Pakistan train accident: 19 bodies recovered from canal

The bodies of all the 19 people who died when four coaches of an army train fell into a canal while crossing a bridge in Pakistan’s Gujranwala district have been recovered, a media report said.

Pakistan Railway teams pulled out three coaches from the water. The train’s locomotive, however, could not be retrieved.

Four army officers were among the dead and their bodies were sent to their native towns after funeral prayers in Gujranwala Cantonment in Punjab on Friday. Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and other senior officers attended the prayers.

A seven-member joint investigation team was formed to determine the reason of the accident, the Dawn reported on Saturday.

The rest of the train, comprising 21 coaches, was taken to a nearby station and the track was cleared.


Tentative agreement on Iran sanctions relief reached

World powers and Iran have reached tentative agreement on sanctions relief for the Islamic Republic, among the most contentious issues in a long-term nuclear agreement that negotiators hope to clinch over the next several days, diplomats told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The annex, one of five meant to accompany the agreement, outlines which U.S. and international sanctions will be lifted and how quickly. Diplomats said senior officials of the seven-nation talks, which include U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, still had to sign off on the package.

Still, the word of significant progress indicated the sides were moving closer to a comprehensive accord that would set a decade of restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for tens of billions of dollars’ in economic benefits for the Iranians.

Officials had described sanctions relief as one of the thorniest disagreements between Iran and the United States, which has led the international pressure campaign against Iran’s economy. The U.S. and much of the world fears Iran’s enrichment of uranium and other activity could be designed to make nuclear weapons; Iran says its programme is meant only to generate power and for other peaceful purposes.

The diplomats, who weren’t authorised to speak publicly on this past week’s confidential negotiations in Vienna, said the sanctions annex was completed this week by experts from Iran and the six world powers it is negotiating with- the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia. They did not provide details of the agreement.

A senior U.S. official did not dispute the diplomats’ account but said work remained to be done before the issue could be described as finalised.

Negotiators are striving to wrap up the deal by July 7.

Along with inspection guidelines and rules governing Iran’s research and development of advanced nuclear technology, the sanctions annex of the agreement had been among the toughest issues remaining to be resolved.

Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have made repeated demands for economic penalties to be lifted shortly after a deal is reached. Washington and its partners have said they’d take action after Iran verifiably complies with restrictions on enrichment and other elements of the nuclear programme.

Much of the negotiation on the matter has concerned sequencing, so that both sides can legitimately claim to have gotten their way.

Several other matters related to sanctions also had posed problems.

The Obama administration cannot move too quickly to remove economic penalties because of Congress, which will have a 30-day review period for any agreement during which no sanctions can be waived.

American officials also had been struggling to separate the “nuclear-related” sanctions it is prepared to suspend from those it wishes to keep, including measures designed to counteract Iranian ballistic missile efforts, human rights violations and support for U.S.-designated terrorist organisations.

And to keep pressure on Iran, world powers had been hoping to finalise a system for snapping suspended sanctions back into force if Iran cheats on the accord. Russia has traditionally opposed any plan that would see them lose their U.N. veto power and a senior Russian negotiator said only this week that his government rejected any automatic “snapback” of sanctions.

Dawood Ibrahim’s surrender offer was conditional, so rejected: Sharad Pawar

NCP leader and former Maharashtra Chief Minister Sharad Pawar today said senior advocate Ram Jethmalani had contacted him over underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s willingness to surrender but conditions put forward for it were not acceptable to the state government.

The offer was made during Pawar’s tenure as Chief Minister in 1990s.

“It is true that Ram Jethmalani had given a proposal about Dawood’s willingness to return. But there was a condition that Dawood should not be kept in jail. Rather he be allowed to remain in a house. This was not acceptable. We said he had to face the law,” Pawar told reporters here.

The former Union minister was asked about Jethmalani’s statement that Dawood, a key accused in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, was willing to surrender to Indian authorities but Pawar, the then Chief Minister heading a Congress government in the state, had rejected the offer.

