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News digest: Putin and new President of Ukraine hold D-Day summit


Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's new leader Petro Poroshenko have spoken of their desire for a quick end to hostilities in Ukraine during their meeting at the D-Day commemorations in France.

Mr Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: "During the brief conversation, both Putin and Poroshenko spoke for the soonest end to bloodshed in south-eastern Ukraine and combat actions by both parties: the Ukrainian armed forces and supporters of the federalisation of Ukraine."

He said Mr Putin and Mr Poroshenko also "confirmed that there is no alternative to settling the situation by peaceful political means".

New focus in hunt for Maddy

British police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann focused their attention yesterday on a new patch of scrubland close to where she went missing in Portugal seven years ago.

Officers in Metropolitan Police uniform were seen studying a flat area of ground at the opposite end of the area which has seen activity over the past week.

The area of scrubland in Praia da Luz on the Algarve has been marked in various places with tape to highlight areas of interest to police.

Officers could be seen examining the uneven ground inside one marked-out area, which was covered with long grass. The search entered its fifth day yesterday, with officers previously focusing on a hole which had been covered in undergrowth.

Forensics officers sifted through soil in large sieves inside a white tent set up to cover the void, thought to have been used as a children's den.

A man's sock was found and removed for examination, but ruled out of the investigation.

On Thursday Madeleine's parents said they were "encouraged" by the progress made by police as they search for clues as to what happened to her after she disappeared from the resort in May 2007, aged three.

Stuffed croc found on golf course

A dead stuffed crocodile has been discovered next to a golf course, leaving animal welfare officers baffled as to how it got there.

Passers-by contacted the Scottish SPCA to say they spotted a reptile in a stream at Carnwath Golf Course, near Biggar in South Lanarkshire, last month.

Officers initially thought it was a prank but found it was actually a four-and-a-half foot long dead crocodile, which someone had tried to stuff.

The creature was later identified as a West African dwarf crocodile. The charity says it does not know how old the protected animal was or how it died.

Scottish SPCA inspector Heather Lawson, who collected it, said: "I first thought it was a prank when I received a call saying there had been sightings of a crocodile but when I investigated I found it was real.

"The crocodile was dead and oddly had tape wrapped around its head. It seems someone has attempted to stuff the crocodile as it had no insides and there was straw stuck in its legs."

University gunman was halted by pepper spray

A student pepper-sprayed a lone gunman who had already killed a 19-year-old man at an American university while he paused to reload, helping to prevent more deaths, police have said.

Two young people were wounded after the gunman opened fire at Seattle Pacific University on Thursday. When the gunman paused to reload his shotgun, he was pepper-sprayed, and a student building monitor disarmed him while other students helped pin him to the floor.

Seized Greenpeace ship to be released by Russia

Russian authorities are to release the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise, the environmental campaign group has said.

The ship has been held in Murmansk since it was seized during a protest against an offshore oil platform in September 2013.

Amsterdam-based Greenpeace welcomed the news but said it still believes that the actions of Russian authorities in seizing the ship and arresting the 30 people on board were against international law.

Belfast Telegraph