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Seven shot dead at Jehovah’s Witness centre in Hamburg

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Several people have been killed in a shooting at a Jehovah’s Witness centre in Hamburg, with the gunman believed to be among the dead, German police said Thursday.

Police have not given a death toll, but multiple local media outlets reported that the shooting had left seven dead and eight seriously injured.


The first emergency calls were made around 2015 GMT after shots rang out at the building in the city’s northern district of Gross Borstel, a police spokesman at the scene said.

Police tweeted that “several people were seriously injured, some even fatally” in the incident.

“At the moment there is no reliable information on the motive of the crime,” police said, urging people not to speculate.

An alarm for “extreme danger” in the area had been sounded using a catastrophe warning app, but Germany’s Federal Office for Civil Protection lifted it shortly after 3 am local time.

Hamburg police tweeted early Friday: “The police measures in the surrounding area are gradually being discontinued. Investigations into the background of the crime are continuing.”

The port city’s mayor, Peter Tschentscher, expressed shock at the shooting on Twitter.

Sending his sympathies to the victims’ families, he said emergency services were doing their utmost to clarify the situation.

In the non-descript, three-storey building, police said an event had been taking place on Thursday evening.

Jehovah’s Witnesses had gathered for a weekly Bible study meeting, according to local daily Hamburger Abendblatt.

There are about 175,000 people in Germany, including 3,800 in Hamburg, who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, a US Christian movement set up in the late 19th century that preaches non-violence and is known for door-to-door evangelism.

The first officers at the scene found several lifeless bodies and seriously wounded people, police said.

Hamburger Abendblatt reported that 17 unhurt people, who had been at the event, were being attended to by the fire brigade.

Officers heard a shot in the “upper part of the building” before finding a body in the area where it rang out, police said.

“We have no indications of a perpetrator on the run,” said the police spokesman.

Instead, officers have “indications that a perpetrator may have been in the building and may be even among the dead.”

The spokesman added that the person uncovered in the upper part of the building was “possibly” the perpetrator.

“We have found a lifeless person in a community centre in [Gross Borstel] which we assume could be a perpetrator,” Hamburg police tweeted early Friday morning.

“According to the current state of affairs, we assume that there is one perpetrator,” police said in a separate tweet.

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EU court fines Hungary €200m for flouting asylum law

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The European Union’s (EU) top court has fined Hungary €200 million over the country’s failure to comply with the union’s asylum policies.

According to the EU law, everyone fleeing persecution in their home countries has the right to ask for international protection, and cannot be evicted if there is a serious risk of death or torture.

In a statement on Thursday, the court said Hungary “deliberately” avoided applying EU policy and its failure “constitutes a serious infringement of EU law”.

The court added that the country violated EU laws by forcing asylum seekers to travel to Belgrade or Kyiv to apply for a travel permit to enter Hungary.

The court also issued a penalty of €1 million daily until Hungary changes its policy.

Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s prime minister, on Thursday, in a post on X, described the decision as “outrageous and unacceptable”.

“The EU Court of Justice’ decision to fine Hungary with 200M euros plus 1M euros daily for defending the borders of the European Union is outrageous and unacceptable,” the prime minister said.

“It seems that illegal migrants are more important to the Brussels bureaucrats than their own European citizens.”

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Missing plane carrying Malawi’s VP found with no survivors

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The wreck of a plane carrying Saulos Chilima, Malawi’s vice-president, has been found with no survivors.

President Lazarus Chakwera made the grim announcement in a press briefing on Tuesday.

The aircraft which had the 51-year-old vice-president and nine others aboard went missing after it failed to land at the Mzuzu International Airport in Lilongwe, the capital.

Chilima was on his way to represent the government at the burial of Ralph Kasambara, former minister, who died four days ago.

Shanil Dzimbiri, former first lady, was also on the flight.

The plane, which flew in bad weather, was turned back from landing at the airport because of poor visibility.

After receiving the news of the missing plane on Monday, Chakwera cancelled a trip to the Bahamas and ordered national and local authorities to “conduct an immediate search and rescue operation to locate the whereabouts of the aircraft”.

“The search and rescue operation I ordered to find the missing plane that carried our vice president and nine others has been completed,” the president said while providing an update.

“The plane has been found. I am deeply saddened and sorry to inform you that it has turned out to be a terrible tragedy.”

The president said the rescue team found the aircraft completely destroyed.

Chilima had been vice-president of Malawi since 2014.

Despite coming from two different political parties, the vice-president and president teamed up to form an alliance during the 2020 elections.

The vice-president left behind a wife and two children.

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Woman killed and swallowed whole by 16-foot python in Indonesia

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A woman has been found dead inside the belly of a snake after it swallowed her whole in central Indonesia, a local official said Saturday.

The husband of 45-year-old Farida and residents of Kalempang village in South Sulawesi province discovered her on Friday inside the reticulated python, which measured around five metres (16 feet).

The mother-of-four had gone missing Thursday night and failed to return home, forcing a search effort, village head Suardi Rosi told AFP.

Her husband “found her belongings… which made him suspicious. The villagers then searched the area. They soon spotted a python with a large belly,” said Suardi.

“They agreed to cut open the python’s stomach. As soon as they did, Farida’s head was immediately visible.”

Farida was found fully clothed inside the snake.

Such incidents are considered extremely rare but several people have died in Indonesia in recent years after being swallowed whole by pythons.

Last year, residents in Southeast Sulawesi’s Tinanggea district killed an eight-metre python, which was found strangling and eating one of the farmers in a village.

In 2018, a 54-year-old woman was found dead inside a seven-metre python in Southeast Sulawesi’s Muna town.

And the year before, a farmer in West Sulawesi went missing before being found eaten alive by a four-metre python at a palm oil plantation.

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