LATEST ARTICLES

0

A mother and daughter in the UK are fighting for their lives after a stranger launched an unprovoked hammer attack in the street. Joe Xuereb, 27, is being hunted by police on suspicion of carrying out the vicious beating in Adderley Gardens, Greenwich, south-east London, on Sunday.

Officers were called at 12.10pm on Sunday to find the women, aged 64 and 30, suffering from devastating injuries “consistent with a violent assault”, Scotland Yard said. They were taken to south London hospitals where they are in a critical condition.

A hammer was recovered from the scene which was “believed to have been used in the assault”, a police spokesman said. Neighbours described hearing a scream and later seeing the pavement covered in blood.

The suspect, from Greenwich, is thought to have mental health issues and should not be approached by members of the public, police said. He was described as a white male with short, light-coloured hair, wearing beige trousers, a white top and black trainers.

He was last seen travelling on a black and orange bicycle, according to the force. Anyone who spots Xuereb is asked to call 999 immediately.

Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan said: “I would like to reassure the community that we are doing everything we can to trace Xuereb and question him in relation to the horrific attack which has left two women fighting for their lives.

“I would urge anyone who has information on his whereabouts to contact the police on 999, and would like to remind the public not to approach him if seen.”

0

Some 800,000 people have been displaced and over 350 have died in the worst flooding in a century in southern India’s Kerala state, as authorities rushed to bring drinking water to the most affected areas.

At least two trains carrying about 1.5 million litres of water were moving to the flooded areas from the neighbouring states of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, Indian railway official Milind Deouskar said, according to the Press Trust of India news agency.

Thousands of rescuers were continuing efforts to reach out to stranded people and get relief supplies to isolated areas by hundreds of boats and nearly two dozen helicopters, said P.H. Kurian, a top disaster management official in Kerala.

He said weather conditions had improved considerably and expected the nearly 10,000 people still stranded to be rescued by Monday.

An estimated 800,000 people were sheltered in some 4,000 relief camps across Kerala, Mr Kurian said.
Weather officials have predicted more rains across the state until Monday morning.

The downpours that started on August 8 have triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and beautiful beaches.
Officials estimate that more than 6,200 miles of roads have been damaged.

One of the state’s major airports, in the city of Kochi, was closed on Tuesday due to the flooding and is scheduled to remain closed until August 26.

The Indian government said a naval air base in Kochi will be opened for commercial flights starting on Monday morning. India’s prime minister Narendra Modi inspected the flooded landscape from a helicopter on Saturday and met with the state’s top officials, promising more than 70 million US dollars in aid.

While the central government has dispatched multiple military units to Kerala, state officials are pleading for additional help. Officials have put initial storm damage estimates at nearly three billion US dollars.

At least 250 people have died in the flooding in a little over a week, with 31 others missing, according to Mr Kurian. More than 1,000 people have died in flooding in seven Indian states since the start of the monsoon season, including over 350 in Kerala.

0

More than two million Muslims began the annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, circling the cube-shaped Kaaba from first light in Mecca that Islam’s faithful face five times each day during their prayers. The five-day hajj pilgrimage represents one of the world’s biggest gathering every year, a trip required of all able-bodied Muslims once in their life.

The hajj offers pilgrims an opportunity to feel closer to God amid the Muslim world’s many challenges, including the threat of extremists in the Mideast after the Islamic State group was beaten back in Iraq and Syria and the plight of Burma’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

“We are very blessed by Allah to be in this place, and we pray to Allah to make the Islamic nations from the West to the East in a better situation,” said Essam-Eddin Afifi, a pilgrim from Egypt.
“We pray for the Islamic nations to overcome their enemies.”

The Kaaba represents the metaphorical house of God and the oneness of God. Muslims circle the Kaaba counter-clockwise seven times while reciting supplications to God, then walk between the two hills travelled by Hagar.

Mecca’s Grand Mosque, the world’s largest, encompasses the Kaaba and the two hills. Before heading to Mecca, many pilgrims visit the city of Medina, where the Prophet Mohammed is buried and where he built his first mosque.

Muslims believe the hajj retraces the footsteps of Mohammed, as well as those of the prophets Ibrahim and Ismail, Abraham and Ishmael in the Bible.

