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Thursday 19 April 2018

Red faces at EU as satellite appears on wrong orbit

Satellite and Earth
Satellite and Earth

European space officials say they're investigating whether the inaccurate deployment of two satellites will complicate their efforts to develop a new Galileo satellite navigation system that would rival America's GPS network.

The European Space Agency said the satellites ended up in off-target orbits after launching last Friday from French Guiana, aboard a Soyuz rocket.

The statement did not explain the difference between the satellites' intended and actual orbits, or whether their orbital paths could be corrected. The EU hopes to have its 30-satellite Galileo navigation network operating fully by 2020.

Collision between tourist buses kills 33

Thirty-three people were killed and 41 others injured in a head-on collision between two tourist buses 50km from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt yesterday.

The buses were travelling in opposite directions and collided head-on on the main road. The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

Traffic accidents are common in Egypt due to badly maintained roads and disregard of traffic laws. .

At least 11 die in Baghdad suicide bomb

A suicide bomber hit an interior ministry building in central Baghdad, Iraq, and killed at least 11 people yesterday.

A police officer said the suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden car into the gate of the intelligence headquarters in the Karrada district of the capital, killing six civilians and five security personnel.

He added that 24 other people were wounded.

A medical official confirmed the casualty figures.

Since early this year, Iraq has been facing a growing Sunni insurgency with the Islamic State group and allied Sunni militants who have taken over areas in the country's west and north.

The crisis has worsened since June when the group declared an Islamic state, or caliphate, in territory under its control.

Migrants feared dead after boat sinks

A wooden boat carrying up to 200 migrants has sunk just one kilometre off the Libyan coast, the coast guard said yesterday, with most passengers feared drowned.

The local coast guard said it had no boats of its own and had to commandeer fishing vessels in a rescue attempt after fishermen raised the alarm yesterday morning.

Migrants have been streaming out of North Africa in rickety boats in rising numbers for years. So far in 2014, the total number reaching Italian shores has passed 100,000, the Italian government said.

Firemen hurt in 'ice bucket' accident

Two Kentucky firefighters are being treated for severe burns after suffering electric shocks while helping students participate in the 'ice bucket challenge'.

The social media challenge has raised $41m (€31m) for a group advocating for Lou Gehrig's disease research.

The ladder from which they dumped water on a marching band was too close to a power line. One man is in a critical condition and the other is in a stable condition.

The two men were in a bucket at the top of the fire lorry's ladder when they were shocked. The power line was not touched, but the high voltage energy from the line 
energised the lorry, shocking the two men.

Rescuers search for landslide survivors

Rescuers have been searching desperately for survivors in Japan's Hiroshima prefecture, where a landslide killed at least 42 people. At least 43 others are missing.

Police say that more people could be unaccounted for, buried by mudslides and not yet reported as missing.

About 3,000 rescue personnel have been trying to remove mud and debris hampering the search. Torrential rains and strong winds have led to the evacuation of up to 100,000 people.

Experts say the chances of survival for people trapped in such a disaster decreases significantly after the first 72 hours, which passed early yesterday.

Indian state plans to ban alcohol

Authorities in the southern Indian state of Kerala have outlined plans to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol to tackle the state's drink problem.

The first phase of the ban would see more than 700 bars as well as some shops selling alcohol shut down, with more alcohol-free days introduced. The government aims to enforce total prohibition in 10 years.

Chinese jet 'metres from' US plane

A Chinese jet fighter came perilously close to a US military patrol plane over international waters east of China's Hainan Island, the Pentagon has said.

The Chinese aircraft came within 10 metres of the US Navy plane in what is the fourth such incident since March.

Colombia starts talks with rebels

The Colombian military has held its first meeting with Farc rebel leaders at peace talks in Havana.

The talks will focus on ways of implementing a ceasefire and, if a peace deal is agreed, on the laying down of 
weapons by the rebels.

President Juan Manuel Santos said the government and rebels were getting closer to an agreement.

Earlier this week, the rebels met, also for the first time, a group of victims of the five-decade war.

At least three million people have been displaced by the conflict. Most of the victims were civilians.

Sunday Independent

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