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World in brief: September 1 2015

News from China, Malaysia, Egypt, Nigeria, United States, Spain And India

Tianjin deaths rise to 158

CHINA: The death toll from last month’s blast at a Tianjin warehouse rose to 158 yesterday.

Fifteen people remain missing including 10 firefighters.

Firefighters also make up the majority of the casualties, with 94 having died while trying to control the blaze.

Tianjin authorities pledged at the weekend that people would be compensated for damaged property.

PM uses speech to condemn protesters

MALAYSIA: Embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak used his National Day speech to condemn protesters for their “shallow minds.”

Mass demonstrations of up to 300,000 people had demanded his resignation at the weekend over 2.6 billion ringgit (£400 million) which appeared in his account, seemingly from a public-sector company.

But Mr Najib said that protesting on the eve of National Day showed “poor national spirit” and there was never an excuse to “disrupt public order” in a democracy.

Cleric denies call to prayer change

EGYPT: Cleric Mahmoud Maghazi yesterday angrily denied altering the dawn call to prayer to mention Facebook.

Locals allege that he changed the line “prayer is better than sleep” to “prayer is better than Facebook” on Sunday morning.

The Religious Endowments Ministry has ordered an investigation, but Mr Maghazi told Egyptian TV: “I don’t know what Facebook is and I don’t know how it is spelt,” before accusing his accusers of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Boko Haram looks to move on Lagos

NIGERIA: Religious fanatics Boko Haram are seeking to extend their operations to Lagos, officials warned yesterday following a weekend of butchery in Borno state.

Borno Governor Kashim Shettima said the Islamist extremist organisation had killed 56 villagers in a remote part of the state at the weekend.

“I want us all to understand that the Boko Haram crisis is a calamity that has befallen us, as the insurgents do not discriminate.”

Mount McKinley name returned

UNITED STATES: President Barack Obama returned North America’s tallest peak to its original name of Denali, meaning “the tall one.”

It had been known as Mount McKinley since 1896 in honour of soon-to-be US president William McKinley, who never visited Alaska, where it is situated.

Mr Obama will become the first sitting president to visit the Alaskan Arctic and its indigenous population in a trip this week aimed at highlighting the impact of climate change.

Foreign minister quits to marry Pres

TRANS-DNIESTER: President Yevgeny Shevchuk of the breakaway republic — regarded by all UN member states as part of Moldova — announced yesterday that his foreign minister Nina Shtanski was quitting her job to marry him.

“She will leave for another job and no longer be minister,” he declared. News agency Novosti Pridnestrovia confirmed that Ms Shtanski would “soon fulfil the obligations of the president’s wife.”

Two dead in factory explosion

SPAIN: At least two people were killed and four more were missing after an explosion at a fireworks factory yesterday in Pinseque, near Zaragoza.

A further six were injured and were being treated in hospital, local police said.

Police and firefighters were searching for the missing workers. Further blasts at the factory were hindering the operation, they said.

Academic murdered by extremists

INDIA: Academic Malleshappa M Kalburgi was murdered by suspected religious extremists at the weekend, police said yesterday after his cremation.

The secular author had campaigned against “idol-worship” and superstition — prompting death threats from radical Hindu groups.

Mr Kalburgi had been given police protection after the threats began last year, but it was removed two weeks ago at his own request.

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