Muslim pilgrims pray on the road outside the Grand Mosque

After prayers in Mecca, pilgrims will head to an area called Mount Arafat on Monday, where the Prophet Mohammed delivered his final sermon. From there, pilgrims will head to an area called Muzdalifa, picking up pebbles along the way for a symbolic stoning of the devil and a casting away of sins that takes place in the Mina valley for three days.

At the hajj’s end, male pilgrims will shave their hair and women will cut a lock of hair in a sign of renewal for completing the pilgrimage.
Around the world, Muslims will mark the end of hajj with a celebration called Eid al-Adha.
The holiday, remembering Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son, sees Muslims slaughter sheep and cattle, distributing the meat to the poor.

Major General Mansour al-Turki, the spokesman of the Saudi Interior Ministry, told journalists Saturday that over two million Muslims from abroad and inside the kingdom would be taking part in this year’s hajj.
For Saudi Arabia, the hajj is the biggest logistical challenge the kingdom faces.
Its ruling Al Saud family stakes its legitimacy in part on its management of the holiest sites in Islam.
King Salman’s official title is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, at Mecca and Medina.

Other Saudi kings, and the Ottoman rulers of the Hijaz region before them, all have adopted the honorary title
The kingdom has spent billions of dollars of its vast oil revenues on security and safety measures, particularly in Mina, where some of the hajj’s deadliest incidents have occurred.
The worst in recorded history took place only three years ago.
On September 24 2015, a stampede and crush of pilgrims in Mina killed at least 2,426 people.
The official Saudi toll of 769 people killed and 934 injured has not changed since only two days afterwards.
The kingdom has never addressed the discrepancy, nor has it released any results of an investigation authorities promised to conduct over the disaster.

0
Uber, Accident

Two Britons managed to escape a sinking Uber car after it drove into the sea off the French Riviera.

Nick Christoforou, 31, and Sophia Toon, 23, were on an early morning trip when the cab went off the end of a jetty in Cannes.

Luckily real estate worker Mr Christoforou, from north London, managed to open a door and, along with the driver, they swam to safety.

Had it not been for his actions they “would all be 100% dead”, Mr Christoforou told The Sun.

The ride-hailing app reportedly still charged him for the trip, although the fare has since been refunded.

“One minute I was in the back of an Uber heading home, and the next I was in the sea,” he said.

“I managed to get the car door open and got to the surface to find the others.

“If I wasn’t in a fit and able state we would all be 100% dead.”

Images showed the Citroen DS5 partially submerged in 10ft of water at Port Pierre Canto.

The driver was breathalysed and found to be sober, the paper said. A police spokesman told The Sun the car had sunk slowly, giving them time to escape.

An Uber spokeswoman told the paper: “We contacted both passengers to ensure they were OK and are offering counselling while they await the outcome of their (insurance) claim.

“The driver involved is no longer able to use the Uber app.”

0
House of Fraser, Oxford Street

House of Fraser collapsed owing creditors such as Armani, Diesel and Prada a total of £484m (€539.75m), new documents have shown.

The department store chain was bought out of administration by Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct last week, but the retail tycoon is not paying suppliers money owed before his rescue.

According to a report from House of Fraser’s administrators at Ernst & Young (EY), trade creditors are owed millions between them, with designer brands such as Versace, Gucci and Prada amongst the biggest names left out of pocket.

EY has estimated that House of Fraser’s unsecured creditors, aside from its employees, which will be transferred to Sports Direct, are owed around £484m (€539.75m).

However, this figure could rise as more creditors send in claims to EY.

According to the EY report, XPO is owed more than £30m (€33m).

It also shows House of Fraser was knocked by a 7.7% decline in sales over the first 13 weeks of the year, and gross profit had fallen by £14.6m (€16.3m).

The troubled department store made an operating loss of of £31.4m (€35m), which EY said was largely due to the drop in sales.

Outlining the company’s decline, EY said House of Fraser took several steps to try to address the issues, securing a £50m (€55.7m) injection of capital in March.

“However, these actions were unable to address the downturn in trading performance and the directors concluded that the business had reached a stage where it was no longer able to continue to meet its ongoing costs in its current format,” the report said.