Sikh who removed turban to help wounded boy felicitated

A Sikh from India who removed his turban to help a seriously injured young boy was on Friday recognised for his act of “outstanding compassion and empathy”, a media report said.

Harman Singh received a certificate of appreciation from the Counties Manukau District Commander for his bravery.

His “outstanding compassion and empathy” in the situation was to be commended, New Zealand Heraldquoted Counties Manukau Police as saying.

Last month, Mr. Singh broke religious protocol by removing his turban to help a six-year-old injured boy who was bleeding profusely after being struck by a car while he was walking towards his school.

The boy suffered serious head and internal injuries.

Mr. Singh received hundreds of Facebook herograms from the U.S., Europe and India and his story was shared tens of thousands of times on social media.

Mr. Singh said he did not believe his actions were heroic, and that anyone would have done the same in the situation.

Although removing the turban is rare among Sikhs, Mr. Singh said the religious rules did not restrict such an action in an emergency.

Mr. Singh is studying a business course in Auckland.

Custody officer dies after attack at Blackfriars Crown Court

Lorraine Barwell, 54, was assaulted on Monday as she escorted a prisoner from Blackfriars Crown Court to a van.

Humphrey Burke, 22, appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday charged with grievous bodily harm over the alleged assault.

It is believed she is the first prisoner custody officer to die in the line of duty.

A post-mortem examination will take place later and officers from the homicide and major crime command are investigating the case, the Met Police said.

BBC Home Affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said there would be three investigations into the incident, carried out by the Ministry of Justice, the Met Police and Serco.

The Serco security guard was working with other team members preparing to escort a prisoner to a van parked inside the courtyard.

The Serco security guard was attacked on Monday afternoon at Blackfriars Crown Court

She was treated at the scene by London’s Air Ambulance and had been in a critical condition in hospital since the attack.

Justice Secretary Mr Gove said he was shocked to hear of her death.

He added: “No words can express the devastating effect this will have on her family and friends and my deepest sympathies are with them at this difficult time.

“Lorraine Barwell was a courageous and dedicated prisoner custody officer who delivered a vital public service for more than a decade.”

He said the Ministry of Justice would provide assistance to the police investigation.


Analysis by Danny Shaw, Home Affairs Correspondent

My understanding was that Lorraine Barwell’s family agreed with doctors that she would not recover from her injuries so they switched off her life support system.

The one comfort for her family is that she was an organ donor so her organs will be used to benefit others.

We have been looking back through the records and as far as we are aware there has been no reported incident of a custody officer working for Serco or any other private firm dying as a result of injuries sustained in their duties.

In terms of prison officers and custody staff in England and Wales the last recorded death was in 1991 – a skills instructor at Norwich prison, but of course there are incidents in Northern Ireland of prison officers who have died in the line of duty as well.

Reports of violence in prisons have been increasing and there have been some very serious incidents of staff in prisons being assaulted.

This was a fear prison officers had that one day they would get the call that one of their colleagues had died as a result of injuries sustained in duty.


Serco group chief executive Rupert Soames said the company was “shocked and desperately sad” about Ms Barwell’s death and there would be a major review into how the incident occurred.

He said: “Lorraine has been with the company for over 10 years doing this and she was a consummate professional, really good at her job and much respected.

“There are very detailed procedures for handling people because on a daily basis we are handling murderers, rapists and people accused of vile crimes.

“This has all come as a huge shock to us, in part because it has has never happened before because our procedures and government’s procedures have been proved very safe until now.”

Ms Barwell was a grandmother and had two children.

The POA, the Professional Trades Union for Prison, Correctional and Secure Psychiatric Workers, said members were thinking of Ms Barwell’s family and friends.

Glyn Travis, from the POA, said: “It’s a sad day for the criminal justice system, the prison service, and of course the family.

“This is not about public or private, this is about someone who is just doing their job.

