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18 children among Grenfell Tower blaze victims
Protivin (Czech Republic)
Crayfish equipped with high-tech
sensors have been drafted in by a
Czech brewery in its quest to keep
its water supply pure.
The Protivin brewery in South
Bohemia has placed the creatures,
which react quickly to changes in
their aquatic environment, in fish
tanks through which is pumped
water from the same natural source
the brewery uses.
The animals are fitted with
infrared bio-sensors which monitor
their heartbeat and movement.
Data is analysed by a computer,
and any changes in the animals’
body or behaviour flags a change
in the purity levels of the water in
“ When three or more crayfish
are moving or change their pulse
activity, we know that the water
parameters have changed. We can
react quickly because we have the
result within three minutes,” head
brewer Michal Voldrich said.
The water system was developed
and patented by scientists at the
Faculty of Fisheries and Protection
of Water at South Bohemia
University at Vodnany.
“ We are using crayfish like a
living chemical laboratory like
a bio indicator and bio sensor
together,” Pavel Kozak, director of
the university’s Research Institute
of Fish Culture and Hydrobiology,
“The crayfish react very fast on
any non-specific change, which is
different than any other detectors,
which react fast on a very low
concentration (of pollution) but
only on one specific agent.”
Researchers are planning to
upgrade the technology used in
the scheme, and aim to use special
cameras to monitor the animals’
Scientists use naturally occurring
crayfish populations in bodies of
water as a method of studying
water pollution, effectively turning
the animals into bio-sensors.
Crayfish help Czech brewery keep water pure
A scientist looks at crayfish inside a fish tank in a laborator y of Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters in Vodnany.
O J Simpson
to be freed
At least 18 children died in the
Grenfell Tower fire, more than half of
them under the age of 11, the latest
inquests have revealed.
The most recent victims to be
identified include two sisters, two
three-year-old girls, a boy aged six, a
teenager and a woman in her 30s.
Several of those identified were
siblings, with the fire wiping out
complete families — and inquests
confirmed the deaths of several
families’ remaining missing members.
Senior Coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox
told Westminster Coroner’s Court,
which was packed with victims’
relatives: “ We hopefully now
only have a handful of formal
identifications to make.
have identified 67 different
victims of this fire.
“Many sadly today were young
children who died.
“I have opened and adjourned and
suspended the inquests of all 67.” In
addition, baby Logan Gomes, who
was stillborn in hospital on June 14,
was recorded as a victim of the fire
“ I hope that has managed to bring
some relief to the families who have
been anxiously awaiting the return of
their children to them,” Dr Wilcox
said, adding children on the missing
list had been accounted for and
The ages of the fire’s known victims
span more than 80 years, from
baby Logan to 84-year-old Sheila,
formerly known as Sheila Smith.
The provisional cause of death for
all seven of the latest victims was
“consistent with the effects of fire”,
the inquest heard.
The remains of three-year-old
Zainab Choucair were recovered
from the 22nd floor where she lived
with her family, coroner’s officer Eric
Sword said. — PA
A Nevada prisons official says a plan is
in place for O J Simpson to be released
on parole as early as Monday from a
facility near Las Vegas.
Nevada Department of Corrections
spokeswoman Brooke Keast said
overnight the process and documents
have not yet been finalised for Simpson’s
release after he spent nine years behind
bars for an armed robbery conviction.
Keast says Simpson remains at Lovelock
Correctional Centre in northern Nevada.
She says he would be moved to High
Desert State Prison outside Las Vegas
A close Simpson friend, Tom Scotto,
would only say that Simpson is scheduled
to be released “shortly after” October 1.
No one has said yet where he will live
after he is freed.
October 1 is the date a State parole
board set in July when it approved release
for the 70-year-old Simpson. — AP
About half of Filipinos believe
many people killed in the country’s
war on drugs were neither drug
dealers nor violently resisted arrest
as police maintain, according to an
opinion poll released.
The sur vey of 1200 Filipinos by
Social Weather Stations (SWS)
conducted in late June also showed
that 50% of respondents felt many
victims were falsely identified by
their enemies as drug users and
pushers, and were then killed by
police or shadowy vigilantes.
Thousands of mostly urban poor
Filipinos have been killed during
15-month-old war on drugs, either
during police operations or by
The crackdown has come under
unprecedented scrutiny in recent
weeks, due largely to the high-
profile August 16 killing of a
17-year-old student, among the 90
people killed in less than a week of
intensified police raids.
