London violence: Two dead, four hurt in knife and gun attacks



MPSHACKNEYCrime scene in Kingsland Road
In one of the violent incidents early on New Year’s Day, a woman was shot at a nightclub in Hackney

Two people have been stabbed to death and four others hurt in separate attacks in the early hours of the morning in London.

A man died after being stabbed outside a private party in Park Lane, in the West End, at about 05:30 GMT.

Two men, aged 37 and 29, and a woman, aged 29, were also stabbed.

About an hour earlier, a woman was fatally stabbed in Southwark and at around the same time awoman was shot at a nightclub in Hackney .

‘Security staff’

Police said the man who died at the Park Lane party appeared to be a member of security staff, as were the other two men who were hurt.

The men and the woman were treated at the scene before being taken to hospital. They are not thought to have life-threatening injuries.

Detectives have launched a murder investigation and are in the process of informing the man’s next-of-kin. A post-mortem examination is due to be held later.

Det Ch Insp Andy Partridge said: “The incident took place outside a venue that was hosting a private party.

“It appears the deceased and the two injured males were working as security staff for the party, they were attacked by a group of males who were outside trying to enter the venue.

“The female was also attacked as she assisted the security staff in closing the front door of the premises.”

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In the Southwark attack, police were called by paramedics to an address in John Ruskin Street, Camberwell, at 04:20.

A woman, aged in her early 30s, was found with stab wounds and, despite the efforts of paramedics to save her, she was pronounced dead at 04:50.

She has not been formally identified and her next-of-kin have not yet been informed.

A man, 34, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder. He has been taken to a south London police station where he remains in custody.


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Science & Environment Matt McGrathEnvironment correspondent


Science and Environment

Trump

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Image captionPresident Trump referred to temperature rises as he announced his intention to pull the US out of the Paris climate pact

President Trump’s announcement a year ago that he was withdrawing the US from the Paris climate agreement may have been the best and worst thing that could have happened to the deal, at the same time.

“The most important piece of good news, and it wasn’t a foregone conclusion, is that other countries have stayed in and doubled down on their general determination not to walk away, not to let the US ‘cancel’ the agreement,” said former US climate envoy Todd Stern, speaking at a meeting organised by the World Resources Institute in Washington this week.

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coal

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Image captionThe Trump White House is determined to revive the fortunes of US coal at all costs

In California and the western US, wildfires made more likely by climate change, continue to rage in the vineyards and forests.

In President Trump’s Washington, a bonfire of climate regulations is also burning brightly.

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The swirling edges of Hurricane Maria seen from space as it slammed into Puerto Rico

The succession of intense and deadly tropical cyclones that have barrelled across the Atlantic in recent weeks have left many people wondering if a threshold of some sort has been crossed. Is this chain of hurricanes evidence of some significant new frontier in our changing climate?

The answer is mostly no, but with worrying undertones of yes.

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The intensity of rain in the Houston area is being linked to rising global temperatures

When it comes to the causes of Hurricane Harvey, climate change is not a smoking gun.

However, there are a few spent cartridge cases marked global warming in the immediate vicinity.

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President Trump went on the attack over what he sees as a bad deal for the US

President Trump’s statement is a very clear repudiation of the Paris climate agreement and international efforts to fund climate mitigation and adaptation in poorer countries.

In many ways it is far worse than many observers had expected.

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Fragile future for US nuclear power

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The Three Mile Island nuclear installation is set to close 40 years after a partial meltdown

No one died, there were no direct health impacts, but the Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear accident burned so deeply into the US psyche that it has helped limit the future use of the power source across America.

A major factor in turning the accident into a “disaster” was timing. Just 12 days before the 1979 accident that saw a partial core meltdown at one of the two reactors at the Pennsylvania plant, The China Syndrome was released in cinemas across the US.

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Don’t tell the President: US team lauded at climate talks

Assailed by “enemies” on all sides, the most “unfairly” treated politician in the history of ever has at least had the consolation of knowing that his emissaries to the latest UN climate talks just finished in Bonn have followed his dictum to the letter. Or have they?

The new White House, in case you missed it, takes a very different view on climate change to a majority of countries in the world.

Read full articleDon’t tell the President: US team lauded at climate talks


SOS Ivanka! Can ‘first daughter’ save Paris climate deal?

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UN climate negotiators hope Ivanka Trump will heed their pleas on the Paris climate accord

Among the diplomats meeting here in Bonn, there’s a recognition that the person who’s really key to the future progress of climate talks is not in Germany but in the White House some 6,500km (4,000 miles) away.

