Acquiring citizenship helps immigrants in Switzerland boost earnings: study

by Ivan Couronne WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — Immigrants to Switzerland who became naturalized citizens saw their earnings rise significantly compared to those who did not obtain the passport, a study showed Wednesday. Average annual earnings were 13.5 percent greater for immigrants 15 years after they narrowly won naturalization through a local referendum, equal to about 5,500 Swiss Francs ($5,500), against immigrants who lived in the country but were unable to obtain nationality. “These findings […]

Arson suspected in Athens hotel fire

ATHENS, Greece (AFP) — Authorities in Greece on Thursday were investigating possible arson in a four-star Athens hotel fire in which three people were hurt, state news agency ANA said. The agency cited fire department sources who said jerry cans containing “a flammable liquid” were found on the first and second floors of the Athenaeum Palace, one of the capital’s newest luxury hotels. The fire is believed to have started on the first floor of […]

European UN council members condemn NKorea missile launches

UNITED NATIONS, United States (AFP) — European members of the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday condemned North Korea’s “provocative” ballistic missile launches and reaffirmed the need to enforce sanctions against the country. “Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom are deeply concerned by the continued testing of ballistic missiles by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, including the missile launches of 28 November,” read the statement. The Europeans noted that Pyongyang “has […]

Three French flood rescuers killed in helicopter crash

MARSEILLE, France (AFP) — Three emergency workers were killed in a helicopter crash near Marseille while on a rescue mission in southern France where floods have left two dead, officials said Monday. Their EC145 helicopter lost radio and radar contact while on a rescue and reconnaissance flight in the Var region Sunday night. The three were found dead at 1:30 am near the town of Rove, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and his secretary of state […]

Two killed by floods in southern France

NICE, France (AFP) — Two people were killed on Sunday by floods in the French Riviera, which has been hit by fresh torrential rains a week after extreme weather left six dead, authorities said. In the Var region, a shepherd has swept away as he was trying to cross a ford in his 4×4 while tending to his flock. His body was found in his vehicle late Sunday night 300 meters (330 yards) downstream from […]

Victims of London Bridge attack lauded by their families

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — British police on Sunday named the two victims who died in the London Bridge terror attack, as their families paid glowing tributes to the pair. Jack Merritt, 25, from Cambridgeshire in eastern England, and 23-year-old Saskia Jones of Warwickshire in the West Midlands, were both killed by convicted terrorist Usman Khan during his rampage Friday, the Metropolitan Police said. Merritt, a course coordinator at Cambridge University’s criminology institute, and Jones, […]

Two killed by knifeman as terror returns to London Bridge

  by Robin MILLARD / Charlotte DURAND Agence France Presse LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — A man suspected of stabbing two people to death in a terror attack on London Bridge was a former prisoner convicted of terrorism offences and released last year, police said Saturday. The knifeman, wearing a suspected hoax explosive device, was shot dead by police after the daylight assault on Friday that also saw bystanders intervene to try and disarm him. […]

Forty dead as families pulled from Albania earthquake rubble

  by Briseida MEMA Agence France Presse DURRËS, Albania (AFP) — The death toll from the most powerful earthquake to strike Albania in decades rose to 40 on Thursday after more bodies were pulled from the wreckage overnight in a tragedy that has wiped out whole families. The 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked the Balkan state while people were sleeping just before 4:00 am (0300 GMT) on Tuesday, razing buildings and trapping victims beneath the debris […]

Strong quake shakes Greek island of Crete: officials

ATHENS, Greece (AFP) — A strong 6.1-magnitude undersea earthquake shook the Greek island of Crete on Wednesday and was felt in other parts of the country, officials said. “It was a major earthquake, the whole island shook but fortunately so far no damage has been reported,” Crete regional governor Stavros Arnaoutakis told state TV ERT. The Athens Observatory said the quake struck at 9:23 am (0723 GMT) and had a depth of over 70 kilometers […]

Albania races against time to find earthquake survivors

by Briseida MEMA THUMANE, Albania (AFP) — Emergency workers on Wednesday pulled dust-covered corpses from the ruins of an earthquake that has claimed 30 lives in Albania, as aftershocks hampered the second day of search efforts for survivors. The 6.4 magnitude earthquake that rattled the Balkan state early Tuesday morning was the most powerful and damaging in decades. In the hard-hit coastal city of Durres and the town of Thumane, apartments and hotels collapsed into […]

Firefighters battle new blaze in California

LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Hundreds of California firefighters on Tuesday battled a wind-driven brush fire that grew out of control overnight near Santa Barbara, threatening thousands of homes and prompting evacuation orders. The so-called “Cave Fire” that started around 4:00 pm on Monday in Los Padres National Forest, grew to 4,100 acres (1,659 hectares) overnight as it moved toward populated areas in the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta and nearby communities. Some 600 […]

More than 20 dead as Albania hunts for earthquake survivors

by Briseida MEMA DURRES, Albania (AFP) — Albanian rescuers searched rubble through the night looking for survivors trapped in buildings that toppled Tuesday in the strongest earthquake to hit the country in decades, with more than 20 dead and hundreds injured. Teams of soldiers, police and emergency workers sifted through the debris of shredded apartment blocks and hotels in towns near Albania’s northwest Adriatic coast, close to the epicenter of the 6.4 magnitude earthquake that […]