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No need for international investigators into Khashoggi murder, says Saudi Arabia | World News

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Saudi Arabia has refused to allow any international investigators to look into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, saying those responsible are already facing justice.

Bandar bin Mohammed al Aiban, president of the Saudi Arabia’s human rights commission, described Mr Khashoggi’s killing as both an “unfortunate accident” and a “heinous crime”.

He said those on trial in connection have had three hearings with their lawyers present but he neglected to provide further information.

Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkey said Saudi authorities should disclose the names of defendants and the charges they face if it wanted to avoid questions over the “sincerity of judicial proceedings in the kingdom”.

The journalist appeared relaxed when he walked into the consulate on 2 October
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Mr Khashoggi’s last moments alive were captured on CCTV

Mr al Aiban’s comments formed part of the Saudi response during the UN’s periodic review in Geneva, where countries offer recommendations to others to improve their human rights record.

Some 258 recommendations of areas to improve were made, with the Saudis accepting 182 of them and noting (essentially disagreeing with) 76.

Mr al Aiban rebuffed recommendations made by a number of UN countries for steps to, as the UK requested, “ensure [a] comprehensive and transparent investigation”, with, as Iceland suggested, “international experts” into the murder.

Mr al Aiban also said the case of the detained women’s rights activists was based in law and was not an attack on human rights. Saudi Arabia says the detainees are “traitors”.

Allegations of torture against the detainees was denied again by the Saudis, with Mr al Aiban saying “legislation in our country criminalised torture in all forms and aspects” and that if anyone was found to have been tortured then Saudi Arabia “provides them with all means of redress”.

He also denied the existence of secret detention centres in his country.

Three of the women among the detained, Nouf Abdulaziz, Loujain Al-Hathloul and Eman Al-Nafjan, have been awarded the PEN America/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, a prestigious accolade from the long-standing organisation dedicated to free speech through writing.

Loujain al-Hathloul. Pic: Family handout
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Loujain al-Hathloul has been detained for 10 months. Pic: Family handout

“These gutsy women have challenged one of the world’s most notoriously misogynist governments, inspiring the world with their demand to drive, to govern their own lives, and to liberate all Saudi women from a form of medieval bondage that has no place in the 21st century,” said Suzanne Nossel, CEO of PEN America.

The human rights review coincided with reports from Yemeni military officials that the Saudi-led coalition launched airstrikes which mistakenly killed and wounded forces allied with the government, who the coalition support.

Eight border guards were killed and 33 others wounded when the coalition bombed an area along the Yemen-Saudi border on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia and Arab allies have been fighting in Yemen for more than four years against the Iran-backed Houthis, who drove a Saudi-backed government into exile in 2014.

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Cyclone Idai may have killed 1,000 people in Mozambique, says country’s president | World News

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Four days after Cyclone Idai struck Mozambique, there are fears it may have killed more than 1,000 people in the country.

It is thought to have been the most destructive storm to have hit the southeast African nation in more than 10 years.

Widespread flooding has left whole villages submerged and bodies were floating in the water, as some areas were completely cut off by road.

Mozambique’s president Filipe Nyusi said the official number of dead was 84 but added “it appears that we can register more than 1,000 deaths”.

He also said it was a “real disaster of great proportions”.

“The waters of the Pungue and Buzi rivers overflowed, making whole villages disappear and isolating communities, and bodies are floating,” he said.

Aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Beira, Mozambique
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Buildings have been damaged by the powerful storm

President Nyusi spoke after flying over the central port city of Beira and the rural provinces of Manica and Sofala, where there was severe flooding.

According to the Red Cross, 90% of Beira, which has 500,000 inhabitants, has been damaged or destroyed.

Jamie LeSueur, who led a Red Cross aerial assessment of the city, said the damage was “massive and horrifying”.

“The situation is terrible,” he said. “The scale of devastation is enormous.”

“Communication lines have been completely cut and roads have been destroyed. Some affected communities are not accessible.”

A destroyed car amid the destruction caused by the cyclone in Beira, Mozambique
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A wrecked car is pictured in Beira following the cyclone

Mozambique was hit last Thursday before the cyclone moved inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

More than 215 people have been killed by the storm in the three countries, including 89 in Zimbabwe, official figures show. And hundreds more were reported missing.

