Nigerian pirates kidnap 12 crew from Swiss cargo ship

Pirates have kidnapped 12 crew members from a Swiss cargo vessel in Nigerian waters. Massoel Shipping said its vessel, MV Glarus, was carrying wheat from Nigeria’s capital to Port Harcourt when it was attacked on Saturday. « The pirate gang boarded the Glarus by means of long ladders and cut the razor wire on deck, » the firm told AFP. The intruders struck 45 nautical miles from Bonny Island in the Niger Delta, taking 12 of the 19 crew hostage. Geneva-based Massoel said the pirates had « destroyed much of…

Swiss voters ‘reject fair food plans’

Voters in Switzerland appear to have rejected two proposals on ethical and sustainable food. Initial projections suggest the two initiatives have been defeated by no votes of over 60%. The proposals were aimed at boosting local farming and promoting more sustainable agriculture. But opponents, including business leaders and the government – which had advised people to vote no – had warned of higher food prices and less choice. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.…

Switzerland considers tighter rules on sustainable ‘fair food’

Switzerland is going to the polls on Sunday, in not one but two votes which campaigners say will promote ethical and sustainable food. The votes follow scandals in the last few years over horse meat in lasagne and the destruction of rain forests to make way for palm oil and cattle ranching. And they reflect growing consumer interest – not just in Switzerland but across Europe – in where food comes from and how it is produced. Why two votes, and what’s the difference? Switzerland’s system of direct democracy means…

China Catholic bishops: Historic deal with Vatican reached

Pope Francis has recognised seven bishops appointed by China as part of a historic accord to improve ties between the Vatican and the communist country. The issue of who appoints bishops has been at the heart of a dispute since China first broke off diplomatic ties with the Holy See in 1951. China has some 10 million Catholics. Pope Francis hopes the deal « will allow the wounds of the past to be overcome » and bring about full Catholic unity in China, the Vatican said. An eighth bishop, who…

May: EU must respect UK in Brexit talks

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has said the EU must treat the UK with « respect » in Brexit negotiations. In a statement at Downing Street she said for EU leaders to reject her plan with no alternative at this « late stage of negotiations » was « not acceptable ». A defiant Mrs May added: « I will not overturn the result of the referendum nor will I break up my country. » Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab has said there was no « credible alternative » on the table…

‘No deal Brexit’ warning for EU

Cabinet minister Chris Grayling has said there will be no deal with the EU on Brexit if it does not soften its position on the Irish border. His comments come after EU leaders rejected Theresa May’s Chequers plan at their Salzburg summit on Thursday. EU chief Donald Tusk said a key part of that plan « will not work » but the prime minister said it was the only credible way to avoid a hard Irish border. Mr Grayling told the BBC he was still confident a deal could be…

US imposes sanctions on China for buying Russian weapons

The US has imposed sanctions on the Chinese military over its purchasing of Russian military jets and surface-to-air missiles. It says such purchases contravene US sanctions on Moscow introduced in response to Russian actions in Ukraine and alleged inference in US politics. China recently bought 10 Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 missiles. Beijing has not joined in the sanctions imposed on Moscow by the US and its Western allies since 2014. Its forces took part in giant Russian war games held earlier this month. Sanctions: What are they…

Dutch rail crash: Four children killed on cargo bike

Four children from a Dutch nursery school have died in a collision involving a train and an electric cargo bike. The children were being taken to their nursery on the bike when the accident happened on a level crossing in the southern town of Oss, west of Nijmegen. A fifth child and a woman were seriously hurt in the crash. The woman on the back of the cargo-bike had just dropped off a child at one nursery before cycling to another. Source: BBC

Brexit: May urges EU leaders to consider ‘serious’ UK plans

The onus is on both sides to do a Brexit deal, Theresa May has told fellow EU leaders as she urged them to back her « serious » Chequers plan. At a dinner in Salzburg, she told her 27 counterparts a deal had to preserve the deep economic ties while delivering on promises made to Northern Ireland. There are suggestions the UK will put forward new ideas for regulatory checks to resolve the current Irish deadlock. It comes as the PM insisted the EU must also rethink its stance on…

Woman dies after caravan is blown off cliff

Media playback is unsupported on your device A woman has died after a caravan was blown off a cliff in the Republic of Ireland, as parts of the British Isles have been battered by Storm Ali. The woman in her 50s died after the caravan was swept away in Claddaghduff, County Galway, at about 07:45 BST. Some 55,000 homes in Ireland are without power, amid warnings that 80mph gusts could also disrupt travel and power supplies in areas of the UK. The amber warning applies to Northern Ireland, Scotland and…

