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Six killed, including pregnant woman, as car crashes at Spanish rally

Six people were killed and several others injured when a rally car spun out of control at the Coruna rally in the northwestern Spanish region of Galicia yesterday, the Civil Guard said.

The driver lost control and skidded off the track killing four women, one of whom was pregnant, and two men. About a dozen people were hurt.

"One of the drivers took the track at a much higher speed than he should have and he veered off a curve, slamming into around 20 people," a Civil Guard spokesman said. Television footage showed a rally car careering off a woodland track into a throng of onlookers in a cloud of dust.

Local media reported that the driver and co-driver were unharmed. The spokesman was unable to confirm that information.

Japan opens 'contaminated' Nahara

Japan's government lifted a four-and-a-half year evacuation order for the north eastern town of Naraha that had sent all of the town's 7,400 residents away following the disaster at the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant.

Naraha became the first to get the order lifted among seven municipalities forced to empty entirely due to radiation contamination following the massive earthquake and tsunami that sent the plant's reactors into triple meltdowns in March 2011.

The central government has said radiation levels in Naraha have fallen to levels deemed safe following decontamination efforts. According to a government survey, however, 53pc of the evacuees from Naraha, which is 12 miles south of the nuclear plant, say they are either not ready to return home permanently or are undecided.

Sailor dies a week into year-long race

A British amateur sailor has died after being hit by a sail while competing in a yacht race.

Andrew Ashman, 49, was less than a week into the year-long Clipper Round the World Yacht Race when he was struck unconscious while sailing off the coat of Portugal.

Veteran sailor and Clipper race founder Sir Robin Knox-Johnston paid tribute to Mr Ashman, who worked for many years as a London Ambulance paramedic.

Inmate on leave set up cannabis farm

Spanish authorities who raided what is thought to be the country's largest outdoor marijuana plantation didn't have far to look for the prime suspect. He was in jail.

The 47-year-old Spaniard arranged for others to cultivate a three-hectare (7.4 acre) olive grove he had purchased while on prison leave, Interior Ministry spokesman Federico Pozuelo said Saturday.

The prisoner relied on a 59-year-old Lithuanian assistant and a staff of five to tend 75,000 cannabis plants, which weighed five metric tons and were valued at ¤5m ($5.6 million), police said.

10 Saudi troops killed in missile strike

A Saudi Arabian military spokesman says 10 Saudi troops were killed in a rebel missile strike a day earlier in Yemen's Marib province, which also killed 45 allied troops from the United Arab Emirates.

The Saturday statement by Brig. Gen. Ahmed Asiri to broadcaster Al Hadath was the first public acknowledgement by the Saudis that they have ground troops in Yemen. They are leading an air campaign against the rebels in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country, training Yemeni troops, supplying weapons and providing military advice.

The rebels, known as Houthis, and army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh are fighting forces loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who is in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia.

30 cadets injured after pillow fight

An annual pillow fight among freshman at the United States Military Academy turned violent and left 30 cadets injured, The New York Times reported on Friday.

The event, part of a tradition for first-year students at the service academy in West Point, New York, is intended as a way to help them blow off steam and build morale after a summer spent preparing for a grueling programme, the newspaper reported.

But instead, the fight turned bloody after many of the cadets stuffed helmets and other hard objects into the pillow cases, resulting in concussions and broken boness.

Sunday Independent