Three killed in explosion at Spain fireworks factory

MADRID (AFP) – Three people died and another three were injured on Monday (Nov 12) in an explosion at a fireworks factory in southern Spain, regional authorities said.

The “strong explosion” at the factory in Guadix was felt across the city of around 20,000 resident near Granada, Guadix city hall said in a statement on its Facebook page.

Three people were killed and another three people were taken to hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, local emergency services said.

There were just six people in the century-old factory at the time of the blast, according to Guadix city hall.

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Missing kite-surfer located safe and well

A kite-surfer who went missing off the coast of Kerry was found safe and well in Co Clare.

The alarm was raised at around 5pm yesterday evening after the man had failed to return to shore, having not been seen since around 4pm off Ballybunion.

The Fenit RNLI Lifeboat, the LÉ Niamh and the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 115, were all involved in the search.

The surfer came ashore in Kilkee last night after spending up to two and a half hours at sea.

He was taken to hospital by ambulance for examination and the search was stood down.

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Fed's Daly wants gradual rate hikes, says Fed not on autopilot

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (Reuters) – With the U.S. economy at or beyond full employment and inflation likely to rise slightly above a 2 percent goal over the next year, the Federal Reserve should continue to raise rates gradually, its newest policymaker said Monday.

“I view this gradualism as a process of iterated learning, guided by incoming data,” San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank president Mary Daly said in her first public remarks since taking her new job last month. “That is, we take a policy action, wait, learn about the economy’s response, and repeat. The information gathered through this gradual approach is crucial for determining the speed and size of the subsequent policy adjustments.”

That view puts Daly, who has a vote on the Fed’s monetary policy committee this year, squarely in the center of the policy spectrum at the U.S. central bank. The Fed has been raising interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point each quarter all year and is expected to do so again when it meets next month.

The gradual rate increases are not expected to start slowing the current economic expansion, which Daly said Monday seems “destined” to become the longest period without a recession in U.S. history, until sometime next year, most policymakers believe.

As of September, when they last released public forecasts, U.S. central bankers expect to continue to raise rates next year.

Daly said that pace will depend on how the economy, fueled currently by tax cuts and government spending domestically and global growth internationally, fares.

“The (Fed) is not on autopilot, with quarterly rate increases locked in,” Daly said in the remarks to a regional economic development group here. “We’re constantly looking at the data and adjusting the monetary policy path as needed in response.”

For now, she said, the U.S. economy is “very good,” with a booming labor market — unemployment is at 3.7 percent nationally — and an inflation outlook that is “very encouraging.” Still, she said, some people remain on the sidelines, and much could still be done to boost both educational attainment and labor force participation.

In particular, she suggested, the U.S. may be idling much of its female workforce because of weak parental leave laws. Citing a study that is expected to be released on Tuesday, Daly noted that Canadian women participate in the workforce at much higher rates than their U.S. counterparts.

“I’m not advocating we adopt the Canadian system or recommending any particular policy,” said Daly, a longtime student of gender and race in the labor economy. “But the comparison with Canada, as well as with other industrialized nations, shows that policy matters and that, with the right mix of skills and support, there’s meaningful potential for increasing U.S. workforce participation.”

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The coins that saved a soldier’s life

These coins both endangered and saved the life of a soldier in World War One.

Shot after the noise of them “clinging together in his breast pocket… gave his position away… the bullet that should have killed him ricocheted off of the coins thus saving his life”.

Optatius Buyssens’s great-grandson Vincent posted a photo of the coins on Reddit and it received more than 130,000 upvotes in 24 hours.

The digital strategist, 28, of Antwerp, has never had such a popular post.

“He got kicked in the head by the German soldier who shot him but tricked the soldier into thinking he was dead,” Vincent adds.

“When the German soldier left, he and another wounded comrade managed to crawl to safety.”

Optatius had a medical condition that initially barred him from joining the Belgian army.

But he eventually managed to volunteer and was shot, according to Vincent’s dad and Optatius’s grandson, Phillippe, on 26 September 1914, in the Belgian town of Lebbeke.

“Three of the coins are from Belgium and three are from France,” Phillippe adds.

After the War, Optatius had heart problems but he lived until 1958.

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By Victoria Park, UGC & Social news

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U.S. not concerned by Europe's idea for Iran trade as companies moving out

LONDON (Reuters) – The United States is not too concerned by Europe’s idea for a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to get around U.S. sanctions with Iran as companies are already withdrawing from the country in droves, the senior official for financial intelligence said.

