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Showing posts from August 4, 2014

African leaders agree steps to fight runaway Ebola outbreak

West African leaders agreed on Friday to take stronger measures to try to bring the worst outbreak of Ebola under control and prevent it spreading outside the region, including steps to isolate rural communities ravaged by the disease. The World Health Organization and medical charity Medicins Sans Frontieres said on Friday the outbreak, which has killed 729 people in four West African countries, was out of control and more resources were urgently needed to deal with it. WHO chief Margaret Chan told a meeting of the presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - the countries worst affected - that the epidemic was outpacing efforts to contain it and warned of catastrophic consequences in lost lives and economic disruption if the situation were allowed to deteriorate. "The presidents recognize the serious nature of the Ebola outbreak in their countries," Chan said after the meeting. "They are determined to take extraordinary measures to stop Ebola in their countrie

American aid worker stricken with Ebola arrives in U.S. for treatment

An American aid worker infected with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia arrived in the United States from West Africa on Saturday and walked into an Atlanta hospital, wearing a bio-hazard suit, for treatment in a special isolation unit. A chartered medical aircraft carrying Dr. Kent Brantly touched down at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, shortly before noon. Brantly was driven by ambulance, with police escort, to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment in a specially equipped room. Television news footage showed three people in white biohazard suits step gingerly out of the ambulance. Two of them walked into the hospital, one seeming to lean on the other for support. A hospital spokesman confirmed that Brantly walked into the building under his own power. Dr. Jay Varkey, an infectious disease specialist at Emory, said he could not comment on a treatment plan until Brantly had been evaluated. Since there is no known cure, standard procedures are to pr

China police detain six in tainted meat scandal: Xinhua

Police in China have detained six executives of a meat supply company at the center of the latest food safety scare to hit the country, state media reported on Sunday. _0"> Shanghai's chief of police and deputy mayor Bai Shaokang told local radio that the executives of Shanghai Husi Food, a unit of U.S.-based OSI Group LLC, had been taken into custody, Xinhua news agency said. The firm had supplied meat to foreign fast food chains McDonald's and KFC-parent Yum Brands Inc, among many others. The scandal, which also dragged in coffee chain Starbucks Corp.O>, was triggered by a local television report showing staff at Shanghai Husi using long-expired meat. The report also alleged the firm forged production dates. Food safety has been a huge concern for Chinese consumers after dairy products tainted with the industrial chemical melamine sickened many thousands and led to the deaths of six infants in 2008. Regulators closed the Shanghai Husi plant on July 20. Poli

Ramadan pilgrimage season in Saudi Arabia mostly free from MERS

Saudi Arabia reported 10 confirmed new cases of a deadly respiratory disease during Islam's fasting month of Ramadan, and subsequent Eid al-Fitra holiday, after fears that an influx of pilgrims over the period might spread the infection more widely. _0"> Notices of any new confirmed cases are published at the end of every day by the Health Ministry. Ramadan ended a week ago and the Eid al-Fitra holiday ran until late last week. Hundreds of people were infected by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the kingdom in April and May, raising concerns about the pilgrimage in Ramadan and during October's Haj, when millions of people will travel to Mecca and Medina. MERS, which is thought to originate in camels, causes coughing, fever and pneumonia in some and has killed around 40 percent of people it has infected in the kingdom. Since 2012, when MERS was identified, Saudi Arabia has reported 298 deaths from the disease and 721 confirmed cases of infection. This ye

Bodies of possible Ebola victims found in central Monrovia

The bodies of two men previously showing symptoms of Ebola lay in the streets of Monrovia for four days before being collected by health workers on Sunday, residents told Reuters. _0"> "They both gave up and dropped dead on the ground on the street of Clara Town," said resident Nema Red, referring to a district of the Liberian capital. Both men had shown symptoms of Ebola such as bleeding and vomiting before they died but scared locals had refused to take them to the hospital, she added. Information Minister Lewis Brown confirmed that the bodies had been collected, although he said they had only been there for a few hours. "I can confirm that the bodies were in the street. They have been removed," he said on Sunday. (Reporting by Derick Snyder in Monrovia and Emma Farge in Dakar; Editing by Stephen Powell)

