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Saturday 25 January 2020

Nine-year-old sole survivor of plane crash arrives home in Netherlands

The nine-year-old Dutch boy who was the sole survivor of a plane crash in Libya has arrived back in Holland on a medical evacuation flight, just hours after being told that his parents and 11-year-old brother died in the disaster.

Ruben van Assouw's survival of a crash that shattered the plane into pieces has stunned doctors and provided at least one bittersweet story of hope in the tragedy. The Afriqiyah Airways flight from South Africa hit the ground short of the runway while landing early last Wednesday in Tripoli, killing 103 people.

The boy was recovering well enough to make the journey home and most likely would not have to be sedated during the trip, said Sadig Bendala, one of the doctors who treated the boy at a Tripoli hospital.

Meanwhile, forensics teams including more than 20 experts from the Netherlands started the process of identifying bodies yesterday. Most of those on board the Airbus 330-200 were Dutch tourists.

Militants kidnap 60 people in Pakistan

MILITANTS armed with assault rifles kidnapped about 60 people in a troubled tribal region in north-west Pakistan yesterday after ambushing their vehicles, police said.

The hostages in the Kurram region included women and children. The group was headed to the north-western city of Peshawar in 10 vehicles when they were ambushed.

Details of the kidnapping were sketchy and police were trying to trace and recover the hostages who were all believed to be Pakistanis. Robberies and kidnapping are common in the militant stronghold of Kurram.

FA chairman hits at 'bribes for refs'

England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup was in turmoil yesterday after the Football Association chairman Lord Triesman accused Spain and Russia of planning to bribe referees in this summer's tournament.

The 66-year-old suggested that Spain may withdraw its bid to stage the 2018 event if Russia, which also wants to host the event, helps it to bribe referees in South Africa

According to a UK newspaper, Mr Triesman made the claim during a meeting with a former aide.

Greek communists protest cuts, taxes

About 6,000 Greek Communist Party supporters marched through central Athens to protest austerity measures imposed by the socialist government. "Workers' rights are the law!" the flag-carrying crowd chanted before dispersing without incident yesterday.

Earlier, at a rally in a central Athens square, party general secretary Aleka Papariga attacked the government. "They lie to you when they say this crisis will last just three or four years and then everything will be okay," she said. Greece will receive up to €110bn from the EU and the IMF over the next three years to help stave off bankruptcy.

French academic 'free to leave' Iran

A lawyer says a French academic arrested in Iran following last year's disputed presidential elections will be allowed to leave the country after paying a fine worth the equivalent of €240,000. Mohammad Ali Mahdavi Sabet said that Clotilde Reiss, 25, will retrieve her passport today and will be able to leave Iran immediately.

He said she was convicted of provoking unrest and spying in the aftermath of the June election but the 10-year jail term had been commuted into a fine of three billion rials. He said he paid the fine yesterday.

Schiffer welcomes baby number three

German supermodel Claudia Schiffer and her husband, British film producer and director Matthew Vaughn, have welcomed their third child -- a baby girl.

A statement released yesterday by the couple announced the birth of their daughter but did not say what they intended to name her. The baby was born in a central London hospital Friday afternoon. The statement says the 39-year-old model and the baby "are doing well."

Government to wade into BA dispute

THE BRITISH government is to intervene in a long-running dispute between British Airways' cabin crew and management in a bid to avert up to 20 days of planned strikes over the next month.

The industrial action by members of the Unite union, which represents about 90 per cent of BA's 12,000 cabin crew, begins with a five-day walkout from May 18 to 22, threatening renewed misery for travellers already hit by walkouts and disruption caused by volcanic ash.

"The secretary of state will be meeting both sides in this dispute separately next week to urge them to reach a settlement," a spokeswoman for transport minister Philip Hammond said yesterday.

Swedish cartoonist's home attacked

POLICE say the home of a Swedish artist whose drawing of the prophet Muhammad offended Muslims has been subjected to a suspected arson attack. Lars Vilks, who is from Nyhamnslage in southern Sweden, was not at home during the attack and no injuries have been reported.

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