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Monday, December 30, 2013

Second Suicide Bomb Hits Volgograd

Fourteen people were killed by a blast on a trolleybus in the Russian city of Volgograd on Monday in what Russian authorities described as a suicide attack, the second to hit the city in as many days. The first took place on Sunday and killed 17 people in the city’s central railway station. Maksim Akhmetov, a Russian TV reporter at the scene of the second blast, told the BBC that the trolleybus was full of commuters travelling in the morning rush. He said the bus was torn apart and that there were “bodies everywhere, blood on the snow”. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered security measures to be tightened across the country, and in particular in Volgograd, while some commentators have begun questioning the government’s promises that the Sochi winter olympic games would be “the safest in history”.

F1 Champion Schumacher Critical After Ski Accident

Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher is in critical condition after suffering an accident while skiing with his teenage son in the resort town of Méribel in the French Alps. The 44-year-old retired German driver was skiing off-piste when he fell and hit his head on a rock. One of the doctors assisting him at the University Hospital in Grenoble, where he underwent surgery to relieve pressure in his head, said that “he wouldn’t be here now” if he had not been wearing a protective helmet. Another of member of the medical staff said the German had suffered “diffuse haemorrhagic lesions” to his brain, but would not comment on any prognosis. He is being kept in an induced coma and the medical team believe his fitness should help in his recovery from his injuries.

DR Congo Attacked by ‘Unknown Terrorist Group’

Gunmen believed to be associated to Paul Joseph Mukungubila Mutombo, a religious leader and self-annointed “Prophet of the Eternal”, have attacked the international airport of Kinshasa in the DR Congo and have also laid siege to the country’s state television headquarters. Two gunmen appeared on camera to deliver a message directed at President Joseph Kabila, who took office in 2001 after the assassination of his father Laurent and won elections against Mukungubila in 2006. “Gideon Mukungubila has come to free you from the slavery of the Rwandan”, they said, referring to a peace deal signed by Kabila with the M-23 rebel group in eastern Congo. Some said the government effectively gave in to pressure from neighbouring Rwanda when signing the accord.

Buenos Aires Suffers Power Shortages Amidst Heatwave

The municipal government of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, has declared a state of emergency amidst a heatwave that has caused water and power cuts to many residents, with officials blaming the power grid failure on the sudden demand for electricity caused by air conditioning units. Albert Lippi, spokesman for power utility company Edenor, said that the entire “low tension network was affected and it is very difficult to know exactly what the failure was because Buenos Aires has all its cables underground”. But he denied reports that some customers have been without power for more than 10 days, saying that the blackouts lasted only for “up to 24 hours, affecting 300 clients”. Meanwhile, Mayor Mauricio Macri urged President Christina Kirchner to decree daylight saving time for Buenos Aires, “a concrete proposal that will be useful beyond the crisis and the solidarity that the lack of infrastructure requires from all of us”.

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