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Updated: 44 sec ago

13 dead as van rams crowd in Barcelona 'terror attack'

9 min 27 sec ago

At least 13 people were killed Thursday when a driver deliberately slammed a van into crowds on Barcelona's most popular street in what police said was a "terror attack". The attack, the latest in a wave of vehicle rammings across Europe in recent years, caused panic on the streets of Spain's largest city and drew condemnation from world leaders. The famous Las Ramblas is one of Barcelona's busiest streets, lined with shops and restaurants and normally thronged with tourists and street performers until well into the night.


Tyler to sing 'Total Eclipse' hit for rare solar event

2 hours 27 min ago

It's a pop culture moment for the ages: crooner Bonnie Tyler will sing her mega-hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" -- on a cruise ship -- before an actual total eclipse of the sun. The 66-year-old British singer will perform her iconic 1983 power ballad on the Royal Caribbean ship Oasis of the Seas prior to Monday's eclipse, which will be visible across the United States, the company said in a statement. "Bonnie Tyler was a natural choice for this once-in-a-lifetime moment," Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley told Time magazine.


Wildfires trap 2,000 villagers in Portugal

3 hours 8 min ago

Forest fires cut off a village of 2,000 people in Portugal, as firefighters struggled Thursday to control two major blazes in the centre of the country, local officials said. Vasco Estrela, the mayor of the embattled village of Macao, told the Lusa news agency: "It's impossible to leave or to enter Macao because of the flames and the smoke." The fire, which broke out on Tuesday evening, had grown stronger through Wednesday and by the small hours of Thursday morning had surrounded the village, he said, adding: "The fire is continuing unabated." Already at the end of July, a major fire had destroyed between 80 and 90 percent of the village, he said. The emergency services have had to evacuate around 130 people from nearby villages, said Patricia Gaspar, spokeswoman for Portugal's civil protection agency the ANPC.


ICC rules jihadist liable for 2.7 mn euros for Timbuktu destruction

3 hours 21 min ago

War crimes judges said Thursday that a Malian jihadist was liable for 2.7 million euros in personal damages for destroying Timbuktu's fabled shrines in 2012, as they ordered reparations in a landmark ruling. The International Criminal Court ordered that the victims of the razing of the fabled west African city's historic treasures be paid "individual, collective and symbolic" reparations. The fund was created in 2004 by the ICC's state parties, aiming to address harms resulting from genocide, crimes of humanity and war crimes.


Van ploughs into crowd in Barcelona, injuries reported

3 hours 23 min ago

A number of people were injured when a van rammed into a crowd of pedestrians on Barcelona's iconic Las Ramblas on Thursday, police said. "Huge collision on Las Ramblas in Barcelona by an individual driving a van, many injuries," a statement said. The area around the incident was cordoned off, with several ambulances and police vehicles on the scene, an AFP correspondent said.


S. Korea's Moon: There will be no war on Korean peninsula

3 hours 31 min ago

There will be no war on the Korean peninsula, South Korean President Moon Jae-In said Thursday, saying Seoul effectively had a veto over US military action in response to the North's nuclear and missile programmes. Tensions have soared on the peninsula in recent months, with Pyongyang carrying out its first successful tests of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), bringing much of the US within range. Last week it threatened to send a salvo of rockets towards the US territory of Guam -- although it appears to have backed off for now -- while US President Donald Trump promised "fire and fury" and said that Washington's weapons were "locked and loaded".


Mass burials for 160 Sierra Leone flood victims

3 hours 34 min ago

Sierra Leone prepared for the burials of 160 victims of devastating floods on Thursday, as fears grew of more mudslides and accusations of government "inaction" over deforestation and poor urban planning mounted. After it emerged that at least 105 of the dead were children, citizens and experts alike questioned why the government of President Ernest Bai Koroma had not done more to tackle illegal construction in the overcrowded capital of Freetown. A Red Cross official told AFP meanwhile that smaller mudslides had occurred since Monday in eastern Freetown and in Sierra Leone's second city of Bo, with the rainy season far from over.


Trump says US culture, history being 'ripped apart'

4 hours 16 min ago

A defiant President Donald Trump shrugged off a barrage of bipartisan criticism on Thursday and said US culture and history were being "ripped apart" by the removal of Confederate statues. Trump waded back into the charged racial debate over monuments to the pro-slavery South with a volley of tweets doubling down on his controversial remarks of the past few days. Trump has come under fire from Republicans and Democrats alike for saying that anti-racism protestors deserved equal blame for violence last weekend at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, held to protest the planned removal of a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee.


Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement leaders jailed 

4 hours 38 min ago

Joshua Wong and two other young leaders of Hong Kong's huge Umbrella Movement rallies were jailed Thursday for their role in the 2014 pro-democracy protests, dealing a fresh blow to the campaign for political reform. The sentences handed down by the city's Court of Appeal came as fears grow that Beijing is tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous city and that rule of law is being compromised. Wong, who became the face of the mass protests while still a teenager, as well as Nathan Law and Alex Chow were given terms of six months, eight months and seven months respectively after the court upped their previous non-custodial sentences.


