Merkel rules out migrant policy reversal after attacks

Recent attacks in Germany involving asylum-seekers would not change its willingness to take in refugees, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

She said the attackers "wanted to undermine our sense of community, our openness and our willingness to help people in need. We firmly reject this".

But she did propose new measures to improve security.

These include information sharing, deciphering web chatter and tackling arms sales on the internet.

What is going on in Germany?

Ansbach attacker: From asylum seeker to IS suicide bomber

What drives individuals to commit mass killings?

Two recent attacks in Bavaria were both by asylum seekers. A suicide bomb attack in Ansbach on Sunday that injured 15 people was carried out by a Syrian who had been denied asylum but given temporary leave to stay.

An axe and knife attack on a train in Wuerzburg on 18 July that wounded five people was carried out by an asylum seeker from Afghanistan.

Both men had claimed allegiance to so-called Islamic State.

The deadliest recent attack - in Munich on 22 July which left nine dead - was carried out by a German teenager of Iranian extraction but was not jihadist-related.

Police officer at scene of attack in Ansbach, Germany, on 25 July 2016

The suicide attacker in Ansbach targeted crowds attending a music festival - he injured 15 people

'We can do this'

Mrs Merkel, who interrupted her summer holiday to hold the news conference in Berlin, said the asylum seekers who had carried out the attacks had "shamed the country that welcomed them".

But she insisted that those fleeing persecution and war had a right to be protected, and Germany would "stick to our principles" in giving shelter to the deserving.

Referring to the attacks that have taken place in France, Belgium, Turkey, the US and elsewhere, she said "taboos of civilisation" had been broken, and they were intended to "spread fear and hatred between cultures and between religions".

But in reference to her famous phrase "Wir schaffen das" or "We can do this" - uttered last year when she agreed to take in a million migrants - Mrs Merkel said: "I am still convinced today that "we can do it".

"It is our historic duty and this is a historic challenge in times of globalisation. We have already achieved very, very much in the last 11 months".

Train where the attack took place in Wuerzburg, Germany, on 18 July 2016

An Afghan asylum-seeker injured five people in an axe attack on this train in Bavaria

Mrs Merkel said that "besides organised terrorist attacks, there will be new threats from perpetrators not known to security personnel".

To counter this, she said: "We need an early alert system so that authorities can see during the asylum request proceedings where there are problems."

Mrs Merkel added: "We will take the necessary measures and ensure security for our citizens. We will take the challenge of integration very seriously."


Seven deadly days

A week of bloody attacks has frayed nerves in Germany, which led the way in accepting asylum seekers from Syria. To date, two of the attacks have been linked to a militant group:

  • 18 July: An axe-wielding teenage asylum seeker from Afghanistan is shot dead after injuring five people in an attack on a train. IS claims the attack, releasing a video recorded by the attacker before the incident
  • 24 July: A Syrian asylum seeker is arrested in the town of Reutlingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, after allegedly killing a Polish woman with a machete and injuring two other people. Police suggest it was probably a "crime of passion"
  • 24 July: A failed Syrian asylum seeker blows himself up outside a music festival in the small Bavarian town of Ansbach, injuring 15 other people.

Germans shaken by violence

German media on the attacks

WATCH: 'We must fight hate with love'

Source; bbc.com

Tunisia parliament votes to sack PM Habib Essid

Tunisia's parliament has passed a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Habib Essid, effectively dismissing the government of the US-trained economist.

A total of 188 MPs voted to sack Mr Essid, with only three supporting him.

Mr Essid, who has been in office less than two years, has faced criticism for what his opponents say is his failure to push through economic reforms.

President Beji Caid Essebsi last month called for a national unity government to break months of economic turmoil.

Unemployment has worsened since the 2011 revolution, when President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted. More than a third of young people in Tunisia are without work.

Tunisia's uprising was the first of the Arab Spring, and often hailed as the most successful with the country now functioning as a parliamentary democracy.


Analysis: BBC's Rana Jawad in Tunis

The confidence vote came after a month of wrangling over the fate of the prime minister, following pressure on him from the country's president to resign. Mr Essid refused to step down, citing respect for the constitutional process and instead called on the Tunisian parliament to decide his fate.

In the end, an overwhelming majority of MPs voted to oust him from office. Most lawmakers accused him of failing to deliver on economic reforms needed to ease the country's high unemployment rates.

In June, the Tunisian president proposed the formation of a new unity government, arguing that the country needed a leadership that could carry out bold reforms.

But some observers believe that the vote is also a consequence of the prime minister's detachment from party politics. Mr Essid recently accused leading parties of trying to pressure him into making changes to the cabinet, which he says he refused to comply with. It is not clear who will succeed him at this time, but parliament will start negotiations over the matter on Monday.

Source: bbc.com

Texas hot air balloon crash: No survivors among 16 on board

A hot air balloon has caught fire and crashed in the US state of Texas, with all 16 on board confirmed dead, the Texas department of safety says.

The balloon came down in fields near Lockhart, about 30 miles (50km) south of the state capital Austin.

Caldwell County sheriff Daniel Law said the basket of the balloon was on fire when emergency crews arrived.

Videos posted by local media suggest the balloon came down near tall power lines, but the cause is not yet known.

The balloon crashed at about 07:40 (12:40 GMT), officials said.

"It does not appear at this time that there were any survivors of the crash," the sheriff's office said.

It is the deadliest hot air balloon crash in the US.

Local resident Margaret Wylie said she was outside her home when she heard two "pops" which she thought was a gun going off.

"The next thing I knew you saw a big fireball go up. I was just praying that whoever was there got away from the thing in time," she said.

Police cars block access to the site where a hot air balloon crashed early Saturday, July 30, 2016, near Lockhart, Texas

The hot air balloon came down near power lines

The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation. Erik Grosof, an NTSB official at the scene, said only that there had been "a number of fatalities".

He said the balloon was believed to have belonged to the Heart of Texas Balloon Rides, an Austin-based company that offers trips to see the sunrise with champagne.

A Fox News reporter from Lockhart who is at the scene says contact was lost with the balloon about half an hour into a scheduled one-hour flight.

Two years ago, the NTSB called for better regulation of hot air balloon flights in the US, recommending they should be subject to the same oversight as tour planes and helicopters.

"The potential for a high number of fatalities in a single air tour balloon accident is of particular concern if air tour balloon operators continue to conduct operations under less stringent regulations and oversight," it said.

Governor Greg Abbott asked in a statement that "all of Texas to join us in praying for those lost".

Map of Texas showing Austin and Lockart

Other deadly hot air balloon accidents

May 2013: Three Brazilian tourists killed and more than 20 other people injured as two balloons collided in the central Turkish region of Cappadoccia

February 2013: A hot air balloon caught fire and crashed in Luxor, Egypt, killing 19 foreign tourists

August 2012: Six people died and another 26 were injured when a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed near Ljubljana, Slovenia's capital

January 2012: A hot air balloon struck power lines and exploded near Carterton in New Zealand, before crashing to the ground - all 11 people on board were killed.

October 2009: Four Dutch tourists died in Guangxi, China, after a hot air balloon caught fire and crashed

August 2001: A hot air balloon touched a power line in south-west France, killing six people

Source: bbc.com

 

Dusseldorf residents told to pay for Nazi-era road

Homeowners on a street in Germany have been told they must foot the bill for their road's construction - even though it's been there for nearly 80 years.

Residents on Auf'm Rott, in suburban Dusseldorf, went to court after city authorities told them pay an average of 10,000 euros ($11,000; £8,400) per household for what looked like a long-established road, Die Welt reports.

The bills included a conversion from the Nazi-era Reichsmark currency into euros for the original road surface, first laid in 1937, which is being dubbed "Hitler asphalt" by the German media. The figures were also adjusted for inflation.

While homeowners were perplexed, a court has now confirmed that they must cough up the cash. It determined that while construction began in the 1930s, the road was only officially completed in 2009 when pavements were added. For the intervening period it was considered to be under development.

In Germany, residents have to pay a "development contribution" to the local authority for things like new roads, cycle paths and street lighting.

According to Die Welt, the council says people weren't required to contribute towards road construction under the Third Reich, so the costs are simply being billed now. The court agreed, saying that the length of time involved doesn't matter. "There is no statute of limitations in relation to the construction work," says Franziska Hoette, a judge at Dusseldorf's Administrative Court.

So, Auf'm Rott's current residents will be shelling out for the "Hitler asphalt", streetlamps dating back to 1956, a sewer from the 1970s, and pavements and greenery added in 2009. But despite taking a sizeable financial hit, the residents appear to have accepted the court's verdict. Spiegel Online reports that they've withdrawn their complaint, saying: "If this is how it is, then this is how it is."

Source: bbc.com

France church attack: Two arrested over priest's killing

Two men have been placed under formal investigation over the murder of a priest in a Normandy church, including a cousin of one of the killers.

Farid K, 30, a cousin of attacker Abdel Malik Petitjean, was arrested on suspicion of "terrorist association".

The other man, Jean-Philippe Steven J, 20, was put under formal investigation for allegedly attempting to travel to Syria in June with Petitjean.

Petitjean and accomplice Adel Kermiche, both 19, were shot dead by police.

They had interrupted a church service in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen, last Tuesday, taken hostages and slit the throat of Father Jacques Hamel, 86.

What we know about church attack

Tributes to Fr Jacques Hamel

Profile: Abdel Malik Petitjean

Kermiche 'was brainwashed'

The Paris prosecutor's office said both men arrested on Sunday were being held in custody.

The development came as Muslims across France attended Catholic Mass in a gesture of solidarity after the murder.

Abdel Malik Petitjean's driver's licence

Abdel Malik Petitjean, pictured on his driver's licence, was on a watch list

France's Muslim council, the CFCM, urged Muslims to show "solidarity and compassion" over the killing.

Petitjean had been on a watch list as a potential security threat since June after trying to enter Syria from Turkey.

Adel Kermiche was also known to the security services.

So-called Islamic State (IS) released a video of what it said were the two men pledging allegiance to the group.

A photo of Priest Jacques Hamel taken from the website of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray parish

Father Jacques Hamel was a well-known figure in St-Etienne-du-Rouvray

Source: bbc.com

Rogers Cup: Novak Djokovic beats Kei Nishikori to win title in Toronto

World number one Novak Djokovic won his first title since his surprise exit from Wimbledon with a straight-sets win over Japan's Kei Nishikori in the final of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.

