Director Franco Zeffirelli dies at 96 – Italy media

Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli has died aged 96, Italian media report. The Florence native directed stars including Elizabeth Taylor in the 1967 film Taming of the Shrew and Dame Judi Dench on stage in Romeo and Juliet. Italian media said Zeffirelli died after a long illness which had grown worse in recent months. Source: BBC

Swiss women strike for more money, time and respect

Women across Switzerland are preparing for a nationwide strike in protest against what they say is the country’s unacceptably slow pace to equality. Friday’s protest comes 28 years after similar action saw half a million women take to the streets in 1991. Swiss women have long campaigned to accelerate the pace of gender equality. They joined millions of other women in Europe after World War One ended in 1918 in demanding the right to vote – but did not get it until 1971. At the time of the 1991 strike…

Russia Golunov case: Putin sacks top Moscow police officials

Media playback is unsupported on your device Days after anti-corruption journalist Ivan Golunov was freed amid an outcry over a fabricated drugs case, Russian President Vladimir Putin has fired two high-ranking Moscow police officials. The interior minister had called for the dismissal of western Moscow police chief Maj Gen Andrei Puchkov and drug control boss Maj Gen Yury Devyatkin. Mr Golunov was released after lawyers said drugs had been planted on him. It also emerged that police photos of a drugs lab were not taken in his flat. Mr Golunov,…

‘Silenced’ children of priests to share stories with French bishops

Children of Roman Catholic priests who felt « silenced » by the Church for decades will share their stories with bishops in Paris for the first time. Bishops will meet members of the French association Les Enfants du Silence (The Children of Silence) on Thursday. At their own request, the sons and daughters of priests will speak about their fathers, neglect and suffering. Their existence is a sensitive issue for the Church, which expects priests to adhere to a strict rule of celibacy. In an unprecedented series of meetings beginning…

German soldiers hailed for blocking runaway truck on autobahn

Soldiers in the German army prevented a potential motorway disaster when they brought a runaway lorry to a halt after its driver collapsed in his cab. They realised there was a problem when they saw the lorry collide with the central reservation on the A4 autobahn near Gera in eastern Germany. The lorry was going slowly through roadworks but they feared an accident. One of the soldiers tried to clamber into the cab and when that failed they drove in front of the lorry. A doctor was quickly on the…

Trump: US to send 1,000 troops to Poland in new deal

The US will deploy 1,000 more troops to Poland, President Donald Trump has said during a press conference with Polish President Andrzej Duda. President Trump said the force would be taken from America’s 52,000-strong contingent in Germany, and include drones and other military hardware. He fell short, however, of committing to a permanent US base in the country. It comes after offers from Warsaw to spend $2bn (£1.57bn) on building one. The base may be called Fort Trump, President Duda quipped during his visit to the White House on Wednesday.…

Seventh victim of Cyprus serial killer found

Police in Cyprus have discovered the seventh victim of what is believed to be the island’s first serial killer. The body of six-year-old Sierra Granze was found at the bottom of lake Memi, southwest of the capital Nicosia. « Human remains have been found and forensic pathologists are on the scene, » a police spokesman said. An army captain, identified as Nikos Metaxas, was arrested in April on suspicion of the killings. Metaxas was taken to the lake after he gave more detailed information about how he disposed of the…

Ivan Golunov case: Hundreds arrested at Moscow protest

Hundreds of people have been detained at a Moscow rally demanding punishment for police who detained an anti-corruption journalist. Officers in riot gear clashed with protesters during an unauthorised march in support of reporter Ivan Golunov. Among those detained at the rally were fellow journalists as well as opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Mr Golunov was freed on Tuesday after drug-dealing charges against him were dropped following a public outcry. Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokotsev said officers who had taken part in his detention would be suspended during an investigation. Three major…

Italy shuts Mineo migrant camp and tightens sea rules

Italy’s cabinet has passed an emergency decree targeting migrant rescue boats. The decree will levy fines between €10,000 (£8,900; $11,300) and €50,000 on ships entering Italian waters without permission. The decision came hours before right-wing interior minister Matteo Salvini announced the closure of a reception centre for asylum seekers in Sicily. Since the populist government took power a year ago, Mr Salvini has tried to stop migrants reaching Italy. Ports have been closed to rescue boats. Now Italy’s ruling League and Five Star parties want to stop NGO boats entering…

Macron to send Trump replacement friendship tree

French President Emmanuel Macron says he will send US leader Donald Trump a new « friendship tree » after the original died. The two men planted the oak sapling in the White House grounds last year. It was designed to celebrate the special relationship between the US and France. It died in quarantine after being dug up. Responding to social media posts, Mr Macron said people should not read symbols into everything. He told Swiss public broadcaster RTS: « We will send him another, it is not a tragedy. It…

