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Lionel Messi moves ahead of Ronaldo with record sixth Ballon d’Or award | World News

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Barcelona star Lionel Messi has won a record sixth Ballon d’Or crown moving ahead of great rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 32-year-old Argentinian forward held off the challenge of Holland centre-back Virgil Van Dijk, whose performances helped Liverpool to the Champions League title.

Messi’s tally of 54 goals for club and country in the 2018-19 season also saw him handed the Best FIFA Men’s award in September, while Van Dijk won UEFA’s Men’s Player of the Year.

Messi warned his rivals he aims to keep on breaking records and has no plans to start easing off in his early 30s as he is “focused on the future”.

He said: “I’m going to enjoy this with my family. Because those times when it’s possible to do it do not last long.

“Tomorrow we will have to focus again on other objectives. I am already focused on the future. This gives me great pride, it gives me a lot of strength to continue my work.”

Van Dijk could have been the first defender to lift the Ballon d’Or since Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, but Messi’s triumph meant he had to settle for second place.

Ballon d'Or winners
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Van Dijk, Messi and Rapinoe all enjoyed stellar seasons

Van Dijk still finished ahead of five-time winner Ronaldo, with his Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane fourth.

“It was an amazing year, but there’s a couple of players like that who are a bit unnatural,” said Van Dijk, of Messi and Ronaldo.

“So you need to respect greatness as well.”

Megan Rapinoe won the Women’s Ballon d’Or after leading the United States to the Women’s World Cup title, scoring six goals and laying on three assists.

In a recorded message, she told the audience: “I’m so sad I can’t make it tonight.

“It’s absolutely incredible congrats to the other nominees. I can’t believe I’m the one winning in this field, it’s been an incredible year.”

Lucy Bronze of England reacts during the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup France Quarter Final match between Norway and England at Stade Oceane on June 27, 2019 in Le Havre, France
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Lucy Bronze came second in the Women’s Ballon d’Or

England’s Lucy Bronze came second as the Lyon full-back starred in the Lionesses’ run to the semi-finals.

Juventus defender Matthijs De Ligt claimed the 2019 Kopa Trophy for the young player award.

Alisson Becker lifted the inaugural Yachine Trophy to reward the top goalkeeper.

Ballon d’Or results:

1. Lionel Messi – Barcelona
2. Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool
3. Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
4. Sadio Mane – Liverpool
5. Mo Salah – Liverpool
6. Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain
7. Alisson – Liverpool
8. Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
9. Bernardo Silva – Manchester City
10. Riyad Mahrez – Manchester City
11. Frenkie De Jong – Barcelona
12. Raheem Sterling – Manchester City
13. Eden Hazard – Real Madrid
14. Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City
15. Matthijs de Ligt – Juventus
16. Sergio Aguero – Manchester City
17. Roberto Fermino – Liverpool
18. Antoine Griezmann – Barcelona
19. Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
20. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal & Dusan Tadic – Ajax

Women’s Ballon d’Or results:

1. Megan Rapinoe – Reign FC
2. Lucy Bronze – Lyon
3. Alex Morgan – Orlando Pride

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New Zealand orders 1.2 million sq cm of skin from US to treat volcano patients | World News

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New Zealand has ordered 1.2 million sq cm of skin from America to treat patients suffering burns on up to 95% of their body after Monday’s volcano eruption.

Surgeons have been working around the clock on 29 patients in burns units across the country since the volcano suddenly erupted on White Island, off New Zealand’s North Island.

New Zealand Police confirmed five people died during the eruption and one person died from their burns on Tuesday night after a total of 47 were affected.



White Island Eruption 
New Zealand







Tourists film huge White Island eruption

The bodies of eight people remain on the island as ever-increasing volcanic activity is preventing authorities from safely returning to the island.

Due to the unprecedented numbers of burn victims at one time and the nature of their burns from toxic volcanic gases, surgeons are having to work quicker than usual, said Dr Peter Watson, clinical director at Middlemore Hospital where the national burns unit is.

He said 1.2 million sq cm of skin is coming from the United States as they “urgently need more skin grafts”.

A number of patients have burns on up to 95% of their bodies, while the average is 40-50%, and 22 remain on airway support due to burns affecting their lungs.

A human body has approximately 20sqm of skin, with the palm of a hand about 1.5% of a body’s skin, doctors explained.

Surgeons estimated they have 500 hours of operations to do in the days and months ahead.

After a volcano on New Zealand's White Island, there is one confirmed casualty with other tourists injured and 'unaccounted for'
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The volcano erupted on Monday

An Australian Defence Force aircraft is being sent to New Zealand to transfer some of the 24 Australians involved to burns units closer to their homes.

One Australian national was being flown from Auckland by specialist air ambulance to Australia on Wednesday evening.

The other victims are from New Zealand, the UK, the US, Germany, China and Malaysia.

Dr Watson said doctors struggled to identify many of the patients at first as they were in surgery and many did not have ID on them, but most have been identified now.

Pic: Facebook
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Newlyweds Matthew and Lauren Urey were badly injured in the eruption. Pic: Facebook
Hayden Marshall was confirmed dead by his brother on social media. Pic: Facebook
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Hayden Marshall was confirmed dead by his brother on social media. Pic: Facebook

Matthew Urey, from Virginia in the US, experienced burns over 80% of his body, while his wife, Lauren Urey, who he had just married, had burns over 20% of her body.

Experienced tour guide Hayden Marshal-Inman, from New Zealand, was the first person to have died to be publicly named as his brother, Mark, described him as a “lovely young man” who died doing what he loved.