“I think the bigger news in Europe is that companies are withdrawing from Iran in droves,” Under Secretary of the Treasury Sigal Mandelker told reporters in London when asked about the SPV idea.

“I am not concerned by the SPV actually at all,” she said. “I do believe we are going to find additional mechanisms by which we can work together.”

The restoration of sanctions is part of a wider effort by U.S. President Donald Trump to force Iran to curb its nuclear and missile programs as well as its support for proxy forces in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East.

In May, Trump exited Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers and Washington reimposed a first round of sanctions on Iran in August.

Trump’s moves target Iran’s main source of revenue – its oil exports – as well as its financial sector, essentially making 50 Iranian banks and their subsidiaries off limits to foreign banks on pain of losing access to the U.S. financial system.

The Islamic Republic, OPEC’s third-largest producer, called the U.S. moves economic warfare, said they would hit ordinary Iranians and vowed defy the sanctions to sell oil to the world.

Voicing opposition to U.S. policy on the day Washington announced a new raft of sanctions on Iran, the European Union earlier this month said it was setting up the so-called special purpose vehicle.

“I have do doubt that we will be able to find common ground because the threats are real and the threats are here in Europe,” Mandelker said. She said she hoped the United States and the EU could take joint disruptive action against Iran.

The United States, Mandelker said, would strictly enforce its sanctions on Iran. When asked what was next on Iran, she said: “On Iran, you are going to see a lot more from us.”

SWIFT, which facilitates the bulk of global cross-border payments, has already cut off the Iranian central bank and other financial institutions, Mandelker said.

“We believe SWIFT has made the right decision to disconnect those entities,” Mandelker said. When asked if that included the Iranian central bank, she said: “Yes.”

“We are going to strictly enforce our sanctions, and that’s a message we are sending loud and clear all over Europe to the private sector,” she said. “If there are those who decide not to abide by them then they are going to see action from us.”

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Draft plan says Nunavut has too many polar bears and climate change isn’t affecting them

There are too many polar bears in parts of Nunavut and climate change hasn’t yet affected any of them, says a draft management plan from the territorial government that contradicts much of conventional scientific thinking.

The proposed plan — which is to go to public hearings in Iqaluit on Tuesday — says that growing bear numbers are increasingly jeopardizing public safety and it’s time Inuit knowledge drove management policy.

“Inuit believe there are now so many bears that public safety has become a major concern,” says the document, the result of four years of study and public consultation.

“Public safety concerns, combined with the effects of polar bears on other species, suggest that in many Nunavut communities, the polar bear may have exceeded the co-existence threshold.”

Polar bears killed two Inuit last summer.

The plan leans heavily on Inuit knowledge, which yields population estimates higher than those suggested by western science for almost all of the 13 included bear populations.

Scientists say only one population of bears is growing; Inuit say there are nine. Environment Canada says four populations are shrinking; Inuit say none are.

The proposed plan downplays one of the scientific community’s main concerns.

“Although there is growing scientific evidence linking the impacts of climate change to reduced body condition of bears and projections of population declines, no declines have currently been attributed to climate change,” it says. “(Inuit knowledge) acknowledges that polar bears are exposed to the effects of climate change, but suggests that they are adaptable.”

Environment Canada’s response says that’s “not in alignment with scientific evidence.” It cites two studies suggesting the opposite.

Andrew Derocher, a University of Alberta polar bear expert, is blunter.

“That’s just plain wrong,” he said. “That’s been documented in many places now — not just linked to body condition but reproductive rates and survival.”

July 12, 2018: A Nunavut father named Aaron Gibbons who died protecting his kids from a polar bear is being lauded as a hero. As Mike Drolet reports, Gibbons’s death is shining a light on the problems northern communities have with polar bears.

The government of Nunavut declined an interview request.

Its position is strongly supported by the 11 Inuit groups and hunters’ organizations that made submissions.

“(Inuit knowledge) has not always been sufficiently incorporated by decision-makers,” says a document submitted by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Inuit land-claim organization.

“The disconnect between the sentiment in certain scientific communities and (Inuit knowledge) has been pronounced.”

Pond Inlet wants to be able to kill any bear within a kilometre of the community without the animal being considered part of the town’s quota. Rankin Inlet simply wants to lower bear populations.

