Thursday, February 11, 2016

France minibus crash leaves six children dead in head-on truck collision


Six children are killed when school minibus crashes head-on with a truck in France

A school minibus has today crashed into a lorry carrying rubble in France
At least six children are dead, with another 11 thought to be wounded
The bus was travelling near Rochefort, in the Charente-Maritime region


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A school minibus has crashed into a truck in France, killing at least six children a day after another road accident involving a school bus left two youngsters dead.
The head-on smash with a lorry carrying rubble occurred around 7:15am local time near Rochefort in the western Charente-Maritime region.
Jerome Servolle, a local police official, said a 'gate-like object' had swung open on the truck, slicing through the vehicle at window height.



He said: 'The word chaos is not strong enough. This is such a tragedy.'
Herve Blanche, Rochefort's mayor, confirmed the ‘horrific accident’ had claimed the lives of six children, and left at least three others seriously injured. He said the causes of the crash were under investigation.
A witness to the aftermath of the crash said: ‘It is a scene of chaos. The vehicles have been smashed to pieces, and emergency workers are helping survivors.’


The bus had been travelling from the Ile d’Oleron - the island off France’s Atlantic coast - to the town of Surgeres.
President Francois Hollande extended his ‘deepest sympathies’ to friends and families of the victims, who have not been identified.
Yesterday two children, aged 12 and 15, died when a school bus veered off a road in snowy conditions near the Swiss border in eastern France.
The school bus was carrying 32 children on its daily trip to the village school in Montbenoit when it 'left the road' in snowy conditions, a police source in that case said.
Investigations into the exact cause of both accidents have already been opened.
A total of 3,464 people died on French roads in 2015 – a 2.4 percent increase on 2014. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve blamed the spike on ‘an increase in risky behaviour that can lead to fatalities’.
Mr Cazeneuve also said drivers were ‘too relaxed’ when it came to following the road rules, and that many motorists continued to drive ‘at excessive speed’.


Why does The Star casino gets a free pass on Sydney's liquor lockout laws?


No last drinks, violent fights... and millions in gambling taxes to the NSW government: Why do YOU think The Star casino gets a free pass on Sydney's liquor lockout laws?

Lock-out laws were introduced in Sydney city and Kings Cross in 2014
NSW Premier Mike Baird has come under fire for controversial restrictions
The Star casino is the only Sydney CBD venue exempt from the laws
The casino paid Baird's government $320m in taxes in 2014-15
The Star's revenue for the year was $1.54billion


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When every other pub and bar in central Sydney is forced to close its doors at 1.30am, drinkers know there is one place they can go and stay until whatever time they like.
The Star casino proudly boasts it has a bar that is open all hours, it even calls it the '24/7 Sports Bar.'
As a fresh debate rages about whether the NSW Government's liquor laws are stemming alcohol-related violence or creating an 'nanny state', the casino has stayed quietly beyond the fray.
No wonder, as the casino has managed to escape the laws that small bar owners, clubs and other businesses say has killed Sydney's nightlife - any many businesses along with it.



Critics who have slammed Premier Mike Baird for defending the lockout laws this week are also questioning why the the casino - which is a huge contributor to state revenue through gambling taxes - gets a free pass despite being a major city venue that statistics show may be the most violent in the state.
The issue has taken off this week on social media, where Mr Baird has been lampooned as 'Casino Mike'.
The premier's office referred questions from Daily Mail Australia about why the casino was exempt from the lockout laws to the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, which grants alcohol licenses. OLGR did not answer the question directly, saying only that the casino was outside the designated liquor lockout zone.



The government introduced the tough laws in February 2014 after a public outcry about a spate of brutal alcohol-related violence late at night in the city, including the tragic death of 18-year-old Thomas Kelly.
Mr Kelly was punched without warning as he walked with his girlfriend in Kings Cross, fell unconscious to the ground and suffered irreparable brain damage when his head hit the pavement. His family made the agonising decision to switch off his life support.
The new laws created a zone covering the Sydney central business district, Kings Cross, the clubbing precinct on Oxford Street and other parts of the inner city - and slapped them with rules including requiring them to lock their doors to new patrons a 1.30am, serve last drinks at 3am and stop takeaway sales after 10pm.