In Liberia's capital, fear of Ebola hampers official response

Health workers turned up in Monrovia's Clara Town district on Sunday to remove two bodies of possible victims of the Ebola virus, four days after they dropped dead there when nobody would take them to hospital. At a swampy field elsewhere in the Liberian capital, the health ministry ordered 100 graves to be dug for victims of the deadly tropical virus, but only five shallow holes partly filled with water had been prepared by Saturday evening. Monrovia's overcrowded and understaffed Elwa Hospital has had to turn away Ebola cases this week, a scenario exacerbated by the withdrawal of some international staff following the infection of two U.S. health workers here. One of them has arrived for treatment in the United States and the second is due to follow on an overnight flight on Monday. Strong resistance like this from workers too afraid to handle infected corpses or communities opposed to burying them nearby has slowed down stretched West African g

U.S. doctor stricken with Ebola said to be improving

An American doctor stricken with the deadly Ebola virus while in Liberia and brought to the United States for treatment in a special isolation ward is improving, the top U.S. health official said on Sunday. Dr Kent Brantly was able to walk, with help, from an ambulance after he was flown on Saturday to Atlanta, where he is being treated by infectious disease specialists at Emory University Hospital. "It's encouraging that he seems to be improving - that's really important - and we're hoping he'll continue to improve," said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Frieden told CBS's "Face the Nation" it was too soon to predict whether Brantly would survive, and a hospital spokesman said Emory did not expect to provide any updates on the doctor's condition on Sunday. Brantly is a 33-year-old father of two young children who works for the North Carolina-based Christian organizati

U.S. doctor stricken with Ebola said to be improving

The second American aid worker who contracted the Ebola virus in West Africa was expected to arrive in Atlanta on Tuesday in serious condition, while a New York hospital was testing a man with symptoms of the deadly disease. New York's Mount Sinai Hospital on Manhattan's Upper East Side said on Monday it was testing a man who traveled to a West African nation where Ebola has been reported. The man, who had a high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms, had been placed in strict isolation and was being screened to determine the cause of his symptoms. The New York patient added to concerns about the often fatal disease after two American healthcare workers contracted it in West Africa, where they had traveled to help fight the disease that has killed nearly 900 people since February. Missionary Nancy Writebol, 59, will fly on a medical aircraft from Liberia to be treated by infectious disease specialists in a special isolation ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, accor

China's JinkoSolar must face U.S. lawsuit over pollution, protests

JinkoSolar Holding Co must face a shareholder lawsuit accusing the Chinese solar panel maker of concealing that one of its factories was dumping toxic waste into a nearby river, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Thursday. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York overturned a lower court's January 2013 dismissal of the case against JinkoSolar and its underwriters, sending the lawsuit back to U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken. The appeals court said JinkoSolar's failure to disclose "ongoing, serious pollution problems" in prospectuses for two stock offerings in 2010 "rendered misleading" statements about its other efforts to comply with Chinese environmental laws. JinkoSolar's share price fell 40 percent over three trading days in September 2011 after hundreds of people gathered at its plant on the outskirts of Haining, in China's Zhejiang province, whose pollution they claimed was killing fish in a nearby river. Some protester

Millions of jellyfish-like creatures wash up on western U.S. beaches

Millions of jellyfish-like creatures have washed up on beaches along the U.S. West Coast over the past month, giving the shoreline a purple gleam and, at times, an unpleasant odor, ocean experts said on Thursday. Though not poisonous to most people, beachgoers should avoid the animals because their venom can cause stinging in the eyes and mouth, said Steve Rumrill, an expert at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Known as Velella velella to scientists, and more informally as "by-the-wind sailors," the creatures regularly cluster offshore each spring. But it is unusual for so many to wash ashore at once, especially this late in the summer, he said. In addition to the millions that have been spotted on beaches from Southern California to Washington, millions more are floating near the ocean surface offshore, Rumrill added. Ocean experts do not know why more by-the-wind sailors are washing up this year, or why they are arriving later than usual, said Erin Paxton, s

