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Australian Authorities Steer Mass Evacuation Amid Deadly Blazes

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Australian Authorities Steer Mass Evacuation Amid Deadly Blazes

Australia’s wildfires took no time off during the new year holiday.  Tens of thousands of holiday makers had to flee from seaside towns on the continent’s east coast on Thursday ahead of advancing bushfires.  Military ships and helicopters have begun rescuing thousands more trapped by the blazes.

Extremely high temperatures and high winds have spurred more than 200 fires across the southeastern states of New South Wales and Victoria.  Several other towns are also threatened by the blaze.

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More than 50,000 persons were without power, and some towns had no access to drinking water.  Authorities are asking residents and visitors in many towns on the southeast coast to leave as extreme heat is forecast for the weekend.  Authorities say the heat would spark more fires.

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Officials said on Thursday, eight persons have been killed by wildfires in the eastern states of New South Wales and Victoria since Monday, and eighteen are still missing.

Thousands had been evacuated from the greater adjoining region of east Gippsland in Victoria, and five military helicopters have gone to the south coast to back up firefighters.  They are also taking supplies like water and diesel.  Australian defense force said on Thursday the aircraft will also be used to evacuate the injured, elderly and young persons.

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1 Trillion Euros: EU Leaders Get Into Big Fight Over Budget

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1 Trillion Euros: EU Leaders Get Into Big Fight Over Budget

Budget arguments in any parliament are usually laced with strong points of view, and they include compromise and reversals.  It is not any different in the European Union where leaders argued vehemently through Thursday night on how one trillion euros would be spent in the next seven years.  This budget discussion is the first to take place since Britain pulled out of the bloc last month.

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So far, the discussions have been harsh, long and have led nowhere. There were clear divisions between rich and poor members, while leaders from the bloc’s 27 countries met in Brussels on Thursday to argue over EU’s future and how they would pay for its ambitious programs.

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Each leader promoted his country’s interests during a round-table meeting where each nation laid out its grievances and demands.

This budget didn’t just surface.  It is the result of years of efforts by diplomats and numbers experts. But they seem not to have satisfied different interests.

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Some experts fear the leaders’ summit might last into Saturday and still end inconclusively.

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Man Arrested After London Mosque Stabbing

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Man Arrested After London Mosque Stabbing

A suspect has been arrest in a London mosque Thursday stabbing incident.  Police say the incident is not being treated as terrorism, but Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into the attempted murder of an elderly man that was stabbed several times during afternoon prayers at London’s regent’s park mosque.  Fellow worshipers were said to have wrestled the alleged attacker to the ground.  The man had stabbed in the neck the mosque’s cleric who calls others to prayer.

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The suspect has been described as a twenty-nine-year-old man who was described by an eyewitness as a regular at the mosque.

The stabbing victim, Raafat Maglad, is said to be about seventy years old and has been at the mosque for 25 years.  Paramedics treated him at the scene and then rushed him to the hospital for further treatment.

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Maglad was said to be seriously injured, but the mosque said his condition was not life-threatening.

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Coronavirus: Ukraine Protesters Attack Buses Carrying China Evacuees

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Coronavirus: Ukraine Protesters Attack Buses Carrying China Evacuees

Dozens of protesters in a Ukrainian town on Thursday hurled stones and attacked buses carrying more than 70 evacuees from coronavirus-hit China.

Protesters clashed with police over the evacuees who were brought to a hospital in Novi Sanzhary, in the central Poltava region, where they will be held in quarantine for 14 days. The masked evacuees were peeking through bus windows as they drove slowly under a heavy police escort.

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The residents put up road blocks and burned tyres to cut off road to a sanitarium intended to host the evacuees, fearing they could become infected.

Regional police said in a statement that nine police officers and one civilian were hospitalized.

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The country’s health minister pledged to share evacuees’ quarantine for two weeks in a bid to reassure protesters who fear they could be infected.

The country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky has called for local residents to show support for the evacuees and said his government would do “everything possible” to make sure the virus does not get to Ukraine.

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Ukraine has no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, which originated last year in China’s Hubei province.

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