The zone does not include Pyrmont, the suburb where The Star is located that is close enough to central Sydney to give high-rollers in waterfront rooms a spectacular view of the city skyline.
Since the lockout laws were introduced, numerous small bars and clubs in the city have closed and critics blame the new rules for reducing business and pushing customers to other areas of the city.
In the same period, The Star has recorded large profit increases.
The Star paid the NSW Government more than $320million in tax in the year from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, according to its financial statements.That was an increase of $70million on the year before, when it paid $250million in taxes.
The Star's pre-tax revenues for 2014-15 were $1.541billion.
The Star told Daily Mail Australia in a statement the rise in was 'attributable to increases in gaming revenue and international VIP businesses that followed our $870million refurbishment in 2013, as well as new restaurant offerings and the Star Event Centre opening attracting corporate and entertainment audiences.'



Mr Baird claimed this week alcohol-related assaults in the central business disctrict had dropped by 42.2 per cent since the laws were introduced, and by more than 60 per cent in Kings Cross. The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOCSR) said the Kings Cross figure was more like 45 per cent.
A BOCSR review of the first six months of the lockout laws found that while assaults at other venues was falling, there was an average of 6.3 assaults per month at the Star - or an average of 75 assaults per year, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
The review said there was 'some evidence that assaults increased in and around The Star casino' but described them as 'not statistically significant and the reduction in assault elsewhere was much larger than the increase around The Star casino.'



In addition to the lockout laws, The Star is also exempt from state laws targetting violent licensed venues, including the so-called 'Three Strikes' rules that can strip premises of their liquor license if repeated breaches occur. The Star was fined or censured 12 times in 2013-14 for license breaches, the Herald reported.
Mr Baird was ridiculed online this week as 'Casino Mike' as the debate on the lockout laws became more heated.



Dozens of musicians including DJ Alison Wonderland, Nina Las Vegas, electronic duo Flight Facilities and American rapper Danny Brown have criticised the laws.
'How about you let the public vote on the issue instead of an out of touch group of suits? If you were elected represent a majority, perhaps you should find out if they agree with you,' wrote Flight Facilities.



'As a nightclub DJ and promoter, I can't work within the lockout zones and am continually explaining to international visitors WHY our city is no longer somewhere you would want to perform,' wrote DJ Nina Las Vegas.
Others showed their support for the cause by posting a photo with a placard reading: 'Keep Sydney Open.'
Australian singer-songwriter Tina Arena uploaded a photo of the slogan with the caption: 'Sydney deserves a safe and fulfilling late night culture. Let's Keep Sydney Open <3 #nolockout.' Mr Baird rejected claims his department deleted thousands of critical comments on his Facebook post about the state's controversial lockout laws. He told reporters on Wednesday the lockout laws would be reviewed. It was not clear if the review would include The Star's exemptions. 'What we want to do in relation to the policy is have it reviewed and I'm open to what those findings bring forward,' he said.

Michael Bloomberg is 'itching' to run for President and commissions a 2nd poll


Bloomberg is 'itching' to run for President, source says, as he commissions second poll to test his 'viability'

Michael Bloomberg is said to be 'itching' to enter the Presidential race
The former NYC mayor has commissioned a second poll to test his viability
Earlier in the week he confirmed he was looking at standing as a candidate
He also expressed disgust at the current state of the race for the White House


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The former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg is now said to be 'itching' to run for President after commissioning a second poll to test his viability.
The billionaire 73-year-old had previously said earlier in the week that he was 'looking at all the options' and expressed disgust at the current state of the race for the White House.
If he stands as an independent candidate, he would be the richest person in American political history with a fortune of $36 billion, dwarfing the resources of Republican Donald Trump.



And after decisive victories for Trump and Democratic contender Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary polls, a source told the New York Post it has prompted him to order a second viability poll.
The source told the newspaper: 'Mike is itching to do it.'
They also added that Bloomberg, who won three terms as mayor of New York City has 'political infrastructure in place' and 'sleeper cells ready' if he decides to run.


Earlier in the week Bloomberg said in an interview that the public deserves 'a lot better' from the presidential race, adding that he was 'listening to what candidates are saying' and that he would have to move by the start of next month to have his name put on general election ballots.
Individuals identifying themselves as Bloomberg aides were heard on Sunday night at two different Super Bowl parties in Manchester, New Hampshire – one thrown by Jeb Bush loyalists and another attended by Hillary Clinton supporters – saying that they were sniffing around and surveying the landscape for their boss.
One reportedly said Bloomberg had 'not yet' declared his candidacy, suggesting it was only a matter of timing.



