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US calls for civilian rule in Sudan after Hamdok quits as premier

The United States has urged Sudanese leaders to ensure civilian rule and end violence against protesters after Abdalla Hamdok resigned as prime minister, throwing a transition towards elections deeper into uncertainty.

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“After PM Hamdok’s resignation, Sudanese leaders should set aside differences, find consensus and ensure continued civilian rule,” the US State Department’s Bureau of African Affairs said in a tweet.

Hamdok, an economist and former United Nations official widely respected by the international community, had served as prime minister under a military-civilian power sharing deal that followed the overthrow of former leader Omar al-Bashir in 2019.

The military dissolved his government in a coup in October, but he returned a month later under a deal that tasked him with forming a government of technocrats ahead of elections in 2023.

Hamdok announced on Sunday that he was resigning after being unable to forge a consensus to bring the transition forward. He called for dialogue to reach a new agreement for the transition.

Reaction on social media in Sudan was divided, with some saddened by the loss of a leader who they said stood out for his wisdom. Others, still angry with Hamdok for returning after the coup, expressed their resolve to end military rule.

Jibril Ibrahim, a former rebel leader who served as finance minister under Hamdok but expressed support for the military before the coup, called his resignation “regrettable”.

“Our nation needs political compromise today more than ever to navigate safely through these turbulent times. There is a room to accommodate everyone.”

Hamdok’s resignation came hours after the latest round of mass rallies against the military. At least 57 civilians have been killed as security forces have moved to contain or disperse demonstrations since the Oct. 25 coup, according to medics aligned with the protest movement. Further protests are planned for Tuesday.

Hamdok had been a key partner for the international community as Sudan sought to emerge from decades of isolation and sanctions under Bashir and to end an economic crisis, with Western backing.

The US State Department said any new appointments should follow the power sharing deal struck in 2019.

“Sudan’s next PM and cabinet should be appointed in line with the constitutional declaration to meet the people’s goals of freedom, peace, and justice,” it said. “Violence against protesters must cease.”

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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

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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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