In its submission, the Kitikmeot Regional Wildlife Board expresses frustration with how polar bears are used as an icon in the fight against climate change.

“This is very frustrating for Inuit to watch … We do not have resources to touch bases with movie actors, singers and songwriters who often narrate and provide these messages,” it says.

“We know what we are doing and western science and modelling has become too dominant.”

Watch July 30,2018: In an editor’s note, National Geographic said they went too far in drawing a connection between climate change and images of an emaciated polar bear in regards to a video they picked up last year and added subtitles to.

The management plan doesn’t propose to increase hunting quotas immediately. It contains provisions for increased education and programs on bear safety for hunters and communities.

It does say hunting bans would no longer be automatically applied to shrinking populations and that “management objectives … could include managing polar bears for a decrease.”

Derocher doesn’t dispute potentially dangerous bear-human encounters are becoming more frequent. But he, and other southern scientists, insist that’s happening as climate change reduces sea ice and drives bears inland.

“They will move into communities seeking food. There’s lots of attractants around northern communities.”

Places where attacks have occurred are not areas with the highest bear densities, he said.

The plan reflects Nunavut’s desire to control its own wildlife resources, Derocher suggested.

“They don’t ask for input from southern scientists. The less input from the south is where it seems to be moving.”

Derocher said the Inuit’s ability to export polar bear hides — or the ability of their hunter clients to take such items home with them — depends on whether the rest of the world trusts the animals are being well-managed.

“If the stated goal is to have fewer polar bears, that may be the tripping point whereby polar bear management in Canada comes under renewed scrutiny.”

Canada has fought off two international attempts to ban the trade of polar bear products.

The territory’s wildlife management board will take what it hears at the public hearings and include it in a final document, which will go before the Nunavut cabinet for approval.

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Samir Nasri set for Premier League return with West Ham after doping ban

It is understood the Frenchman, who is about to return to football following an 18 month doping ban, is currently undergoing a medical at the London club.

Nasri, 31, was suspended from playing after breaking drug rules by having an intravenous drip treatment at a clinic in Los Angeles while on holiday in December 2016.

But West Ham are keen to tie the midfielder to a six month contract which would see him play in the top tier of English football from January next year.

The former Manchester City and Arsenal player won the Premier League twice at the Etihad before leaving to play abroad.

He was playing for Turkish club Antalyaspor at the time his ban was announced, following an investigation by Spanish anti-doping authorities.

Rules state there is a 50 millilitre infusion limit per six-hour period for active athletes.

It was alleged Nasri received 500 millilitres of hydration in the form of sterile water containing micronutrients while on holiday in the USA during a time when he was playing for Sevilla, on load from Manchester City.

It is understood that West Ham will bow to wage demands of £80,000 a week, or £5m a year, by Nasri.

He will be reunited with Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini, whom he played under at Manchester City.

A former France international, Nasri watched on TV this summer as his compatriots won the World Cup in Russia.

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Winnipeg woman stabbed ‘a number of times’ in back alley

A Winnipeg woman is in guarded condition after she was stabbed walking in a back lane Friday night.

Police said the woman, 27, was walking in the lane between McGee Street and Maryland Street, north of Wellington Avenue at about 11:45 p.m.

Three men approached her and demanded her personal property. She was then stabbed “a number of times” before she was pushed to the ground, where the assault continued, said police.

The trio grabbed her things and ran away on foot.

The victim was taken to hospital in unstable condition, and has since been upgraded to stable but guarded condition.

On Sunday, at about 1:05 a.m., the Major Crimes Unit tracked down three suspects and arrested them on Sherbrook Street.

Daniel Joey Bouchie, 20, Shaun William Joseph Cook, 19, and John Henry Sinclair, 19, all face robbery, aggravated assault and weapons charges.

They are in custody.


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Alone in New York, She Needed a Mattress

When she was 13, Nazi bombs dropped on Yana Gilchenok’s house in the Gorodok ghetto of Belarus, driving her, along with her mother, sister and niece, to seek shelter with other families in a nearby forest.

“Of course, I was scared. I was starving and scared. Oh, I assure you, it was pitiful,” Mrs. Gilchenok, now 90, said in Russian while sitting on a couch in her one-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights. “In the middle of it all, my mother told me, ‘A person is far stronger than steel.’”