Djokovic won 6-3 7-5 in a largely commanding performance.

The 29-year-old, who has now won seven titles this year, has beaten the Japanese on nine successive occasions.

Djokovic, who was beaten in the third round at Wimbledon by Sam Querrey, will represent Serbia at the Rio Olympics.

"I don't need to explain that every athlete dreams of being a part of the Olympic Games," he said. "I'm competing in singles and doubles.

"Hopefully I'll get at least one medal."

Source: bbc.com

Kabul explosion: 'Foreign compound' targeted by Taliban

A huge explosion has rocked the Afghan capital Kabul.

Witnesses said it was heard across most of the city about 01:25 local time on Monday (20:55 GMT Sunday).

Reports say it was caused by a lorry bomb at the North Gate compound housing foreign contractors and four attackers may be involved. The Taliban said it carried out the attack.

There is no word about casualties. Power in parts of Kabul was briefly cut off shortly after the explosion.

Gunfire was also heard at the scene of the blast, reports say, and police and security forces later sealed off the area.

North Gate is a heavily guarded compound, which was attacked by militants three years ago.

Earlier reports suggested that Monday's blast was in a gas storage facility.

Last week, two suicide bombers linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS) killed 80 people and wounded 230 more in Kabul.

Map of Afghanistan showing Kabul

Source: bbc.com

White House: Iran cash payment not ransom for hostages

The White House has dismissed claims that the US paid a ransom to Iran in exchange for the release of five American prisoners.

The five prisoners were released in January in exchange for seven Iranians who were detained in the US for violating sanctions.

The exchange came as the US lifted international sanctions against Iran as part of the country's nuclear deal.

The US also airlifted $400m (£300.3m) worth of cash to Iran at the same time.

The Wall Street Journal reported that US officials sent an unmarked cargo plane loaded with Euros, Swiss, Francs and other currencies, suggesting that the payment may have been related to the release of five Americans, which included Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian.

But White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest denied the link, saying the payment settled a longstanding dispute between the two countries from before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Mr Earnest said Republicans who oppose the landmark Iran nuclear deal have used the payment as a means of undermining the accord.

"They're struggling to justify their opposition to our engagement with Iran," he said at a White House press briefing.

Normalising relations

After the world's six major powers announced they would lift sanctions against Iran as a part of the implementation of the historic landmark deal, Tehran and Washington also agreed to settle a number of disputes between the two countries.

As Mr Earnest said in a press briefing on 19 January, the $400m (£300.3m) payment was "the result of a long-running claims process that had been at The Hague".

The then-Iranian government had purchased $400m (£300.3m) in US military equipment before it was overthrown in the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The Obama administration had agreed to repay Tehran $1.7bn, which included the original payment as well as interest.

Cash payment on a cargo plane

Since Iran's financial institutions were completely cut off from the global electronic banking system at the time of the payment, it had to be made in cash.

The sanctions also meant it was illegal to make the payment in US dollars.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump took to Twitter to blame his Democratic opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for the payment.

Donald Trump tweets:

Though Mrs Clinton is credited with initiating talks for Iran's nuclear deal, the accord was reached under current Secretary of State John Kerry.

Republican National Committee spokesman Reince Priebus also released a statement on the report.

"The Obama-Clinton foreign policy not only means cutting a dangerous nuclear deal with the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism, it also means paying them a secret ransom with cargo planes full of cash," the statement read.

State Department spokesman John Kirby responded to the claims on Wednesday, vehemently denying any link.

"As we've made clear, the negotiations over the settlement of an outstanding claim at the Hague Tribunal were completely separate from the discussions about returning our American citizens home," he said.

"Not only were the two negotiations separate, they were conducted by different teams on each side, including, in the case of the Hague claims, by technical experts involved in these negotiations for many years," Mr Kirby said.

Source: bbc.com

One dead, several hurt in central London knife attack

A woman has died and five others were injured in a knife attack in Russell Square, central London.

Police and ambulance crews were called at 22:33 BST on Wednesday to reports of a man in possession of a knife and injuring people.

Up to six injured people were found at the scene; one woman was pronounced dead a short time later.

The man was arrested at 22:39; a taser was discharged by one of the arresting officers.

Terrorism is one possible motive being explored, the Metropolitan Police say.

Forensics officer on the scene

Forensics officers have been examining the area where the attack took place

Eyewitnesses have reported a police forensics tent has been erected on Southampton Row, outside the park in the centre of the square, which is close to the British Museum.

There is a heavy police presence in the area and the initial cordon around the crime scene has One dead, several hurt in knife attack been extended, according to BBC reporter Andy Moore, who is at the scene.

The condition of those injured and the extent of their injuries is not known at present.

Source: bbc.com

US Supreme Court blocks transgender toilet ruling

The US Supreme Court has temporarily overturned a ruling that allowed a transgender high school student to use the bathroom of his choice.

It is the first time that the fraught discussion over transgender bathroom rights has reached the country's highest court.

Judges voted 5-3 to halt a lower court's order that Gavin Grimm, 17, be allowed to use the boys' bathroom.

They will consider the case again in the autumn.

Mr Grimm who was born female, filed the lawsuit after his school board in Virginia adopted a policy that required students to use a private toilet or one that corresponds to the sex listed on their birth certificate.

An appeals court ruled earlier this year that the ban was discriminatory and violated Title IX, a federal law which prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funding.

The issue has gone back and forth between several different courts which have made opposing decisions.

As the Supreme Court is yet to rule definitively on the matter, it has set things back to the way they used to be, ahead of its eight justices beginning to hear the case in autumn 2016.

Mr Grimm appealed to the court not to discuss the matter, local media report, but its actions are exactly what the school board asked for.

A divisive issue

A number of places in the US - most recently North Carolina - have passed laws requiring transgender people to use a public toilet that corresponds to the sex listed on their birth certificate.

The North Carolina law in particular has been sharply criticised as discriminatory and several companies have stopped doing business in the state as a result.

Some people have said that allowing transgender people to choose their restroom could lead to women and children being attacked.

They said they feared that predatory men could pose as transgender people and use legal protections as a cover. Gender-neutral toilets are becoming more common in some parts of the US.

Source: bbc.com

The young entrepreneurs trying to help South Africa's townships

Lance Petersen sits in his radio studio and chats into his microphone.

While most DJs of his age let the music do the talking, the 25-year-old very much likes to converse with his listeners.

Lance is the founder and owner of Vibe Radio SA, an internet radio station based in the Cape Town township of Athlone.

Set up in 2011, Vibe is aimed at South Africa's teenagers and young adults.

With listeners across the country, it engages with them on topics ranging from bullying, to HIV/Aids, fashion, and advice on becoming an entrepreneur.

Lance says: "The point of Vibe Radio is to provide a platform that focuses solely on the youth voice, and gives young people the opportunity to say what's on their mind, and be heard."

He adds that the radio station was born from his own frustration at the lack of support given to young people in South Africa, and the failure to make them heard on a national level.

"The scariest realisation I had was that the young didn't have a voice, or were seldom heard," says Lance.

"It was at that realisation that I knew I had to find a way to start my own radio station."

A former TV producer, Lance set up the station using his own savings, and support from a Cape Town-based social enterprise called Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs).

Vibe now has 16 employees, and makes money from advertising.

With the youth unemployment rate in South Africa standing at 37.5% (for people between the ages of 15 and 34), job opportunities are few and far between for many of Vibe's listeners.

As a result, much of the station's focus is on discussing how young people can best go about launching and running their own businesses.

Lance says the aim is for this always to be done in an interesting and entertaining way, or as he calls it - "edutainment".

So for example, in a recent discussion about becoming a concert promoter, and how the cost of each ticket breaks down, he discussed a tour by teen heartthrob Justin Bieber.

Numerous challenges

Another young entrepreneur from a Cape Town township, Andisiwe Nyavula, says that young people in her community need access to basic business services if they are to create self-sustaining companies. So since 2012 she has taken matters into her own hands.

Ms Nyavula, 25, is the founder of Nzum Nzum, a chain of three business centres cum internet cafes that offer photocopying, printing and faxing, company registration, and web access to those trying to get their start-ups off the ground.

Andisiwe Nyavula

Andisiwe Nyavula offers a range of business services

The prices range from five South African rand (35 cents; 27p) for 30 minutes of internet access, to one rand per page of photocopying, and 80 rand for 10 business cards.

About 3,000 people use the centres per month, which are located in the Cape Town townships of Nyanga, Phillipi and Gugulethu.

But as much as Ms Nyavula tries to make a difference, she admits that there are many challenges facing township entrepreneurs that also need to be addressed, such as the high crime rates, rogue landlords, and unhelpful service providers.

"It took more than three months to install a reliable connection at our new internet cafe," she says. "And if there's a problem it takes more than two weeks to fix it.

"The townships have long been shunned by big businesses."

'Incredible individuals'

The World Bank estimates that more than half of South Africa's 53 million population lives in townships and other informal settlements.

With that many potential customers, South Africa's townships should by rights be looked upon as potential economic hotspots.

But attention tends to focus on the negatives, and little notice is given to the economic success stories hiding within South Africa's sprawling townships.

"There are incredible individuals with amazing ideas and grassroots businesses that they run in the townships," says Craig Dumont, a member of the management team at RLabs.

RLabs, which receives government grants to fund its work, provides would-be township entrepreneurs with training and support.

From its main hub in a Cape Town township, since 2008 it has been an incubator for more than 50 start-up companies, and has seen thousands of entrepreneurs - including Vibe Radio's Lance Petersen - walk through its doors and receive business support.

According to Mr Dumont, not only are township entrepreneurs innovative and determined, their knowledge of local needs gives them an advantage over corporate South Africa.

"Township entrepreneurs have a deep understanding of their environment, the challenges, and their target audience," he says.

'Uplifting people'

Based in the Kayamandi township on the outskirts of the affluent Western Cape town of Stellenbosch, some 50km (30 miles) east of Cape Town, Loyiso Mbete is the type of businessman that Mr Dumont would say deserves more credit.

Mr Mbete, 36, is a beekeeper who owns more than 400 hives and employs three people.

He jokes that demand for his honey and related services - such as fruit pollination - is so high that he struggles to keep up.

"I came from a poor family so there was always a need to make it in life," says Mr Mbete. "I had no choice but to find ways and means to make ends meet."

He adds: "It is important to understand that those businesses active in township are feeding the poor and uplifting people out of poverty. They also help create employment, so they are making a big contribution to the South African economy."

