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Iran plane crash kills all 66 people on board

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A plane crash in southern Iran has killed all 66 people on board, according to a spokesman for Aseman Airlines.

The 24-year-old ATR-72, a twin-engine turboprop, departed Tehran at around 8am local time and crashed about an hour later.

The plane went down near the remote mountain town of Semirom, about 390 miles south of Iran’s capital Tehran.

It had been heading to the southern city of Yasuj, in Isfahan province.

Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai said there had been 60 passengers, including one child, with six crew members on board.

He added: “After searches in the area, unfortunately we were informed that the plane crashed.

“Unfortunately, all our dear ones lost their lives in this incident.”

The plane is thought to have crashed into Mount Dena, which is around 1,440ft high and a sub-range within the Zagros Mountains.

According to Mehr News Agency, the plane appeared to be attempting an emergency landing on farmland when it crashed.

Some local residents were reported to have heard the crash but state TV said nobody has reached the scene yet.

Foggy conditions are preventing helicopters from getting there and Iran’s Red Crescent has deployed workers on foot to “provide assistance”.

Aseman is a semi-private air carrier that specialises in flights to remote airfields in Iran and also flies to some international destinations.

The carrier, Iran’s third largest, has 29 planes, including six ATR aircraft, according to plane-tracking website FlightRadar24.

Iran’s passenger planes have suffered during decades of international sanctions, with the aged fleet being involved in a number of accidents.

After the 2015 nuclear deal, the country signed deals to buy dozens of new passenger planes, including a $536m (£382m) deal with ATR last April for at least 20 aircraft.



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US Capitol riots: Police break silence on ‘brutal, medieval style combat’ | US News

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Police involved in protecting the Capitol building last week have spoken for the first time describing what happened as “brutal, medieval style combat”.

The officers were outnumbered by hundreds of rioters, who federal prosecutors claim were intending to “capture and assassinate officials”.

Officer Daniel Hodges was nearly crushed to death in the violence. Disturbing video shows him trapped by a metal door, bloodied and screaming for help.

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump face off with police during a "Stop the Steal" protest outside of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. U.S. January 6, 2021. Picture taken January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith
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Supporters of Donald Trump face off with police before breaching the Capitol building

“They were calling us traitors, shouting at us, telling us to remember our oath, and eventually, they attacked us,” he said.

“At that moment in the hallway where I was pinned, I was there to do my best to keep them out, obviously, and the way I was doing that was with my body.”

At times, he said, he thought he wouldn’t survive.

“There was chaos, someone managed to get his thumb in my eye and start gauging my eye,” he said.

“That was the second time I thought it might be the end, or I might be maliciously disfigured.”

The police officers’ accounts of the chaos and the violence brings a chilling new understanding to what the world witnessed.

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Nancy Pelosi has spoken of visiting Auschwitz – and then seeing anti-Semitic T-shirts among Capitol rioters

The footage is still being carefully studied by investigators.

In one video, police officer Michael Fanone can be seen being pulled from the building.

He was then beaten by the pro-Trump thugs on the steps of America’s seat of democracy.

He said: “Guys were grabbing at my gear, I had my badges ripped off, my radio was ripped off, one of my ammunition magazines was stripped from my belt and guys were trying to grab my gun and they were chanting: ‘Kill him with his own gun’.

“I thought… I could shoot them, they’re trying to kill me and I’m justified, but if I did that I’d provide them with the justification they needed to kill me.

“So then I thought I could appeal to someone’s humanity and I just started yelling that I have kids.”

A supporter of Donald Trump carries a Confederate battle flag in the US Capitol
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A supporter of Donald Trump carries a Confederate battle flag in the US Capitol

Another police officer, Eugene Goodman, has also been feted for his bravery and is now in line for the congressional gold medal.

In video that has emerged he can be seen armed with just his baton and, at great risk, diverting the insurrectionists away from the unguarded entrance to the Senate, allowing members to escape.

But as some police officers are lauded for their heroism, others are being investigated. It is thought some had a role in the chaos.

The wider investigation is beginning to gather pace and so far there have been nearly 100 arrests.

Authorities are still trying to identify more suspects, including the man wanted in connection with the murder of police officer, Brian Sicknick.