It’s not you Mr Trump, it’s your official first daughter!

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Trump makes major change to US climate change narrative

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Coal fired power plants like this one faced restrictions under President Obama

“This is, I think, one of the most historic attacks on climate and environmental action that the US has ever seen,” said Liz Perera from the Sierra Club.

Her words are certain to cheer Trump supporters everywhere.

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Groundhog day for a keystone cop-out?

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Sections of the pipeline prepared but not yet used for Keystone XL

According to Donald Trump, the Keystone XL will be an “incredible pipeline”, but could it be that the official signing of the permit in the Oval Office will be the high point for this long-winded process?

Let’s look at some of the issues that might see TransCanada, the company behind the project, eventually walk away.

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Members of the local community have planted thousands of mangrove trees to help fight rising tides

“We’re not spending money on climate change any more,” said Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director.

“We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.”

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Oil change? Fossil fuel advocate to run State department

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Rex Tillerson is set to become Secretary of State in the Trump administration

Good news for environmental campaigners: President-elect Trump has finally nominated someone to his cabinet who actually believes in climate change science.

The bad news for those same campaigners is that this true believer happens to be CEO of Exxon Mobil, and also sees fossil fuels as critical to humanity’s survival.

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Trump nominee to rekindle climate battle?

Oklahoma’s attorney general Scott Pruitt has been nominated to head the EPA

The nomination of Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to be the next head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has two important ramifications.

The first is a clear signal from the incoming Trump administration that environmental regulations, especially as they apply to the production of energy, are set for fundamental reform.

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Trump: The best thing ever for climate change?

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On the campaign trail Mr Trump repeatedly called for the renegotiation of the Paris Climate Agreement

Since the US election result, there has been consternation among climate campaigners and many environment ministers, especially those attending the annual Conference of the Parties (COP) in Marrakech.

The fear, and fury of the green response to Donald Trump is understandable.

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The environmental costs of Heathrow expansion

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There are environmental concerns about noise, air pollution and climate change

Significant questions about the environmental impacts of Heathrow’s new runway remain unanswered in the wake of the government’s announcement.

Opponents say that the expansion will make air quality and noise pollution much worse.

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Are celebs the best hope for saving endangered species?

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Can the influence of celebrities really achieve a breakthrough in reducing demand for endangered species?

As the Cites meeting in Johannesburg ends, Matt McGrath asks whether celebrities are having a bigger impact on saving species than the international body tasked with regulating the trade in threatened animals and plants.

The poor old peregrine falcon must feel like a total loser at this point.

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CITES species meeting: ‘The only game in town’

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Poster boy: Between the 1940s and 1970s, the Nile crocodile suffered from over-zealous hunting

A big hand for the Nile Crocodile, the poster animal for the argument that regulated international trade can save endangered species.

Though perhaps a gentle round of applause from a suitable distance might be a tad more appropriate.

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Exxon: An inconvenient truth

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An ice sculpture suggests Exxon knew about the science of climate change but failed to act

In the hot and humid conditions of downtown Dallas, the #Exxonknew ice sculpture – erected by environmental campaigners to suggest the company had known about the science of climate change but had failed to act – did not last too long.

And the activists were hoping the same thing would happen to Exxon, a company that has fended off efforts to make it toe the line on climate change for a quarter of a century.

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First big test for Paris climate deal

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Do you remember the day we saved the world?

When COP President Laurent Fabius smacked down his gavel on December 12, it signalled that agreement had been reached at the UN climate conference in Paris on one of the world’s most intractable environmental and economic problems.

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Can ‘pay as you glow’ solve Malawi’s power crisis?

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This canal feeds a small-scale hydro scheme in the village of Bondo, Malawi that powers 250 homes

Two months ago, Bill Gates reminded us of a stunning bit of information.

The amount of electricity per person in sub-Saharan Africa is lower today (excluding South Africa) than it was 30 years ago.

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French revellers spend New Year’s Eve trapped on fair ride



AFP/GETTYHelicopter rescues fair ground ride users in Rennes
A helicopter was eventually called in to rescue the trapped revellers

It’s not the best way to spend New Year’s Eve, but it’s certainly an unforgettable one.

Eight French people have been rescued by helicopter after becoming trapped for eight hours atop a fair ride.

The revellers, one as young as 13, climbed aboard the 52-metre (171ft) BomberMaxxx in the Breton city of Rennes for a brief ride above the city.