While many businesses in South Africa's townships complain that they don't get enough help from the authorities, the Western Cape Government says that in recent years it has greatly increased the support on offer.

Alan Winde, its Minister for Economic Opportunities, says that over the past two years more than 2,000 small businesses based in townships across the province have been assisted by a scheme called the emerging business support programme. This provides financial management, sales and marketing training.

He adds: "Regions across the province, including townships, are vibrant spaces for innovative small businesses."

Source: bbc.com

Bikini-clad Swedish policewoman 'stops thief'

A bikini-clad Swedish police officer has been praised for tackling a suspected thief while she was off-duty sunbathing with friends in Stockholm.

Mikaela Kellner told the Aftonbladet daily that she and a fellow officer pursued the man when they realised he had taken one of their mobile phones.

She told the paper that she would have intervened "even if she were naked".

A photo of the incident on Ms Kellner's Instagram page has attracted more than 9,000 likes in less than two days.

The incident is said to have taken place in Stockholm's Ralambshov Park on Wednesday, where the off-duty policewoman was sunbathing with friends.

The group was approached by a man who claimed to be selling publications on behalf of the homeless.

Ms Kellner reportedly became suspicious when the man began lingering, setting some papers down over their blanket.

As soon as he left, collecting his papers, one of her friends noticed that her phone was missing.

"There was no time, so I ran after him, maybe 15 metres or so," Ms Kellner told Swedish news site, The Local.

"One of my friends is also a police officer, so we got hold of him. He tried to get away so we held onto him harder."

The stolen phone was swiftly recovered, and the man was arrested by a police patrol.

"I've had a lot of positive comments both from friends and colleagues," she told The Local.

"It happens all the time that valuables are taken like this... I mainly just wanted to raise awareness of how cunning these people are, almost like magicians."

Source: bbc.com

Turkey coup: Erdogan backs return of death penalty at vast Istanbul rally

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told a vast rally in Istanbul that he would approve the return of the death penalty if it was backed by parliament and the public.

He was speaking to at least a crowd of at least a million who had gathered in Turkey's biggest city.

The rally followed last month's failed military coup.

Mr Erdogan also said the state would be cleansed of all supporters of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The cleric is blamed by the Turkish government for the attempted uprising. He denies any involvement.

Religious figures and leaders of two of Turkey's three opposition parties attended the rally. The Kurdish party was not invited.

More than 270 people died in events surrounding the 15 July coup attempt, which triggered a government crackdown.

Thousands of alleged supporters of Mr Gulen have been detained or dismissed from government jobs.

Western nations have been critical of the government's response to the coup. The European Union - which Turkey has applied to join - refuses to accept capital punishment in member states.

'Five million'

The parade ground, built to hold more than a million people, was overflowing, with streets of surrounding neighbourhoods clogged by crowds, Reuters news agency reports.

Turkish government sources said five million people had attended, with the event broadcast live on public screens at smaller rallies across Turkey's provinces.

Mr Erdogan told the rally: "It is the Turkish parliament that will decide on the death penalty... I declare it in advance, I will approve the decision made by the parliament.

"They say there is no death penalty in the EU... Well, the US has it; Japan has it; China has it; most of the world has it. So they are allowed to have it. We used to have it until 1984. Sovereignty belongs to the people, so if the people make this decision I am sure the political parties will comply."

Istanbul anti-coup rally

Government sources say five million people turned out

The president railed against Mr Gulen's movement, hinting of further hardline measures to come.

"July 15 showed our friends that this country isn't just strong against political, economic and diplomatic attacks, but against military sabotage as well. It showed that it will not fall, it will not be derailed," Mr Erdogan said.

"Of course we have to uncover all members of this organisation and eradicate them within the framework of the law, but if we content ourselves with just that, then we as a state and a nation will leave weak our defence against similar viruses."

The "Democracy and Martyrs' Rally" was the climax of three weeks of nightly demonstrations by Mr Erdogan's supporters around the country.

Speaking ahead of Mr Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told the rally that Mr Gulen would be brought to Turkey and made to pay the price for the coup attempt.

"Let all of you know, the leader of this terrorist group will come to Turkey and pay for what he did," Mr Yildirim said.

In a rare address to a public rally, the head of Turkey's armed forces, Hulusi Akar, said "traitors" would be punished in the harshest way, and thanked civilians for their role in defeating the uprising.

Former ally

The crackdown in Turkey has seen tens of thousands of public sector workers suspended or dismissed, with many having their passports cancelled. There has also been a massive reshuffle of the military.

About 18,000 people have been detained or arrested.

Local branches of the AK Party have been told to begin a purge of suspected Gulenists in their ranks.

Mr Gulen was a close ally of President Erdogan until a bitter split between his movement and the party of the president three years ago.

Turkey has listed Mr Gulen's movement as a terrorist organisation.

Source: bbc.com

Tropical Storm Earl death toll jumps to 38 in Mexico

The death toll in Mexico's landslides and flooding has jumped to 38 after Tropical Storm Earls swept through the country's eastern regions.

The state worst hit is Puebla, where officials say 28 people died. Another 10 people were killed in the state of Veracruz.

Previously, the confirmed number of deaths was six.

Earl made landfall in Belize this week as a Category One hurricane, after causing destruction in the Caribbean.

The storm was later downgraded to a tropical depression but it still left a path of destruction in Mexico.

Destroyed houses in Coscomatepec, Veracruz

Some remote localities - like Coscomatepec in Veracruz - were virtually wiped out by powerful landslides

Rescue operation in Huahuchinango, Puebla

A rescue operation is under way in and around Huauchinango, Puebla

Most of the victims were in the remote town of Huauchinango, Puebla.

They died after their houses were engulfed by tonnes of mud and rocks.

A whole hill collapsed near Huauchinango, sweeping down on a nearby village, officials say.

"It is a tragedy what has happened to our people in Huauchinango," Mayor Gabriel Alvarado was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Heavy rain continued in the region, forcing officials to close a section of the main federal motorway to the capital Mexico City.

Earlier this week, at least nine people died on due to extreme weather in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as the storm passed over the Caribbean.

Source: bbc.com

Sao Tome and Principe president boycotts own run-off vote

In an unusual move, the president of the west African state of Sao Tome and Principe has boycotted his own run-off election, handing victory to his rival.

Manuel Pinto da Costa withdrew from Sunday's poll, alleging fraud in the first round held on 17 July.

His rival Evaristo Carvalho, a former prime minister, is now certain to win the race.

He had won the first round with 49.8% of the vote while Mr Pinto da Costa had taken 24.8%.

Supporters of Evaristo Carvalho wearing T-shirts and holding placards picturing the politician celebrate in Sao Tome, 18 July

Posters of Evaristo Carvalho are seen here being brandished by supporters

Ahead of Sunday's run-off, he had called on his supporters not to vote, and later reports said many of them had stayed away.

Mr Pinto da Costa ruled Sao Tome with an iron fist for the first 15 years after independence from Portugal in 1975.

He lost the presidency after introducing reforms in 1990, including multi-party democracy, but in 2011, he was re-elected to office.

Sao Tome and Principe, a former Portuguese colony, consists of two islands of volcanic origin and a number of smaller islets lying off the western coast of Africa.

map

Source: bbc.com

Belgium machete attacker was Algerian, say officials

Belgian officials say a man who wounded two policewomen with a machete was a 33-year-old Algerian with a criminal record but no known terror links.

An inquiry for "attempted terrorist murder" has been launched into Saturday's attack in Charleroi.

The man reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") during the assault outside a police station. He died after being shot by officers.

On Sunday the so-called Islamic State group called him one of its "soldiers".

The statement was similar to those released after recent attacks in France and Germany.

Following standard practice, prosecutors did not name the attacker but gave his initials as KB.

He had been living in Belgium since 2012 and had minor offences to his name.

Belgium has been on alert since bomb attacks on the city's airport and subway system in March killed 32 people.

Charleroi was used as a base by some of the jihadists involved in that attack, and in the attack on Paris in November 2015.

Prime Minister Charles Michel, who broke off his holiday after the attack, has urged people to remain "constantly vigilant" but "keep a cool head".

Saturday's attack unfolded at just before 16:00 local time (14:00 GMT).

A police spokesman said the attacker pulled the machete out of a sports bag as he approached a guard post outside the police HQ.

According to a local news agency, one of the policewomen was treated for serious facial wounds, while the other suffered only minor injuries.

The assailant was shot and killed by another officer, who was nearby.

Source: bbc.com

Is Angela Merkel really on the ropes?

At the end of July, Germany was hit by a series of violent attacks, three of which were carried out by asylum seekers. So are Germans turning against Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy? Damien McGuinness in Berlin is not convinced.

"Merkel on the ropes!" screeched one headline, after the recent attacks in Germany, before going on to predict confidently that her "premiership is hanging by a thread".

"Calls for Chancellor Angela Merkel to stand down grow," wrote another paper.

But what's interesting about these and similar articles is that they were written by English-speaking journalists reporting from outside Germany.

No leading politician suggests that Germany should stop accepting refugees fleeing war

And in both these cases, the only evidence that Merkel's government was apparently about to fall was a video filmed by Russian TV of right-wing extremists protesting in Berlin. No polling data. No evidence. Just that video.

You can't necessarily blame the journalists. From the outside the narrative makes sense. Merkel allows Germany to take in more than a million asylum seekers from the Middle East. A year later there are violent Islamist attacks committed by migrants. So it stands to reason that her government is on the verge of collapse.

The problem is, though, the facts really get in the way of that story. Almost 70% of Germans do not think that Merkel's refugee policy contributed to the attacks, and the violence has barely had any effect on support for her centre-right party, making it unlikely that anyone else will lead the next government, let alone topple the present one.

Since the attacks, her personal approval ratings have slipped, but almost half of German voters, across the political spectrum, say they still want her as chancellor. In fact, she has no credible rivals - the left-wing opposition is small and the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany party is riven with internal rivalries.

German chancellor Angela Merkel attends a memorial service for the victims of last week's shooting spree that left nine victims dead on July 31, 2016 in Munich

Angela Merkel at a memorial service for the victims of the Munich shooting spree

In times of turmoil, history shows that the unflappable Angela Merkel actually does quite well. With every crisis she's written off by many commentators. But weirdly, like some indestructible rubber cartoon character, she bounces back. From Brexit to eurozone chaos, she's seen as a safe pair of hands.