“No-one expects their mum, wife, sister or daughter to go to work and never come home.”

He is due to appear at the Old Bailey for a preliminary hearing on 15 July.


Escorting a prisoner

  • Prisoners have to be escorted in line with the National Security Framework
  • A minimum of two staff should escort a prisoner outside of a secure setting
  • A single prisoner custody officer (PCO) can escort a prisoner between prison cells, and the court and to the dock
  • It is for a senior PCO in the court to carry out a out a risk assessment on whether additional measures are required.

One killed, 19 injured in Taliban suicide attack on NATO troops in Kabul

The attack took place less than a kilometre from the U.S. Embassy.

One person was killed and at least 19 people were wounded in a suicide bomb attack on NATO troops as their truck convoy passed down the main road running between Kabul’s airport and the U.S. Embassy, police and health ministry officials said.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing. The claim came in a text message sent to The Associated Press.

Interior Ministry spokesman Seddiq Sediqqi says one civilian was killed in the attack, which also wounded 19 people.

The attack took place less than a kilometre from the U.S. Embassy.

It comes as insurgents intensify their spring offensive, which was launched in April.

The force of the blast rattled windows in the capital’s heavily guarded diplomatic enclave and sent a huge column of grey smoke skywards.

Most NATO troops left Afghanistan last year when the combat mission ended and only a small contingent remains to train Afghan security forces. Some U.S. troops are still engaged in fighting the Taliban insurgency.

It was the second major attack in Kabul since the start of Ramadan. The Taliban had rejected a request for a ceasefire during the Muslim fasting month, and the militants’ summer offensive has continued unabated despite exploratory talks earlier this year between Afghan and Taliban officials in Qatar.

Last week, militants mounted an assault on the parliament as lawmakers prepared to vote on a new Defence Minister.

Insurgents also carried out a suicide attack the police headquarters in Helmand killing two people and wounding more than 50, according to officials in the southern province.

“The first bomber in a car detonated his explosives near the police headquarters to pave the way for two others to enter,” Omar Zwak, a spokesman for Helmand’s Governor, said.

“Another detonated explosives attached to his body and the third one was shot and killed by security forces.”

Man sets himself on fire on Japanese bullet train

A man riding a Japanese high-speed bullet train set himself on fire Tuesday, killing himself and another passenger as the coach filled with smoke, a fire official said.

At least 26 other people were injured, three seriously, mostly from smoke inhalation, Odawara Fire Department official Ikutaro Torii said.

The man’s motive wasn’t clear.

The passenger poured an oil-like substance over his head before setting himself on fire, authorities said. Kyodo News service reported that he used a lighter. Officials said the fire was at the front of the first car in the train, which was heading from Tokyo to Osaka.

The train stopped on the outskirts of Odawara city, about 80 kilometers west of Tokyo, when a passenger pressed an emergency button after finding someone collapsed on the floor near a restroom at the back of the first car, a transport ministry official said.

The passenger on the floor, a woman, was later pronounced dead, reportedly from inhaling smoke.

Crew members rushed to extinguish the fire, said Kengo Sasaoka, a spokesman for Central Japan Railway Co., which operates the bullet train between Tokyo and Osaka.

TBS television broadcast a video of passengers evacuating the smoke-filled coach, some coughing, others covering their faces with towels and handkerchiefs.

Bullet train service between Tokyo and Osaka was suspended for about two and a half hours while rescue workers helped some of the injured off the train. The train then moved slowly to Odawara station, where about 1,000 passengers got off.

The 16-car bullet train, called the Shinkansen in Japanese, travels the 553 kilometers between Tokyo and Osaka in 2 hours and 33 minutes.

U.S. Supreme Court allows use of contentious execution drug

In a serious setback for human rights activists here the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the three-drug lethal injection protocol used to execute inmates across the country did not, in terms of being “cruel and unusual punishment,” violate the Constitution.