A late entry into the White House sweepstakes would dramatically alter the balance of power in what would otherwise be a simple left-versus-right matchup in November.
Conventional wisdom holds that Bloomberg would split the Democrats' support in two since his politics are more liberal than conservative.
Bloomberg is a major funder of gun control efforts and famously clamped down on New Yorkers' eating and drinking habits with strict limits on salt in restaurants and the allowable sizes of fountain soft drinks.
His efforts earned him the nickname 'Nanny Bloomberg,' a label Republicans would be quick to bring out of retirement if he should become a viable candidate.
On the other hand, an earnest campaign by the former mayor could help elect a GOP president if the promise of big-government interventions drew support away from the Democratic Party's nominee.
That may be why Trump told Fox News Channel host Neil Cavuto on Monday that Bloomberg would be welcome in the race.



''I’ve known him for a long time and we’ve been friends and I would love to see him run because I like the competition, and I think it would be a little hard for him to do very well,' Trump said.
'But you never know what’s going to happen in the world of politics. He’s very very weak on the Second Amendment, he’s very weak on immigration, and a couple of other things that I think you have to be strong on.'
'I think he’d have a huge impact against the Democrats,' Trump added, saying that while he considers Bloomberg a long-shot to enter the race, 'if he did run I’d be very happy about it.'
If Bloomberg does stand and is elected, he would also become the first Jewish president.
He is not observant, but he and his ex-wife brought both daughters up in the faith and he has spoken of how his family brought him up with the Jewish values of 'freedom, justice, service, ambition, innovation'.


Mafia mobsters from the 'Prickly Pear Lips' clan run by women arrested in Sicily


Dozens of Mafia mobsters belonging to the 'Prickly Pear Lips' clan run by women are arrested in Sicily

The three Mafia bosses were known as 'the three queens of Caltagirone'
They ran the clan's finances and had mentored its heir since he was young
Italian police arrested more than 100 mobsters in the massive raids
Prosecutors say weapons were also found, including two rocket launchers


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Three women running Sicily's 'Prickly Pear Lips' Mafia clan have been arrested in a massive police operation that netted more than 100 mobsters.
Officers claim to have wiped out the Laudani clan overnight after having detained members of the organisation at all levels, including the women bosses known as 'the three queens of Caltagirone'.
Named after a town in the area, the trio had ruled the clan with an iron grip, governing its financial matters and mentoring from a young age its heir.



Giuseppe Laudani was selected to run the clan when he was 17 after his Mafia boss father was killed.
However, he turned to the police and told how the three women, Maria Scuderi, 51, Concetta Scalisi, 60 and Paola Torrisi, 52, had raised him.
Known as 'the prince', Giuseppe Laudani described a world of violence and vendettas, with the women building power after his aunt Scalisi's life was saved by his father during an attempted assassination at the end of the 1980s.


And Torrisi, herself the daughter of a mobster boss who used to manage the clan's international drug trading, was still young when she began to organise couriers in the area around Mount Etna.
The arrested suspects were all wanted for Mafia association, extortion, drug trafficking and possessing illegal arms.
Of 109 arrest warrants issued Wednesday, 86 people were detained, 23 were already serving time in prison and six are still eluding capture, police said.
Laudani also snitched on his brother Pippo and half-brother Alberto Caruso, as well as his grandfather Sebastiano Laudini, 90, who had served time between 1986 and 2012 and is now back under house arrest.
According to prosecutor Michelangelo Patane, the clan, which had sought ties with the cocaine-running 'Nrangheta clan in Calabria, had a huge arsenal of weapons, including two rocket launchers.
The rocket launchers were intended for use in hits on several Sicilian magistrates but the plan was foiled when another informer told police the weapons were hidden in a garage on the slopes of Mount Etna.
The Laudani are believed to be behind a string of violent attacks in the 1990s, including the murder of a prison warden and a lawyer who had refused to be bought.
Police said they had been hampered in their investigations by local business owners, who either lied about being the victims of attempts to extort money from them or admitted the extortion but refused to help identify those responsible.
The Sicilian Mafia, known as 'Cosa Nostra' or 'Our Thing', was Italy's most powerful organised crime syndicate in the 1980s and 1990s, but has seen its power diminish following years of probes and mass arrests.
It also faces fierce underworld competition from the increasingly powerful Naples-based Camorra and Calabria's 'Ndrangheta.


