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1 February, 2015

15:43

Russian skiers sweep 30km free style podium at Universiade in Slovakia

Andrey Larkov has won the first place in the 30 km free style race with the best result of one hour 16 minutes 20.1 seconds, Raul Shakirzyanov was second and Artyom Nilolayev third. The competition was held on the eighth day of the Universiade in Tatras, Slovakia. The Russian team is in first, winning a total of 13 gold, 12 silver and 13 bronze medals, followed by Kazakhstan and Poland.

13:46

​Blast in Damascus kills six in apparent terrorist attack

An explosion in central Damascus killed six people and injured 20 others close to Hamidiyeh market, Reuters reported. The terrorist group Al-Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the attack that targeted a bus believed to have been carrying Shiite pilgrims from Lebanon. The group said it was a suicide bombing.

11:14

​1,000s return to Hong Kong street protests after months-long pause

An estimated 12,000 protesters guarded by 2,000 police officers walked the streets of Hong Kong’s shipping and financial districts. A repetition of similar protests almost three months ago, the demonstration called on “true democracy” in the former British colony – that is less involvement of the central government in Beijing into the life of the city. The turnout was smaller than the 50,000 anticipated by the organizers. The rally went off peacefully, with protesters not trying to lock down the streets the way they did last year.

10:23

​Russians dominate at European Figure Skating Championship, Russian women sweep medals

Russian women swept the entire podium at the European Figure Skating Championship in Stockholm, securing the country’s leading position in the event. Gold medal winner Elizaveta Tuktamysheva shared her triumph with Elena Radionova and Anna Pogorilaya, who took silver and bronze, respectively. Earlier, Russians Maksim Kovtun and Sergey Voronov took the podium with second and third places at the event, standing next to Spaniard Javier Fernández, the gold medalist. In the pairs, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov led after the short program, edging 1.5 points ahead of Russian compatriots Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov. The free program part of the competition is scheduled for Sunday.

10:10

​Birth control pill inventor dies at 91

Carl Djerassi, the chemist credited for creating oral contraceptives, has died of cancer complications in his San Francisco home, Stanford University reported. Djerassi, who was 91, was professor emeritus of chemistry at the university. The scientist led a team of researchers in Mexico City who in 1951 developed norethindrone, the key component of oral contraceptives, thus paving the way for a radical change in sexual practices around the world.

09:48

Sudanese rebels release detained UN workers

Six Bulgarian UN humanitarian workers who were earlier held by rebels in Sudan’s central and violence-prone mixed province of South Kordofan have been released, according to the Bulgarian foreign ministry. “They are in good health and are in a safe place with a team of the United Nations Food Programme,” spokeswoman Betina Zhoteva told reporters.

09:33

​Jordan condemns IS slaying of Japanese hostage

Jordan condemned on Sunday the killing of Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist, by the Islamic State jihadist group. The IS demanded the release of a female terrorist from a Jordanian prison in exchange for Goto’s release. The fate of a Jordanian pilot also held by the Islamists remains unknown, but the government in Amman says it is doing everything possible to secure his release.

08:52

Boko Haram opens fresh attack on major Nigeria city of Maiduguri

Fighters from the insurgent Islamic group initiated an assault on the northeast Nigeria city of Maiduguri, triggering an hours-long fight with troops for control of the Borno state capital, witnesses told AFP. Witnesses said Boko Haram rebels opened hostilities around 3:00 am (0200 GMT) and that heavy fighting was ongoing at the southern edge of the city. "The whole city is in fear," said resident Adam Krenuwa. "People are afraid of what will happen if Boko Haram defeats the security forces." The group’s last effort to seize Maiduguri just one week ago was repulsed by the military. However, the militants managed to seize the town of Monguno just 125 kilometers (80 miles) outside the city, as well as a military base.

07:31

Search resumes for 86 still missing from December’s AirAsia crash

Indonesian rescue teams have on Sunday resumed the search for the bodies of 86 passengers still missing after the AirAsia plane crash on December 28, a local authority has said. There were 162 people on board. The national search and rescue agency has had to take a two-day break, owing to bad weather conditions in the Java Sea. A total of 68 rescue divers from this and related agencies set about raising the airplane’s fuselage, as the “focus today is to find bodies that could be trapped” there or “buried in the mud” on the seabed underneath, the official, who is also coordinating the search, told AFP. New evidence has revealed one of the pilots' negligence, now thought to have led to the crash.