Southwest Airlines, SeaWorld to end marketing partnership

Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld said on Thursday they are ending a longtime marketing partnership, as the airline faces pressure from animal rights groups critical of the marine life conditions at its popular tourist attractions. _0"> The companies called it a mutual decision to drop the contract when it expires at the end of the year. SeaWorld Entertainment Inc and Southwest Airlines Co began joint promotions in 1988. "The companies decided not to renew the contract based on shifting priorities," they said in a joint statement. Southwest now wants to focus on international services and local market efforts, while SeaWorld is looking to new markets in Latin America and Asia, they said. The announcement followed a petition drive by animal rights activists asking the airline to end the partnership. SeaWorld has faced increasing scrutiny over conditions for its killer whales, following last year's broadcast of the documentary "Blackfish," telling the

U.S. EPA extends 2013 biofuel compliance deadline for third time

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday extended the deadline for the third time for refiners to show compliance with 2013 federal biofuel use targets, a move quickly criticized by the oil industry. Annual compliance reports would be due 30 days after the pending publication of the final rule establishing the 2014 renewable fuel percentage standards, the agency said on its website. Thursday's move was the third extension of the 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance deadline, which was originally to have been Feb. 28 and was first pushed to June and then to September. The EPA said the extension was necessary because refiners need to know their 2014 obligations before they can determine how many biofuel credits they may need to carry over from 2013 in order to comply with this year's requirements. Final 2014 targets are expected to be sent to the White House within weeks, at which point the long-delayed rule will enter its final review before public

Tropical storm Bertha forms off the eastern Barbados coast: NHC

Tropical Storm Bertha, the second named storm of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, has formed east of the southern Lesser Antilles, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Thursday. _0"> The storm was located about 275 miles (445 km) east-southeast of Barbados, and about 385 miles (620 km) east-southeast of St. Lucia, with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (75 kph), the Miami-based weather forecasters said. The storm is moving toward the west-northwest at near 20 miles per hour (31 kph). (Reporting by Anupam Chatterjee in Bangalore; Editing by Anupama Dwivedi)

Quake of 5.5 magnitude strikes near Algerian capital: USGS

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake struck 9 miles (14 km) southeast of the Algerian capital Algiers on Friday, the United States Geological Survey said. _0"> The quake's epicenter was recorded at a relatively shallow depth of 6.2 miles. (Writing by Ron Popeski ; Editing by Michael Urquhart )

Nine months on, Philippines plans $3.9-bln effort to relocate typhoon Haiyan victims

The Philippines will spend 170 billion pesos ($3.89 billion) to rehouse some 200,000 families displaced by last year's super typhoon Haiyan that killed 6,100 people, the government said in a masterplan released on Friday. _0"> It has taken a startling nine months to hammer out the plan because crippling bureaucracy entailed lengthy vetting, say government consultants, and sparse technical data on geological hazards and land use plans held up relocation decisions. Thousands of displaced families remain in makeshift tents or substandard temporary shelter areas, but all-out reconstruction will begin soon after President Benigno Aquino approves the plan, although it is not clear when this will happen. "We are confident the rehabilitation efforts will now shift to high gear," said Panfilo Lacson, presidential assistant for rehabilitation and recovery. "We are hoping to achieve at least 80 percent completion of these priority projects before the end of the p

Quakes strike Myanmar, India's Andaman Islands; no tsunami warning

Earthquakes of magnitude 6.2 and 6.1 struck Myanmar and India's Andaman islands on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. _0"> No Tsunami warning was issued after the Andaman quake, an official at the India Meteorological Department said. The Myanmar quake struck 185 miles west of Mergui and was 19.3 miles deep, according to USGS. (Reporting by Aditya Kalra ; editing by Malini Menon)

Six die after Algerian quake sparks panic in capital

At least six people died after a magnitude 5.5 earthquake hit southeast of the Algerian capital on Friday, shaking buildings and sending panicked families rushing into the streets of Algiers, authorities said. _0"> The United States Geological Survey said the quake had struck nine miles (14 km) southeast of Algiers and its epicenter was recorded at a relatively shallow depth of 6.2 miles. There were no reports of major damage, according to Algerian state television. But four people died trying to jump from windows or escape their buildings in panic and another two died of heart attacks, a health official said. Many Algerians still have strong memories of 2003 when Algeria's strongest earthquake in years - measuring 6.7 - struck the capital and surrounding areas, killing at least 2,000 people and crumbling buildings in nearby towns. (Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Robin Pomeroy )

Rescuers in Indian landslide say hopes for survivors 'bleak'