Hungary tourist accident: Operation to raise capsized boat begins

Salvage crews have begun the operation to raise a tourist boat that sank on the Danube in Budapest last month. The Mermaid was carrying South Korean tourists when it was in collision with a cruise ship and capsized, leaving 20 people dead and eight others missing. Rescue efforts in the Hungarian capital have been hampered by high water levels, made worse by heavy rain. Footage from the scene on Tuesday showed a floating crane slowly winching the boat to the surface. Before the Mermaid is fully raised, divers will enter…

Ivan Golunov: Russian newspapers unite in support for charged reporter

Three of Russia’s leading newspapers have come out in support of a reporter charged with drug offences, in a case that has caused a huge public outcry. The front page headlines in Vedomosti, RBK, and Kommersant read « We are Ivan Golunov », referring to the well-known investigative journalist. Mr Golunov was charged over the weekend with trying to illegally sell drugs. His lawyer said the drugs were planted. The journalist was reportedly beaten up during his arrest last week. Russia laws ban ‘disrespect’ of government and ‘fake news’ Mr…

Sebastian Vettel: Ferrari appeal against five-second penalty

Ferrari have appealed against the five-second penalty that cost Sebastian Vettel victory in the Canadian Grand Prix. The German was penalised for rejoining the circuit in an unsafe manner and forcing Lewis Hamilton off the track. Vettel had made a mistake at Turn Three on lap 48 while under pressure from Hamilton, who said he had to back off to avoid hitting the Ferrari. Ferrari were unable to give any further details of the grounds for appeal. Hamilton wins in Canada after Vettel penalty How the Canadian Grand Prix unfolded…

Snap elections called as Moldova crisis escalates

Moldova’s political crisis has escalated, with an interim president calling snap elections on 6 September. Pavel Filip, who was appointed by the Constitutional Court to succeed Igor Dodon, also dissolved the parliament. But the parliament declared Mr Filip’s moves illegal, saying the country’s state institutions « have been seized ». The stalemate follows general elections in February, where no clear winner emerged between rival pro-EU and pro-Russian parties. Moldova election marred by allegations of vote-buying Moldovan president suspended in Russia row There are now fears that the prolonged political crisis…

Albania president cancels local elections amid protests

Albanian President Ilir Meta has cancelled local elections after months of anti-government protests. Mr Meta said the political situation in Albania would not allow for fair elections, scheduled for 30 June. The announcement came after weeks of protests aimed at forcing socialist Prime Minister Edi Rama stand down. Mr Rama insists elections will go ahead as planned. For months now, Mr Rama has been at odds with the president – a former coalition ally. President Meta’s announcement came shortly before protesters, some who had been throwing smoke bombs and firecrackers…

Ivan Golunov: Russian anti-corruption journalist charged with drug dealing

Russian investigative journalist Ivan Golunov has been charged with trying to illegally sell drugs, prominent rights lawyer Pavel Chikov says. He says Mr Golunov became ill at a Moscow police station, but doctors were not allowed in for some time. Russian officials have made no public comments. The 36-year-old reporter for the Latvia-based news site Meduza was held by police on Thursday. His lawyer says drugs were planted on him, but the authorities deny this. Meduza says he is being « being persecuted because of his journalistic activity ». Russia…

Montenegro sack Ljubisa Tumbakovic for missing Kosovo match

Montenegro have sacked their Serbian manager Ljubisa Tumbakovic for refusing to take charge of his side’s European Championship qualifier against Kosovo. Tumbakovic, 66, had reportedly come under pressure from the Serbian authorities in Belgrade, which do not recognise the independence of Kosovo. Serbia-born players Filip Stojkovic and Mirko Ivanic also pulled out. Montenegro’s football federation (FSCG) called Tumbakovic’s decision an « unpleasant surprise ». The Euro 2020 Group A match in Podgorica, which took place behind closed doors as punishment for fans’ racist chanting aimed at England players in March,…

Storm Miguel ravages coasts of Spain and France

Media playback is unsupported on your device Storms have battered the Atlantic coasts of northern Spain and western France, with winds of up to 147km/h (91mph). Trees were uprooted as Storm Miguel first hit the Spanish region of Asturias, swirled around the Bay of Biscay and then hit the French coast. The storm is unusual for the time of year, coming at the start of the summer tourist season. Coastal resorts were deserted and public transport disrupted. Late on Thursday, wind speeds of 147 km/h were recorded in the north-western…

Mediterranean plastic pollution hotspots highlighted in report

Nine coastlines have been identified as the places in the Mediterranean most polluted with plastic, a report says. They include top tourist spots such as Barcelona, Marseilles, Tel-Aviv and the Venice coast near the Po river. The report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said all Mediterranean countries had underperformed in managing plastic contamination. It said 570,000 tonnes of plastic went into the sea each year – the equivalent of 33,800 plastic bottles every minute. The conservation group is calling on governments and the EU drastically to reduce…

