as the worst blow yet to an historic district that helped make the heart of Syria's largest city and commercial hub a Unesco world-heritage site.

The souk, a labyrinth of narrow alleys lined with shops, was once a major tourist attraction, but has been the scene of near-daily firefights and shelling in recent weeks. Activists say regime troops and snipers have taken up positions in the citadel that dominates the city.

Amateur footage posted online showed flames raging through the stone passageways as rebels struggled to put out the blaze with a garden hose. Other videos showed a pall of smoke hanging over the city's skyline.

Once considered a bastion of support for Syrian president Bashar Assad's regime, Aleppo has in the last two months become the focus of the insurgency. Its fall would give the opposition a major strategic victory, with a stronghold in the north near the Turkish border.

Since the rebel offensive began in August, each side has controlled about half of the city and has repeatedly tried -- but failed -- to capture the rest.

Sunday Independent

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