Even, to a large extent, after these latest attacks. At first there was some criticism that she was too slow to respond. Immediately after the Munich shooting, in which 10 people died, French President Francois Hollande condemned what he called a brutal act of Islamist terror. Some here said: "Why does the French leader speak, and not ours?"

Until, it turned out, that it wasn't an act of Islamist terror at all - but rather a US-style shooting spree, carried out by a disturbed German-born teenager obsessed with right-wing extremism and mass shootings.

And that's the point: despite what the most lurid headlines indicate, unlike France, Germany hasn't yet been hit by a major Islamist terror attack. In the two recent attacks by asylum seekers, which were claimed by so-called Islamic State, no victim was killed.

That's not to ignore the fierce debate around Berlin's refugee policy - Germany is split. People are nervous about more attacks and increasingly uneasy about migration. And with parliamentary elections next year, Merkel faces pressure from all her rivals - from the left and from the right.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with refugee children at a preschool, during a visit to a refugee camp on April 23, 2016 on the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep

Angela Merkel meets children at a refugee camp on the Turkish-Syrian border in April

There are calls to screen migrants better. Many now say failed asylum seekers should be sent back, whether they've come from a war zone or not. And dip into German social media, and the criticism of Merkel becomes vicious.

But no leading politician suggests that Germany should stop accepting refugees fleeing war, and some of the pressure on Merkel comes from left-wing critics, who say she's not doing enough to help migrants.

The debate in the mainstream media, meanwhile, is the very opposite of alarmist. The tabloid, Bild, Germany's best-selling newspaper, has positioned itself as the crusading champion of refugee rights, while traditionally tough-talking ministers have warned against stigmatising migrants since the attacks.

More violence, or a major IS terror attack, could endanger this measured approach. And some do question whether too cosy a consensus in the mainstream marginalises legitimate concerns that should be debated.

But the attitude of German political leaders also hints at a deeper question - namely, what is the responsibility of government? Should it lead or follow popular opinion?

Angela Merkel's idea of government is top-down, trust-us-we-know-best, which in this age of referendums and social media is not exactly fashionable. But she's not following, she's leading. Not everyone agrees with her, and her approach is not risk-free. Merkel, though, is not changing her mind. And, for now at least, she's staying exactly where she is.

Source: bbc.com

 

Joao Havelange: Former Fifa president and IOC member dies aged 100

Former Fifa president Joao Havelange has died at the age of 100.

The Brazilian was predecessor to Sepp Blatter at world football's governing body, serving from 1974 to 1998.

He resigned as Fifa's honorary president in April 2013 following an investigation into bribery allegations and was admitted to hospital the following year with a lung infection.

He was an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from 1963 until 2011, resigning because of ill health.

"He had one idea in his head, to make football a global game with his slogan 'football is the universal language', and he succeeded," said former Fifa president Sepp Blatter.

Havelange represented Brazil in swimming at the 1936 Olympics - the year he qualified as a lawyer - before his election to the IOC.

As Fifa president he led the World Cup's expansion from 16 to 32 teams, with six competitions held under his tenure.

However, his career was also mired in controversy over bribery allegations.

In 2010, a BBC Panorama programme accused Havelange and son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira of taking millions of dollars in bribes from Swiss marketing agency International Sport and Leisure (ISL) to retain the company as Fifa's sole official marketer.

His resignation from the IOC five years ago avoided an investigation into the ISL allegations, which Havelange had denied.

In 2012, Teixeira stepped down as head of Brazil's football federation, a position he filled for 23 years, and resigned from the 2014 World Cup organising committee after coming under pressure over corruption allegations, which he also denied.

As well as swimming at the 1936 Olympics, Havelange was part of the Brazilian water polo team at the 1952 Helsinki Games and was chef de mission for the Brazilian delegation at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

And it was as a sports administrator, particularly in football, that Havelange made his mark.

He embarked on a career which began as president of the Metropolitan Swimming Federation in Brazil. He also became a member of the Brazilian Olympic Committee and joined the International Cycling Union in 1958.

After becoming vice-president of the Brazilian Sports Confederation, he served as president from 1958 to 1973, before he became the most powerful man in world football.

In 1974 he succeeded Britain's Sir Stanley Rous to be elected Fifa president, marshalling support among those unhappy at the perceived European domination of the world governing body.

An imposing figure, with piercing blue eyes, his astuteness as a politician and his adeptness at retaining power enabled him to hold the Fifa presidency for 24 years until being succeeded by Blatter in 1998.

When Havelange was elected president, Fifa's Zurich headquarters housed just 12 staff members. But that figure increased almost tenfold over the next two decades as Fifa's organisational responsibilities and commercial interests grew.

Increasing the size of the World Cup to 32 teams gave countries from Asia, Oceania and Africa the chance to shine on the world stage, Cameroon becoming the first African country to reach the quarter-finals in 1990.

It was Havelange who launched a wave of new tournaments, notably the world championships at Under-17 and Under-20 level in the late 1980s and the Fifa Confederations Cup and Fifa Women's World Cup at the start of the 1990s.

Gary LinekerGary LinekerGary LinekerSource: bbc.com

"One Life to Live" by Quata Budukusu makes stride in the USA

Quata Budukusu is in the news again as his song, One Life to Live, is included in the USA Coast 2 Coast mixtape. The #NextUp Mixtape vol. 358 released 24 August 2016 in the USA, had Quata Budukusu's tune on track 8 of 46. 

Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes is the most downloaded mixtape series in the world, with over 250 volumes, all officially hosted by major artistes. Coast 2 Coast mixtapes started in 2006 and had worked with some of the biggest hip-hop and R&B celebrities in the game. They include: 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Game, Pharrell, Nas, Lupe Fiasco, Wyclef, French Montana, Wale, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, LL Cool J, Fabolous, Flo Rida just to mention a few. Therefore, to have your song included on their mixtape is no mean achievement as stated by Quata Budukusu. Quata concluded by saying he is ready to bring the world to Africa, Ghana to be precise, and not the other way round.

Before leaving for South Africa for his collaboration works with some of the top South African Artistes, Quata hinted that he would be working with some top Ghanaian musicians before embarking on his journey in the coming month. He also noted that with his management behind him, all he sees is success. Quata continued by saying he is in no competition with anyone, and he is taking his time to make his music mature rather than rushing and not making any impact after his comeback. "I am triumphal with the rate at which my team is working. We are working hard every day, and I know very soon, the story will change. "Success is all I see" Quata maintained. 

Take a listen and leave your comment below.

http://coast2coastmixtapes.com/mixtapes/mixtapedetail.aspx/nextup-mixtape-vol-358?track=8

#NextUp Mixtape

Source: Bakus Radio, USA

“One Life to Live” by Quata makes stride in the USA

Quata Budukusu is in the news again as his song, One Life to Live, is included in the USA Coast 2 Coast mixtape. The #NextUp Mixtape vol. 358 released 24 August 2016 in the USA, had Quata Budukusu's tune on track 8 of 46. 

Coast 2 Coast Mixtapes is the most downloaded mixtape series in the world, with over 250 volumes, all officially hosted by major artistes. Coast 2 Coast mixtapes started in 2006 and had worked with some of the biggest hip-hop and R&B celebrities in the game. They include: 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Game, Pharrell, Nas, Lupe Fiasco, Wyclef, French Montana, Wale, Meek Mill, Rick Ross, Chris Brown, LL Cool J, Fabolous, Flo Rida just to mention a few. Therefore, to have your song included on their mixtape is no mean achievement as stated by Quata Budukusu. Quata concluded by saying he is ready to bring the world to Africa, Ghana to be precise, and not the other way round.

Before leaving for South Africa for his collaboration works with some of the top South African Artistes, Quata hinted that he would be working with some top Ghanaian musicians before embarking on his journey in the coming month. He also noted that with his management behind him, all he sees is success. Quata continued by saying he is in no competition with anyone, and he is taking his time to make his music mature rather than rushing and not making any impact after his comeback. "I am triumphal with the rate at which my team is working. We are working hard every day, and I know very soon, the story will change. “Success is all I see” Quata maintained. 

Take a listen and leave your comment below.

http://coast2coastmixtapes.com/mixtapes/mixtapedetail.aspx/nextup-mixtape-vol-358?track=8

#NextUp Mixtape

Source: Bakus Radio, USA

Mosul battle: Hundreds treated over toxic fumes in Iraq

Hundreds of people in Iraq are being treated for the effects of toxic gases after a sulphur plant was set alight in fighting with so-called Islamic State.

The US military says IS fighters set the plant on fire earlier this week, as they fled an advance by pro-government forces on their Mosul stronghold.

On Saturday, US soldiers at a base near Mosul donned protective masks as wind blew smoke towards them.

Reuters said another 1,000 people were being treated for breathing problems.

An Iraqi commander, Qusay Hamid Kadhem, told AFP news agency two civilians had died from the fumes and "many others" had been injured.

Meanwhile, advancing Iraqi forces entered the town of Qaraqosh, 32km (20 miles) south of Mosul, the IS capital.

Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian town before the war, is said to be largely empty but IS has laid landmines on the approaches to Mosul.

The militants have been attacking with suicide bombers elsewhere, driving vehicles laden with explosives at high speed towards government lines.

Friday's IS attack on the city of Kirkuk, 170km (105 miles) south-east of Mosul, now appears to be over, leaving at least 35 people dead and 120 wounded, according to medical sources.

Is the IS group finished?

Voices from Mosul as battle nears

Dodging ghosts of IS in the desert

The latest on the toxic smoke

Qayyarah, where the plant was set alight, acts as the main US hub for supporting the Iraqi government offensive to drive IS out of their Mosul stronghold.

The fire began two days ago, when IS fighters reportedly set the sulphur plant alight in Mishraq, south of Mosul.

"The winds have actually shifted south, so, as a precautionary measure, the troops at Qayyara West have donned their personal protective equipment - continuing their operations at this point in time," an official told Reuters news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A similar fire at the Mishraq plant in 2003 burnt for weeks, sending huge amounts of sulphur dioxide into the air. It caused respiratory problems for local people and damaged the environment.


How harmful can sulphur dioxide be?

Sulphur dioxide gas is toxic when inhaled or when the skin or eyes are exposed.

When inhaled, it causes irritation to the nose and throat. Exposure to high concentrations causes nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and corrosive damage to the airways and lungs.

Skin contact causes stinging pain, redness of the skin and blisters, while eye contact causes watering and, in severe cases, may cause blindness.

