Germany and the Netherlands woke up to scenes of devastation Friday after a powerful storm flattened buildings, disrupted travel and killed at least eight people.
Six people died in Germany, including two firefighters killed by falling trees and debris. A 68-year-old van driver was killed when his vehicle was blown onto the other side of the street, police said.
In Cologne, a baby was born in a car after road closures made it impossible for the mother to reach hospital, the city’s fire service said.

A picture taken on January 18, 2018 shows metal roofing sheets from a supermarket blocking a road in Menden, western Germany, as the region is hit by the storm named “Friederike”.

An agricultural building collapsed during a heavy storm in Meimbressen, central Germany, on Thursday.
Germany’s DWD national weather service said the storm was “one of the strongest” since another powerful weather system, storm Kyrill, hit the country 11 years ago.
German railway operator Deutsche Bahn resumed some long-distance operations after suspending travel on Thursday.
Rail services in North Rhine-Westphalia and parts of Rhineland-Palatinate, in the west of the country, remained suspended and would not resume service Friday, according to Deutsche Bahn.
Three of the reported deaths were in North Rhine-Westphalia, state Interior Minister Herbert Reul said, one of whom was a firefighter. Another 62 people were injured, he said.

The storm, called Friederike, brought winds stronger than 100 kph (60 mph), and is now headed toward Poland, where its strength is expected to lessen, according to CNN Weather anchor Tom Sater.
Two men, both aged 62, died as a result of the storm Thursday in the Netherlands, a police spokesman said. One was killed by a falling tree in Zwolle and the other died in Enschede.
Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam said it was expected to be busier than normal after it was forced to close temporarily on Thursday, resulting in the cancellation of at least 320 flights in and out of the key European hub. Strong winds also blew “a few roof plates” off buildings, it said, forcing the airport to close two departure entrances.

A man who escaped unharmed picks up his gloves after his scooter was hit by a crashing tree uprooted by heavy winds in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Thursday.

Bicycles and a scooter overturned by heavy winds lie in a street in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018.
Photographs showed people waiting at Dutch train stations Thursday as rail services were also canceled.

In the United Kingdom, windstorms Wednesday night into Thursday morning brought down trees and caused temporary power outages in parts of the country. Public transport was also affected.

CNN’s Lauren Kent contributed to this report.


Source :- edition

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she is pregnant, but plans to be back at her desk six weeks after giving birth.

The BBC spoke to other working mothers who took short periods of time off work and asked them what advice they would give others in the same situation.

‘Do what you need to do to make it work’

Kelsey Gamble took six weeks of maternity leave for the birth of her first child.

In 2014, the then 23-year-old Australian moved to a different state and started a new job in marketing before she discovered she was pregnant.

With her partner halfway through his degree and not in any paid employment, she had to go back to work. Her employer at the time did not offer any paid maternity leave, and because she was so new to the job, she would not have been entitled to any government-paid leave.

“I went back to work shortly before my son was seven weeks old. I actually had to have an emergency surgery when he was six weeks old so I was not only recovering from childbirth, but that as well,” says Ms Gamble.

Her partner stepped up as a full-time dad and “did a wonderful job at it”.

However, Ms Gamble faced her fair share of challenges at work, including being told at one point to pump her breast milk in a disabled toilet and being unable to bring her baby in to work at the beginning.

“Do what you need to do to make it work,” she says. “Never listen to the opinion of someone who isn’t willing to buy your groceries, change a nappy or do your dishes for you.”

‘Make sure you have a good support system’

In 1997, Lu-lin Ong gave birth to her third child, and took almost four weeks off work.

The then 35-year-old was living in Singapore, back when government-paid maternity leave only extended to the first two children. She was unable to claim any maternity leave for her youngest child and instead had to use her own annual leave.

She scraped together less than a month’s worth of leave. She says she couldn’t have got back to work without the help of her family.

“I was toying with the idea of possibly giving up my job but my mum was willing to help out with the child,” says the senior public servant. “It’s very important to have the support.”


Source :- bbc

Pope Francis has triggered anger in Chile after accusing victims of a paedophile priest of slander.

