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Friday 13 December 2019

World News in Brief

Dozens hurt in Syria poison gas attack as civil war rivals blame each other

Boys carry gas cylinders over debris and damage after what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Al-Maysar neighbourhood of Aleppo April 12, 2014. REUTERS/Hosam Katan (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)
Boys carry gas cylinders over debris and damage after what activists said was shelling from forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Al-Maysar neighbourhood of Aleppo April 12, 2014. REUTERS/Hosam Katan (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)

Associated Press

The Syrian government and rebel forces have said poison gas was used in a central village, injuring scores of people, while blaming each other for the attack.

The main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, said dozens of people were hurt in a poison gas attack on Friday in the village of Kfar Zeita. State-run Syrian television yesterday blamed members of the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front for using chlorine gas at Kfar Zeita, killing two people and injuring more than 100.

In August, a chemical attack near the capital, Damascus, killed hundreds of people. The US and its allies blamed the Syrian government for that attack, which nearly sparked Western airstrikes against President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Damascus denied the charges and accused rebels of staging the incident.

REBELS KILL 14 IN INDIA

Indian Maoist rebels killed 14 people in two separate attacks in the central state of Chhattisgarh yesterday as they continue a campaign of violence aimed at disrupting a five-week national election.

Five election officials and two bus drivers were killed when a land mine exploded under their vehicle in Bijapur district, where voting is due to take place next week, said the police director general.

Five people were also injured in the attack.

In another attack, the rebels killed five paramilitary soldiers and two civilians in an ambush on the soldiers' vehicle in the remote Darbha Forest in the south of the state.

WOMAN BEATEN WITH HAMMER IN HOTEL

A female victim of a hammer attack at a four-star hotel has been left with just five per cent brain function and lost her left eye, police have said.

The woman, who is from the United Arab Emirates, remains in a critical condition after she was attacked, together with her two sisters, in their room at the four-star Cumberland Hotel near Marble Arch in London's West End in the early hours of last Sunday. Police confirmed following a court hearing for a man accused of the attack that the woman's sisters remain in hospital in a less severe condition.

They confirmed that the main victim suffered life-threatening head and facial injuries, has lost her left eye and significant quantities of blood. Doctors have assessed that she has five per cent brain function.

BERLUSCONI ALLY ARRESTED IN LEBANON

A long-time ally of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi who is facing the final appeal to his conviction for Mafia association has been detained in Lebanon.

Marcello Dell'Utri is in police custody and Italy is preparing to seek his extradition, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said.

Mr Dell'Utri was declared a fugitive on Friday and later issued a statement saying he was abroad for medical treatment, but did not say where.

A former executive in Mr Berlusconi's media empire and then senator in his conservative movement, Mr Dell'Utri was convicted of acting as a mediator between Mr Berlusconi and the Mafia. Italy's highest court hears his final appeal this week.

Mr Dell'Utri denies any ties to the Sicilian Mafia, and any link between the crime syndicate and Mr Berlusconi.

BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE REMEMBERED

A lasting memorial has been unveiled to the sailors on all sides who fought and died in the Battle of the River Plate during the Second World War 75 years ago.

On the landmark anniversary of what was the war's first major naval engagement, a handful of the battle's surviving veterans gathered to see a plaque unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, yesterday.

The event was made famous by the 1956 Hollywood movie The Battle of the River Plate.

ONESIE FOR ALL AND ALL FOR ONESIE

A theme park has claimed to have set a new world record for the largest gathering of people dressed in onesies. Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire is confident it has beaten the previous record after 3,152 people gathered at its central triangle at 10.15am yesterday wearing the one-piece jumpsuits.

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