Hopes of finding survivors in India from a landslide that swallowed up more than 100 people faded on Friday as rescuers dug through mud and debris following heavy rains, with the death toll rising to 52. Finding people alive would be extremely unlikely, said Gautam Sarkar, a senior official involved in the rescue, as hundreds of rescuers toiled to sift debris after Wednesday's landslide submerged 46 homes and almost wiped out a village. "The houses have been buried under layers of wet mud, which makes chances of survival bleak, since no oxygen can go in," Sarkar said. Nevertheless, additional earth-moving machinery was being brought in, said Alok Avasthy, operations head of a national disaster response team, who estimated the search effort would run for another two days. The number of confirmed deaths was 52, both officials said, after mud came crashing down on the village of Malin in India's western state of Maharashtra. Eight people were rescued soon after the

Monsoon rains cause floods, but fewer wildfires, in New Mexico

In normally drought-stricken New Mexico, near-historic levels of monsoon rains this month caused a sharp rise in flash flood warnings, but have dampened the risk of devastating wildfires, experts said on Friday. The city of Albuquerque saw a total of 3.4 inches of rain in July, the highest level recorded for the month since 1930 when 4.45 inches fell. Coming on the back of three years of severe drought, the downpours have washed out dozens of roads, and even a section of the Union Pacific railroad tracks south of Santa Rosa. "This is the third wettest July on record," said Don Shoemaker, spokesman for the National Weather Service's office in Albuquerque. "We have also seen a significant rise in flash floods." The National Weather Service has needed to put out more than 400 flood advisories for northern and central New Mexico since January, with 300 of them issued in July alone. So far there have been no reports of flashflood fatalities this year. That was

Trappers search for Washington state otter that attacked swimmers

Wildlife trappers in Washington state searched on Friday for a river otter blamed for a rare attack on humans that sent a boy and his grandmother to the hospital, wildlife experts said. The boy was swimming in the Pilchuck River in Snohomish County, about 36 miles (57 km) northeast of Seattle, when the otter repeatedly bit and scratched him, said Captain Alan Myers of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The boy's grandmother tried to intervene and the otter also attacked her, scratching and badly injuring her eye, he said. Both were hospitalized after the incident on Thursday and are expected to make full recoveries. "All indications are that this was unprovoked," Myers said. "Those animals do not have a tendency for aggression." River otters are semiaquatic animals that generally live along river banks and hunt for fish underwater. They are able to hold their breath for about eight minutes. An adult can weigh between 11 and 30 pounds (5 to 14

Florida Lionfish ban, nation's first, goes into effect

Florida's ban on importing invasive lionfish, the first of its kind in the nation, goes into effect on Friday as wildlife managers look for a way to control the spread of the barbed, red-and-white striped fish. Bringing the fish into the state is now punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in prison. Lionfish, native to the waters off Southeast Asia, are believed to have arrived in the region as pets for aquariums. Over time, some were released into the wild. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which approved the ban in mid-June, also loosened fishing rules making it easier for recreational divers and fisherman to catch lionfish. Scientists are concerned that lionfish will decimate other species found in Florida waters. The fish, which have few known predators, live in warm waters up to 1,000 feet deep and feed on anything from shrimp to other fish. The loinfish, which can grow up to a foot in length, are covered in poisonous spines. While they are

Investigators probe whether ferry killed humpback whale in Alaska

Authorities in Alaska are investigating whether a state ferry killed a 30-foot (9-meter), 25-ton (22.6-tonne) humpback whale in a collision near Kodiak Island, or whether the giant mammal was already dead when it was struck, officials said on Friday. Kate Wynne, a marine mammal specialist for the University of Alaska Sea Grant Program, said there was no doubt the whale died from being hit by a sea-going vessel. "It came onto the bow of the state ferry and into the harbor," said Wynne, who took part in the whale's necropsy. "Whether it was dead when it was hit by the ferry or whether it was alive, that remains the question. But some ship killed it. That's obvious." Humpback whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, and officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are overseeing the investigation, a NOAA spokeswoman said. Wynne said the state ferry Kennicott was en route to K

