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Audi’s Sainz takes first Dakar Rally stage win for an electric car in Saudi Arabia

Spaniard Carlos Sainz won the third stage of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday with his Audi team celebrating a first for an electric hybrid car.

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The Spaniard, a triple Dakar champion, took his 40th career stage win when he finished 38 seconds ahead of Toyota’s South African Henk Lategan over the 255km timed stage around Al Qaisumah.

The Audi RS Q e-tron prototype has three electric motors and a petrol engine to charge the batteries during the longer stages of the two-week endurance event.

Qatar’s Nasser Al Attiyah strengthened his grip on the overall lead after closest challenger Sebastien Loeb suffered two punctures and a transmission problem that left him on two-wheel drive.

The Frenchman, a nine-times world rally champion racing for the Bahrain Raid Xtreme team, dropped 37 minutes behind his Toyota rival, who was eighth in the stage.

Argentina’s Lucio Alvarez was third overall with South African Giniel De Villiers fourth despite a five-minute penalty for failing to stop after contact with Chilean motorcycle rider Cesar Zumaran on Monday.

Sainz and Audi team mate and defending champion Stephane Peterhansel are fighting for stage wins rather than overall victory after a nightmare Sunday effectively wrecked their chances.

The Spaniard is seventh overall, but two hours and 19 minutes behind Al Attiyah, while 14-times winner Peterhansel is 23 hours adrift.

In the motorcycle category, Britain’s Sam Sunderland finished 17th but retained the overall lead even if it was cut to four seconds by French rider Adrien Van Beveren.

The stage was won by Portuguese rider Joaquim Rodrigues, whose brother-in-law Paulo Goncalves died in the 2020 Dakar, for the Indian Hero team. It was his first stage victory in the endurance event.

Australian Daniel Sanders, who led after the first stage, said he had deliberately lost time to avoid having to run first on Wednesday.

“Just before the finish, I sat and had a picnic for a bit and waited for three minutes,” he said.

“I just played it smart because tomorrow is the longest stage of the race and I wanted to start back a bit to catch the guys in front.

“It would have been cool to have another stage win but we’re here for 12 days not just to win each stage because it happened to me on the second day when I lost 30 minutes, so, yeah, we had to play it a little bit smarter.”

Former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci rejoined with a penalty of more than 11 hours after overnight repairs to his KTM.

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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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