In Zimbabwe’s Chimanimani district, rescuers were struggling to reach people cut off after torrential rains and winds up to 105mph swept away roads, homes and bridges and knocked out power lines.

UN agencies and the Red Cross have been helping with the rescue efforts that included delivering food and medicine by helicopter in the impoverished countries.

Mozambique is a long, narrow nation with a population of 30 million people, and has a 1,500-mile coastline along the Indian Ocean.

This time of year, it is prone to cyclones and tropical storms, and was struck by severe flooding from Cyclone Eline in February 2000.

That storm killed 350 people and made 650,000 homeless across southern Africa, including Zimbabwe.

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Utrecht tram shooting: Suspected gunman arrested | World News

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A suspected gunman wanted over the Utrecht tram shooting has been arrested, a Dutch police chief says.

At a press conference, Prosecutor Rutger Jeuken confirmed that the Turkish-born suspect, identified as Gökmen Tanis, had previously been arrested, without giving further details.

Three people killed and five injured after the shooting on tram in Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday.

Turkey’s official Andadolu news agency said the suspect’s relatives believe the gunman’s motive appeared to be family related.

Citing the gunman’s relatives, it said the gunman fired at his relative over “family reasons” and later shot at others trying to help.

The father of the 37-year-old suspect said his son should be punished if he is to blame.

Mehmet Tanis, who lives in Turkey’s central Kayseri province, told Demiroren news agency that he had not spoken to his son in 11 years.

“If he did it, he should pay the penalty,” he said.

The city was put into lockdown after the deadly shooting shortly after rush house, which authorities said was an apparent terrorist attack.

Police conducted raids in several locations and helicopters hovered over the usually quiet town before the suspect’s arrest.

Authorities raised the terrorism threat in Utrecht to its highest level as schools were told to shut their doors.

Paramilitary police also increased security at airports, other vital infrastructure and mosques.

Police released a photo of the suspect a few hours after the attack and said he was “associated with the incident”.

Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said there could be more than one attacker.

“We cannot exclude, even stronger, we assume a terror motive. Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more,” Mr van Zanen said.

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Utrecht tram shooting: Three people killed in possible terror attack | World News

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Three people have been killed and five injured in a shooting on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

The city’s mayor Jan van Zanen said authorities were treating the incident, which happened just before 11am local time, as a terrorist attack.

He said: “We cannot exclude – even stronger, we assume – a terror motive.

“Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more,” he added.

As he spoke, police were seen at a number of properties in the city but they seemed particularly interested in an apartment block a few hundred metres from the shooting.

Utrecht
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Police closed off the scene and there have been very few witness accounts reported

Local media reported that the building was connected to the gunman, but police did not confirm this.

During the afternoon, police released a CCTV image of Gökmen Tanis, a Turkish-born 37-year-old man whom they said was “associated with the incident”. They warned he should not be approached by members of the public.

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After the shooting, police moved quickly to close the scene and there were very few witness accounts reported by those who saw the incident.

A police officer with a service dog in Utrecht, Netherlands
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A police officer with a service dog near the scene of the shooting

But Jimmy de Koster, who lives nearby, told RTV Utrecht that several shots had been fired and that he had seen a woman lying on the ground shouting: “I didn’t do anything.”

Mr De Koster said: “At that moment I heard pang pang pang three times, four men walked very fast towards her and they tried to drag her away and then I heard pang pang pang again and those guys let go of that woman again.”

Bernhard Jens, a police spokesman, said one person may have fled the scene by car, and that the possibility of more than one gunman being involved had not been ruled out.

Soon after the attack, Dutch authorities raised the terror alert for the region to the maximum level and security was strengthened at key buildings in the country, such as the main airport near Amsterdam.

Police at the 24 Oktoberplace in Utrecht
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Five people were also injured in the shooting, the city’s mayor has said

German authorities stepped up surveillance of the Dutch border, and were initially told to look out for a red Renault Clio car. It was later found abandoned in Utrecht.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Our nation was hit by an attack in Utrecht…a terror motive cannot be excluded.

“The first reports have led to disbelief and disgust. Innocent people have been struck by violence… we are now doing everything we can to find the perpetrator or perpetrators as soon as possible.

“That is now our complete focus.”

Utrecht is the Netherlands’ fourth largest city, with a population of around 340,000. The shooting took place in Kanaleneiland, a residential district on the outskirts of the city which has a large immigrant population.

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