A bomb blast ripped a trolleybus apart in Volgograd today, killing at least 10 people in the second deadly attack in the southern city in two days and raising fears of further violence as Russia prepares to host the Winter Olympics.
The morning rush-hour bombing, which left mangled bodies in the street, underscored Russia's vulnerability to militant attacks less than six weeks before the Sochi 2014 Games, a prestige project for President Vladimir Putin.
It came less than 24 hours after a suicide bomb blast killed at least 17 people in the main railway station in the same city, a major transport hub in southern Russia.
A Reuters journalist saw the blue-and-white trolleybus reduced to a twisted, gutted carcass, its roof blown off and bodies and debris strewn across the street.
Federal investigators called the blast a "terrorist act".
"For the second day, we are dying - it's a nightmare," a woman near the scene said, her voice trembling as she choked back tears.
"What are we supposed to do, just walk now?"
The consecutive attacks will raise fears of a concerted campaign of violence before the Olympics, which start on February 7 in Sochi, about 690km southwest of Volgograd.
In a video posted on the web in July, the leader of insurgents who want to carve an Islamic state out of the North Caucasus, a string of Muslim provinces south of Volgograd, urged militants to use "maximum force" to prevent the games from being held.
The problem of “maternity tourism” has become so acute that staff
at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust, in London UK, refers to the flow of West
African women flying in to give birth as the “Lagos Shuttle”. Hundreds of pregnant foreigners are flying to Britain just days before they
give birth to receive free care on the National Health Service (NHS). A Government report found that immigration officials at one airport stopped
more than 300 such mothers over two years. Most of the women had to be admitted
and allowed to give birth on the NHS, the report found, because their
pregnancies were too advanced for them to fly home. Airlines typically do not carry women more than seven months pregnant.
However, the women boarded flights in their home countries with forged doctors’
notes concealing the length of their pregnancies. The Government says health tourism costs the NHS as much as £80
million a year; enough to pay for about 2,000 nurses. However, estimates seen
by The Sunday Telegraph suggest the true figure may be far higher. Guy’s and St
Thomas’ alone may be losing more than pounds £5 million a year.
a days, Malaysians are looking at the prospect of expenditure exceeding their
In the past few years and While
Putrajaya talks up proposals to help the people mitigate rising prices with
cost of living labs and possibly even more targeted subsidies.
A greater concern in 2014 was
electricity rates and transport costs go up and subsidies go down.
The cost of living survey conducted in
December covered Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Kuala Terengganu, Klang,
Kuching and Alor Star.
The survey compared prices of
necessities, such as chicken, vegetables (mustard greens and red chillies), fish,
house rental and the minimum wage in a month.
“Prices of goods are determined by the
market and it depends on consumers to control their expenditure,” said Datuk
Paul Selvaraj, secretary-general at the Federation of Malaysian Consumers
“It is the responsibility of the
Government to minimise the impact on consumers, but in some situations the
responsibility falls on the individual.”
Critics have complained that the slow
rate of increase in household income would not be able to cope with the recent
slew of price hikes of items, such as electricity tariff, toll, school bus
fares and assessment rates.
An individual would require an income
of RM4,000 to survive on Penang island, given its high rental and expensive
Trailing closely behind Penang are
industrial cities Bintulu in Sarawak and Paka in Terengganu.
However, prices of goods in Penang are
much lower on the mainland in places such as Seberang Prai.
The lower cost of living has made
nearby mainland towns a sprawling suburban neighbourhood with heavy traffic
flow daily on the connecting Penang Bridge.
The poll conducted in December found that a kilogramme of chicken cost RM9 in
George Town, while it was only RM7 in Kuala Lumpur and RM6.50 in Klang,
In Kuala Terengganu, prices of daily
goods are comparatively higher despite its lower cost of living.
A kilogramme of chicken cost RM7.50
while fish, such as mackerel at the Chabang Tiga market cost between RM10 to
RM15 depending on the quality.
The cost of seafood there is also not
cheap although it is located near fishing villages.
However, low rental rates and toll-free
roads have kept the cost of living relatively low in Kuala Terengganu.
With an income of RM2,500 a month, a
family can own a car and rent a home.
In the same state of Terengganu, some
120km away, the cost of living in towns like Paka and Kerteh are much higher
since they are home to employees from the oil and gas industry.
Locals have to bear the brunt of high
expenses since industrial employees receive higher salaries.
The same is happening in the Sarawak towns of Bintulu and Miri, where oil and
gas firms have set up base.
As a result, locals are also witnessing
a stark increase in the prices of goods and rental rates.
Rental rates in Penang are soaring high
with a single-storey three-bedroom home in Tanjung Tokong costing RM1,000 a
Rental rates are, however, cheaper in
Batu Kawan or Nibong Tebal with rents hovering around RM500 per month.
LONDON, U.K. - Police in UK are being called on to deal with unearthly beings.
Figures released by 17 forces in England and Wales reveal hundreds of
people, perhaps inspired by the film Ghostbusters, have dialled 999 to
report supernatural activity.
What’s more officers have often headed out in response. Logs show 277
requests for urgent assistance with “paranormal” or “extraterrestrial”
incidents in the past three years.
Most of the reports related to ghosts, with some callers saying they had
One man believed there was a ghost in his house and had discovered blood on
the bathroom door. It was later found to be a prank by his friends. Another, in
Saltash, Cornwall, told police call handlers he had been visited by the Ghost
of Christmas Past.
Some claimed to be protecting their loved ones. British Transport Police
were alerted in 2012 to a passenger who said there were witches and warlocks
travelling on a train from Edinburgh to London and that a warlock had attacked
For others, the people closest to them were a supernatural cause for
concern. A caller in Tring, Hertfordshire, told officers that their ex-partner
was “some kind of vampire”.
In some rural Kenyan communities, tradition dictates that December is the month when boys and girls are circumcised.
The communities, which still practice female genital mutilation, make girls marry off immediately after the circumcision is completed.
Both practices are carried out secretly as they are illegal in Kenya.
based on research in eight rural areas, found 43% of girls interviewed and
11.6% of boys were married before 18. Both rates are higher than Kenya’s
national rate, which stands at 34% for females and 1.4% for males. Al Jazeera's Catherine Soi reports from a rescue centre for such girls in the western town of Kilgoris.