Three new plants protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act

A variety of sunflower found in some Southern states and two other rare plants were designated on Friday as endangered species by the U.S. federal government. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the whorled sunflower, Short’s bladderpod and fleshy-fruit gladecress for protection under the Endangered Species Act because populations of the three are dwindling to critical levels. The agency blamed the trend on a loss of natural habitats due to construction, damage from off-road vehicles and fluctuating water levels, as well as competition from invasive, non-native plants. A lack of genetic variety and relative scarcity of the plants have made the three species particularly vulnerable to extinction, it said. "Our goal is not to let anything die out. We do not have all of the knowledge to know what we can lose and what it is there for," said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the Southeast Region of U.S. Fish and Wildlife. The whorled sunflower - sometimes called the giant s

India evacuates thousands as Nepal landslide sparks flood fears

Authorities in eastern India began evacuating thousands of villagers on Saturday after efforts to clear a deadly landslide in neighboring Nepal sparked fears of flash floods downstream, government officials said. The landslide, triggered by heavy rains in Nepal's Sindhupalchowk district, killed at least nine people and buried dozens of homes. More than 100 people are believed missing. The slide has also created a mud dam blocking the Sunkoshi river, which runs into India's Bihar state as the Kosi river. Indian officials said water levels were already above the danger mark. They feared that as Nepal blasts through the landslide to clear it, a torrent of water could be unleashed inundating hundreds of Bihar's villages. "We are repeatedly appealing to villagers settled along the Kosi embankments to flee to safer places as soon as possible," the principal secretary in Bihar's disaster management department, Vyasji, who goes only by one name, told reporters.

Magnitude 6.0 quake strikes of coast of Japan

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Japan's Okinawa island on Sunday, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre. _0"> The quake struck at a depth of about 6.2 miles, 125 miles north-northeast of Okinawa's capital city of Naha. No tsunami warning was issued. (Editing by Matt Driskill)

Heavy floods in Bulgaria kill one person, trigger evacuations

Rescue teams evacuated over 500 people overnight from the small Bulgarian town of Mizia after torrential rains caused flooding that claimed at least one casualty, an interior ministry official said on Sunday. _0"> Rescue teams with boats and helicopters were still evacuating stranded people on Sunday. One man was found dead in his flooded home, said Nikola Nikolov, head of the ministry's fire safety and civil protection unit. Over 50 houses have collapsed after the Skut River, which runs through the town, burst its banks. Hundreds of houses remain under water. Another town and several villages in the northwestern area, which is close to the Danube, were also hit by floods. "It was terrible, terrible. The water kept coming and coming. My home is under water. Luckily I have an aunt who lives in the higher parts of the town. I think we will be at least 30 people in that house tonight," Valia Mircheva, a farmer from Mizia, told BTV television. The rains have

Flash flood kills four at local festival in northern Italy

A violent downpour caused a flash flood late on Saturday that swept up dozens attending a local summer festival in northern Italy, killing four men and injuring about 20 others, rescuers and officials said. _0"> About 100 people had gathered near the banks of a stream in the foothills of the Alps near the town of Refrontolo for the annual gathering when a thunderstorm hit, sending a wall of water and mud into the festival, the fire department said. "Nobody had ever seen anything like it. There were 2 meters of water. People grabbed onto trees to save themselves," Mirco Lorenzon, a local civil protection official, said in an interview broadcast by SkyTG24 on Sunday. The storm caused about 50 mudslides and much property damage in the area, Lorenzon said. Pictures and videos posted online showed cars that had been swept away in the flood lying upside-down in the stream or stranded sideways against trees. "There was an hour-and-a-half of rain so heavy that you

Farming reforms offer hope for Iran's water crisis

As a child, Mohammad Rahmanpour spent his summers swimming in Lake Orumieh in northwestern Iran - then the largest in the Middle East. In less than two decades, the saltwater lake has almost disappeared, leaving behind a hole in the ground. "My friends and I would go on the top of trees in our neighborhood. We could see the lake clearly from that point," said the 32 year-old farmer who grows wheat and beets. "Now, there is no water left and our whole ecosystem is messed up," he told Reuters by telephone from his home, which once stood one km (half a mile) from the lakeshore. Water shortages have long been a problem for countries across the Middle East, where a high birth rate, rising consumption and poor management has strained already scarce resources. But Iran has fared among the worst. The country of 76 million has survived an eight-year war with Iraq, U.S. sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program and violence on its borders. But experts say th

