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Strong winds, 'freak wave' leave 2 dead in Britain

Britain

Strong winds, 'freak wave' leave 2 dead

Strong winds that pummeled Britain killed a taxi driver, whose car was crushed by falling chunks of masonry from a building, and an elderly man who died after a "freak wave" struck a cruise ship in the English Channel, officials said Saturday. They said 15 cruise ship passengers were injured. The taxi driver was killed late Friday in central London when part of a building collapsed during a windstorm, police said. She was identified as Julie Sillitoe, a 49-year-old with three sons. Her passengers, a man and woman, were hospitalized with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, police said. The car wasn't moving at the time of the building collapse. The cruise ship passenger died after 80 mph wind gusts kicked up giant waves in the English Channel on Friday afternoon, endangering safety in the crowded shipping lanes used by commercial vessels, cruise ships and pleasure craft. Cruise and Maritime Voyages said a freak wave broke five windows on its Marco Polo cruise ship, inundating a restaurant. A spokesman said the man, 85, died before he could be airlifted for treatment.

Ukraine

Opposition ready to vacate building

A top Ukrainian opposition leader said Saturday that protesters are ready to vacate the Kiev City Hall they have occupied for nearly three months — if the government drops all charges against the demonstrators. Last week, the last of the 234 protesters were released from jail as part of an amnesty. The amnesty law also calls for the opposition to vacate seized government buildings in Kiev and elsewhere in Ukraine. Oleh Tyahnybok, head of the nationalist Svoboda party, said Saturday the opposition is ready to vacate City Hall if criminal cases are dropped. He said a final decision will have to be approved by protesters on Kiev's Independence Square.

Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Obama golfs with childhood buddies

President Barack Obama teed off Saturday at the nine-hole course at the Sunnylands retreat in Rancho Mirage with childhood friends Bobby Titcomb, Greg Orme and Michael Ramos, the White House said. Obama is spending the weekend at the estate. Sunnylands was the winter home of the late billionaire philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg. Meanwhile, first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha enjoyed a ski weekend in Aspen, Colo.

Nigeria

Mob attacks 14 gay men in capital

A mob armed with wooden clubs and iron bars, screaming that they were going to "cleanse" their neighborhood of gay people, dragged 14 young men from their beds and assaulted them in the capital Abuja, human rights activists said Saturday. Four of the victims were marched to a police station, where they allegedly were kicked and punched by police officers who yelled pejoratives at them, said Ifeanyi Orazulike of the International Center on Advocacy for the Right to Health. Police threatened that the men would be incarcerated for 14 years, under Nigeria's new targeting homosexuals, he said.

Elsewhere

Lebanon: The prime minister formed a Cabinet more than 10 months after taking office on Saturday, including a wide range of political groups after bridging serious divisions among them mostly over Syria's civil war.

Associated Press

Strong winds, 'freak wave' leave 2 dead in Britain 02/15/14 [Last modified: Sunday, February 16, 2014 12:27am]
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