The latest SWS poll predates
those events. Forty-nine per cent
of respondents believed many of
those killed by police were not drug
dealers, and 54% felt many victims
had not resisted arrest.
The sur vey suggests doubts among
Filipinos about the official stance
of the Philippine National Police,
which states those killed in anti-
drugs operations were dealers, and
had refused to go quietly. Police say
that has been the case in more than
3800 incidents in which deaths
The poll also indicates some
scepticism about the methods
and effectiveness of intelligence-
campaigns to identify drug users
in need of rehabilitation, some
of whom, activists say, have been
killed after their names appeared
on “watch lists”.
Duterte’s crackdown has caused
domestic polls have shown Filipinos
are largely supportive and believe it
has made the streets safer.
Duterte’s office frequently cites
polls, including SWS, as a sign of
his public support.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto
Abella cast doubts about the
accuracy of the latest sur vey,
saying it contained “leading and
pointed questions that may have
unduly influenced the answers”.
“ We expect pollsters to exercise
prudence and objectivity to arrive
at a closer approximation of public
sentiment,” he said in a statement.
Activists accuse the PNP of
executing suspects under the guise of
sting operations, or of colluding with
hit men to kill drug users, allegations
the PNP vehemently denies.
Duterte’s political opponents say
he has made bellicose statements
that incite police to commit murder,
which he rejects, arguing that his
instruction to security forces has
always been to kill only when their
lives were in danger.
Only a fifth of those polled by
SWS disagreed with the statement
that poli ce had killed many people
who had posed no threat to them.
A quarter were undecided.
respondents believed those killed
were drug pushers, as police report,
and 27% were undecided.
Half believed false accusations
of drug involvement were behind
many killings by police, while 21%
disagreed and 28% were undecided.
The sur vey showed higher
percentages of those polled in
Manila, which has borne the brunt
of the drugs killings, felt many
victims had neither sold drugs nor
fought police, and were being falsely
linked to the trade. — Reuters
Investigators believe a Russian
couple knocked out their victims
with sedatives, then skinned them
alive. After wards, police say, they
ate parts of their victims, froze the
remains or packed them in jars filled
with saline solution.
At times, the couple tried to turn
soldiers at the military academy
where they worked into unwitting
cannibals, slipping “canned human
meat ” into their food.
The people in the city of Krasnodar
may never have known about any of
that if not for a broken cellphone
lying on a city street, authorities say.
City police have arrested the
couple — Natalia Baksheeva, 42, and
her husband, 35-year-old Dmitry
Baksheev — who authorities say
may be responsible for the death
or disappearance of as many as 30
people in the city of 750,000 in the
south-western tip of Russia, about
300km from Sochi.
So far, Baksheev has been charged
with one count of murder, and the
investigation is continuing. If all the
killings are confirmed, the Russian
couple would rank among the
country’s worst serial killers.
The investigation started on
September 11, according to the
repairing a road found a discarded
cellphone. It still worked, so they
swiped through the photos. What
they found made them dash to the
police station. On the phone were
“photos of a man with different parts
of a dismembered human body in
his mouth”, the Russian Ministry of
Internal Affairs said.
About the same time that
investigators were poring over
the phone, officers found the
dismembered corpse of a 35-year-old
woman near the State-run aviation
academy where the couple lived,
according to Vice News.
Investigators were able to determine
the phone’s owner via “special
technical measures”, and arrested
Baksheev, according to a news release.
In police custody, he told authorities
that he and his wife had practiced
cannibalism at least 30 times in the
past two decades, according to the
The investigation ballooned from
there. The details are still spotty, but
some have seeped out as the story has
rocketed around the world.
The earliest potential killing, based
on the time stamps of photos the
couple had, dates back to 1999. For
years, the couple had been living
at what the BBC called a “hostel
accommodation” at a military base in
the city. One or both had at one point
worked on the base, in the kitchen.
Investigators have not said how
they believe the couple chose their
victims, only how they rendered them
unconscious — and what came after.
“ In the place of residence of the
suspects, the investigators discovered
fragments of the human body in
saline solution in the dormitory.
Frozen meat parts of unknown
origin were seized in the kitchen,”
investigators said, according to CBS
According to CNN, one police
source said, “at the moment, law
enforcement had discovered a glass
jar with a canned hand”.
designated the pair the “cannibal
couple”, but they have not released
many details about them.
Russian news stations released
video of the police search, apparently
from the couple’s home.