More than 400,000 Indians face risk of flooding after Nepal landslide

More than 400,000 people in eastern India face the risk of flooding after a landslide that killed at least nine people in neighboring Nepal, an Indian government official said on Sunday, as thousands were being evacuated. The landslide triggered by heavy rains has left scores of people missing and has created a mud dam blocking the Sunkoshi river, which runs into India's Bihar state as the Kosi river. The fear is that as Nepal tries to blast its way through the landslide to clear it, it will unleash a torrent of water across densely populated Bihar. Around 425,000 people could be affected by the floods and authorities have already evacuated 44,000 across seven districts of Bihar, said Ashok Kumar, an officer at the state's disaster management unit. "We are shifting people from the area where the water is expected to reach," Kumar said. He added that 117 relief camps have been set up in the region so far. In some places the authorities have had to force people t

Some 400,000 in Ohio without drinking water, tests show lower toxin levels

Health authorities tested water for toxins in Toledo, Ohio, on Sunday as some 400,000 people remained without safe drinking water for a second day following the discovery of high toxin levels from algae on Lake Erie. Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins said some sampling showed decreased toxin levels but results from further tests would not be known until later in the day. The city is waiting on water samples being analyzed at Environmental Protection Agency labs in Cincinnati. "All I can tell you is that everything is trending in a very positive direction," Collins told reporters, but he added that he could not predict when water would be safe to drink. About 500,000 people get water from the contaminated source but about 100,000 residents of some communities have backup water supply systems, said city of Toledo spokeswoman Lisa Ward. Toledo Public Utilities Director Edward Moore said a plan is in place to swiftly flush the system of contaminated water once the water suppl

At least 367 dead after quake hits southwest China

A magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck southwestern China on Sunday, killing at least 367 people and leaving 1,881 injured in a remote area of Yunnan province, and causing thousands of buildings, including a school, to collapse. _0"> The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake registered at a shallow depth of less than 1 mile (1.6 km). Chinese state media said it was felt most strongly in Yunnan as well as in the neighboring provinces of Guizhou and Sichuan. The official Xinhua news agency said the epicenter was in Longtoushan town in Yunnan's mountainous Ludian county. Communications have been seriously affected and rescuers have begun arriving on the scene, the report said. Pictures posted online by state media showed troops stretchering people away and cars damaged by fallen bricks. Many people rushed out of buildings onto the street after the quake hit, electricity supplies were cut and at least one school collapsed, Xinhua added, with more than 12,000 houses having col

At least 34 killed in stampede at Guinea beach concert

At least 34 people, including several children, were killed in a stampede at a beachside rap concert celebrating the end of Ramadan in Guinea's capital Conakry, medical sources said on Wednesday. Hundreds of people gathered at the Donka hospital in predominantly Muslim Guinea's capital to visit the injured and identify the dead. A Reuters reporter saw the bodies of three children among the dead, while witnesses put the number at around 10. "There are currently 34 bodies in the morgue. The list of injured keeps growing," a medical source told Reuters, requesting anonymity. "The oldest among them can't be more than 20. There are young girls among them," he said. The presidency declared a week of mourning. The head of a government agency for entertainment was removed from his post following the incident overnight, the presidency added. Witnesses said the event was attended by up to 10,000 people, mostly children and young people, who came to see popu

5 Seconds of Summer debut album tops Billboard 200 chart

Australian pop rock group 5 Seconds of Summer scored one of the year's biggest debuts on the weekly Billboard 200 chart on Wednesday, cementing its status as the latest boy band to conquer the United States. 5 Seconds of Summer's debut self-titled album sold 259,000 copies in its first week, according to figures from Nielsen SoundScan. It became the third most-streamed album on music platform Spotify, with more than 4.4 million streams last week according to the platform. For 2014, the album's first-week sales trailed only Coldplay's "Ghost Stories," which debuted with 383,000 copies in May and Eric Church's "The Outsiders," which opened with 288,000 in February. 5 Seconds of Summer, formed by Luke Hemmings, Calum Hood, Ashton Irwin and Michael Clifford, built a following as an opening act for British boy band One Direction over the past year. This year, its popularity grew with the single "She's So Perfect," which is on the de