Russian and US warships almost collide in East China Sea

A Russian warship and a US warship have come close to collision in the western Pacific Ocean, with each side blaming the other for the incident. Russia’s Pacific Fleet said the cruiser USS Chancellorsville crossed just 50 metres (160ft) in front of the destroyer Admiral Vinogradov at 06:35 Moscow time (03:35 GMT). It was forced to perform « emergency manoeuvring » to avoid the US ship. But US forces blamed the Russians, claiming their ship was responsible. US Seventh Fleet Commander Clayton Doss called the Russians « unsafe and unprofessional…

Theresa May officially steps down as Tory leader

Theresa May will officially step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on Friday, but will remain as prime minister until her successor is chosen. Mrs May announced her resignation two weeks ago, saying it was a matter of deep regret that she had been unable to deliver Brexit. Eleven Conservative MPs are vying to replace her as party leader and ultimately, prime minister. Nominations open from 10:00 BST on Monday and close at 17:00 BST that day. Mrs May remains acting leader while the contest takes place. PA…

D-Day anniversary: Putin says lack of invitation ‘not a problem’

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is « not a problem » that he was not invited to join other world leaders marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in northern France. Mr Putin, who was invited to the 70th anniversary event in 2014, said he had « enough business » of his own in Russia. The comments came after his government claimed D-Day was « not a game-changer ». Russia often accuses the West of failing to properly acknowledge the Soviet Union’s role in World War Two.…

Niels Högel: German ex-nurse convicted of killing 85 patients

A former nurse has been convicted of murdering 85 patients at two hospitals in northern Germany and handed a life sentence. Judge Sebastian Buehrmann described Niels Högel’s killing spree as « incomprehensible ». Högel, who is already serving life for two murders, administered lethal doses of heart medication to people in his care between 1999 and 2005. He is believed to be the most prolific killer in Germany’s modern history. Prosecutors said he attacked patients in order to impress colleagues by subsequently trying to revive them. A former colleague told…

Prehistoric stone engraved with horses found in France

A stone believed to be about 12,000 years old and engraved with what appears to be a horse and other animals has been discovered in France. The prehistoric find by archaeologists excavating a site in the south-western Angoulême district, north of Bordeaux, has been described as « exceptional ». Markings appear on both sides of the sandstone, the National Archaeological Research Institute (Inrap) said. It was found during work at an « ancient hunting site » near Angoulême station. The Palaeolithic stone plate, which is said to be about 25cm…

Denmark election: Social Democrats to win, exit polls show

Denmark’s opposition Social Democrats are set for a narrow win in a general election dominated by debates over climate change, welfare cuts and immigration, exit polls show. Exit polls by broadcasters TV 2 and DR showed the left-wing bloc taking 90 of the 179 seats in parliament. This would pave the way for the Social Democrats to form a government under party leader Mette Frederiksen. At 41, she would be the country’s youngest ever prime minister. If confirmed, the results would end the rule of Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s…

Prague anti-PM protest ‘biggest since end of communism’

Media playback is unsupported on your device Tens of thousands of people have protested in the Czech capital, Prague, calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Andrej Babis, who is accused of fraudulent use of EU subsidies. Organisers said as many as 120,000 were attending Tuesday’s rally. If confirmed that would make it the biggest since the fall of communism during the 1989 Velvet Revolution. Mr Babis denies fraud and has attacked a draft EU report demanding the return of millions of euros in subsidies. Who is demonstrating? The «…

Notre-Dame fire: Lead test call for pregnant women and children

Pregnant women and children living near the fire-ravaged Notre-Dame cathedral have been advised to take blood tests over fears of lead contamination. The warning has been issued after tests showed a child from the Île de la Cité area of Paris had been exposed to lead. Health authorities said lead levels in the child’s blood exceeded regulatory limits. Officials say that blaze that destroyed the cathedral on April 15 released toxic substances. Some 300 tonnes of lead from the cathedral’s roof and steeple had melted in the blaze, risking contamination…

Italy’s Giuseppe Conte tells populist leaders: ‘Stop fighting or I’ll quit’

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has warned the country’s two ruling populist parties that he will resign if they do not stop fighting. Mr Conte said the parties must « honour the government’s obligations » or he would « simply end my mandate ». The fractious year-old coalition of the League and the Five Star Movement are at loggerheads on a range of issues. Italy faces tough decisions on spending and Mr Conte is seeking a clear mandate to continue debt talks with the EU. Speaking at a news conference…

France: Imam jailed over Channel migrant crossings

A French court has sentenced an imam to two years in prison for helping migrants try to cross the English Channel in inflatable boats. The 39-year-old Iranian national was accused of arranging several crossings from northern France to England. A 29-year-old Senegalese man who attended the mosque where the imam preaches also stood trial. He was given nine months in jail and was banned from visiting Nord and Pas-de-Calais for three years. The imam, who has not been named in French media, fainted upon hearing his sentence. The men admitted…