| 19.2°C Dublin

In brief: Ten people killed in South Africa after stampede at new year party

The cause of a stampede in which 10 new year revellers died in South Africa is being investigated, the police said.

Officers were called to a tavern in Ipelegeng, in North West Province, at about 2.15am yesterday following a complaint by a patron, said Adele Myburgh, a spokeswoman for the North West police. A stampede had occurred near the entrance to the dance hall section of the premises, she said. The exact cause of the stampede was unclear, she added.

Condemned Iran woman's son released

The son of an Iranian woman, whose death sentence by stoning has caused world outrage, says he has been released on bail. Sajjad Qaderzadeh was arrested in October after speaking with two German journalists about his mother's case.

It is not clear if he was ever formally charged. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.

Three killed as passenger jet explodes

Three people died when a passenger plane caught fire and then exploded on a runway at a Siberian airport, Russian officials said yesterday. Forty-three people were injured, 10 of them seriously.

Emergency services spokesman Vadim Grebennikov said the fire, which began in one of the engines as the plane taxied for take-off, caused a powerful blast which destroyed the Tu-154 aircraft and spread flames across 1,000 square metres. Most of the passengers and crew were evacuated before the explosion.

Extremists blamed for barracks bomb

Muslim extremists may have planted a bomb which struck an army barracks in Nigeria's capital, the country's president said yesterday, highlighting the dangers and confusion still gripping a nation beset by violence in recent weeks.

No one has claimed responsibility for last Friday's attack in Abuja which killed at least four people and injured 21 others celebrating New Year's Eve in the barracks' open-air beer garden and market.

Local police spokesman Jimoh Moshood said the number of injuries in the attack had risen to 21, while four people were killed. The state-run Nigerian Television Authority reported that 30 people had died after the explosion.

On Christmas Eve, three bombs exploded in the central Nigerian city of Jos, killing dozens of people.

Two die in hot air balloon accident

A hot air balloon on a high-altitude flight lost control and plummeted to the ground in Somerset yesterday, killing both occupants. The accident occurred shortly after 9.30am close to the grounds of a golf club in Midsomer Norton, near Bath, Somerset.

A ground crew tracking the balloon lost sight of the aircraft in the clouds shortly before it came down, according to Avon Fire and Rescue Service. Two men were pronounced dead at the scene. No other aircraft were thought to be involved in the accident and no one on the ground was injured.

Brazil swears in first female president

Dilma Rousseff has been sworn in as Brazil's first female president. The 63-year-old career technocrat takes the helm of Latin America's largest nation, which has risen both financially and politically on the world stage under outgoing leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Mr da Silva leaves office as the nation's most popular president. Ms Rousseff, who was his hand-chosen successor, is challenged with maintaining the success Brazil has seen under Mr da Silva.

Queen's concern over floods in Oz

THE Queen extended her "sincere sympathies" yesterday to Australians hit by floods in Queensland.

A statement said: "I have been following with great concern over the last few days the news of the devastating floods in Queensland. Please extend my sincere sympathies to all the people whose communities and livelihoods have been so badly damaged." Aircraft have dropped supplies to the 200,000 people cut off by the rising tide of water.

Inmates riot at low-security prison

Rioting inmates caused heavy damage to a low-security prison yesterday, smashing windows and setting fires that engulfed buildings and spewed clouds of black smoke.

Disturbances broke out around midnight at Ford open prison. Six ringleaders were later identified. Three were detained, while three others hid among other inmates. There were no immediate reports of injuries to staff or inmates.

Doctor may claim Jackson killed himself

Lawyers for the doctor charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson could claim the pop star killed himself when a hearing begins this week.

In a court session last Wednesday to discuss evidence in the case against Dr Conrad Murray, a prosecutor said he believed it was clear defence attorneys were looking into that theory.

Meanwhile, the Discovery Channel has cancelled a show purporting to re-enact the dead superstar's post-mortem.

Sunday Independent