Francis said there was “no proof” for their claims that abuse by Father Fernando Karadima had been covered up by another man, Bishop Juan Barros.

“There is not one single piece of proof against him (Bishop Barros). It is all slander. Is that clear?” the Pope said.

One Karadima victim said the Pope’s earlier plea for forgiveness over clerical sex abuse was “empty”.

The Pope made his comments on Thursday before celebrating Mass outside the city of Iquique in northern Chile.

“The day someone brings me proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk,” the Pope told journalists.

Juan Carlos Cruz was one of the bishop’s accusers who was quick to condemn the Pope’s stance.

“As if I could have taken a selfie or photo while Karadima abused me and others with Juan Barros standing next to him watching everything,” he tweeted.

Lifetime of penance:

“These people are absolutely crazy, and @Pontifex (the Pope’s Twitter handle) is talking about reparation to the victims. Nothing has changed, and his plea for forgiveness is empty.”

Another Barros accuser, James Hamilton, told a news conference the response revealed an “unknown face” of the pontiff.

“What the Pope has done today is offensive and painful, and not only against us, but against everyone seeking to end the abuses,” he said.

Earlier in his Chile trip, Francis had met victims of sexual abuse by priests in the country. He cried with them and said he felt “pain and shame” over the scandal.


Source :- bbc

A former pole-dancer has been jailed for four years after entering a suicide pact with a postman then leaving him to die alone.

Natasha Gordon backed out of the agreement with 31-year-old Matthew Birkinshaw on December 17, 2015, getting out of his car before he killed himself.

The 44-year-old ex-model was described during her trial as an “enthusiastic advocate” of suicide – attempting to arrange other pacts within hours of Mr Birkinshaw’s death.

Royal Mail employee Mr Birkinshaw, of Walsall, West Midlands, was pronounced dead at 7.24pm just after he was found in his Fiat Punto at Rutland Water in Oakham, Rutland.

Sentencing Gordon on Friday, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb said: “This was a serious case because Matthew Birkinshaw actually took his own life after your encouragement.

“I have found you misled him into believing you were genuine and firmly intent on committing suicide with him, although you were not fully committed.”

Gordon, of Paston Ridings, Peterborough, denied a single charge of encouraging Mr Birkinshaw to take his own life but was convicted by a jury at Leicester Crown Court in December.


Source :- belfasttelegraph

The family of a British woman killed in Australia in a suspected murder-suicide have said they are “deeply shocked and saddened” by her death.

Amelia Blake, 22, was found dead in the Newtown suburb of Sydney last Friday.

New South Wales Police Force said the body of a man in his 30s, named in reports as Nepalese chef Brazil Gurung, was also discovered in the flat, which is above a Persian restaurant in a road lined with bars and shops.

According to Australian media, the couple had lived in the flat in King Street for several months and police believe Gurung murdered Ms Blake before killing himself.

In a statement issued through the Foreign Office, her parents Chris and Sharon said: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden passing of our much loved daughter and sister Amelia, who will be truly missed by all who knew her.

“We would like to thank everyone for the love and support shown to our family.

“As we try to come to terms with losing our beautiful girl, we would very much appreciate privacy at this extremely difficult time.”

Emergency services were called to the scene three miles south west of the city centre at around 5.30pm last Friday after concerns were raised for the welfare of a man and a woman at the property.

“Police attended and discovered the bodies of a woman, aged in her 20s, and a man, aged in his 30s,” police said.

Ms Blake, from Loughborough, in Leicestershire, had been travelling around Australia, recently working on a fruit farm in Victoria, and had reportedly been planning to set off travelling Vietnam.

Friends paid tribute on Facebook, with Ellie Mackness saying: “Whenever I saw her she always made me smile or laugh.

“She was the most warm hearted, bubbly, loving and down to earth women I knew.”

A former colleague told Australia’s Daily Telegraph Gurung had money worries and was “very depressed”.

She said the former chef at the Fogo Brazilia Churrasco restaurant, where he met Ms Blake, had feared becoming homeless and described his life as a “living nightmare”.

Police said they were investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths.