Source: Public Health England


Turkey's role under scrutiny

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter made an unscheduled visit to Baghdad on Saturday after talks with Turkish leaders in Ankara on Friday on how they might play a part in the Mosul operation.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told Mr Carter: "I know that the Turks want to participate, we tell them thank you, this is something the Iraqis will handle. If help is needed, we will ask for it from Turkey or from other regional countries."

Differences between Iraq and Turkey have come to the fore since hundreds of Turkish soldiers began training Sunni Muslim fighters at a base in northern Iraq last year.

The Sunni Turks fear the liberation of Mosul may be spearheaded by Shia Muslims and Kurds. Turkey says Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq have ties to the Kurdish militant PKK in Turkey.

The presence of the Turkish military has also drawn protests among radical Shia in Baghdad.

Mr Carter, who is in Iraq for the third time this year, has overseen a steady increase in US troop numbers there.

More than 4,800 US soldiers are in Iraq and at least 100 US special operations personnel are operating with Iraqi units.

The offensive against Mosul, which began on Monday, is a two-pronged operation, with Iraqi government forces attacking from the south and Kurdish fighters advancing from the east.

Reports on Tuesday that Qaraqosh had been liberated caused an outpouring of joy among Christians who had fled to Kurdish areas when IS swept into Mosul in June 2014.

But the reports turned out to be premature as snipers impeded the progress of government forces.

In Kirkuk, the governor, Najmiddin Karim, said "all" of the IS attackers had been killed by the security forces.

However, Kurdish forces controlling the city detained a number of suspected IS members on Saturday, according to an AFP photographer who recorded the arrests.

Photos of damaged buildings in the city show the full ferocity of Friday's combat, with facades peppered by gunfire.

A damaged building in Kirkuk, 22 October

Concern for the fate of civilians in Mosul increased on Friday after reports that IS was herding villagers into the city, possibly to use them as human shields.

The UN is also investigating reports 40 people were shot dead by IS fighters in one village.

Source: bbc.com

'Smart' home devices used as weapons in website attack

Hackers used internet-connected home devices, such as CCTV cameras and printers, to attack popular websites on Friday, security analysts say.

Twitter, Spotify, and Reddit were among the sites taken offline on Friday.

Each uses a company called Dyn, which was the target of the attack, to direct users to its website.

Security analysts now believe the attack used the "internet of things" - web-connected home devices - to launch the assault.

Dyn is a DNS service - an internet "phone book" which directs users to the internet address where the website is stored. Such services are a crucial part of web infrastructure.

On Friday, it came under attack - a distributed denial of service (DDoS) - which relies on thousands of machines sending co-ordinated messages to overwhelm the service.

The "global event" involved "tens of millions" of internet addresses.

Security firm Flashpoint said it had confirmed that the attack used "botnets" infected with the "Mirai" malware.

Many of the devices involved come from Chinese manufacturers, with easy-to-guess usernames and passwords that cannot be changed by the user - a vulnerability which the malware exploits.

"Mirai scours the Web for IoT (Internet of Things) devices protected by little more than factory-default usernames and passwords," explained cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs, "and then enlists the devices in attacks that hurl junk traffic at an online target until it can no longer accommodate legitimate visitors or users."

The owner of the device would generally have no way of knowing that it had been compromised to use in an attack, he wrote.

Mr Krebs is intimately familiar with this type of incident, after his website was targeted by a similar assault in September, in one of the biggest web attacks ever seen.


Media affected by attack - Leo Kelion, technology desk editor

It has emerged that the BBC's website was also briefly caught up in Friday's attack. The BBC is not a customer of Dyn itself, but it does use third-party services that rely on the domain name system hosting facilities provided by Dyn.

I understand that these include Amazon Web Services - the retail giant's cloud computing division - and Fastly - a San Francisco-based firm that helps optimise page download times.

Both companies have acknowledged being disrupted by the DDoS assault. Only some BBC users, in certain locations, would have experienced problems and they did not last long.

But there are reports that other leading media providers also experienced similar disruption.

It serves as a reminder that despite the internet being a hugely robust communications system, there are still some pinch points that mean a targeted attack can cause widespread damage.


The incidents mark a change in tactics for online attackers.

DDoS attacks are typically aimed at a single website. Friday's attack on Dyn, which acts as a directory service for huge numbers of firms, affected several of the world's most popular websites at once.

The use of internet-connected home devices to send the attacking messages is also a relatively new phenomenon, but may become more common.

The Mirai software used in these attacks was released publicly in September - which means anyone with the skill could build their own attacking botnet.

Smoking toaster image

Any number of home devices could be used in such attacks - so long as they're connected to the internet

On social media, many researchers and analysts expressed frustration with the security gap being exploited by attackers.

"Today we answered the question 'what would happen if we connected a vast number of cheap, crummy embedded devices to broadband networks?'" wrote Matthew Green, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Information Security Institute.

Jeff Jarmoc, head of security for global business service Salesforce, pointed out that internet infrastructure is supposed to be more robust.

"In a relatively short time we've taken a system built to resist destruction by nuclear weapons and made it vulnerable to toasters," he tweeted.

Source: bbc.com

Phil Collins: Back from the brink after alcohol battle

Reclining in a spacious suite in an upmarket Kensington hotel, Phil Collins is polishing off a plate of chips.

"When this is done, could you get me a glass of white wine?" he asks his publicist.

The request comes as a surprise as the singer's new autobiography, Not Dead Yet, reveals for the first time the extent of his battle with alcoholism.

"Night after night I find myself lying on the bed, staring out of a skylight at grey Swiss skies, rueing my life," Collins writes about the impact that retirement, divorce and crippling back pain had on his life.

"I'm all alone, save for my good friends Johnnie Walker and Grey Goose."

The star unflinchingly describes an 18-hour bender that begins in Switzerland and ends in New York and a spell in intensive care when he heard a doctor whisper to his family: "Is Monsieur Collins' will in order?"

"There were lots of moments of sadness like that. All of my own making," he tells the BBC.

"There were times I would just collapse. One time, I remember getting up to give the kids a cuddle and I lost my balance. I left two teeth marks in the tiles in the living room.

"Another time, I was walking upstairs too quickly and I fell down. There was a pool of blood around my head.

"There were various low moments that I'm not proud of."

According to the book, he has been sober for three years - so he notices my concern when he orders that glass of wine.

"These days, I'm quite capable of having two or three glasses and that's enough for me, thank you," he says, matter-of-factly.

Alcoholism was an aberration, he insists, caused by the "gaping void" of divorce and an empty calendar.

"I had no work and no family. I felt like I had earned myself a break - to do nothing if that was what I wanted to do. So I would turn on the TV and watch a bit of sport and, you know, you just start drinking too much.

"So I think it was just filling the hole. Now I'm back with my family, so there's a bit more normality now."

He's also back at work - having announced a series of comeback concerts next June, starting with a five-night residency at the Royal Albert Hall.

There is some work to do before then, though.

A punishing tour with Genesis in 2007 resulted in a dislocated vertebra in his neck that caused nerve damage in his hands, leaving him unable to play the drums. He had a major back operation last year, and today walks with the aid of a cane, thanks to a broken bone in his foot.

"I can still go on stage and sing," he says, "but I'm not going to be running around. I'll have other people running around for me."

He's still not satisfied with his drumming, but he's determined to play - at the very least - his iconic drum fill from In The Air Tonight.

"That's just something that, in theory, would bring the house down and also be good for my soul."

Collins is so amiable and down-to-earth (he spends a good couple of minutes explaining cheats for the PlayStation game Crash Bandicoot) that it's easy to forget how successful he was in the 1980s and 90s.

One of only three artists to sell 100 million albums both as a solo star and as part of a group, he balanced his solo career with work in Genesis, film roles, Disney soundtracks and production duties for Eric Clapton, John Martyn and Abba's Anni-Frid Lyngstad.

Raised in Hounslow by an insurance man and a theatrical agent, he is a self-described workaholic who began his career as the Artful Dodger in two West End runs of Oliver! before joining Genesis as a drummer in 1970 at the age of 19.

When Peter Gabriel quit in 1975, Collins reluctantly became the frontman. The band's commercial fortunes increased under his watch and they spent most of the next three years on the road.

Back at home, however, his wife Andrea began an affair with a decorator. Collins found out during a "particularly heated phone call" but opted to complete the tour.

By the time it ended, their marriage was over. He quit the band and followed his wife to Canada in an attempt to repair their relationship - but admitted defeat after only four months.

With Genesis on hiatus, Collins poured his heartache into a solo album, Face Value.

It was classic reinvention, reframing the singer in a florid prog rock band as a thoughtful, emotionally-charged everyman with a knack for big pop ballads. Spurred by the success of In The Air Tonight, the album went on to sell more than 25 million copies.

And, in what is perhaps the world's ultimate humblebrag, the singer claims to have discovered this statistic on Wikipedia.

"In the early days, no-one even told you these things!" he says. "And another part of it was just keeping going and not looking back.

"I'm humbled by it because I don't like a fuss."

Indeed, fuss is what seems to rankle Collins the most. His autobiography is never vindictive, but it does set the record straight on a few tabloid legends.

He did not, he insists, divorce his second wife by fax. Nor was he responsible for Led Zeppelin's ruinous Live Aid performance.

The latter gets a whole chapter. He rejects the idea that, having flown across the Atlantic from the Wembley leg of Live Aid, he was not match-fit. In fact, he claims, he was frozen out by Led Zep's other drummer, Tony Thompson of Chic, who clearly didn't want him there.

"I know the wheels are falling off from early on in the set," he writes. "I can't hear Robert [Plant] clearly, but I can hear enough to know he's not on top of his game.

"And an awful lot of the time, I can hear what Robert decries as 'knitting' - fancy drumming. And if you can find the footage, you can see me miming, playing the air, getting out of the way lest there be a train wreck."

He says the anecdote is "not meant to be spiteful" but "I was pilloried by the band for being the reason it was so messed up [when] I wasn't".

Indeed, he takes pains to praise both Thompson and Plant, stressing the autobiography is "not a 'get even' book".

It's frequently hilarious. We witness a disastrous attempt to play congas for George Harrison, and discover that - in a flagrant contravention of the rock'n'roll rulebook - Genesis liked nothing better than a good picnic.

"Often on tour, we'd pull over to a greengrocers somewhere in the middle of some vale, buy some bread and cheese, and just pull off the highway and eat in a field," he says.