Mr Ashley purchased House of Fraser for £90m (€100m) in a so-called pre-packaged administration, which allows him to drop certain liabilities through the insolvency process.

House of Fraser’s creditors also include its PR firm, Newgate Communications, which is owed £33,512 (€37,381), and Royal Mail, which is owed £135,465 (€151,091).

0
Genoa, Bridge Collapse

Three more bodies have been found in the rubble of the Genoa bridge collapse, raising the death toll to 41, according to Italian media.

Genoa’s prefect’s office could not confirm the reports by the Ansa news agency and other Italian news media that the bodies were found by recovery workers overnight.

Ansa said the bodies were found inside a car smashed under a huge block of concrete from the collapse on Tuesday.

It said they were three family members, including a child, who had been travelling for a holiday when their car, with about 30 other vehicles, plunged when the bridge gave way.

Two other people are believed to be still missing as recovery work continues.

0
India, Flooding

Thousands of stranded people are waiting for rescue and officials have pleaded for more help as relentless monsoon floods batter the south Indian state of Kerala.

More than 190 have died in a little over a week and much of the state is partially submerged.

Heavy rain began hitting parts of the state again on Saturday morning, slowing attempts to deploy rescuers and get relief supplies to isolated areas cut off for days, many of which can only be reached by boat or helicopter.

More than 300,000 people have taken shelter in 1,500 state-run relief camps, officials said, but authorities and local media outlets said they were being inundated with calls for assistance.

“We are receiving multiple repetitive rescue requests,” the office of the state’s top official, Pinarayi Vijayan, said, asking those in need to provide their exact location and nearby landmarks so rescuers can find them.

Mr Vijayan’s office also tweeted that the state was “facing its worst flood in 100 years”.

Heavy rain since August 8 has triggered floods and landslides and caused homes and bridges to collapse across Kerala, a picturesque state known for its quiet tropical backwaters and beautiful beaches.

Many roads and rail lines have been shut, and one of the state’s major airports, in the city of Kochi, has also closed.

Prime minister Narendra Modi met the state’s top officials on Saturday, promising more than €61m in aid. While the central government has dispatched multiple military units to Kerala, state officials are pleading for additional help.

“Please ask Modi to give us helicopters, give us helicopters. Please, please!” state legislator Saji Cherian said on a Kerala-based TV news channel, the Indian Express newspaper reported.

Mr Modi said 38 helicopters had been deployed for search and rescue operations in the state, which has a population of more than 33 million.

“We all pray for the safety and well-being of the people of Kerala,” he said in a tweet.

At least 194 people have died in the state since torrential rain began on August 8, and 36 are missing, according to Kerala’s disaster management office.

More than 1,000 people have died in seven Indian states since the start of the monsoon season, including more than 300 in Kerala.

Officials estimate that more than 6,200 miles of roads have been damaged in Kerala, and Mr Vijayan said initial estimates are that the state has suffered losses of nearly £2.2 billion.

0

PlayStation VR has sold more than three million units, maker Sony has revealed. The virtual reality headset, which plugs directly into PlayStation 4 consoles to play games and take part in experiences, was first released in 2016.

Sony also announced more than 21 million VR games have been sold alongside the headset since its launch.
The gaming giant used the announcement to also tease two new virtual reality games coming out later this year, including boxing game Creed: Rise To Glory, which will place players in the ring and into the gloves of Adonis Creed – son of Apollo Creed of the Rocky Balboa movie franchise.

That is set to launch on September 25, with sci-fi shooting game Evasion due out on October 9.

“We’d like to thank all our fans for the amazing support, and we’re thrilled that so many of our gamers have experienced the magic of VR and stepped into the captivating worlds that electrify our senses,” PlayStation said in a blog post.

The firm revealed that The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim VR was the most played game so far on the platform, just ahead of PlayStation VR Worlds – the introductory title containing five experiences designed to acclimatise users with virtual reality.

The sales milestone is a victory for Sony, however questions remain over the consumer appeal of virtual reality, with many of the premium headsets still requiring a high-end PC or games console to run off, while budget devices are unable to offer as high quality an experience.

Sony recently revealed it had sold more than 82 million PS4 consoles.