A police source told the Press Association the woman is thought to have been the victim of a murder-suicide.

Newtown, the suburb that flanks King Street, is known for having a youthful and diverse population.

Source :- independent

This Morning audiences were left devastated when they tuned in to find that Ruth Langsford sat in the studio alone.

The 57-year-old Strictly Come Dancing star revealed that her hubby couldn’t join her for today’s dose because of a shock sickness.

She explained that Eamonn had fallen ill overnight, while their 15-year-old son Jack was also poorly.

“Well they’re dropping like flies in my house,” she started, “I’ve had Jack off all week with the lurgy.

“And then this morning, Eamonn woke up with no voice, he literally can’t speak.”

Ruth added: “He’s croaking, he had to write me notes… so he’s off sick today.”

Eamonn had revealed before the show that he was feeling under the weather.

He messaged his 983,000 followers: “Things not good today folks. Got an impossibly sore throat.
“Don’t need this – so much to do – but unfortunately talking is my business. Bloomin’ heck it hurts.”

Naturally worried fans flooded presenter Eamonn – who was recently awarded an OBE – with well wishes.

One person wrote: “Friday is ruined. Missing Eamonn Holmes on this morning. Get well soon.”

“Come back Eammon – all is forgiven,” cried another.
A third wasn’t too upset by the fact the host was bedridden and wrote: “Yay Alison is on This Morning instead of Eamonn. Good replacement!”

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom because Alison Hammond filled in for Eamonn and she came down all the way from Birminghamm.

With every dark cloud there’s a silver lining, right?


Source :- dailystar

An 18-year-old Iraqi youth has denied responsibility for a bomb attack on the London Underground train network in which 30 people were injured.

Ahmad Hasan Mohammad Ali denied a charge of attempted murder at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Appearing in court by video link from Belmarsh prison in south London, Hasan also denied causing an explosion that was likely to endanger life or cause serious injury.

Hasan was living in Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, when the bomb exploded in a crowded tube train at Parsons Green, west London, last September.

He is due to go on trial in March.

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Source :- theguardian

The siblings who were discovered this week living captive in a Perris tract home were tortured and abused by their parents for years, living in conditions that only grew more horrific over time as the family moved from Texas to California, prosecutors said Thursday.

David Turpin, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49, whose 13 children ages 2 to 29 were discovered Sunday after one of them escaped and called 911, punished their children by beating and choking them, tied them to beds for weeks or months at a time, deprived them of food and forced them to stay up all night and sleep during the day, said Riverside County Dist. Atty. Mike Hestrin.

They were not allowed to shower more than once a year.

The alleged abuse and neglect started decades ago, when the family lived in Fort Worth, Texas, and only got worse as they moved to Murrieta in 2010 and then to Perris in 2014, Hestrin said in announcing multiple felony charges against the couple.

Their treatment was so extreme, it caused malnutrition, cognitive impairment and nerve damage in the victims, he said.

“This is severe emotional and physical abuse,” Hestrin said. “There’s no way around that. This is depraved conduct.”

Even as the children suffered from lack of food, the district attorney said, the parents would buy food for themselves and leave it out for their children to see. Even as the children were not allowed to play with toys, the couple had numerous unopened toys throughout the house, he said.

Though one child was allowed to attend college classes outside of the home, Louise Turpin accompanied him and waited outside the classroom, the district attorney said.

“When he was finished with class, she would take him home,” Hestrin said.

The charges include, against each of the defendants, 12 counts of torture and 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse. David Turpin was also charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14.

Although there were 13 children, the parents are charged with 12 counts of torture because the 2-year-old was getting enough to eat, Hestrin said.

If convicted, they face up to 94 years in prison.

Thursday afternoon, the couple appeared briefly in Riverside County Superior Court and pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. They wore black blazers provided to them by the public defender’s office and sat separated by their attorneys.

“Our clients are presumed to be innocent, and that’s a very important presumption,” Deputy Public Defender David Macher, who represents David Turpin, told reporters after the hearing.

The couple’s children were discovered early Sunday morning after one of them, a 17-year-old, escaped the home through a window and called police.

