Author Archives: Benjamin

North Korea frees three US detainees

Left to right: Kim Hak-song, Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim

North Korea has freed three US citizens from prison, according to a tweet from US President Donald Trump.

It is viewed as a goodwill gesture ahead of a historic summit between Mr Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.

Mr Trump said he would greet the men when they return with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been in Pyongyang to arrange the planned talks.

Kim Hak-song, Tony Kim and Kim Dong-chu were able to “walk on the plane without assistance”, the White House said.

They had been jailed for anti-state activities and placed in labour camps. Read more

Toronto van incident: nine dead and at least 16 injured after van ploughs into crowd

Nine people have been killed and at least 16 injured – several of them seriously – after a van jumped the kerb in a northern suburb of Toronto and ran into a crowd of pedestrians, according to police.

The driver fled the scene of the incident, at a busy intersection in the north of the Canadian city, but was arrested several blocks away.

The arrest followed a tense standoff with officers on the street.

Bystander videos appeared to show the driver pointing an object at the officers, who can be heard shouting at him to get down.

Toronto police spokesperson, Gary Long said:

“Reports were that a white van mounted the kerb, drove down the sidewalk at southbound Yonge, south of Finch, and struck eight to 10 people possibly, the numbers aren’t confirmed yet.”

“Thank you to the first responders working at the scene – we’re monitoring the situation closely.”

The United States and Europe have seen an increase in driving attacks in recent years. In October 2017, a man in New York drove a van down a bicycle path, killing eight people.

 

Update – 24th April 16:00:

Alek Minassian, 25, was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Mr Minassian wore a white jumpsuit, with a shaved head and his hands behind his back. He showed little emotion.

He was read the charges and ordered to have no contact with surviving victims. He will return to court on 10 May.

A man believed to be a relative of Mr Minassian’s sat in the front row of the court and wept. Asked by reporters after the hearing if he had anything to say, the family member replied “sorry.”

by Ben – Correspondent for the General News section.

Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a baby boy

The Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to a boy, her third child and second son.

A Kensington Palace statement said Catherine and her son, who is yet to be named, are “both doing well.”

Kensington Palace said the name of the baby would be “announced in due course,” while a formal notice of the birth had been posted on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.

The new arrival, who was born at St Mary’s Hospital, London, is fifth in line to the throne and the Queen’s sixth great-grandchild.

The new baby will be fifth in line to the throne.

Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted about the news. She said:

“My warmest congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their baby boy. I wish them great happiness for the future.”

by Ben – Correspondent for the General News section.

The Government insists the UK will leave the customs union

Ahead of a symbolic vote on the issue this week, the government has reiterated it’s commitment to leaving the EU’s custom union.

Last Wednesday, the government suffered defeat on the EU Withdrawal Bill in the House of Lords when members voted in favour of staying in the customs union.

As a result, MPs will get a chance to debate the proposal on Thursday.

Although, a senior Downing Street source said government’s position would not change.

“We will not be staying in the customs union or joining a customs union.”

Labour has called for the UK to join a new customs union post-Brexit, saying it would leave the current one but negotiate a treaty afterwards that would “do the work of the customs union.”

 

What is a customs union?

A customs union is a form of trade agreement between two or more countries. The purpose of a customs union, like that of other trade agreements, is to make it easier for member states to trade.

Customs unions reduce administrative and financial trade barriers (such as customs checks and charges) and enhance economic cooperation.

It means they decide not to impose tariffs (taxes on imports) on each other’s goods and agree to impose common external tariffs on goods from countries outside their customs union.

However, they also limit the freedom of their individual members to strike their own trade deals.

 

by Ben – Correspondent for the General news section.

 

Avicii’s music ‘will live forever’: Tributes paid to the Swedish DJ

Avicii, whose real name was Tim Bergling, was found dead on Friday afternoon in a five-star resort in Muscat, Oman. The cause of his death has not yet been announced, but two years ago he announced his retirement after suffering from health problems.

Rita Ora, who had recently collaborated with him on the track Lonely Together, tweeted that she had “no words” after hearing the news.

Rita Ora tweeted about his death on Friday.

Radio 1 presenter Annie Mac began her Friday evening show paying tribute to Avicii, saying it’s a “massive loss for dance music” and that it was “absolutely devastating news”.

It’s known that he has been suffering from pancreatitis, reportedly caused by heavy drinking.

“Drinking became routine for me, but it’s impossible to keep up touring and drinking at the same time, because you are going to crash.”

During his career he has achieved 11 billion streams on Spotify and was the first EDM DJ to stage a worldwide arena tour, as nominated for two Grammy Awards and had nine UK top 10 singles, including two number ones.

Nicky Romero, who collaborated with Avicii on I Could Be The One, said:

“He was more of the musician in the studio than the guy that wants to be on stage, tour the world.”

“I never really thought that he was super enjoying his DJ sets. It felt like he wanted to do it but he didn’t want to feel the pressure of it or be the guy that’s in the spotlight in front of thousands and thousands of people.”

Earlier on Saturday morning, police confirmed that suspicions of criminal relevance to Tim Bergling’s demise were false shown by several autopsies.

Also despite his earlier death, fans were touched by his work and he won’t be forgotten as shown by the spirited vigil held in Stockholm where the masses of participants showed that they will lead his legacy onward.

By Ben and Harry – Correspondents for General News section

Tracing the sickle cell disease back to one child.

 

Did one mutation cause sickle cell disease?

New research suggests that the history of sickle-cell disease goes back to a mutation in just one person.

In the Sahara desert, a child was born with increased immunity to malaria, which was important because at the time, in this part of Africa it was wet and rainy and covered with forest.

These conditions are perfect for mosquitoes which also carry malaria, a disease that these days kills one child every two minutes.

With a better chance against an illness that is a major killer, this child with the genetic mutation lived a reasonably healthy life and even had children. Those children spread out, all strengthened with extra defences against malaria and living for longer, and their descendants around the world still have those extra defences today, more than 250 generations later.

But here’s the bad part, if both your parents have that gene mutation, you can end up with sickle cell disease. Sickle cell disease brings severe pain and other complications to its patients.

The symptoms include shortness of breath, strokes and vision problems. Also, people who inherit the gene from both parents do not have its protection against malaria.

By Jack and Ben – Correspondents for the General News section

Car driven by ‘Homer Simpson’ has been seized.

 

Would you be surprised if you were handed this?

On Sunday night, Thames Valley Police pulled a motorist over in Milton Keynes but to their surprise, they were handed a licence with Homer Simpson’s details on.

The police said, in addition to the driver’s fake licence, the car was not insured so it was seized by officers.

This also prompted a number of “D’oh” comments from Twitter followers. “Looks legit. Is it the signature you’re suspecting?” wrote one.

Also, another person wrote: “Now, the question is, did you ask for a valid driving licence, or just a driving licence, because to be fair, that is a driving licence.”

Police said the driver was reported to court for both offences.

By Jack and Ben – Correspondents for the General News section

 

 

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