The footage showed a messy,
dishevelled room, with trash, debris
and clothes scattered on the floor
and draped over furniture. There
were also wigs on top of a small
freezer and dozens of pictures on a
The pictures were telling, Russian
investigators said. One photograph
is dated December 28, 1999, and
appears to show a dismembered
human head on a ser ving plate with
This year, former Siberian policeman
Mikhail Popkov — nicknamed “the
werewolf of Siberia” for his brutal
killings — confessed to killing 81
According to the Washington Post,
Popkov ’s victims ranged in age from
17 to 38. He started his spree as a
police officer, offering women rides
in his car, then taking them to remote
locations and raping and killing
them. — News.com .au
‘Cannibal couple’ accused of feeding human meat to soldiers
The type of advances in treatment
and prevention that have led to falling
deaths from heart disease are needed to
fight dementia amid expectations it will
soon become Australia’s biggest killer, a
support group says.
Heart disease remains the leading
cause of Australian deaths but dementia,
which includes Alzheimer’s disease, has
for the first time become the top killer
It is likely in time dementia will also
become the top cause of death for men
as treatments for other leading causes
such as heart disease improve and they
live longer, the Australian Bureau of
Alzheimer’s Australia chief executive
Maree McCabe says advances in the
treatment of heart disease and risk
reduction strategies have obviously
“ I think that ’s a real positive and we
need to do the same with dementia,” she
She said without a significant medical
breakthrough, the number of Australians
living with dementia is expected to rise
from 413,000 currently to 1.1 million by
“As a nation we need to do more to
reduce people’s risk of dementia so that
the onset of dementia in individuals
is avoided or delayed, resulting in
fewer people in the community having
dementia,” Ms McCabe said.
“ While it is heartening to see that less
Australian women are dying from heart
disease due to better treatment options
and support, there is still no cure for
dementia and people with dementia still
struggle to find appropriate support and
ser vices. ” ABS data showed dementia
was the underlying cause of death for
one in 12 of the 158,504 Australian
deaths in 2016.
Those who died from dementia were
more likely to be over 85 and female, the
The annual statistics also revealed
drug-induced deaths have reached their
highest level since the height of the
1990s heroin epidemic, although the per
capita rate remains below the 1999 peak.
A recent National Drug and Alcohol
Research Centre report found the
majority of opioid-related deaths
involve prescription opioids including
strong painkillers such as oxycodone,
rather than heroin, and occur among
Australians aged in their 30s, 40s and
Penington Institute acting chief
executive David Grant said the
increasing number of drug-related
deaths shows Australia’s approach to
drugs is not working.
“ We now have a situation where the
number of drug-related deaths is higher
than during the 1990s heroin crisis,” he
“The difference is that now the hundreds
of avoidable deaths are attributed to a
much wider range of pharmaceutical and
illicit drugs.” — AAP
Call for more focus
on dementia fight
Russia has completed the massive task
of destroying its Cold War-era chemical
weapons stockpiles, winning praise from an
international chemical weapons watchdog.
destruction of the country’s last
remaining artillery projectiles filled
with a toxic agent to President Vladimir
Putin overnight. The work took place at
the Kizner facility in the Urals, one of
five facilities built in Russia to destroy
chemical weapons. Ahmet Uzumcu,
director-general of the Organisation for
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,
commended Russia for achieving a
“major milestone” with the destruction
of its chemical arsenals. — AP
The exodus from a menacing volcano
on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali
is nearing 100,000 people, a disaster
official said, as hundreds of tremors from
the mountain are recorded daily.
The National Disaster Mitigation
Agency said more than 96,000 people
have now fled the area around Mount
Agung in the north-east of the island.
Villagers began leaving in the middle
of last week and the number of evacuees
has swelled daily since Friday, when the
volcano’s alert status was raised to the
The agency said a monitoring centre
had recorded more than 800 earthquakes
and thin smoke was obser ved rising 50m
above the crater.
The volcano last erupted in 1963,
killing more than 1100 people, and
remained active for about a year.
Agency spokesman Sutopo Pur wo
Nugroho said the chances of an eruption
are “quite big,” although experts cannot
predict when with certainty.
The people who have fled the volcano
are scattered across Bali in more than 400
different locations including temporary
camps, sports centres and other public
In Karangasem district, volunteers
were helping with classes for some of
the thousands of children whose schools
within the exclusion zone around the
volcano are now closed.
“So far the children look happy and
are enjoying themselves,” said volunteer
“They do not look worried or sad.