But a new part broke on the attraction, and the firefighters’ ladders were too short to rescue the trapped group.

“We saw sparks, heard a big metal noise and feared the worst,” one woman told AFP news agency.

The owner of the ride, Alexandre Thiel, said the broken part blocked it and while there was no danger to those on board, “the only problem was getting them down”.

After several attempts to reach them from the ground, a helicopter arrived and one by one they were winched to safety.

The first was rescued just before midnight, with the last person reaching the ground at about 06:00 local time (05:00 GMT).

“I never thought I’d get out. It was very traumatic,” 23-year-old Antoine said. “It was long, it was cold and it was frightening.”

“Next year, I’m staying at home with my champagne and biscuits,” another man said.

A map showing the location of the Breton city of Rennes in the north-west of France, in relation to Paris

Germany adopts third gender identity for intersex people



Close up of the sex category on a German passport
Intersex people can register as the third category on birth certificates, passports and other official documents

Intersex people in Germany can now legally identify themselves as a third gender, under a new law adopted in December.

People who do not fit the biological definition of male or female can now choose the category “diverse” on official documents.

Those choosing the option will need a doctor’s certificate to register.

Intersex people are born with both male and female sex characteristics, which can appear at birth or later in life.

Other countries have approved laws in recent years to help recognise intersex people.

Austria’s constitutional court made a similar ruling to Germany’s in June, while Australia, New Zealand, Malta, India and Canada have all passed measures to redress issues facing intersex citizens.

The UN says up to 1.7% of the world’s population are born with intersex traits – about the same number of people with red hair.

This is separate from a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation.

But many face stigma, legal discrimination or even forced surgery because of these characteristics.

Jeanette was 50 when she discovered the truth about her own body
Jeanette was 50 when she discovered the truth about her own body

Germany previously allowed intersex people to opt out of choosing either male or female as a gender in 2013.

But in 2017 the country’s top court ruled it was discrimination to deny people a gender , after a person registered as female had a chromosome test confirming they were neither sex.

Germany’s parliament approved the law change last month, to come into effect on 1 January.

BBC Europe regional editor Danny Aeberhard says some people believe it is a step too far, while gender activists think the need for a doctor’s certificate will make proof harder for intersex people without physical characteristics.

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Lawyers, senators kick, as police refuse to vacate Melaye’s house


By Innocent Anaba & Henry Umoru

The siege by the  police  to  the Abuja residence of Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West in the National Assembly, entered its fourth day, yesterday, with the police showing no sign of vacating the home. It will be recalled that the Police had already disconnected electricity and water to the premises on 11 Sangha Street, Off Mississippi, Maitama, Abuja.

IGP Ibrahim Idris and Dino Melaye
IGP Ibrahim Idris and Dino Melaye

Melaye, who has had running battle with the police,  it was gathered, had promised to report to the police this week.

He had said: “Presently I’m outside Abuja. I’m a Senator of the Federal Republic of Abuja, I cannot run away. I will make myself available as soon as I’m back to town next week (this week). I am not a criminal, I have not done anything wrong.”

The police said Melaye is wanted for a case of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide committed on July 19, 2018.

Meanwhile, some lawyers and senators have kicked against the continued siege to Melaye’s home, even as the police insisted on its actions, saying “We will not retreat until Sen. Dino Melaye surrenders himself for arrest and investigation.”

Mr Norrison Quakers, SAN, said: “It is indeed unconstitutional and beyond international standard of law enforcement and in violation of the administration of criminal justice act, 2015.  I think the Senator should seek redress in court. We are not in a police state but in a constitutional democracy.”

Another  lawyer, Mr Israel Mbaebie said, “What is happening to Dino is a clear extension of what has been the sad hallmark of the excesses of this present government. It is sad. It is demeaning to all Nigerians that we are witnessing what we have never witnessed not even user the military junta years of Abacha. To imagine that we are in a democracy so called makes it all even more bizarre if not brazen.”

Some Senators who took a swipe at the Police over the invasion of Melaye’s, describe the action as barbaric and unacceptable.

Speaking with Vanguard yesterday, Senator Samuel Anyanwu (PDP, Imo East),  condemned the action of the police in very strong terms, saying that this is democracy and must not be truncated in any form.

Senator Anyanwu, who noted that the country was gradually becoming a police state, said: “ Nigeria is turning into a Police State. We believe that our democracy must be guided. Taking over the residence of Senator Dino Melaye is a sad development. The Police must as a matter of urgency, vacant the police.”