"I love vacherin," he adds. "I could eat vacherin for days, unfortunately. Fondue in Switzerland, that's fantastic. And strong English cheddar, that's great as well. Good dreams."

So what did he learn about himself by writing the book?

"Well, I discovered that I'd worked an incredible amount, which is not something that I'd necessarily realised at the time," he says.

"When you're doing it, you just keep doing it, then you look back and you see this list of shows and you think, 'I had three weeks off and then I did it again?'"

While this came at the cost of three marriages, he has no-one to blame but himself.

One chapter describes a Genesis band meeting, arranged to explore a theatre production of their concept album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. Collins leaves having agreed to a full-scale reunion tour. "I can't say no," he writes.

When I suggest "the man who can't say no" could be the book's subtitle, Collins maintains he was "obliged" to keep his commitments.

"If I was asked to revisit history, I would still say 'yes' to all those things," he says.

"If you say no, the phone may never ring again."

Source: bbc.com

Chelsea thrash Man United on Mourinho's return

Jose Mourinho was humiliated on his return to Chelsea as his former club blew away his Manchester United side at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues, who sacked Mourinho for a second time last year, led after just 30 seconds when Pedro capitalised on slack defending to roll in.

Gary Cahill smashed in the second after United allowed Eden Hazard's corner to bounce in their box.

United offered little sign of making a comeback, falling further behind when Hazard drilled in a precise 15-yard strike.

N'Golo Kante skipped around a static defence to slot in and seal victory as Chelsea moved within a point of Premier League leaders Manchester City.

The comprehensive win lifted the Blues above Tottenham into fourth, with just one point separating the top five.

United stay seventh as the gap between them and the early pacesetters widens to six points, with almost a quarter of the season gone.

Analysis: Why it is too early to write Man Utd off

Relive how Chelsea ruined Mourinho's return

'You're not special anymore!'

Mourinho was making his first return to Stamford Bridge since he was sacked in December 2015, leaving when the defending champions were 16th in the Premier League.

The Portuguese boss said before the match he was unsure - and also unconcerned - about the reception he would be given by the home fans.

Unsurprisingly, for a man who delivered seven trophies in his two spells at the club, it turned out to be largely positive.

Hundreds gathered to greet Mourinho as he walked off the United team bus, while he received a warm embrace from former skipper John Terry before kick-off.

That is where the Blues' hospitality ended. Instead, it was his United team who provided the generosity.

And the home fans could not resist a cheeky dig at their former boss - chanting "you're not special anymore" to the self-proclaimed Special One.

United exposed by defensive horror show

Mourinho said before the game he would not "celebrate like a crazy kid" if his new team scored at Stamford Bridge.

Unfortunately for him, there was little sign of that resolve being put to the test as Chelsea capitalised on his side's defensive deficiencies.

United were ragged at the back, ripped open by Pedro's opener without even having a touch and left flapping from then on.

And the severity of the scoreline was emphasised by some startling statistics:

  • It was the heaviest defeat for Jose Mourinho in all competitions since Real Madrid's 5-0 defeat by Barcelona in November 2010.
  • United suffered their heaviest Premier League defeat since the 6-1 loss against Manchester City in October 2011.
  • The Red Devils lost a Premier League away match by four or more goals for the first time since 1999 - also at Chelsea.

The tone was set when Chris Smalling hesitated in dealing with a long ball, allowing Pedro to nip in and round David de Gea - and United never recovered.

The basic ability to defend a set-piece eluded them for Chelsea's second, two deflected touches helping the ball on to the unmarked Cahill, who lashed in.

United, without the injured Wayne Rooney, looked unrecognisable from the side that dug in to keep a clean sheet at Anfield on Monday. They looked unrecognisable from any Mourinho side, always expected to be well organised and difficult to break down.

A stony-faced Mourinho watched his static defenders allow Hazard and then Kante to skip into space and score after the break, leaving new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte lapping up the acclaim of a home crowd revelling in their former boss's misfortune.

"We made incredible defensive mistakes," said Mourinho. "And then you pay for that."

Conte starting to shine

Former Italy manager Antonio Conte was tasked with restoring Chelsea's fortunes after a chastening season, which started under Mourinho's leadership and ended in the defending champions finishing 10th.

Conte's start has not been smooth, however.

Back-to-back league defeats against Liverpool and Arsenal last month led to some criticism, forcing him to laugh off rumours of his imminent sacking.

But, after making a tactical switch to a 3-5-2 formation following those defeats, Conte has seen his team flourish.

Three successive victories have pushed the Blues back among the frontrunners, with the Stamford Bridge crowd showing their appreciation for the new manager as he urged them to make more noise during the second half.

"It is important for the manager to find the right solution for your team," said Conte on his team's recent revival.

"It was not a good situation when Chelsea conceded in every game - we change and now we are playing good football."

Post-match reaction

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte:

"We made a fantastic start. We scored the early goal but we continued to play good football, intensity and possession, create many chances. Today we didn't concede, which was important. It was a type of win that increases the confidence.

"We wanted to show our ambition and give the satisfaction to our fans and show last season was very bad."

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho:

"You come with a strategy, you cannot concede a goal in the way we did.

"We were coming to have an offensive approach. We wanted to create chances; we showed that after the 1-0. The second and the third were counter-attack goals.

"It is one of those days when you give the advantage to opponents by doing nothing.

"In terms of points, we got zero points, we lose three points. We are six points from the top, three from the top four, we now need to win matches. We need to win our matches now, which are not easy.

"We need to win to close that gap - after these last three matches, we made two out of nine. We now need points."

What's next?

Next comes the not-so-small matter of midweek derby matches for both teams.

Chelsea travel across London to face West Ham in the EFL Cup fourth round on Wednesday (19:45 BST), while Manchester United host neighbours City at Old Trafford in the same competition on the same day (20:00 BST).

(More) stats you need to know

  • Chelsea have gone eight league games - winning four and drawing four - without losing against Manchester United, their best run against the Red Devils in their history.
  • Pedro scored the fastest goal in the Premier League this season, finding the net after 30 seconds.
  • He was also booked after 59 seconds for his celebration, the quickest yellow this season in the Premier League.
  • This was only the sixth time Manchester United had conceded in the opening minute of a Premier League game. Gus Poyet, Jason Euell, Marlon Harewood, Jermain Defoe and Edin Dzeko were the other scorers.
  • Only twice before had Jose Mourinho seen his side concede inside the first minute - both to Southampton while at Chelsea (James Beattie in 2004 and Jay Rodriguez in 2013).
  • Manchester United have only collected fewer points from their first nine games of a Premier League season once before - in 2014-15 when they collected 13.
  • Eden Hazard has equalled his goal tally from last season in the Premier League - four - in just nine games.

Source: bbc.com

Thirteen die in California tour bus crash

Thirteen people have been killed and more than 30 injured in southern California after a tour bus ran into the back of a lorry, media reports say.

Most of the passengers are reported to be from Latin America.

The crash happened on Interstate 10 close to the resort town of Palm Springs in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Investigators are examining the cause of the crash, which happened as the bus was bound for Los Angeles.

Rescuers used ladders to climb into the bus windows to remove bodies. Five of the injured passengers are in critical condition.

Workers and law enforcement personnel inspect a truck that was in collision with a tour bus on Interstate 10 near Palm Springs (23 October 2016)

The lorry involved in the accident was also extensively damaged

An investigator documents the scene of a mass casualty bus crash on the westbound Interstate 10 freeway near Palm Springs (23 October 2016)

The front of the bus was severely mangled

The Los Angeles Times described the crash as the deadliest in California for several decades. It said that the bus careered into the rear of the truck at high speed, mangling the front third of the bus.

Most of those who died were apparently at the front of the bus, the newspaper reported. The driver was among the fatalities.

Officials quoted by the paper said that identifying the victims could take days, because some were not carrying identity cards or had lost their belongings when they were taken to hospital.

They have warned that it may not be possible to determine exactly why the accident happened because of the driver's death.

Investigators will assess whether he might have fallen asleep or had a heart attack, in addition to determining if there was a mechanical failure or some other kind of emergency.

The westbound lanes of the interstate were closed near the crash site but are now reported to have been reopened.

According to the Desert Sun newspaper, the tour bus, run by US Holiday, was coming from Red Earth Casino, near Salton City in California.

The small Los Angeles-based company, runs trips to casinos in California and Las Vegas. The driver of the bus was one of the owners of the tour company.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration records show the company had one vehicle and one driver. According to the data the company held a satisfactory safety rating and had not been in a crash for two years.

This photo provided by KMIR-TV shows the scene of crash between a tour bus and a semi-truck crashed on Interstate 10 near Desert Hot Springs, near Palm Springs, in California's Mojave Desert Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016.

The cause of the crash is still unknown

Map of southern California

Source: bbc.com

US election 2016: We are behind, says Trump campaign

The Donald Trump campaign has admitted the Republican lags behind Hillary Clinton with just over two weeks to go before Americans cast their votes.

"We are behind. She has some advantages," said his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who added: "We're not giving up. We know we can win this."

On Friday, Mr Trump made a rare admission that he could lose.

New polls suggest Mrs Clinton remains well ahead nationally and in several battleground states.

Her campaign has predicted this is going to be "the biggest election in American history".

Campaign manager Robbie Mook told Fox News Sunday: "More people are going to turn out than ever before."

Polling in Republican strongholds like Utah and Arizona suggest these states could back a Democrat for the first time in decades.


If Arizona swings - Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Phoenix

Clinton supporters in Arizon

The polls may be wrong in Arizona but if they are correct, it may be the start of a Democratic trend that doesn't just put the state in play in a Clinton 2016 rout scenario, it makes Arizona a legitimate swing state in coming elections.

"The demographics in the state are continuing to change," says Arizona State University political science professor Richard Herrera. "If there is another increase in Latino voters, which there almost certainly will be, followed with an increase in party registrants, this could become a real battleground in future elections."

For Democrats, that's a dream scenario, giving them new and plentiful paths to electoral success.

For Republicans, it could mean the start of a long-term political nightmare.

That apparent change to the electoral map has prompted a shift in strategy for the Clinton camp, which is spending money on helping Democrats running in close House or Senate races.

Mrs Clinton said she didn't even bother responding to Trump anymore and would instead spend time "emphasising the importance of electing Democrats down the ballot".

Mr Trump's campaign manager said the Clinton team had a huge financial advantage in how much they could spend on negative ads against Mr Trump, and high-profile campaigners.

