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Calls for ‘week of uprising’ after 22 killed in Sudan protests

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Sudanese protesters have called for a nationwide “week of uprising” to increase pressure on president Omar al-Bashir.

More than 800 journalists, activists, protesters and opposition leaders have been arrested since the unrest began, and 22 people, including two security guards, have been killed.

Security forces on Thursday fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the city of Omdurman, where Amnesty International said security forces had earlier opened fire on crowds and pursued injured demonstrators into a hospital.

“There must be an urgent investigation into this horrific attack, and all officers involved must be held accountable,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

The president said he spoke against people who wanted to destroy Sudan
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The president said he spoke against people who wanted to destroy Sudan

It comes after weeks of daily protests sparked by rising food prices and cash shortages, which have developed into opposition over the 30-year regime of the president.

Mr Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, spoke at a rally of supporters in response to the protests, telling his opponents to seek power through the ballot box.

After overthrowing an elected government in 1989 the former army general has since won elections, but opponents have say they were neither free nor fair.

“Those who tried to destroy Sudan… put conditions on us to solve our problems, I tell them that our dignity is more than the price of dollars,” the leader told thousands of loyalists in the capital, Khartoum, on Wednesday.

He was likely referring to a 1997 US trade embargo on Sudan, which was lifted in October of 2017.

Pro-government protesters also gathered in the square
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Pro-government protesters also gathered in Omdurman

While the protests were sparked by the tripling of the price of bread, activists are now calling for Mr Bashir to step down.

“After successful rallies on January 6 and 9, we are now calling for a rally on Friday in Atbara,” the Sudanese Professionals’ Association, one of the protest organisers, said in a statement.

“We also urge the Sudanese people to continue with their demonstrations in their residential areas.”

Sudan’s inflation rate spiked in the last year and shortages of gas and cash became a problem – especially when the government responded by placing caps on the amount of money people could withdraw from banks.

The crackdown on protests has been condemned by rights groups and drawn international criticism from Britain, Canada, Norway and the US.

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Flight MH17: Four charged with murder over downing of Malaysia Airlines jet | World News

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Four men have been charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which killed 298 passengers and crew.

Almost five years after the Boeing 777 jet was shot down above eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, an international team of investigators announced that three Russians and a Ukrainian were to be “held accountable” for transporting the missile system used to its launch site.

The three Russians were named as former Igor Girkin, 48, Sergey Dubinskiy, 56, and Oleg Pulatov, 52, while the other man was identified as 47-year-old Leonid Kharchenko.

Part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), some 80km east of Donetsk
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Part of the Flight MH17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove, some 80km east of Donetsk

Girkin is a former colonel of the FSB, the Russian security service, Dubinskiy was once employed by GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, and Pulatov is an ex-soldier of the Spetznaz, the GRU special forces. Kharchenko is the only suspect with no military background.

The international team of detectives and prosecutors investigating the crash said the men had “co-operated closely” to obtain the weaponry – a 9M38 variant of the Buk missile system used by Russia – and position it in advance of it striking the passenger plane, which was heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking at a news conference at The Hague, Dutch police chief Wilbert Paulissen said their murder trial would begin at the same court on 9 March 2020 – although the men are unlikely to appear as their countries do not recognise extradition requests and are unlikely to co-operate with the investigation.

Chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said the failure by Russia to aid the investigation was a “slap in the face” to the families of those who died.

“We have established that there has been involvement of the Russian Federation because they made available the missile that was used to shoot down MH17,” he said.

“The Russian federation has not disclosed anything that happened and that is a slap in the face for all the relatives of the victims, and I call out to them to start co-operating.”

MH17
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The plane was heading to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Moscow did not trust the investigation, but claimed that there had been a willingness to help.

He told reporters ahead of the news conference: “Russia was unable to take part in the investigation despite an interest right from the start and trying to join in.”

A pro-Russian separatist stands at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, Ukraine
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Potential suspects include rebel forces in the area

Relatives of the victims were briefed on the updates provided in the news conference beforehand.

Silene Fredriksz-Hoogzand, whose son Bryce and his girlfriend Daisy Oehlers were among those killed, hailed the charges for the four suspects as a “good start”.

She said: “This is what we hoped for. This is a start of it. It is a good start.”

Mr Paulissen said more suspects could be identified at a later date, including those “higher up the chain of command”, but added that there is not yet sufficient evidence to do so.

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Girl, 10, is youngest person to climb 7,500ft El Capitan | US News

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A 10-year-old girl has made rock climbing history by becoming the youngest person on record to scale Yosemite’s iconic El Capitan.

Selah Schneiter, from Colorado, climbed the 7,500ft (1,100 metre) route – known as The Nose – over five days with her father Mike, an experienced climber, and a family friend.

She reached the summit on 12 June after using a rope climbing technique known as jumaring to tackle the famously steep rock formation.

After reaching the top of the granite monolith in central California, Selah celebrated her feat with a pizza.

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The 10-year-old used a rope climbing technique known as jumaring

“I just can’t believe I just did that,” she said in a video captured after her impressive achievement.

“Our big motto was ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ Small bites. One pitch at a time, one move at a time, one day at a time,” she told KFSN in Fresno.

Few adults can say they have successfully reached El Capitan’s zenith, with many experienced climbers considering The Nose to be the most iconic big-wall climb in the world.

Saleh’s father said she was in shock on reaching the peak.

Revealing she broke down in tears, Mr Schneiter said: “She said it was her first happy tears she’s ever had.

“We were tired after a long five days and camped out that night, but she was like a little kid again and wanted to check everything out, exploring almost like it was nothing.”

He said they spent time on ledges throughout the climb “just relaxing… talking about the world… talking about life”.

El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park
Image:
El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park

Selah comes from a family of hiking enthusiasts who have developed a special connection to Yosemite’s trails.

Mr Schneiter, a climbing instructor, claims to have met his daughter’s mother, Joy, while hiking in the region years prior.

Selah is now encouraging her seven-year-old brother to follow in her footsteps.

In 2017, American rock climber Alex Honnold became the first person to scale El Capitan without ropes or safety equipment.

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Mines used in tanker attacks 'strikingly' like Iran's, US says

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Pieces of mines recovered after attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman “strikingly” resemble Iranian mines, the US navy has said.

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