INTERNATIONAL

Iran plane crash wreckage found on mountainside

WRECKAGE

Search teams in Iran have found the wreckage of a passenger plane that crashed on Sunday. The Aseman Airlines flight came down in the Zagros mountains in the west of the country and all 66 people on board are feared to have died. Rescuers travelled to the wreckage on foot after a helicopter was unable to land on the snowy ...

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WHO warns of soaring rates of measles in Europe

MEASLES

Europe has seen a big surge in measles cases in 2017, which the World Health Organization says is a tragedy after a record low of 5,273 cases in 2016. Cases increased four-fold, with more than 20,000 people affected and 35 deaths. Fifteen European region countries, including the UK, had large outbreaks. Measles cases were highest in Romania, Italy and Ukraine. ...

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Syria war: Pro-government forces enter Kurdish-held Afrin

SYRIA

Syrian pro-government forces have entered the Kurdish-held border enclave of Afrin, reports say, raising the risk of clashes with Turkey. It comes a day after Syria’s state news agency said “Popular Forces” would be sent there to counter “the Turkish regime’s attack”. Turkish troops and pro-Turkish Syrian rebels have been fighting Kurdish militia in Afrin for the past month. Turkey ...

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Mitsutoki Shigeta: ‘Baby factory’ dad wins paternity rights

BABY DAD

A Bangkok court has awarded paternity rights to a Japanese man over 13 babies he fathered through Thai surrogate mothers. The ruling allows Mitsutoki Shigeta, 28, to pursue custody of the children. The son of a wealthy entrepreneur, he caused controversy in 2014 when he was revealed to have fathered 16 babies via surrogates in Thailand. His so-called “baby factory” ...

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Syria war: Dozens of civilians killed in Eastern Ghouta strikes

SYRIA

Bombardments by Syrian government forces have killed dozens of civilians in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta area outside Damascus, activists say. At least 77 civilians, including 20 children, were killed in air strikes and rocket fire on Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The army is believed to be preparing a ground offensive. Urging a halt to the bombardment, ...

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Iceland’s mooted circumcision ban sparks religious outrage

CIRCUMCISION

Religious groups have condemned a bill in Iceland’s parliament that would ban circumcision for non-medical reasons. The draft law would impose a six-year prison term on anyone guilty of “removing part or all of the [child’s] sexual organs”, arguing the practice violates the child’s rights. Jewish and Muslim leaders however have called the bill an attack on religious freedom. Iceland ...

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Trump ‘supportive’ of improved gun background checks

Media captionTrump vows 'renewal of American spirit'

US President Donald Trump is “supportive” of efforts to improve background checks on gun ownership, the White House says. He has spoken to Republican Senator John Cornyn about a bipartisan bill he helped introduce, a statement read. The 2017 bill sought to improve federal compliance with checks that are processed before someone can buy a gun. It comes after authorities ...

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Rio de Janeiro violence: Hostages freed as prison riot ends

RIO

Brazil’s riot police have released 18 hostages held by armed inmates at a Rio de Janeiro jail, officials say. The unrest in the overcrowded prison in Japeri, which is effectively run by a criminal gang, began on Sunday. Three inmates who took part in the mutiny were shot, but are not thought to have life-threatening injuries. Police seized three guns ...

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Terracotta theft: Chinese anger over stolen warrior thumb

CHINESE

Chinese authorities have demanded “severe punishment” for a man who allegedly stole the thumb of a terracotta warrior statue on display in the US, Chinese state media report. The 2,000-year-old statue, worth $4.5m (£3.2m), is one of 10 on loan to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Last week, Michael Rohana was charged with theft and concealment of a major artwork, ...

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