50 Cent slams Australian boxer Billy Dib as an ‘ungrateful fighter’


50 Cent slams Australian boxer Billy Dib as an ‘ungrateful fighter’ and says US cable network HBO labelled him ‘unwatchable’ - following claims the rapper owes him $1 million

50 Cent has lashed out at Australian boxer Billy Dib on Instagram
Dib was one of 50 Cent's first boxing promotion clients in 2012
However the business went bankrupt and Dib claims he's owed $1 million
His wife Sarah lost her fight against leukaemia last year at age of 21
The 30-year-old boxer has revealed he visits his wife's grave every day

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Rapper 50 Cent has launched a scathing attack on boxer Billy Dib, labelling the Australian 'ungrateful' and claiming TV network HBO deemed him 'unwatchable' after Dib publicly accused the rapper of owing him one million dollars.
Dib was one of 50 Cent's first clients when he launched a boxing promotions company in July 2012, however their relationship turned sour when the business went bankrupt and the Australian claimed he was owed more than $1 million.
Dib, whose wife Sara died from cancer last September, will make his return to the ring against Thailand's Sukkasem Kietyongyuth in a super featherweight bout on February 26 at Sydney's Emporium Function Centre.
In the lead-up to his return to fighting later this month, the former IBF world champion labelled the venture with the rapper his 'worst career move', prompting 50 Cent - born Curtis James Jackson III - to hit back via Instagram.



'The truth is Billy Dib is an ungrateful fighter who was deemed unwatchable by premium networks like Showtime and HBO when I met him,' 50 Cent wrote; calling Dib a 's***head'.
'With a record of 35-1 (21 KOs), Dib must have fought 21 cab drivers in Australia because Evgeny Gradovich with a record of 15-0 (8 KOs) beat the s*** out of him, despite taking the fight on a month's notice.'
In the stinging rant 50 cent also claims that world champion Floyd Mayweather 'was mad with him for opting to sign Dib in the first place.'
50 Cent also claimed Dib wasn't capable of fighting on the world stage at the intense level in America.
'It's no secret that the level of competition and talent, fighting in America is the highest. The best fighters in the world come here to fight,' he said.



'8 Months later, I put Dib on the Manny Pacquiao undercard for the rematch with Gradovich. He got knocked the f**k out.
'I can only set the fight up ... I can't fight for you, punk! I didn't take a dime of your money. They call me a lot of s**t, but never a thief.'
World champion boxer Billy Dib spoke out last month about his grief following the tragic death of his young wife, who lost her battle with cancer.
The 30-year-old laid his wife Sara, 21, to rest in an emotional funeral service held at Rookwood cemetery in Sydney last September.
Ms Dib lost her fight just eight weeks after she was diagnosed with leukaemia, following complications with her treatment.
'It's still raw, it will always be. I supposed no one can understand this sort of grief until they suffer it,' the Sydney boxer told The Daily Telegraph.
'There's no training that prepares you for this and no amount of praying, begging, pleading and crying changes the reality of the emptiness you feel.'


The couple cancelled their December wedding - and instead moved forward plans to get married in a civil ceremony in August shortly after discovering her illness.
But just one month after walking down the aisle, Dib was comforted by family and friends, including his politician brother Jihad Dib as they paid a poignant tribute to Sara at her burial.



And four months on, the grief-stricken boxer revealed that he visits her grave every day.
'Every day I visit Sara, I am grateful because I was lucky enough to have her in my life, even if for too short a time,' he said.
Following his wife's death, Dib shared a heartbreaking tribute accompanied by a photograph of the couple's hands on social media.
'To God we belong and to God we shall return. At 11.30pm last night, my heart passed away. Sara Selim Dib, my best friend, my soul, my everything, my angel forever,' he wrote on Facebook.
The former world champion spent the final days - leading up to her death - sleeping on the floor of her hospital room.


Full Top Gear line-up unveiled: Eddie Jordan to join Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc


Full Top Gear line-up unveiled: Formula One boss Eddie Jordan to join Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc among new look show's seven presenters

Chris Evans is heading new-look show after departure of Jeremy Clarkson
BBC last week revealed Friends actor Matt LeBlanc would appear on show
Now they have unveiled the full line-up, including ex-F1 boss Eddie Jordan
Other presenters are Sabine Schmitz, Rory Reid and Chris Harris


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The BBC has unveiled the full seven-person line-up who will present the new-look Top Gear with Chris Evans.
After revealing Friends actor Matt LeBlanc would host the show last week, former Formula One boss Eddie Jordan was today named as another presenter.
As well as Evans, the duo will join German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, technology journalist Rory Reid and YouTube star Chris Harris.
The team is completed by The Stig, Top Gear's anonymous so-called 'tame racing driver'.



