Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Soldiers in fight to control site of downed Malaysia Airlines aircraft

The parents of MH17 victim Fatima Dyczynski travelled from Australia to the jet crash scene

Armed forces have mounted an onslaught against pro-Russian separatists in a bid to gain control over the area where a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed earlier.

The intensifying clashes prompted a postponement of a trip to the site by Dutch and Australian police officers, who had planned to search for evidence and the remaining bodies.

In Washington, the State Department released satellite images which it said show that Russia has fired rockets more than seven miles into Ukraine.

Ukraine's National Security Council said government troops had encircled Horlivka, a key rebel stronghold, and that there had been fighting in other cities in the east.

A column of Ukrainian tanks had entered the town of Shakhtarsk, 10 miles west of the site of the Boeing 777 crash.

Fighting was also taking place in Snizhne and Torez, the two nearest towns to the crash site.

Flight MH17 was shot down with a surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.

And yesterday it emerged that the parents of a woman who died on the flight travelled from Perth, Australia, to honour their daughter at the crash site.

Jerzy Dyczynski and Angela Rudhart-Dyczynski, parents of 25-year-old Fatima, crossed territory held by pro-Russian rebels.

They last spoke to Fatima shortly before she boarded the flight for Kuala Lumpur in Amsterdam on July 17.

Mrs Rudhart-Dyczynski said: "We have promised our daughter we will come here."

Her husband added that his daughter "was for peace. She will be forever for peace".

The government accused rebel forces of firing rockets yesterday on residential apartment blocks in Horlivka, in what they said was an attempt to discredit the army and whip up anti-government sentiment.

The separatist self-declared "Donetsk People's Republic" has accused the army of being responsible for that and other rocket attacks in nearby cities.

The Donetsk regional government – which is loyal to Kiev and based elsewhere since rebels took over the area – said in a that at least 13 people, including two children aged one and five, were killed in fighting in Horlivka. It said another five people were killed as a result of clashes in a suburb north of Donetsk.

New York-based Human Rights Watch last week condemned what it said was the Ukrainian government forces' practice of using unguided rockets in populated urban areas.

US doctor infected with Ebola

Liberia: An American doctor is receiving medical treatment after he was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while treating patients in the West African nation, a spokeswoman for an aid organisation said.

Dr Kent Brantly was in a stable condition, talking with his doctors and working on his computer while receiving care at a hospital in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, said Melissa Strickland of North Carolina-based Samaritan's Purse.

She cautioned that Dr Brantly is “not out of the woods yet”. She said patients have a better chance of survival if they receive treatment immediately after being infected, which he did.

Dr Brantly (33), has been working with Samaritan's Purse in Liberia since October 2013 as part of the group's post-residency programme for doctors, Ms Strickland said.

He is the medical director for the aid organisation's case management centre in the city.

The highly contagious Ebola virus is one of the most deadly diseases in the world.

The deadly disease has killed at least 672 people in several African countries since the outbreak first began earlier this year.

UK diplomats escape carjacking

Libya: A British Embassy convoy has come under fire in an attempted carjacking as Britons were urged to leave the country.

Embassy staff escaped unscathed from the attack yesterday morning.

Michael Aron, the UK's ambassador to Libya, wrote on Twitter: “There was an attempted carjacking on a British Embassy convoy this morning. Shots were fired at our vehicles but all staff safe.”

The Foreign Office updated its travel advice to state: “British nationals in Libya should leave now by commercial means.”

The United States closed its embassy yesterday and safely evacuated its diplomats by road to neighbouring Tunisia, escorted by F-16 fighter jets.

Mr Aron said the attempted carjacking occurred between the capital Tripoli and Zawiya, en route to the Tunisian border.

The British Embassy remains open but with reduced staff and a limited ability to provide consular assistance.

The Foreign Office warned of the likelihood of further attacks on foreigners.

There are believed to be up to 300 Britons in the country.

‘Spider-Man’ is arrested after punching officer

New York: A man dressed as Spider-Man is under arrest for slugging a police officer who told him to stop harassing tourists in Times Square.

Junior Bishop is charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and criminal mischief.

Police say the officer interceded after Bishop demanded at least five dollars (£2.95) from a woman he posed for a picture with, instead of the 1 dollar (59p) she offered. The officer told the costumed 25-year-old he could only accept tips. He then attacked the officer.

Cheryl happy with her Crazy Stupid Love after marriage

London: Newlywed Cheryl Cole has double reason to celebrate after achieving her ninth number one single.

The former Girls Aloud star's new track, Crazy Stupid Love, featuring Tinie Tempah, went straight to the top of the charts.

The track is the singer's fourth number one as a solo artist, placing her alongside Geri Halliwell and Rita Ora as only the third British female to claim the feat.

Cole, who tied the knot with French restaurateur Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini in a secret ceremony in Mustique earlier this month, said: “It feels great to be back but even more special to have achieved my fourth number one. So exciting!”

World Cup stadium plays host to mass wedding

Brazil: A hundred couples have tied the knot in a mass wedding held in the first post-World Cup event inside the Brazilian capital's Estadio Nacional.

The collective civil marriage ceremony was held on the football stadium's pitch.

It was the 10th mass wedding held in Brasilia as part of the “Soul Mate” project organised by the city's justice secretariat.

Brasilia's last mass wedding was held three months ago when 105 couples were married.

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