"She has a former president, who happens to be her husband, campaigning for her. The current president and first lady, vice president, all much more popular than she can hope to be," said Kellyanne Conway.

But this election does not feel over when you realise the depth of support Mr Trump has on the campaign trail, she said.

However, Mr Trump reflected on defeat for the first time on Friday when he said that - win, lose or draw - he would be happy with himself.

A day later, he announced a raft of measures for his first 100 days in office, that include used curbs on lobbying and new trade and climate change negotiations.

With just 16 days until the election, much of the recent focus has been on controversies linked to his campaign.

On Saturday, he promised to sue every woman who had accused him of sexual misconduct.

He also repeated his claims that the election is rigged, because of voter fraud at polling booths and media bias.

On Sunday, Eric Trump, Mr Trump's son, said his father would accept the outcome but only if it was a "fair" election.


What happens next?

  • The two candidates will spend the remaining 16 days before the election criss-crossing the country in their bid to persuade undecided voters. Expect to see lots of appearances in battleground states such as Ohio, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania
  • Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday 8 November to decide who becomes the 45th president of the US
  • The new president will be inaugurated on 20 January 2017

Who is ahead in the polls?

51% - Hillary Clinton

41% - Donald Trump

 

Source: bbc.com

Quetta attack: Militants kill dozens at Balochistan Police College

At least 58 cadets and guards have been killed after militants attacked a police college in the Pakistani city of Quetta, officials say.

Three militants wearing suicide bomb vests entered the college late on Monday, reportedly taking hostages.

A major security operation lasted for hours and all attackers were killed.

No group has said they carried out the assault, but Quetta has seen similar attacks by separatists and Islamist militants in recent years.

Hundreds of trainees were evacuated from Balochistan Police College as troops arrived to repel the militants. Local media reported at least three explosions at the scene.

"I saw three men in camouflage whose faces were hidden carrying Kalashnikovs," one cadet said according to AFP news agency. "They started firing and entered the dormitory but I managed to escape over a wall."

The police academy is home to about 600 students and many of the cadets who died were killed in the blasts, said Major General Sher Afgan of the Frontier Corps.

The exact sequence of events is unclear but there was intermittent exchange of fire between the attackers and security forces for several hours, according to Dawn newspaper. There were also reports of a hostage situation.

More than 100 people, mostly trainees, were injured.

Pakistan's army and the paramilitary Frontier Corps took part in the military counter-operation, which Balochistan provincial home minister Mir Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti said was now over.

Two of the militants died after detonating their bomb vests and one was killed by security forces.

Officials blamed a faction of the Lashker-e-Jhangvi militant group and said the attackers "were in communication with operatives in Afghanistan".

Quetta is the capital of Balochistan province, which is battling an insurgency as well as Islamist militants, with violent attacks common.

Earlier in the day, two customs officers were shot dead and another critically wounded in Surab, south of Quetta.

In August, 88 people were killed in separate bomb attacks targeting a hospital and lawyers in Quetta.

The Pakistani military has been conducting military operations against militants in volatile tribal areas near the Afghan border.

Source: bbc.com

 

Women 'nearing equality with men - in alcohol consumption'

Women have all but caught up with men at knocking back alcohol, a global study of drinking habits shows.

The analysis of 4 million people, born between 1891 and 2001, showed that men used to be far more likely to drink and have resulting health problems.

But the current generation have pretty much closed the gap, the BMJ Open report says.

The changing roles of men and women in society partly explain the move towards boozing parity.

The study showed that in people born in the early 1900s, men were:

  • More than twice as likely as women to drink alcohol at all (2.2 times)
  • Three times as likely to drink to problematic levels
  • And 3.6 times as likely to develop health problems from drinking, such as liver cirrhosis

But over the ensuing decades, the gap closed so that for those born at the end of the century men were only:

  • A smidge - 1.1 times - as likely as women to drink alcohol at all
  • A much lower 1.2 times as likely to drink to problematic levels
  • And 1.3 times as likely to develop health problems from drinking

The team at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, analysed data from people all over the world - although it was massively skewed towards North America and Europe.

They concluded: "Alcohol use and alcohol-use disorders have historically been viewed as a male phenomenon.

"The present study calls this assumption into question and suggests that young women, in particular, should be the target of concerted efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and related harms."

Prof Mark Petticrew, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "Men's and women's roles have been changing over the decades, this is likely to account for some of these trends - but not all.

"The increasing availability of alcohol also plays an important part, as does the way that alcohol marketing is often targeted specifically at women and particularly young women.

"Health professionals need to help the public - both men and women - to understand the health risks of alcohol consumption, and how to reduce those risks."

Clinton emails: Officials advised FBI not to reveal inquiry

The FBI was advised by the US justice department not to inform Congress of a new inquiry into Hillary Clinton's email use, officials say.

Justice department officials said the move would be inconsistent with rules designed to avoid the appearance of interference in an election.

FBI Director James Comey acted independently when he briefed lawmakers in a letter on Friday.

Mrs Clinton said the move was "unprecedented" and "deeply troubling".

Leading Democratic senators have written to Mr Comey and to Attorney General Loretta Lynch urging them to provide more details about the investigation by Monday.

They argue that Mr Comey's decision to reveal the reopening of the case, less than two weeks before the 8 November election, is being used for political purposes.

But Republican opponent Donald Trump has praised the FBI's decision.

Speaking at a rally in Phoenix on Saturday, Mr Trump accused the justice department of protecting the Democratic presidential candidate in a "rigged system".

"The Department of Justice is trying their hardest to protect the criminal activity of Hillary Clinton," Mr Trump said, offering no evidence for the assertion.

In his letter to Congress, Mr Comey said the FBI had learned of fresh emails which might be "pertinent" to its previous inquiry into Mrs Clinton's use of a private server when she was secretary of state in the Obama administration.

Mr Comey, who has served in government under both Democratic and Republican presidents, has insisted that not making the inquiry public would be "misleading".

It is not clear what the emails contain or how significant they are to the investigation.

Speaking to supporters in Florida on Saturday, Mrs Clinton said: "It's not just strange, it's unprecedented. And it is deeply troubling because voters deserve to get full and complete facts.

"So we've called on Director Comey to explain everything right away, put it all out on the table."

Mrs Clinton has said she is confident the investigation into the emails will not change the FBI's original finding in July, which criticised her but cleared her of any illegal acts.

Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said the Mr Comey's handling of the matter was "inappropriate" and the information provided was "long on innuendo" and "short on facts".

There was, he said, "no evidence of wrongdoing. No charge of wrongdoing. No indication this is even about Hillary."

Mrs Clinton's running mate Tim Kaine told NBC's Meet the Press the FBI director owed it to the public to be more forthcoming about the emails.

"We don't know whether they're to or from Hillary at all," the Virginia senator said. "[If he] hasn't seen the emails, I mean they need to make that completely plain. Then they should work to see the emails and release the circumstances of those once they have done that analysis."

But Mr Trump's running mate Mike Pence praised Mr Comey's decision, saying the emails showed Mrs Clinton was a "risky choice" and the Clinton campaign was practising the "old playbook of the politics of personal destruction" by "targeting the director of the FBI and questioning his personal integrity".

Mr Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told CNN that Mr Comey would have been accused of interfering in the election if he had not disclosed the newly discovered emails were under investigation.


How has the FBI probe affected the polls?

The bad news for Hillary Clinton is that the polls had already begun to tighten both nationally and in key battleground states before the FBI announcement on Friday.

A new New York Times poll in Florida, which was carried out earlier last week, has Mr Trump ahead of Mrs Clinton by 46% to 42%, while the RealClearPolitics polling average has the candidates tied on 44%.

Nationally, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll suggests Mrs Clinton is leading her rival by just one percentage point, down from a 12-point lead in the same poll a week ago. About a third of likely voters polled said they were less likely to support the Democrat after Mr Comey's disclosure.

But there is little evidence yet that the news will derail the former secretary of state's bid for the presidency.

In a new CBS poll of 13 battleground states, 52 percent of voters said they expected the emails to contain "more of what we already know" and most of those who said they were less likely to vote for Mrs Clinton were Republicans.

Source: bbc.com

Italy quake: Norcia tremor destroys ancient buildings

Towns and villages in central Italy have been hit by an earthquake for the fourth time in three months.

The 6.6-magnitude quake - Italy's strongest in decades - struck close to the region where nearly 300 people were killed by a quake in August.

This time no-one appears to have died, but about 20 people were injured.

The medieval basilica of St Benedict in Norcia, the town closest to the epicentre, was among buildings destroyed.

An evacuation of buildings in the region deemed vulnerable to seismic activity last week, following strong aftershocks from August's quake, may have saved lives.

Tremors from this latest earthquake were felt in the capital Rome, where the Metro system was shut down, and as far away as Venice in the north.

Quake map

The head of the national civil protection agency, Fabrizio Curcio, said there had been extensive damage to many historic buildings but no deaths had been registered.

"About 20 people are injured. As far as people are concerned, the situation is positive, but many buildings are in a critical state in historic centres and there are problems with electricity and water supplies," he added.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has promised that everything will be rebuilt, saying resources will be found.

"We are going through a really tough period," he said. "We must not allow the profound pain, fatigue and stress that we have now to turn into resignation."

Pope Francis mentioned the quake in his Sunday blessing in Rome's St Peter's Square.

"I'm praying for the injured and the families who have suffered the most damage, as well as for rescue and first-aid workers," he said to loud applause.


Why multiple quakes are hitting Italy - by Jonathan Amos, BBC science correspondent

We have now seen three magnitude-6 tremors in Italy's Apennines region in just three months.

The big picture is reasonably well understood. Wider tectonic forces in the Earth's crust have led to the Apennines being pulled apart at a rate of roughly 3mm per year - about a 10th of the speed at which your fingernails grow.

But this stress is then spread across a multitude of different faults that cut through the mountains. And this network is fiendishly complicated.

It does now look as though August's event broke two neighbouring faults, starting on one known as the Laga and then jumping across to one called the Vettore.

The mid-week tremors appear to have further broken the northern end of the Vettore. But both in August and mid-week, it seems only the top portions of the faults have gone, and the big question is whether the deeper segments have now failed in the latest event.

Read more from Jonathan Amos


The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the quake was 68km south-east of the regional centre of Perugia and close to the small town of Norcia, which is believed to be the birthplace of St Benedict.