Timbuktu's mausoleums, ancient protectors of city

4 hours 43 min ago

The shrines of Muslim saints in Timbuktu in northern Mali are widely believed to protect the fabled city from danger, but were largely destroyed by radical Islamists in 2012. Five years after their destruction the Timbuktu mausoleums have been restored through work carried out by local craftsmen, with help from the UN's cultural arm UNESCO. On Thursday the International Criminal Court in The Hague ruled that Malian ex-jihadist Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi caused 2.7 million euros in damages when he destroyed some of the mausoleums and ordered the payment of compensation to victims.


Mexico's prickly pear cactus: energy source of the future?

4 hours 51 min ago

The prickly pear cactus is such a powerful symbol in Mexico that they put it smack in the middle of the national flag. Now scientists have come up with a new use for the bright green plant: producing renewable energy. Instantly recognizable with its jumble of spiny discs -- its bright red fruit protruding like fat fingers from each one -- the prickly pear cactus is farmed on a massive scale in Mexico.


US culture 'ripped apart' by statue removals: Trump

5 hours 6 min ago

President Donald Trump said Thursday the history and culture of the United States were being "ripped apart" by the removal of statues memorializing the Confederate era. "Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments," Trump wrote on Twitter. "You can't change history, but you can learn from it.


Mexico's prickly pear cactus: energy source of the future?

5 hours 7 min ago

The prickly pear cactus is such a powerful symbol in Mexico that they put it smack in the middle of the national flag. Now scientists have come up with a new use for the bright green plant: producing renewable energy. Instantly recognizable with its jumble of spiny discs -- its bright red fruit protruding like fat fingers from each one -- the prickly pear cactus is farmed on a massive scale in Mexico.


Paris terror suspect Abdeslam to be tried in Belgium over shootout

5 hours 18 min ago

Paris terror suspect Salah Abdeslam was Thursday ordered to stand trial in Belgium over a shootout with police in Brussels last year that led to his capture after a four-month hunt for Europe's most wanted man. Abdeslam, the sole surviving alleged assailant in the November 2015 Paris massacre, was arrested three days after the shootout on March 15 last year in which several officers were wounded. Belgian judges on Thursday ordered Abdeslam, 27, and his alleged accomplice Sofiane Ayari, 24, to stand trial in Brussels criminal court, with the date set in a few weeks, the federal prosecutor's office said.


Over one million S.Sudan refugees in Uganda: UN

5 hours 24 min ago

The number of South Sudanese who have fled to Uganda has hit one million, the UN said Thursday, with no end in sight to the war behind the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis. The nearly four-year civil war has pushed an average of 1,800 South Sudanese into neighbouring Uganda every day for the past year, many of them women and children fleeing "barbaric violence", according to the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR). Another one million have sought refuge elsewhere in the region, but it is Uganda -- one of the world's poorest countries and the size of the United Kingdom -- that has borne the brunt of the crisis.


Philippine economy surges, defies concerns

7 hours 48 min ago

The Philippine economy grew by 6.5 percent in the three months to June, likely one of the fastest in Asia, the government said Thursday, defying concerns over President Rodrigo Duterte's unconventional leadership. With solid fundamentals laid by predecessor Benigno Aquino, Duterte has now presided over an economy growing at an average 6.6 percent clip in the past year, despite rule-of-law concerns over his drug war that has left thousands dead. "I am pleased to inform you that we remain as one of the best-performing economies in Asia," Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a speech to announce gross domestic product growth for the second quarter.


LTFRB launches nationwide Drivers’ Academy

8 hours 9 min ago

MANILA, Philippines — Drivers who will fail to enroll with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) Drivers Academy may lose or be rejected from their jobs. This, after the LTFRB and transport operators both agreed to make Drivers’ Academy a requirement to all public utility drivers. The program aims to teach public utility […] The post LTFRB launches nationwide Drivers’ Academy appeared first on UNTV News.


Peace with North Korea a 'possibility': top US general

8 hours 11 min ago

Peace with North Korea is a "possibility", America's most senior uniformed officer said Thursday, but warned the US has "credible, viable military options" for dealing with the errant regime. General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, also told reporters during his visit to Beijing that the US has no plans to "dial back" military exercises with South Korea, which have angered both China and North Korea. Dunford made the remarks on the last day of a trip to China that included a visit on Wednesday to a northern military zone near China's border with North Korea.


Poultry raisers, on the verge of bankruptcy due to avian flu outbreak

8 hours 20 min ago

BULACAN, Philippines — Poultry raisers in the province of Bulacan have expressed concern about their businesses amid the avian flu outbreak. Tommy Cruz has been a duck raiser and duck egg producer for 35 years. He complains of earning less as sales slowed down. “35 years na kaming nag-iitik ngayon lang namin naranasan ito.  Sa […] The post Poultry raisers, on the verge of bankruptcy due to avian flu outbreak appeared first on UNTV News.


More than one million S.Sudan refugees in Uganda: UN

8 hours 32 min ago

The number of South Sudanese who have fled to Uganda has hit one million, the UN said Thursday, with no end in sight to the war behind the world's fastest-growing refugee crisis. The nearly four-year civil war has pushed an average of 1,800 South Sudanese into neighbouring Uganda every day for the past year, many of them women and children fleeing "barbaric violence", according to the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR). Another one million have sought refuge elsewhere in the region, but it is Uganda -- one of the world's poorest countries and the size of the United Kingdom -- that has borne the brunt of the crisis.