Danske Bank boss quits over money-laundering scandal

The chief executive of Danske Bank, Thomas Borgen, has resigned. He stepped down after the bank found « indications » that its Estonian branch was used for money-laundering purposes. Mr Borgen said it was clear that Danske Bank had failed to live up to its responsibility and he regretted this. « Even though the investigation conducted by the external law firm concludes that I have lived up to my legal obligations, I believe that it is best for all parties that I resign. » The Danish bank said it was…

Chemnitz unrest: German top spy Maassen forced out

Germany’s domestic intelligence chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, has been told to quit and move to a senior post at the interior ministry. The government’s decision came amid a furore over Mr Maassen’s response to recent far-right unrest in Chemnitz. Anti-migrant « hunts » were reported there on 26 August after a German man was killed in a brawl with migrants. Mr Maassen doubted that foreign-looking people had been hounded. Chancellor Angela Merkel was urged to sack him. Source: BBC

Celia Barquín: European golf champion murdered in Iowa

A man has been charged with murder, hours after prominent Spanish golfer Celia Barquín Arozamena was found dead on an Iowa golf course. Barquín, 22, won the European Ladies’ Amateur championship in July and was a leading student athlete at Iowa State University. Golfers at the Coldwater Golf Links in Ames discovered an unattended golf bag on the course early on Monday. Barquín was found dead by police a short distance away. Police in the Iowa city of Ames said they had determined that Barquín died following an assault. Collin…

Russian military plane vanishes from radar off Syria

Russia has said Syria shot down one its military planes – but laid the blame for the deaths of the 15 personnel on board with Israel. The defence ministry said Israeli jets forced the Il-20 plane into the path of Syrian air defence systems on Monday after failing to give Moscow enough warning of a strike on Syrian targets. The Il-20 disappeared off the radar at about 23:00 local time (20:00 GMT). Israel is yet to comment on the allegations. Israel rarely acknowledges carrying out strikes on Syria, but an…

Chemnitz unrest: German top spy Maassen under fire

Political pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel to sack Germany’s domestic intelligence chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, will reach a climax on Tuesday. Ms Merkel is to meet her coalition partners to examine the spy boss’s controversial response to recent far-right unrest in Chemnitz. Unnamed coalition sources quoted by the daily Die Welt say Ms Merkel has decided that Mr Maassen must go. He had expressed doubt that migrants had been hounded in Chemnitz. Why did Mr Maassen get into hot water? Far-right groups, including football hooligans, protested in the eastern German city…

Russian military plane vanishes from radar over Syria

A Russian military aircraft with 14 people on board has disappeared from radar after flying over Syria, Russia’s defence ministry says. « Connection has been lost with the crew of a Russian Il-20 plane over the Mediterranean Sea, » the ministry said. Contact was lost at about 23:00 local time (20:00 GMT) on Monday, it added. Russia began military strikes in Syria in 2015 after a request from President Bashar al-Assad, who has stayed in power despite seven years of civil war. The conflict has so far killed more than…

Alexander Perepilichnyy possible MI6 links to stay secret

The government can keep secret the details of whether there were any links between British spies and a Russian businessman who died in mysterious circumstances, a coroner has ruled. Alexander Perepilichnyy, 44, collapsed in November 2012 when out jogging near his mansion in Surrey. An investigation by Surrey Police later found he died of natural causes. Critics of the police response say a full public inquiry is now needed to establish whether he was poisoned. The coroner at the inquest into his death, judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, upheld an application…

Russian communist hunger strike over ‘rigged’ far east vote

An opposition candidate has gone on hunger strike in the far east of Russia after suddenly losing a key regional election that he was poised to win. With more than 95% of votes counted in the Primorye region, the communist Andrei Ishchenko had a five-point lead. But during the night his pro-Putin rival Andrei Tarasenko overtook him. On Facebook Mr Ishchenko urged his supporters to protest in Vladivostok, saying « our votes are being stolen ». The communists are taking legal action. Mr Ishchenko said the party’s legal service was…

Hélène Pastor murder: Ten on trial in Monaco heiress case

Four years after billionaire Hélène Pastor and her chauffeur were fatally shot outside a hospital in the south of France, her son-in-law and nine others are going on trial over the murders. The shooting in Nice shook the principality of Monaco where Pastor, 77, was a friend of the royal family and a renowned property heiress. Her son-in-law, Wojciech Janowski, is alleged to have ordered the attack. He initially admitted the crime before retracting his confession. At the time of the killing, Mr Janowski had the title of Poland’s honorary…

Macron tells young jobseeker: ‘I can find you a job by crossing the road’

French President Emmanuel Macron has told a young unemployed gardener that there are lots of employers seeking staff. « I can find you a job just by crossing the road, » said Mr Macron, after the man brought up his concerns during a street encounter in Paris. The jobseeker replied that employers did not respond to his applications. France has an unemployment rate of about 10%, which is above the European average. Mr Macron has responded by trying to make it easier for businesses to hire and fire staff and…

Post-Brexit UK PM ‘could change strategy’