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And it is feared there could be more attacks in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.

Thousands of National Guard troops are fanned out across the capital, fortifying institutions.

This city now has all the hallmarks of a war zone. It is a sad reflection of the state of politics in a country which feels increasingly under siege.

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COVID-19: Global coronavirus deaths pass two million – just over a year since outbreak began | World News

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Global deaths linked to coronavirus have passed two million – just over a year since it was first identified in China.

The US has recorded the highest number at over 389,000 – and more than 23 million cases, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Brazil – where several new variants have recently been identified – is second with over 207,000 deaths.

India and Mexico are next, with roughly 152,000 and 137,000 respectively.

The UK has recorded the fifth-highest death toll – and the highest in Europe – with more than 87,000 deaths recorded within 28 days of a confirmed positive test. Italy follows closely behind with around 80,000.

Global deaths from coronavirus hit one million on 29 September – it has taken 108 days to reach two million.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the death toll had been “made worse by the absence of a global coordinated effort” on vaccination.

“Science has succeeded, but solidarity has failed,” he said.

While wealthy nations have already given millions of doses, things have barely got off the ground in poorer countries with large populations – meaning deaths from the virus are likely to remain high for a long time.

“Behind this terrible number are names and faces – the smile that will now only be a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” said Mr Guterres.

It is little over a year since the World Health Organisation (WHO) put out its first bulletin on COVID-19, warning that a “pneumonia of unknown cause” had been identified in China.

At that stage, it said the country had reported 44 patients of which 11 were severely ill, and that the outbreak had been linked to a wet market in the sprawling city of Wuhan.

Thailand confirmed the first case outside China on 13 January, and France reported three cases – the first in Europe – on 24 January.

America’s first case was in Washington state on 21 January – in a man who had recently been to Wuhan.

By the end of January, the WHO’s emergency committee declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The first UK cases were confirmed on 31 January – in two Chinese nationals at a York hotel – one of whom was a student at the city’s university.

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Uganda: Are armed government troops using intimidation tactics? | World News

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Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has a large house about an hour outside Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

After sending out a couple of panicky-sounding tweets on Friday saying members of the military were encroaching on his property, that his property had been essentially surrounded by the military, we drove out there as quickly as we could.

We found him at the edge of the lawn, where there is then a gate and a fence and a hill which leads down to more of his property, which is forested.

Bobi Wine with the security guard he claims was attacked
Image:
Bobi Wine with the security guard he claims was attacked

He was somewhat anxiously examining his land.

Mr Wine told us that he had seen troops – soldiers on the property – that they had come and beat one of his guards up.

We were introduced to the guard who had suffered some facial injuries. And then he took us and a small number of other journalists on a tour of his property.

We went down a hill into some of the trees, around the corner and we saw a group of about five uniformed men armed with automatic weapons.

A spokesman for the military said troops were in the area to protect Mr Wine
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A spokesman for the military said troops were in the area to protect Mr Wine

One of them picked up his weapon and pointed it at us. And we, along with Bobi Wine, ran for cover.

I must say, at no stage was one of the weapons discharged, but it was a frightening experience.

We ran back up to the main house, had a chat with Bobi Wine, who said this was an example of the intimidation that he has faced during the campaign and increasing intimidation now that the election results are expected.

Polls have closed in Uganda with president Yoweri Museveni, who is 76, seeking a sixth term in office.

But he is facing a strong challenge from Mr Wine, a former reggae singer who is half his age.

Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986. File pic
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Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986

Results are expected to be delivered by the Election Commission on Saturday.

But Mr Wine says the government is trying to put him in his place.

It is certainly an unusual, a highly unusual way to treat a presidential candidate in this election or in any election.

He has run a very strong campaign. He has fired up certainly younger members of the electorate in this country.

A military spokeswoman said any soldiers in the area were there to protect him.

And a Kampala police spokesman told NTV Uganda that three unidentified people had tried to enter Mr Wine’s property and one had been arrested.

But this does sound and look like government intimidation to me. On another side of the property, through a chain link fence, we could see soldiers and plainclothes men with weapons as well.

I tried to speak to them. They said nothing.

Bobi Wine is the country’s best known and most effective opposition leader – but this is a very uncomfortable place for him to be at the moment.

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