Two Palestinians have died from the swine flu H1N1 virus in the West Bank, a Palestinian medical official said. So far 14 Palestinians have fallen victim to the deadly virus this winter. In Lebanon, the malicious virus also took the life of a 28-year-old man. H1N1 influenza has killed 25 people in Jordan in recent years. The H1N1 epidemic erupted in Mexico in 2009, spreading into a worldwide pandemic that has caused at least 17,000 deaths.
Five people have been hospitalized after a bus overturned on the M3 motorway in the UK. The accident involved a 40-seater Dutch coach carrying 26 passengers when it overturned and ended up in bushes at the side of the road. No passengers were thought to have been seriously hurt in the crash.
Fifteen men have been killed in a shootout in the Philippines after they ignored a military checkpoint. Local papers report that the gunfire lasted for 10 minutes after a vehicle failed to stop at the boundary of two towns. A police officer suffered a wound to his hand. Eleven of the 13 men died at the scene, while two died on the way to the hospital. Eight pistols and two rifles were recovered after the shooting.
Several people are missing presumed dead Sunday after wildfires ravaged the Australian island of Tasmania, destroying more than 100 homes and forcing thousands to flee. Police have been going door to door in the worst hit town of Dunalley and Boomer Bay to search for the missing. Fire crews have downgraded two major blazes from emergency to ‘watch and act’ status. But the Tasmanian Fire Service estimates that there are still “hundreds of kilometers of uncontrollable” fire burning in forested areas that are difficult to access. Calmer conditions are expected in the new few days which will give a reprieve for fire crews.
Nelson Mandela, former South African President and civil rights icon has recovered from a lung infection and surgery to remove gallstones, a government statement said on Sunday.“The medical examiner said president Mandela has made steady progress and that clinically, he continues to improve,”
the statement added, citing Mandela’s doctors. Mandela, 94, has spent nearly three weeks in hospital and is now receiving treatment at home in Johannesburg.
The father of an Indian woman who died after being gang-raped on a bus in New Delhi has said in an interview with British newspaper the Sunday People that he wants his daughter to be named to “give courage” to other female victims of sexual assault. The 23-year-old psychology student died in a Singapore hospital two weeks after the attack in New Delhi, which sparked huge street protests and promises from the government to be tougher on rapists. The Sunday People named the woman and her father, saying that he had given them permission to do so. The father previously called for new legislation on sex crimes to be named in honor of his daughter.
Mohamed Magarief, the head of Libya's General National Conference, has escaped an assassination attempt while on a trip to the southern city Sabha. Gunmen attacked the hotel where Magarief was staying an engaged in a three-hour gun battle with his bodyguards, three of whom were wounded, the politician told state TV. An investigation is underway to identify the gunmen.
At least 10 suspected Taliban militants were killed by US drone strikes in northern Pakistan on Sunday, Reuters reported. The strikes targeted three militant compounds in Southern Waziristan. Fighters belonging to the Punjabi Taliban were believed to be occupying the compounds, intelligence officials said, adding that the estimated death toll is likely to rise.
An avalanche has killed two skiers in the Fiemme Valley in northern Italy, just a day after six Russian tourists died in a snowmobile accident in the same area. The bodies of the two men, both of whom were expert skiers working at an Alpine police training center, were found buried in snow on Sunday morning. Meteorologists have warned that a recent increase in temperatures and high winds has heightened the risk of avalanches in the area.
Two suicide bombings have struck a meeting of community leaders in Afghanistan's restive province of Kandahar, killing at least four people and injuring 15, officials reported. One gunman opened fire on guards at the entrance of the council building, forced his way inside and detonated his vest; the second attacker drove a vehicle packed with explosives into the building. The blasts were followed by small arms fire, witnesses said. The attack targeted a weekly meeting of a local council gathered at an administrative building. The building was badly damaged by the explosions, raising fears that some people could be trapped under the rubble. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing.
At least 11 people have died, including four children, and dozens more were injured in a car crash in western Colombia. The deaths occurred when a bus crashed into a hill while heading from the city of Quibdo to the capital Bogota, police said. The bus driver reportedly fell asleep at the wheel, as he had been driving for more than 12 hours.
Former Georgian Minister of Justice Zurab Adeishvili has been criminally charged in absentia, Georgian media reported. Adeishvili is accused of “organizing the inhuman treatment of inmates.” The criminal case, which began in December, is investigating a September scandal in which a video showing prisoners being tortured by guards appeared online. Adeishvili and his family fled the country shortly afterwards in October. The former minister asked for political asylum in Belgium, which was granted, Georgian TV network Imedi reported.
Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has been denied entry to Kosovo. The ban is a response to Serbia refusing entry to Kosovan ministers, Kosovan Deputy Premier Hajredin Kuci said. President Nikolic was attempting to visit the Gracanica monastery in Kosovo to attend Christmas services. He will be granted permission to enter the country only after Belgrade allows Kosovan officials to enter southern Serbian territories, where ethnic Albanians are the majority, Kuci added.
Ten of Egypt’s cabinet ministers are to be reshuffled, state media said Saturday. The Interior and Finance ministers are among 10 being replaced. The man who will now go to the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8bn loan will be economist El-Morsi El-Sayed Hegazy. Meanwhile the post of Interior Minister will be assumed by police General Mohammed Ibrahim. The new members are scheduled to take oaths office on Sunday, the state-run MENA said.
Sudan President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan President Salva Kiir have agreed to an immediate implementation of a deal to demilitarize their disputed shared border region, reopening S.Sudan oil exports to the north through Sudan's pipelines. The African Union mediator Thabo Mbeki said that the two presidents agreed to the "speedy, unconditional and coordinated" implementation of the agreements made back in September 2012.
At least 26 people have been killed over the past 24 hours in drug-related crimes in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa, authorities announced. The six people killed in Sinaloa were tortured before they were shot dead, police said. Chihuahua and Sinaloa are the two hardest-hit states in Mexico's violent drug war. Since 2006, when the military was deployed to battle the drug cartels at least 70,000 people have died in drug-related violence, according to government estimates.