Images from the town show the almost complete destruction of the medieval basilica erected in St Benedict's name, with just its facade left standing.

"It was like a bomb went off," said the town's deputy mayor, Pierluigi Altavilla.

"We are starting to despair. There are too many quakes now, we can't bear it anymore."

The earthquakes have left the residents of Norcia anxious and shattered. Stefano and his family have slept in a camper van since the first quake in August - they decided it was too dangerous to sleep indoors. He's now looking to get his family out of here.

In the hour after I arrived, there were two sizeable aftershocks - which sent bits of masonry from the town's ancient walls to the ground. The aftershocks added to the tension felt by residents here.

An emergency HQ has been set up in a car park. Civil protection officials are assessing the damage.

Next to a petrol station, there is a group of people with their bags packed, ready to leave. They don't want to wait for another quake to hit.


Giuseppe Pezzanesi, mayor of Tolentino in the neighbouring Marche region, said the small town had "suffered our blackest day yet".

"The damage is irreparable. There are thousands of people in the streets, terrified, crying. Let's hope that is an end to it, the people are on their knees psychologically."

The towns of Castelsantangelo and Preci have also suffered considerable damage, but were mainly abandoned after last week's quakes, of magnitude 5.5 and 6.1.

Castelsantangelo's mayor, quoted by La Stampa newspaper, said there were no casualties at all in the town as "everyone had already left".

The mayors of the villages of Ussita and Arquata said many buildings had collapsed there too.

Fire engine passes near cracks on the road outside the center of Norcia

Central Italy has seen several major quakes in recent years. Earthquakes which devastated the town of L'Aquila in 2009 and Amatrice in August this year killed about 300 people each.

But they both measured only 6.2 and were deeper than Sunday's earthquake.

Source: bbc.com

 

Chelsea kept pace at the top of the EPL

Chelsea kept pace with the leading pack in the Premier League as they moved into fourth place with an impressive win at Southampton.

The Blues took the lead when Eden Hazard capitalised on poor marking before cutting inside Steven Davis and powering a shot through the legs of keeper Fraser Forster.

Southampton had plenty of the ball but could not find a way through a well-drilled Chelsea, who looked the more threatening and went close when strikes from Hazard and Diego Costa were saved.

Costa, however, beat Forster at full stretch with a wonderful curled effort from 22 yards.

Victory was Chelsea's fourth in a row in the league - a feat they last achieved in April 2015 - and put them one point behind Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Hazard getting back to his best

Eden Hazard was the 2014-15 Premier League player of the season during a campaign in which former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said the Belgian had outperformed Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

Hazard struggled to maintain those heights as he struggled last season - managing just four goals and rarely showing the pace and trickery that had made him such a threat.

This season is a different story. He has already scored five goals and looks like he has regained the confidence to tease and torment defenders.

He showed skill and power with his goal at St Mary's, scoring in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time, then provided the pass from which Costa added Chelsea's second.

Italian feel about Chelsea

Chelsea were exposed defensively in consecutive league defeats by Liverpool and Arsenal this season but, since then, they have kept four clean sheets and scored 11 goals.

Manager Antonio Conte's move to a formation with three centre-backs is helping his side look more secure at the back and threatening in attack.

The Italian also appears to have implemented the sort of defending for which his country is famous, as an organised Chelsea denied Southampton's players any space in or around the penalty area and closed them down with aggression throughout.

"We've worked hard in training," said Chelsea defender Gary Cahill. "We've worked hard on the shape that the manager has brought and we are getting the rewards.

"It's OK having the shape but it's about having the mentality of the players to go out and dig in and do the business when you need to."

Southampton undone by Chelsea again

Southampton, whose most recent defeat at home in the league came against Chelsea in February, again had little answer to the Blues.

Saints had 55 shots on target this season before the game, but could muster only one on Sunday despite enjoying 55% of possession.

Their sole effort was Dusan Tadic's low effort, which was comfortably palmed wide by keeper Thibaut Courtois.

Southampton's chances were fleeting and, when they did come, striker Charlie Austin put one header wide and another high.

'It's the perfect game' - what they said

Southampton manager Claude Puel: "We played very well in the first half with so many possibilities and good play.

"But it's difficult to play against this team when you concede a goal after a few minutes. They can play their game with a strong defence and counter-attack.

"It was difficult to find solutions. It's a disappointment because we tried to play good football. We can do better."

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte: "We knew today was a test against a strong side in good shape and form. It's important to win games like this - people can increase their confidence and will to work and trust in the work.

"We created many chances. It's the perfect game when strikers score and defenders don't concede. The players deserved this; they work hard in training.

"When you see this type of game and commitment from your players, it's fantastic for a coach."

The stats you need to know

  • Chelsea have exactly double the number of points (22) that they had after 10 games last season (11)
  • Diego Costa has reached 40 Premier League goals in 64 games, the sixth fastest player to do so and seven games faster than it took Manchester City's Sergio Aguero
  • Chelsea have kept four consecutive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since August 2010 (a run of six)
  • The Blues have won more away Premier League games than any other side in 2016 (9) - in the same time, they have won only five home matches
  • Southampton have kept only one clean sheet in their past 11 home Premier League games (1-0 v Swansea)

What's next?

Southampton are at home to Inter Milan for a 20:05 GMT kick-off on Thursday, 3 November before a league game at Hull City at 14:15 on Sunday, 6 November.

Chelsea host Everton in the 17:30 kick-off on Saturday, 5 November.

Source: bbc.com

Quata Budukusu shoots video with Uhuru in South Africa

Quata Budukusu has shot the video for his songs that featured Uhuru in South Africa. The video was shot and directed by a South African from KaCube Creatives. Bakus Records artiste, Quata Budukusu who has been in South Africa for a little over a week recorded songs with Uhuru, Mafikizolo and a top hip hop artiste from South Africa. Quata Budukusu who is credited with the invention of tongue-twisting rap in Ghana is ready to release his Quantum Legacy album, and he is leaving no stone unturned. His trip to South Africa enabled him to record with Uhuru and Mafikizolo which will form part of the album. Quata also featured on a song by a Namibian-born singer, Taylor Jaye.

According to Quata’s manager, Tengol who happened to be on the South Africa trip with him, the arrangement was already in place before they left the shores of Ghana. That was made possible due to the prominence Quata’s first single released under the label “One Life to live” made in South Africa. As a result, as soon as they arrived in the rainbow nation-city of Johannesburg, they rested for a couple of hours and headed to the studios of Uhuru where a member of the group, DJ Clap, produced the beat. Quata without wasting time, “layed” the chorus and the rest were “gravy.” Uhuru then added the needed hooks and other singing bars making it an instant hit in the studio.

Tengol went ahead to state that Quata recorded a second song which featured Uhuru and Mafikizolo and they are in the process of recording the third song which will be hip hop. The two Kwaito tunes have a feel of Ghanaian and the South African style with a lot of African rhythms and elements making it rich. Tengol went ahead to say that, Bakus, who is the CEO of the record label is working on getting Quata to feature a top American hip-hop artiste to be included on the album. Ghanaians should, therefore, brace themselves for the best from Quata.

DJ Clap who is credited with the group's hit single, Khona, performed by Mafikizolo, that made waves in Ghana, stated that he has worked with a myriad of artistes, but Quata’s style is unique. I am very optimistic the songs recorded will surely win the best collaboration in South Africa and Ghana as well because it is “dope” says DJ Clap.

The management of Quata Budukusu is thankful to the management of Planet Radio TV (DSTV 328) for their support. While in South Africa, Quata met with Ghanaian radio and television personality, Alex Kwesi Crassie, aka Turas, of Planet Radio TV. Quata was interviewed on the Good Morning Africa, 60 Seconds and The Request Show. Quata won the admiration of the staff and people of Planet Radio TV with his rap. Quata also had the opportunity to be interviewed by an event and promotion firm which has started promoting his previous songs and is also ready to help with the release and promotion of the video and audio once they are ready for the market. The sky is not the limit for Quata Budukusu and Bakus Records and Entertainment. Keep your fingers crossed as we bring you exclusive news about Quata and his plans for the future. Take a look at some of the pictures from the video shoot.

 

Source: Bakus Radio, USA

www.bakusradio.com

Budukusu shoots video with Uhuru in South Africa

Quata Budukusu has shot the video for his songs that featured Uhuru in South Africa. The video was shot and directed by a South African from KaCube Creatives. Bakus Records artiste, Quata Budukusu who has been in South Africa for a little over a week recorded songs with Uhuru, Mafikizolo and a top hip hop artiste from South Africa. Quata Budukusu who is credited with the invention of tongue-twisting rap in Ghana is ready to release his Quantum Legacy album, and he is leaving no stone unturned. His trip to South Africa enabled him to record with Uhuru and Mafikizolo which will form part of the album. Quata also featured on a song by a Namibian-born singer, Taylor Jaye.

According to Quata’s manager, Tengol who happened to be on the South Africa trip with him, the arrangement was already in place before they left the shores of Ghana. That was made possible due to the prominence Quata’s first single released under the label “One Life to live” made in South Africa. As a result, as soon as they arrived in the rainbow nation-city of Johannesburg, they rested for a couple of hours and headed to the studios of Uhuru where a member of the group, DJ Clap, produced the beat. Quata without wasting time, “layed” the chorus and the rest were “gravy.” Uhuru then added the needed hooks and other singing bars making it an instant hit in the studio.

DJ Clap who is credited with the group's hit single, Khona, performed by Mafikizolo, that made waves in Ghana, stated that he has worked with a myriad of artistes, but Quata’s style is unique. I am very optimistic the songs recorded will surely win the best collaboration in South Africa and Ghana as well because it is “dope” says DJ Clap.

The management of Quata Budukusu is thankful to the management of Planet Radio TV (DSTV 328) for their support. While in South Africa, Quata met with Ghanaian radio and television personality, Alex Kwesi Crassie, aka Turas, of Planet Radio TV. Quata was interviewed on the Good Morning Africa, 60 Seconds and The Request Show. Quata won the admiration of the staff and people of Planet Radio TV with his rap. Quata also had the opportunity to be interviewed by an event and promotion firm which has started promoting his previous songs and is also ready to help with the release and promotion of the video and audio once they are ready for the market. The sky is not the limit for Quata Budukusu and Bakus Records and Entertainment. Keep your fingers crossed as we bring you exclusive news about Quata and his plans for the future. Take a look at some of the pictures from the video shoot.