Book Talk: Paull's 'The Bees' looks at life inside the hive

Three years ago playwright Laline Paull began to notice bees in her garden in Sussex, southeast England. Her interest was inspired by the death of a beekeeping friend. “Angie had breast cancer, and she wasn’t going to make it. I was awed at her graciousness in the face of her terror and when she died, in order to keep that feeling of how wonderful she was, I started reading about bees. She was gone but the bees were not gone.” The more Paull read the more inspired she was. “Everything I read made me think 'Wow, they do that? They fly how far? It takes how many bees their whole lives to make a teaspoon of honey?'” The result is her debut novel, "The Bees", a story of intense drama within a hive, framed by a biological integrity that intrigues and informs. Through the protagonist Flora we learn of the hive mind, the blissful scent of mother love, nectar gathering, and encroaching sickness. The pampered drones (male bees) are sketched with expert humor as the fe

Elusive Van Morrison headlines 50th Cambridge Folk Festival

When Cambridge City Council decided to hold a music festival in the historic English university town back in 1964, few expected it to be going strong 50 years later. But this year the Cambridge Folk Festival is celebrating its golden anniversary in style with headliner Van Morrison - who had to be courted for years before he agreed to attend - as well as Roseanne Cash and Sinead O'Connor. There also will be time for folksy pursuits like rapper dancing, which is a dance using a short sword, and yarnbombing - the graffiti version of knitting. It's this eclectic approach that keeps people coming back year after year to the festival, which runs from July 31 to Aug 3. And although it has evolved and expanded since the 1960s, it is still held at the compact Cherry Hinton Hall site just outside town. "We have withstood the pressure to expand the festival or move it to a larger site because we appreciate the intimacy of the performance is what people really like – the site a

Pioneer of cinema vérité director Robert L. Drew dies at 90

Award-winning American filmmaker Robert L. Drew, a pioneer of the cinema vérité documentary style, died on Wednesday in Sharon, Connecticut at the age of 90, his family said. _0"> Drew, who made more than 100 films on social issues, politics and the arts during a career that spanned more than five decades, died peacefully surrounded by children and friends. "He had been declining for some time and it was not completely unexpected," his son, Thatcher Drew, said. Drew, a former correspondent and editor at Life Magazine and a fighter pilot during World War Two, helped to develop cinema vérité, a direct type of observational or fly on the wall filming to capture reality. He also founded the documentary film company Drew Associates in the early 1960s. Many of his films were shown on television and screened at international film festivals. "He believed in the pure form of cinema vérité. It was a strict code that allowed no directing of subjects, no set up shots

Night at the museum: U.S. adults embrace art, science sleepovers

Kids have been sleeping overnight in museums across the country for years, dozing off among live sharks and dinosaur bones. Now adults are getting to join the fun. The American Museum of Natural History is hosting its first adults-only sleepover this week, with a champagne reception, live jazz and a three-course dinner. Guests will spend the night in sleeping bags beneath the iconic 94-foot-long blue whale suspended in the cavernous Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. The event sold out in three hours, organizers said. Adults-only overnights are rather rare, yet experts say they can be an excellent and innovative way for U.S. museums to attract new supporters. "Every museum is looking for a new way to engage different demographics," said Paul Johnson, a fund-raising consultant. "It's a way to engage people, get people in the door who may not otherwise come," he said. "It's about cultivating future audiences and future donors." Scores of museums of

Elusive Van Morrison headlines 50th Cambridge Folk Festival

When Cambridge City Council decided to hold a music festival in the historic English university town back in 1964, few expected it to be going strong 50 years later. But this year the Cambridge Folk Festival is celebrating its golden anniversary in style with headliner Van Morrison - who had to be courted for years before he agreed to attend - as well as Roseanne Cash and Sinead O'Connor. There also will be time for folksy pursuits like rapper dancing, which is a dance using a short sword, and yarnbombing - the graffiti version of knitting. It's this eclectic approach that keeps people coming back year after year to the festival, which runs from July 31 to Aug 3. And although it has evolved and expanded since the 1960s, it is still held at the compact Cherry Hinton Hall site just outside town. "We have withstood the pressure to expand the festival or move it to a larger site because we appreciate the intimacy of the performance is what people really like – the site a