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International stories

Spider bite costs legs

Melbourne A man has had his legs amputated and may lose an arm after a suspected white-tailed spider bite in north-west Victoria. Filipino tourist Terry Pareja was visiting relatives in Birchip when he is thought to have been bitten in the last week of February but took days to seek medical attention. By the time the local doctor opened on the following...

Divers search for Caligula’s royal barge

Rome Italian divers are to search for the long-lost remains of a ceremonial barge built for Emperor Caligula 2000 years ago. Caligula, notorious as one of Rome's most eccentric and sadistic rulers, had enormous vessels built for his pleasure cruises on Lake Nemi, 30km outside the capital. The remains of two similar barges were found between 1928 and 1932 when the lake...

British drone spying, nuisance incidents soar

London Police in Britain are being flooded with reports about drones after a dramatic surge in incidents sparked by the devices, an investigation reveals. The flying gadgets are at the centre of thousands of episodes registered by forces, including rows between neighbours, prison smuggling, burglary "scoping" exercises, mid-air near misses and snooping fears. Figures show the number of incidents logged by police...

Austrian brothers produce armour for Vatican’s Swiss Guards

Vienna Austrian blacksmiths who produce ceremonial suits of armour for the Vatican's Swiss Guards are close to the end of their current deal to do so, and say supplying the suits will not now be an issue for many years to come. One of the drawbacks of the Swiss Guards' medieval uniforms is that the craftsmanship needed to make them is...

Defy ‘grandchildren of Nazism’ — Erdogan

Ankara President Tayyip Erdogan overnight called on Turkish voters in Europe to defy the "grandchildren of Nazism" and back a referendum this month on changing the constitution, comments likely to cause further ire in Europe. Erdogan has repeatedly lashed out at European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, in campaigning for the referendum, accusing them of "Nazi-like" tactics for banning his...

Quake rattles Botswana

Gaborone A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck nearly 250km north-north-west of the Botswana capital Gaborone overnight, at depth of 12km, the United States Geological Survey said. Tremors were also felt in neighbouring South Africa. "We certainly felt it here in central Gaborone," Jeff Ramsay, Botswana's chief government spokesman, said. "I'm not aware of damage yet, it is too early to say. The buildings here...

‘Grammar vigilante’ tackles shop signs

London A self-confessed "grammar vigilante" has been secretly correcting bad punctuation on street signs and shop fronts in England's south-west for more than a decade. The anonymous crusader carries out his work in the dead of night in Bristol using the "Apostrophiser" a long-handled tool he created to reach the highest signs. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the BBC...

Pirates seize Indian vessel

Bosasso (Somalia) Pirates have hijacked an Indian commercial vessel off the coast of Somalia, the second attack in weeks after years without such seizures, industry and security sources said overnight. United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, which co-ordinates shipping in the Gulf of Aden area, said it had received information a dhow had been hijacked "in the vicinity of Socotra (Island)". It named...

11 die in Russian metro blast

St Petersburg (Russia) Eleven people were killed and more than 45 were injured when an explosion tore through a train carriage in a St Petersburg metro tunnel early today in what authorities called a probable terrorist attack Russian news media said police were searching for a man recorded on surveillance cameras who was thought to have been involved in the attack,...

Cold cases linked to Yorkshire Ripper

London Police are continuing to review historical unsolved cases linked to the Yorkshire Ripper in a 1982 report. The Byford Report revealed that Peter Sutcliffe, who was given 20 life terms for murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven more, could have been responsible for a further 13 offences. The Sun newspaper has claimed that Sutcliffe, who now goes by the name...
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