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World in Brief: 15/9/2014

GERMANY: Police said yesterday that four firefighters had been injured, three seriously, as they tackled a blaze at warehouses in north-western Hilden.

The fire broke out in the early hours and police said that the blaze expanded with “several detonations” after firefighters arrived.

Packaging, including paper and plastic, and car tyres were stored at the site. Forty people were evacuated from nearby houses.


PORTUGAL: The leadership of the Novo Banco bank has said it will resign — just two months after being granted management of the assets of the former Banco Espirito Santo following its collapse.

Chief executive Vitor Bento said that he and two others were stepping down because their mandate had “significantly changed” since they began their roles.

Novo Banco is being prepared for sale following stabilisation of its operations.


SWEDEN: Polls showed the centre-left opposition heading for an election win yesterday.

The Social Democrats hope to rule in coalition with the Green Party. 

The party is running on a platform of increased spending on job schemes, healthcare and schools after eight years of tax cuts under the centre-right Alliance.

But even if opinion polls are borne out, they are likely to rely on winning Left Party support to form a government.


SPAIN: Thousands of people gathered in Madrid on Saturday to protest against an annual bull-spearing event which they describe as an act of extreme abuse. 

The demonstrators broke wooden spears in a symbolic act against animal torture and marched against the annual Toro de la Vega event.

During the event, men riding on horseback drive a bull into a field and then kill it with spears.


COSTA RICA: The coastguard has recovered 1.5 tons of cannabis after it was thrown out by smugglers.

 The stash was dumped during a chase across the Caribbean following a tip from the US Drug Enforcement Administration.

The country’s Public Security Ministry said at the weekend that the suspect boat escaped.

Security Minister Celso Gamboa said that the drug appeared to be headed from Jamaica to Panama.


IRAQ: Human Rights Watch called for an investigation yesterday after an air strike which exploded near a school housing displaced families killed 31 civilians, including 24 children.

The New York-based group said that three survivors from the September 1 air strike insisted there were no militants in the area at the time.

The airstrike hit the town of al-Alam, just outside Tikrit.


CAYMAN ISLANDS: A judge has sworn in a seven-member jury as the government prepares for the corruption trial of long-running ex-premier McKeeva Bush.

He faces 11 criminal charges in a trial starting today. 

Following a no-confidence vote in 2012, he was ousted after police arrested him on suspicion of misusing a government credit card and abuse of office.

Mr Bush remains leader of the oppostion United Democratic Party.


SERBIA: A German man taking part in a gay rights conference suffered life-threatening brain injuries when he was beaten in Belgrade on Saturday.

Hundreds of gay rights supporters later marched through Belgrade in protest, carrying signs saying “Stop the Violence” and “Your Policies, Our Blood.” 

Doctors said the man suffered internal bleeding and head injuries. Police have arrested three suspects.


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