Writing the opinion of the 5-4 majority Justice Samuel Alito rejected the arguments presented by lawyers of inmates in Oklahoma that the first injection, a sedative called midazolam, would not prevent their clients from feeling searing pain from the second and third injections that caused paralysis and heart failure.

However, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissenting opinion joined by other liberal Justices, blasted the ruling, saying: “Petitioners contend that Oklahoma’s current protocol is a barbarous method of punishment — the chemical equivalent of being burned alive… But under the Court’s new rule, it would not matter whether the State intended to use midazolam, or instead to have petitioners drawn and quartered, slowly tortured to death, or actually burned at the stake…”

Further, two other liberal Justices, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said the Court should take a broader look at capital punishment, noting, “Rather than try to patch up the death penalty’s legal wounds one at a time, I would ask for full briefing on a more basic question: whether the death penalty violates the Constitution.”

Despite a furore in recent years over several prolonged or botched lethal injections, a divided Supreme Court ruled that the inmates who challenged the use of the sedative “failed to establish that Oklahoma’s use of a massive dose of midazolam in its execution protocol entails a substantial risk of severe pain.”

The Justices, whose ruling today clears the path for executions to continue in a number of states, also noted that the plaintiffs did not identify an alternative method of execution that significantly reduces that risk. The ruling comes in the backdrop of several apparently botched lethal injections, most notably the execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma in April last year.

After Lockett was strapped down to a gurney officials fumbled as they struggled to find a vein into which they could pump the drugs, following which the procedure was botched so badly that Lockett died of an apparent heart attack hours later, prompting even U.S. President Barack Obama to describe his treatment as “inhumane.”

The crisis of lethal drug shortages has affected a large number of U.S. state prisons ever since the main sedative used traditionally, sodium thiopental, became unavailable due to its sole manufacturer, a company called Hospira, halting production in 2010.

Since then a clutch of states such as Oklahoma and Nebraska either compounded execution drugs purchased from unnamed pharmacies, leading to alarm over the untested nature of the drugs, or sought to import drugs from abroad, including from Europe and India.

While campaigns by anti-death-penalty groups such as the United Kingdom’s Reprieve subsequently led to pharmaceutical companies agreeing to restrict U.S. prisons’ access to their therapeutic drugs for execution purposes, media attention, led to the Indian suppliers such as Kayem Pharma and Naari pulling out of the supply chain.

Egypt’s top public prosecutor killed in blast

Egypt’s top public prosecutor was killed by a car bomb attack on his convoy on Monday, the most senior State official to die at the hands of militants since the toppling of Islamist President Mohamed Morsy two years ago.

There was no confirmed claim of responsibility. Security sources said a bomb in a parked car was remotely detonated as Hisham Barakat’s motorcade left his home, after saying earlier a car bomber had rammed into the convoy.

Targeting Islamists

Judges and other senior officials have increasingly been targeted by radical Islamists opposed to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and angered by hefty prison sentences imposed on members of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Last month, the Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate urged followers to attack judges, opening a new front in an Islamist insurgency in Egypt.

Morsy, a Brotherhood leader who was freely elected as Egypt’s President in 2012, was sentenced this month to death over a mass jailbreak in 2011. Monday’s attack stirred fears of yet more turmoil in Egypt, which has been struggling since the 2011 popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak to regain full-fledged stability and revive the economy of the Arab world’s most populous country.

The bombing also showed the risk of militant Islam threatening the Egyptian State leadership, as it did in the 1980s and 1990s.

State media confirmed the death of Barakat, 64, at a hospital in the residential district of Heliopolis where he had undergone surgery hours earlier, and said he would receive a military funeral.

The Brotherhood has denied any link to violence and said it was committed to peaceful activism. Its spokesman said on the group’s Facebook page it rejected the killing, but that responsibility for the attack on the public prosecutor lay with the authorities.