Hopefully we can continue to maintain
their excitement and keep them in good
The Ministry of Transport says it
is ready to deploy 100 buses to take
stranded tourists off Bali if an eruption
forces the closure of its international
The mountain, about 70km to the
north-east of the tourist hotspot of Kuta,
is among more than 120 active volcanoes
Another volcano, Mount Sinabung, has
been erupting sporadically since 2010,
sometimes blasting volcanic ash several
kilometres into the air and forcing more
than 30,000 to evacuate their villages.
100,000 flee Bali
in volcano exodus
The top United Nations human rights
official said overnight he was “appalled”
that Iraq had hanged 42 men on Sunday,
almost certainly without a fair trial, and
that he feared more would follow.
The executed prisoners had been
convicted of terrorism charges ranging
from killing members of the security
forces to detonating car bombs.
“ I am appalled to learn of the execution
of 42 prisoners in a single day,” UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid
Raad Al Hussein said in a statement.
“ We are extremely concerned at reports
that Iraq may be planning to expedite the
process of executing prisoners already
sentenced to death, and that this could
result in more large-scale executions in
the coming weeks.”
Zeid said it was “extremely doubtful”
that strict due process and fair trial
guarantees, including the men’s rights
to effective legal assistance and a full
appeals process as well as to seek pardon
or commutation of their sentence,
had been met in every one of the 42
Iraqi officials have said about 1200 of
the estimated 6000 prisoners held in
Nassiriya have been sentenced to death,
the statement said.
Zeid said Iraq’s use of the death penalty
raised “massive concerns” and he called
on the government to establish an
immediate moratorium on its use.
Members of terrorist groups who were
proven to have committed serious crimes
should be held fully accountable, he said.
“ However, Iraq’s use of anti-terrorism
legislation to impose the death penalty
for a wide range of acts does not appear
to meet the strict threshold of ‘most
serious crimes’. ” — Reuters
scolded United States
President Donald Trump
for a weekend tweet
Iranian missile launch
and essentially ruled out
renegotiating or launching
follow-up talks to a
landmark nuclear accord
that Trump is threatening
“ We need to check our
facts before we make
Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
“It worries me that people play with
facts and produce alternative facts.”
He also criticised a recent referendum on
independence by Iraq’s Kurdish minority
as “dangerous” to stability in a Middle
East already beset by efforts to defeat the
Islamic State extremist group and civil
wars in Syria and Yemen.
Zarif seemed to float the possibility of
a prisoner exchange for several detained
Americans in Iran, responding to a
question about their fate by raising the
situation of several Iranians held or
being pursued by the United States for
The minister reser ved his sharpest scorn
for Trump, who on Saturday blasted Iran
in a tweet that renewed criticism of its
2015 nuclear deal with six major powers
including the United States.
“Iran just test-fired a ballistic missile
capable of reaching Israel,” the president
“They are also working
with North Korea. Not
much of an agreement we
But it turns out there was
no Iranian ballistic missile
launch, according to Zarif
and US officials.
It is unclear where Trump
got his information, but it
apparently did not come
agencies, which keep a
continuous lookout for
missile launches around the
As president, Trump could easily
have checked with the CIA or other
intelligence agencies to verify whether
Iran had actually test-fired a missile.
Zarif also declared the US leader’s
newly extended travel ban restrictions on
Iran to be “an insult to the entire Iranian
The restrictions, which go into effect
October 18, cover citizens of Iran, Chad,
Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria,
and Yemen — and some Venezuelan
government officials and their families.
Iranians were also targeted in Trump’s
“ It is unfortunate that for irrelevant
political reasons the president of the
United States decides to alienate
. and antagonise an entire nation who
have not harmed anybody,” Zarif said.
“ I believe that we need to respond to the
measures that were taken by the United
States in order to preser ve the dignity of
our citizens,” he said. — AP
Half Filipinos don’t believe
drugs war accounts
Eruption near quake-hit Mexico City
Smoke, ash and red-hot rocks belched
from the Popocatepetl volcano near
Mexico City overnight, heightening
the anxieties of Mexicans still shaken
by last week’s powerful earthquake that
killed hundreds and severely damaged
thousands of buildings.
Pop ocatepetl, whose name means
“Smoking Mountain” in the native
Nahuatl language, showered a village at
its base with ash, shook with the force of
a 1.8 magnitude earthquake and spewed
flaming rocks to distances of up to 1km,
the National Disaster Prevention Centre
Eruptions and exhalations take place
on average about twice a year since the
volcano reactivated 23 years ago and are
not seen by disaster officials as a major
threat, but the activity has worried
Mexicans following the 7.1 magnitude
earthquake eight days ago and a series of
aftershocks since. — Reuters
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