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Sudan security forces fire tear gas at protesters near presidential palace

Sudanese security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital Khartoum on Saturday as the opponents of military rule marched towards the presidential palace, a Reuters witness said, while internet services in the city were also cut.
It is the 10th day of major demonstrations since an Oct. 25 coup, with protests continuing even after Abdallah Hamdok was reinstated as prime minister on Nov. 21. The demonstrators have demanded that the military have no role in government during a transition to free elections.

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In neighboring Omdurman on Saturday, security forces also fired tear gas at protesters around 2 km away from a bridge connecting the city to central Khartoum, another Reuters witness said.
Internet services were disrupted in the capital, Khartoum, and soldiers blocked roads early in the day, the witnesses said.
Locals were also unable to make or receive calls domestically.
Despite the internet being cut off, people were still able to post on social media, with images showing protests taking place in several other cities including Madani and Atbara.
At the same time, soldiers and Rapid Support Forces were out in force blocking roads leading to bridges linking Khartoum with Omdurman, its sister city across the Nile river, they said.
The SUNA state news agency reported that the province of Khartoum closed bridges on Friday evening in anticipation of the protests.
“Departing from peacefulness, approaching and infringing on sovereign and strategic sites in central Khartoum is a violation of the laws,” SUNA reported, citing a provincial security coordination committee.
“Chaos and abuses will be dealt with,” it added.
Protesters in Khartoum chanted: “Close the street! Close the bridge! Burhan will come straight to you,” referring to military leader and sovereign council head Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
They were also heard cheering when security forces fired tear gas, according to a Reuters witness.
A senior official at one internet provider told Reuters the service disruption followed a decision by the National Telecommunication Corporation, which oversees the sector.
UN Special Representative to Sudan Volker Perthes urged Sudanese authorities not to stand in the way of Saturday’s planned demonstrations.
“Freedom of expression is a human right. This includes full access to the Internet. According to international conventions, no one should be arrested for intent to protest peacefully,” Perthes said.
The military could not immediately be reached for comment.
A march planned for Saturday is due to converge on the presidential palace and the demonstration will end at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT), organizers say.
In Darfur, Governor Minni Minnawi asked citizens to stop looting the offices of UNAMID peacekeepers late on Friday, with sources telling Reuters they heard gunshots in the vicinity on Saturday morning.
Last Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people marched to the presidential palace and the security forces fired volleys of tear gas and stun grenades as they dispersed protesters who had been trying to organize a sit-in.
Forty-eight people have been killed in crackdowns on protests since the coup, the Central Committee of Sudanese Doctors said.

Read more: Internet services disrupted in Sudan’s Khartoum ahead of planned protests: Report

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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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