After surviving for many weeks in the forest, her family boarded a train and eventually found their way to an older sister and her non-Jewish husband, who shared a communal apartment in Kazan, a city east of Moscow. Mrs. Gilchenok slept on their bedroom floor for a year.

After the war, Mrs. Gilchenok went to high school, studied medicine and became a cardiologist and pulmonologist. She married a cousin twice removed named Alexander. They moved into their own apartment in Leningrad and had two sons.

“I never, ever wanted to leave Russia,” Mrs. Gilchenok said. “After all of the pain and fear, after we survived, my husband and I had finally achieved stability. We both had a salary and a pension! That’s like having two salaries. We were just starting to make money for the first time. We had just begun to live.”

But her sons did not enjoy living in 1980s Leningrad, where anti-Semitism was “an epidemic,” said Mrs. Gilchenok. Bullied by classmates and rejected from graduate schools in chemistry and engineering because of their Jewish heritage, her sons were unable to find jobs.

“It was banditry. Boys in our neighborhood would hit them and take away their hats,” Mrs. Gilchenok said. “They only had about 3 rubles, but the bullies were ready to kill even for one. They told them directly: It’s because you’re Jewish.”

The sons convinced Mrs. Gilchenok and her husband to move to the United States. In 1989, the family immigrated on the basis of religious persecution and settled in Washington Heights.

Her sons, then 28 and 34, took English classes and soon found jobs. But Ms. Gilchenok had no medical license or English language skills, so she could not practice cardiology in America.

“I went from being a physician in Russia to a babysitter earning $4 per hour,” she said.

Then in 2011, Mrs. Gilchenok faced the “greatest tragedy” of her life, she said, when she lost her younger son to a heart attack. He was 50 years old.

Mrs. Gilchenok decided not to tell her husband, who was bedridden, suffering from bladder cancer and Parkinson’s disease. “Why would I kill him when he was already dying?” she said.

Instead, she told Mr. Gilchenok that their son had moved to another state for work, but he suspected something wasn’t right, she said. He would ask things like, “What, they don’t have phones in other states?”

Her husband died two years later, in 2013, leaving Mrs. Gilchenok, then 85, alone in New York. Her surviving son lives with his family in Minnesota, she said, and visits when he can.

Mrs. Gilchenok suffers from depression, chronic bronchitis and back pain stemming from her osteoarthritis. For six years during her husband’s illness, Mrs. Gilchenok slept on a child-size mattress so that she could be next to him as he slept in a hospital bed in their bedroom.

“When I was preoccupied with my husband’s illness, I didn’t even notice how small it was,” she said. “But after so many years of sleeping poorly, it became painful.”

Through a grant from The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, Mrs. Gilchenok, who has been receiving $750 in Supplemental Security Income monthly and $180 monthly in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, received a therapeutic mattress pad, bought for $249 in June. Last month, a mattress was purchased for her for $349. The help came from a social services program at the Y.M. & Y.W.H.A. of Washington Heights and Inwood, a beneficiary of UJA-Federation of New York, one of the eight organizations supported by The Neediest Cases Fund.

Mrs. Gilchenok said her conversations with the Russian-speaking staff members at the Washington Heights Y, as well as with Russian neighbors in her building, which is managed by the organization, keep her going.

“I read the news every day,” she said, picking up a copy of V Novom Svete, or In the New World, the most popular weekly Russian-language newspaper in America.

“You have to know and be able to talk about these things,” she said. “That’s important at my age.”

Donations to the Neediest Cases may be made online, or with a check or over the phone.

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U.S. not too bothered by Europe's idea for Iran trade as companies moving out

LONDON (Reuters) – The United States is not too concerned by Europe’s idea for a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to circumvent U.S. sanctions with Iran as companies are withdrawing from the country in droves, the senior official for financial intelligence said.

“I think the bigger news in Europe is that companies are withdrawing from Iran in droves,” Under Secretary of the Treasury Sigal Mandelker told reporters in London. She is due to travel to other European capitals.

“I am not concerned by the SPV actually at all,” she said. “I do believe we are going to find additional mechanisms by which we can work together.”

The United States, Mandelker said, would strictly enforce its sanctions on Iran. When asked what was next on Iran, she said: “On Iran you are going to see a lot more from us.”

SWIFT, which facilitates the bulk of global cross-border payments, has already cut off the Iranian central bank and other financial institutions, Mandelker said.

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