She had planned to escape for about two years, prosecutors said, and she initially left the home with a sibling. But that sibling grew frightened and returned home, Hestrin said.

When deputies arrived at the house on Muir Woods Road, three of the children were tied up and it was “extremely dirty,” Riverside County Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Fellows said at a news conference Tuesday. There was a strong, foul stench in the home, he said.


Source :-  latimes

A judicial review over the Parole Board’s decision to release black-cab serial rapist John Worboys will not take place, the Justice Secretary announced.

David Gauke told the House of Commons that after seeking expert legal advice, he decided that a judicial review would not be appropriate.

“Whatever ones personal feelings about a case, ministers should not choose to bring legal challenge that has no reasonable prospects of success,” he said.

“The bar for a judicial review to succeed is very high”, he added. “Having taken and considered expert legal advice, I have decided that it would not be appropriate for me as Secretary of State to proceed with such a case.”

Mr Gauke said he knew the decision would “disappoint victims in this case” and the wider public.

“On a personal level, candidly I share those concerns,” he said.

He confirmed that Worboys would not be freed until his license conditions have been finalised and that further meetings concerning his release are to take place next week.

The Justice Secretary said that he is aware of third parties seeking legal proceedings adding, “I would not want to prejudice any legal challenges by commenting further on the facts of the part case or the legal advice I have received.”

He said: “I fully support the right of victims to take their own legal advice and to challenge the decision.

“The approach I am taking does not mean that others who may have significant interest in the case are precluded from taking action.

“Each case depends on the circumstances of each individual bringing a claim and that is one of the reasons i do not intend to say more on this matter.”

Mr Gauke said there would be a wider review of how the Parole Board deals with victims that is expected to be completed before Easter.

He said: “I have expanded the review to include whether there should be a mechanism to allow parole decisions to be reconsidered and how that might be best achieved whilst retaining the independence of the decision making process.”

Lawyer Harriet Wistrich, who represents two of Worboys’ victims, said in a statement:

We note the Secretary of State’s decision not to proceed with a judicial review of the Parole Board decision.

We can confirm that in the absence of any unexpected and compelling response from the Parole Board to our pre-action correspondence, we intend to launch judicial review proceedings against the Parole Board next week.

– Harriet Wistrich

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan described the government’s decision was “extremely disappointing” and said he is also seeking to launch a judicial review.

Source :- itv

Downing Street has failed to match Boris Johnson’s enthusiasm for a 22-mile bridge across the Channel, saying there were no plans for such a project.
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Theresa May’s official spokesman repeatedly declined to offer support for the idea but stressed that the prime minister and foreign secretary both backed an agreement to have a panel of experts looking at major projects together with France.

No 10 would not say if the prime minister had been told about Johnson’s proposal for a second road link across the Channel before he raised it with Emmanuel Macron, the French president, at the Anglo-French summit on Thursday.

Pressed several times on whether the prime minister would be open to the idea of a cross-Channel bridge, the spokesman said there were “no specific plans”.

“What was agreed yesterday, and I think that’s what the foreign secretary tweeted about as well, is a panel of experts who will look at major projects together including infrastructure,” he said.
Asked whether the prime minister had confidence in Johnson’s record on infrastructure ideas, he said: “Boris is the foreign secretary and doing a good job.”

France’s finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, also appeared to be lukewarm about the concept of a bridge.

“All ideas merit consideration, even the most far-fetched ones,” Le Maire told Europe 1 radio. “We have major European infrastructure projects that are complicated to finance. Let’s finish things that are already under way before thinking of new ones.”

Johnson’s suggestion of a bridge or underground road link to improve post-Brexit transport links with France dominated the reporting of May’s summit with Macron and their ministers.

The foreign secretary went directly to Macron to discuss the proposal, saying it was “ridiculous” that two of the world’s biggest economies were linked by a single railway line. A source at the summit said Macron responded positively with an agreement that a second link should be built.

Later on Thursday, Johnson tweeted a picture of himself and Macron both giving a thumbs-up sign, captioned: “En marche! Great meetings with French counterparts today.”

Source :- theguardian