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Obituary: Mustafa ben Halim, Libya’s third prime minister, dies aged 100

Mustafa ben Halim, the former Prime Minister during the Senussi led constitutional monarchy period of the Kingdom of Libya, has passed away in the United Arab Emirates aged 100.

Bin Halim was the third prime minister of Libya after its independence in 1951, and was commissioned to form the government in 1954 before submitting his resignation in 1957.

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He had previously been in charge of the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before he was appointed prime minister.

The centenarian authored a number of books throughout his storied lifetime, most notably the "Folded Pages of Libya's Political History" and "Libya: The Resurrection of a Nation and the Fall of a State."

According to his family members, Ben Halim passed away on Tuesday, December 4, in the United Arab Emirates.

Ben Halim was prohibited from entering his country Libya during the era of the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi but had returned from exile in 2011 following the fall of the late dictator.

The late Libyan politician was born in 1921 in Alexandria, Egypt, after Italy had arrested his father. He studied engineering in Egypt and graduated in 1946, before returning to his country of origin Libya.

Ben Halim also held the lead posts at the Ministry of Communications until December 1954, and then held the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. After his resignation, Libya’s King appointed him as a special advisor with the rank of a prime minister. He was then sent to Paris to take over the mission of Libya's ambassador to France from 1958 to 1960, becoming Libya’s first ambassador to Paris.

Consequently, Ben Halim moved away from political activity and turned his focus on entrepreneurship, but in the spring of 1964 King Idris summoned him to ask him to for his assistance in reforming the structures of the Libyan state, but the failure of these reforms prompted him to move away from politics once again.

The Libyan military coup of September 1, 1969 coincided with his and his family’s presence in Europe. He did not return to Libya until after the fall of the Gaddafi regime in 2011. He visited the city of Benghazi, where the National Transitional Council of the Libyan Revolution held an official reception for him as a former prime minister.

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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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