A future prime minister could choose to alter the relationship between the UK and the EU, Michael Gove has said. But the environment secretary told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that Theresa May’s strategy, agreed at Chequers in July, was the right plan « for now ». The proposals have sparked criticism from other Brexiteers and resulted in some discussing a leadership challenge. Meanwhile, London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for a second EU referendum on the deal Mrs May agrees with Brussels. Mrs May’s Brexit proposals, backed by her…

Germany migrants: Police investigate attacks on migrants

German police are investigating two separate attacks on migrants which have left several injured in the state of Saxony-Anhalt this weekend. Two Afghan teenagers were assaulted by two men on Saturday afternoon in Hasselfelde, reports said. On Friday night, five drunk Germans attacked three Somalis on their way home in Halberstadt, police confirmed. The racially motivated attacks come as national tensions are high over the issue of migrants and crime. More than one million migrants have arrived in Germany as part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy in the wake…

Pussy Riot’s Pyotr Verzilov flown to Germany for treatment

Pyotr Verzilov, an activist with Russian protest group Pussy Riot, has been flown to Berlin for specialist medical treatment following a suspected poisoning in Moscow. He reportedly fell ill after a court hearing on Tuesday and was taken to hospital in a serious condition. His symptoms allegedly included losing his sight and ability to speak. Mr Verzilov is best known for taking part in protest at the World Cup Final earlier this year. His flight to Germany was reportedly organised by the Cinema for Peace Foundation. A fellow Pussy Riot…

Pope Francis pays homage to Sicilian anti-mafia priest

Pope Francis is visiting the Italian island of Sicily to pay homage to a priest who was murdered by the mafia 25 years ago. Father Giuseppe Puglisi was shot dead while working as a parish priest in the city of Palermo. The priest was renowned for working with young people to keep them away from drugs and the mafia. Pope Francis has previously denounced the mafia, calling for the excommunication of mobsters. On Saturday morning, the Pope addressed the faithful at Palermo’s Piazza Europa and will later visit Puglisi’s parish…

EU migrant row: Call to screen rescued asylum seekers at sea

The right-wing interior ministers of Austria and Italy have called on the EU to hold rescued migrants at sea until their asylum claims are processed. Austria’s Herbert Kickl put forward the idea at an EU migration conference in Vienna and his Italian counterpart, Matteo Salvini, supported it. Hundreds of thousands of migrants try to reach the EU in risky sea crossings. Mr Kickl said ships would use a « quick way » to clarify who was entitled to asylum but he did not give details. Mr Salvini is under investigation…

Chemnitz unrest: Nazi salute man jailed in east Germany

A German court has given a five-month jail term to a 34-year-old man who gave Hitler salutes during a protest in the eastern city of Chemnitz. The man, a Chemnitz resident, attended a big far-right protest on 27 August, prompted by the fatal stabbing of a German man in a brawl with migrants. Nazi signs and symbols, including the Hitler salute, are illegal in Germany. On Thursday the Chemnitz court gave a suspended eight-month term to a 33-year-old man for making Hitler salutes. He was also ordered to pay a…

Skripal case: Russian ‘spies’ targeted Swiss chemical weapons lab

Two Russian men were arrested earlier this year on suspicion of spying on a Swiss laboratory investigating the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a newspaper investigation has claimed. Swiss publication Tages Anzeiger and Dutch paper NRC said they were arrested in the Netherlands earlier this year. The Swiss lab analysed samples from the poisoning of the former Russian double agent in the UK. It has also dealt with suspected chemical weapons from the war in Syria. The two men were expelled from The Netherlands shortly after their arrest, which had not…

Dalai Lama to meet alleged Dutch abuse victims

The Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama is to meet victims of alleged sexual abuse in the Netherlands. The group requested the meeting to discuss abuse reportedly carried out by former or current Buddhist teachers in several countries. « We found refuge in Buddhism with an open mind and heart, until we were violated in its name, » they wrote. A spokesperson said the Dalai Lama was « saddened » to hear about the abuse and « constantly condemned » such behaviour. The victims will present their written testimonies during…

Chanel picks UK for global head office

The luxury goods maker Chanel has told the BBC it’s elected to set up its global office in the UK. For the first time in its 110-year history, the brand is gathering the majority of its global business functions under one roof. Chanel, renowned for its tweed suits, handbags and perfume, had global sales of over £7bn last year, and employs more than 20,000 people. It has over 30 million social media followers on Instagram. Chanel told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it « wanted to simplify the structure…

Skripal suspects: ‘We were just tourists’

Two men named as suspects in poisoning of Russian ex-spy claim they were merely tourists. The men, named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, told the RT channel that they saw the cathedral, before returning to London by train. They are accused by the UK of trying to kill Russian ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The UK has described them as agents of Russia’s military intelligence service, the GRU. This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for…