Greece debt crisis: Tsipras asks for new bailout – live updates

15m ago17:04

In the financial markets, there’s little hope of any major breakthroughs tonight, says Chris Weston of IG:

Greece is living in its final hours before passing into the unknown territory that lies beyond the bailouts of the past five years. It is a journey that even Jason and his Argonauts might balk at venturing on.

19m ago16:59

Europe’s stock markets ended the day deep in the red again, with the Greek crisis causing some alarms again (although not a full-blown crash).

European stock markets, June 30, close
European stock markets, June 30, close Photograph: Thomson Reuters

There was a last-minute selloff (how appropriate!), driving the FTSE 100 down 99 points for the day:

FTSE 100, June 30, 2015
FTSE 100, June 30, 2015 Photograph: Thomson Reuters

31m ago16:47

Other members of Greece’s negotiating team have joined Yanis Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras at the PM’s mansion to discuss the situation (in a blow for photographers, they didn’t all arrive on motorbikes)

Updated at 4.47pm BST

34m ago16:44

The latest rumblings out of Brussels don’t sound too good for Greece….

But one thing’s clear, this story ain’t over yet.

40m ago16:38

The campaign for a Yes vote in Sunday’s referendum will begin holding demonstrations in central Athens, in around an hour’s time.

— spyros gkelis (@northaura)June 30, 2015

#greececrisis Athens tonight: pro-“yes” (for #Greferendum) demo at #syntagma sq. Hashtag: #YesEurope #MenoumeEvropi

— Dimitris Kourkoulas (@kourkoulasdim)June 30, 2015

35.000 persons have already confirmed in Facebook their presence in today’s pro-EU rally in Athens.

Updated at 4.40pm BST

49m ago16:29

Germany isn’t alone in reacting warily to Greece’s request for a third bailout; Politico’s Ryan Heath hears that others countries are unimpressed.

— Ryan Heath (@PoliticoRyan)June 30, 2015

#EU govts not reacting well to #Greece loan request. “Lots of countries at this stage against new money and debt relief,” Nat spoke source

55m ago16:23

Wall Street has gone back to – largely – ignoring the Greek crisis after yesterday’s dip.

In morning trading the Dow, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are all up marginally. There has been speculation that the Federal Reserve may delay raising interest rates if the eurozone crisis escalates, which could account for today’s better mood.

At least someone’s happy…

1h ago16:17

As news of the third bailout request sent ripples through the eurozone, Greece’s finance minister left the finance ministry.

His destination — the prime minister’s residence, Maximos Mansion, for a meeting.

First though, Yanis Varoufakis had to negotiate his way through the Athens traffic, and the gridlock of reporters outside his office.

Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is surrounded by media as he leaves from his office in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Greece is set to become the first developed nation to not pay its debts to the International Monetary Fund on time, as the country sinks deeper into a financial emergency that has forced it put a nationwide lockdown on money withdrawals. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Photograph: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP
Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, left, is greeted by a woman as he leaves from his office in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Greece is set to become the first developed nation to not pay its debts to the International Monetary Fund on time, as the country sinks deeper into a financial emergency that has forced it put a nationwide lockdown on money withdrawals. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Photograph: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP
Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis drives his bike as he leaves from his office at Syntagma square in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Greece is set to become the first developed nation to not pay its debts to the International Monetary Fund on time, as the country sinks deeper into a financial emergency that has forced it put a nationwide lockdown on money withdrawals. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)
Photograph: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP
Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis arrives with his motorcycle at Maximos Mansion for a meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens, Tuesday, June 30, 2015. Greece is set to become the first developed nation to not pay its debts to the International Monetary Fund on time, as the country sinks deeper into a financial emergency that has forced it put a nationwide lockdown on money withdrawals. (AP Photo/Derek Gatopoulos)
Photograph: Derek Gatopoulos/AP

1h ago16:11

Angela Merkel has told lawmakers in Germany that her government can’t consider any new proposal from Greece until Sunday’s referendum has taken place.

Is that slamming the door, or leaving it tantalisingly ajar?

Updated at 4.17pm BST