Evans said of his new team: 'We really do have a bit of everything for everyone.
'A fellow lifelong petrolhead from the other side of the pond in Matt; a fearless speed-demon in the irrepressible and effervescent Sabine; the encyclopedic, funny and wonderfully colourful character that is EJ; Chris, one of the world's top no-nonsense car reviewers; and Rory, who simply blew me away in his audition and fully deserves his place on the team.'
Eddie Jordan is an Irish former racing driver and team owner who recently helped present the BBC's coverage of Formula 1.


Eddie Jordan said: 'I'm giddy with excitement to be joining Chris and the team. I have such enormous respect for all my fellow presenters and I politely ask that they go easy on these old bones.
'Cars are in my DNA and although I've been fortunate enough to accomplish most things I ever aspired to in motorsport, presenting Top Gear is quite simply the icing on the cake.'
Evans was brought in to revamp the show last year and will have to try to emulate the affection for former line-up of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond among the programme's loyal fans.
The trio have signed what is reportedly a lucrative deal and are set to launch their own motoring show on Amazon Prime later this year.



Sydney small bar bans Premier Mike Baird amid controversy over nanny state laws


'Mike Baird. You're locked out': Sydney small bar bans Premier Mike Baird amid controversy over 'nanny state' laws

A small bar has put a ban on NSW Premier Mike Baird from its premises
Arcadia Liquors enforced the rule by erecting a 'Refusal of Service' sign
The Sydney bar has responded to the premier's poorly-received rant
Other venue owners and high-profile musicians have band together
The hashtag #lockoutmikebaird is gaining attention on social media
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A small bar has put a ban on NSW Premier Mike Baird from its premises in protest of the controversial lock-out laws, with a sign on the window saying: 'Mike Baird. You're locked out.'
The premier has found himself at the centre of a ridicule after responding to a recent criticism about Sydney's lock-out laws in a poorly-received Facebook rant on Tuesday.
Mr Baird hit back at the 'hysteria' with his own strongly-worded post, saying that the new measures had seen violence in central Sydney had decreased by 42.2 per cent.
Now, Arcadia Liquors in Redfern, in Sydney's inner city, has enforced the rule by erecting a 'Refusal of Service' sign in the front window of their venue.



'Dear Mike Baird,' the poster read.
'In response to your recent dismissal of the debate against Sydney's lockout laws as "public hysteria", you'll be pleased to know you've made the list.
'No Mike, Sydney is not doing fine, violence was never "spiraling out of control" and using bogus statistics to push your personal agenda is downright shameful.


'Love live our Sydney, not yours.'
The 'list' also includes former NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell - who management also reserves the right to refuse service - after the first lockout laws were introduced.
The response follows on the heels of other venue owners and high-profile musicians banding together to take back their night, with the hashtag #lockoutmikebaird gaining attention on social media.



General manager of Sydney's bar Della Hyde Joe Worthington has proposed a 'new lock-out law, one which we can put into effect immediately: LOCK OUT MIKE BAIRD'.
'Mikey B will not be permitted in my venue,' Mr Worthington said on Facebook.
'It may not hurt him, it may not change his mind but it's a start and in the past few days I've witnessed this industry band together like nothing else I have seen before, long may it continue. #LOCKOUTMIKEBAIRD.'
Australian DJ Alison Wonderland said she was embarrassed that her hometown has 'become a laughing stock internationally' as a result of the lock-out laws.



'You obviously don't listen to anyone young than you, so perhaps you'll listen to someone who travels abroad more than you,' she wrote on Twitter.
'Our beloved Sydney's reputation has taken a f*****g battering & words can't explain how embarrassed I am that my home, the most beautiful and once most vibrant city in the world has become a laughing stock internationally.
'Everywhere I go from mainland Europe to middle America... people are asking me if it's true that Sydney has become a nanny state and voice their genuine concerns about visiting it.
'I miss the feeling of being able to discover music whilst exploring Sydney. That's what made me fall in love with what I do. Sydney is not a ghost town.'



Australian music artist Flight Facilities have penned a passionate letter on Facebook, questioning whether they could pursue their career as DJs the same way if they started over again today.
'We’ve been fortunate enough to explore the world through our music, and while our influences have reached us from every corner of the globe, our cultural and musical incubator is, and was, Sydney,' the post read.
'Such nights shaped our musical tastes, understanding, and kick started our careers. Most of our first club gigs didn’t begin until 3am, and yet those parties were still heaving.
'How do we know that the next Flight Facilities, Nina Las Vegas, Whatsonot, Alison Wonderland or Yolanda Be Cool aren’t choking on the creative stranglehold these laws have created?
'Instead, we’re being put in nappies and tucked into bed by a bunch of expired minds.'


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