On Wednesday afternoon, Australians Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, from Queensland were confirmed to have died.

Family friend John Mickel told Sky News Australia their family was informed by authorities early on Wednesday and the pair left for new Zealand last Monday and were due back home this weekend.

Julie Richards and her daughter are among the missing. Pic: Barbara Whitehead
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Julie Richards and her daughter, Jessica, have been confirmed as among the dead Pic: Barbara Whitehead

Police said they are ready to get onto White Island to recover the remaining bodies as soon as they are given the go-ahead by volcanologists.

Graham Leonard, senior volcanologist at GNS Science, said the chance of an eruption like Monday’s had risen to 40-60% on Wednesday evening, up from a 30-50% chance on Tuesday.

“Yesterday was high risk, today there is an even higher risk and the parameters are worsening,” he said.

He said the ash and gas being emitted from the volcano mean rescue crews would struggle to breath and see.

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Police officer among six people killed in shootout in New Jersey | US News

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Six people, including a police officer, have been killed in a shoot-out in New Jersey.

The officer was investigating a murder in Jersey City when he approached two suspects, one of whom opened fire and shot him in the head, police sources told NBC News.

The two suspects then fled in a rental van and holed up in a grocery store where a gun battle broke out, according to reports.

Police officers arrive to the scene where active shooting is happening in Jersey City on December 10, 2019. - One officer was shot when two gunmen with a long rifle opened fire in Jersey City, New Jersey, on the afternoon of December 10, 2019 , according to two officials. Two suspects were barricaded in a convenience store, the officials said. One officer was being taken to a nearby hospital. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/Afp/AFP via Getty Images)
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The incident is not believed to be a terror attack

Both suspects and three civilians were killed, NBC News said.

All schools in Jersey City were put on lockdown as heavy, sporadic gunfire was heard over an hour.

Police officers arrive at the scene
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SWAT teams, state police and federal agents responded to the incident

The officer who was killed was a 39-year-old father of five children, according to officials.

A second officer was wounded after being struck in the shoulder by gunfire, and two others were injured by shrapnel.

A woman receives medical assistance on the scene where active shooting is happening in Jersey City on December 10, 2019. - One officer was shot when two gunmen with a long rifle opened fire in Jersey City, New Jersey, on the afternoon of December 10, 2019 , according to two officials. Two suspects were barricaded in a convenience store, the officials said. One officer was being taken to a nearby hospital. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/Afp/AFP via Getty Images)
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A person is treated after the shooting

SWAT teams, state police and federal agents responded to the incident, with officers blocking off an area which includes a school, a kosher supermarket and a hair stylist.

Authorities have said the incident is not believed to be a terror attack

Police officers arrive at the scene of an active shooter in Jersey City, New Jersey, on December 10, 2019. - One officer was shot when two gunmen with a long rifle opened fire in Jersey City, New Jersey, on the afternoon of December 10, 2019 , according to two officials. Two suspects were barricaded in a convenience store, the officials said. One officer was being taken to a nearby hospital. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP) (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/Afp/AFP via Getty Images)
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Officers blocked off an area which includes a school, a kosher supermarket and a hair stylist

US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Just received a briefing on the horrific shootout that took place in Jersey City, NJ.

“Our thoughts & prayers are [with] the victims & their families during this very difficult & tragic time.

“We will continue to monitor the situation as we assist local & state officials on the ground.”

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Child prodigy, 9, quits university in row over graduation date | World News

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A nine-year-old boy who was set to become the world’s youngest ever graduate has quit his university following a row over his graduation date.

Laurent Simons made headlines around the world after he was on track to complete a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Eindhoven’s University of Technology in the Netherlands.

The Belgian boy – who has an IQ of 145 – was due to complete his studies before the end of the year, which would have made him the world’s first ever graduate under the age of 10.

The nine-year-old studies electrical engineering
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The boy’s parents believe the university’s decision is related to his wish to study a PhD abroad

But the university has now told Laurent and his parents that the target is no longer feasible because of the number of exams he still needs to finish before his birthday on Boxing Day.

“Laurent is an exceptionally gifted boy, who is going through his studies at an unprecedented pace,” the university said in a statement.

The university added that it had offered “a still phenomenally quick scheme in which he would end his education mid-2020”.

But Laurent’s parents decided not to accept the offer and immediately ended his studies in Eindhoven.

Nine-year-old Belgian student Laurent Simons, who studies electrical engineering and who will soon become the youngest university graduate in the world, poses at the University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands November 20, 2019.  Picture taken November 20, 2019.  REUTERS/Yves Herman
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Laurent has been described as an ‘exceptionally gifted boy’

His father Alexander Simons said: “Until last week everything was fine, and now suddenly they see a delay of six months.”

He said the exact date of Laurent’s graduation had never been an issue for the family but became one as they felt the university was reacting to their plans to move the boy’s further education abroad.

A programme director at the university had previously described Laurent as “maybe three times smarter than the smartest student we’ve ever had”.

Mr Simons said: “It’s very peculiar that this all comes right at the time when we were finalising our plans for Laurent’s PhD at a different university.

Laurent talks with his professor Peter Baltus
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Laurent had been hailed as ‘three times smarter’ than the university’s previous smartest student

“There is a lot of interest in Laurent from universities he would be honoured to join… there is so much demand for Laurent, he is a unique project which everybody wants to be a part of.”

Laurent, who is inspired by Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, says he wants to research artificial organs and ultimately to develop an entire artificial body in his own laboratory.

Currently the youngest person to obtain a degree is American Michael Kearney, who achieved the feat in June 1994 at the age of 10 years and four months, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

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