Also speaking with Vanguard, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (PDP, Kwara South) who condemned the action, described it torso witch hunt and political, adding that Senator Melaye was at the National Assembly prior to the holiday and the Police never came for him.

He however, asked the Police to stop playing politics with everything, urging them to vacate the residence with immediate effect.

Senate President Bukola Saraki had earlier faulted the move, arguing that the timing of the action by the police and the claim that Senator Melaye had been invited were not true.

“The general belief now is that the Police action against Senator @dino_melaye is aimed at keeping him out of circulation so that he would not participate in the general elections in February 2019,” Saraki tweeted.

He added, “Though the police in their statement claim that there was a request to the Clerk of the National Assembly, CNA, inviting Senator Melaye to report to the police, my enquiry from the CNA showed that he had no such letter.”

Meanwhile, the police in a statement, by Jimoh Moshood, Force Public Relations Officer yesterday, maintained their ground, saying “Senator Melaye is wanted by the Police for a case of Criminal Conspiracy and Attempted Culpable Homicide, committed on July 19, 2018, when Senator Melaye and his armed thugs attacked Police personnel; shot and wounded Sgt. Danjuma Saliu, attached to 37 Police Mobile Force (PMF) on stop and search duty along Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Road in Kogi State.

“Police operatives with a duly obtained warrant of arrest deployed to arrest Senator Melaye in his residence in Abuja will not retreat until Senator Melaye surrenders himself for arrest and investigation.

“It is on record that the Police investigators submitted a Letter of Invitation July 23, 2018, by the Commissioner of Police, Kogi State Police Command addressed to the Clerk, National Assembly, Abuja, inviting Senator Melaye to report on July 26, 2018 at 1100Hrs at the Kogi State Police Command, CIID, Lokoja to answer to a case of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide against him under investigation in the Kogi State Police Command.

“The claim by the Senate President in the media that the Police did not submit a letter of invitation to the Clerk of the National Assembly is therefore, incorrect as can be seen on attached letter with acknowledgment stamp of the Clerk, National Assembly, Abuja “July 24.”  Despite this, Senator Dino bluntly refused to report himself to the Police till date.

“For avoidance of doubt, attached to this statement are the copies of pictures of the shot Police Officer, Sgt. Saliu, the Police Invitation letter addressed to the Clerk of National Assembly, Abuja and the medical report from the Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State, confirming the admission of Sgt. Saliu into the hospital for treatment of the gunshot injury he sustained from the attack by Senator Melaye and his armed thugs while on stop and search duty along Aiyetoro Gbede, Mopa Road in Kogi State on July 19, 2018.

“The Police Officer, Sgt. Saliu, is yet to recover from the gunshot injury he sustained during the attack and still under intensive medical care in the hospital.

“The force will ensure a thorough investigation into this matter while making sure that the rule of law prevails and that no suspect no matter how highly placed, involved in any criminal matter escape justice.

“We will not retreat until Sen. Melaye surrenders himself for arrest and investigation,” he said.


Van ploughs into Tokyo pedestrians headed for New Year’s prayers



AFPPolicemen stand next to a car which ploughed into pedestrians on New Year day in Tokyo, Japan, January 1, 2019.
A male student is in critical condition after the incident

A small van has ploughed into pedestrians celebrating the new year on one of Tokyo’s most famous streets.

The man driving the car fled the scene but was later arrested by police for attempted murder.

Nine people were injured, one seriously, by the attacker who struck in the Harajuku fashion district shortly after midnight.

The street, which was sealed off to traffic, was packed with people heading to a shrine for New Year’s prayers.

The 21-year-old driver of the van was identified as Kazuhiro Kusakabe.

Police told broadcaster NHK that he initially told them he had conducted a terrorist act, but then later claimed it was related to executions. It was not clear if he was referring to a specific execution or capital punishment in general.

Kyodo news agency cites investigative sources saying a tank of kerosene had been found in his car and that he had allegedly planned to burn down the vehicle.

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AFPTakeshita Street sign with ambulance in the background

Takeshita Street in Shibuya ward is a popular shopping area known for its quirky fashion and youth culture. It also attracts international tourists in large numbers.

NHK footage showed the van with a smashed front and paramedics carrying the injured on stretchers into ambulances.

Eight people were hit by the car with one of them, a male student in critical condition in hospital.

A ninth person was assaulted by the driver after he got out of the vehicle.


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