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British boy dies on scouting activity holiday in Italy

Italy: A British boy has died while on an adventure holiday with the scouts. The 14-year-old lost consciousness as he jumped into the water during a gorge scrambling activity in the Gran Paradiso National Park in the north of Italy.

The boy, named by Italian police as Elliot Peacock, was immediately rescued from the water and given CPR but could not be resuscitated.

The teenager, from Newton Mearns in East Renfrewshire, was with a group of around 40 scouts who were on the second full day of their nine-day adventure activity trip when the incident happened at around 4.20pm on Sunday.

Acorn Adventure, which ran the trip, said: "They were jumping into the water, where instructors were waiting for them. All participants were wearing buoyancy aids, wet suits and helmets as is standard on this activity, carried out by hundreds of participants every year.

"As yet it is unclear why this participant lost consciousness as he entered the water. "

The outdoor education provider added: "The thoughts and condolences of all at Acorn Adventure are with his family and friends; the team's efforts are fully focused on ensuring they are supported in any way possible."

The police investigation in Italy is being led by the Guardia di Finanza in Courmayeur.

A police spokesman said: "We don't yet know whether the boy had a physical problem or whether it was an accident.

"A post-mortem will be carried out."

Acorn Adventure said it was working with the Italian emergency services and the Foreign Office to ensure the boy is brought home to his family "swiftly and respectfully", and that senior operations staff are travelling to Italy to provide all possible support.

The boy was a member of the Pegasus Explorer Scout unit, which is linked to the 35th Glasgow Scout Group.

In a statement, the Scout Association said: "We are working with Acorn Adventure to support the family, leaders and other young people involved in this very sad event.

"We are devastated that a young person has died and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the young person at this time."

Killer Pistorius not mentally ill

South Africa: A panel of mental health experts has concluded Oscar Pistorius was not suffering from a mental illness when he killed girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, the athlete's murder trial has heard.

Pistorius' trial resumed after a break of one month, during which a psychologist and three psychiatrists also assessed whether the double-amputee runner was capable of understanding the wrongfulness of his act when he shot Ms Steenkamp through a closed toilet door.

The panel's reports were submitted to Judge Thokozile Masipa, and prosecutor Gerrie Nel referred to key parts of the conclusions, noting that the experts believed Pistorius was “capable of appreciating the wrongfulness of his act” when he killed Ms Steenkamp (29), a model.

The evaluation came after a psychiatrist, Dr Merryll Vorster, testified for the defence that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder that could have contributed to the killing in the early hours of February 14, 2013.

Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if found guilty of premeditated murder, and could also face years in prison if convicted of murder without premeditation or negligent killing. He is currently free on bail.

Two dead in separate drownings

Irish Republic: A teenager and a young boy have tragically lost their lives in two separate drownings.

Jonathan Mongan (16) got into difficulty while swimming with a large group of friends in Killykeen Forest Park in Co Cavan. The family of the promising young athlete say he was on a supervised Youthreach event with a group of up to 12 other learners at the time of the accident.

Relative Charlie Ward, who was his boxing coach for three years, described Jonathan, from Cavan town, as a “handsome young man” with a “kind heart”.

The death came just hours after a five-year-old boy, Ahmed Bari, drowned in a drainage trench after leaving his home at Belgree Lawns in Tyrrelstown, west Dublin.

Ahmed, who suffered from speaking difficulties, was believed to have set out for a nearby pond — a spot he was often taken to by carers.

His family launched a search when they discovered he was missing. However, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Hamas will pay for murders of Israeli teens: Netanyahu

Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the Hamas militant group will pay a heavy price for the deaths of three Israeli teenagers kidnapped in the West Bank.

Israel announced late yesterday that it had found the bodies of the teenagers, the result of a frantic two-week search.

Israel has accused Hamas of being behind the abductions.

Mr Netanyahu said: “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.”

He added the teenagers “were kidnapped and murdered in cold blood by wild beasts”.

Mr Netanyahu was meeting with his Security Cabinet to discuss a response.

The bodies had been buried in a field north of Hebron.

Unite members vote to join 24-hour walkout

UK: The prospect of a massive strike by public sector workers over pay has increased after local government members of Unite strongly supported industrial action.

The union announced that its council members in Wales, England and Northern Ireland voted by over 2-1 to go on strike in protest at an offer worth 1% for most employees.

Unite will now join a 24-hour walkout on July 10 — the biggest day of action over pay the Government has faced since it came to power.

Four held over slavery following police raids

Cardiff: Two men were said by police to be “safe” yesterday following raids at five addresses in Bristol and Cardiff by detectives investigating allegations of slavery, forced labour and kidnap over a period of 26 years.

Four men from the Rumney area of Cardiff were arrested on slavery offences following the operation.

Lead officer Detective Superintendent Paul Griffiths described the alleged offences as “extremely serious”.

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