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Wednesday 21st
posted by Morning Star in World

News stories from around the world

Forest fire finally on the wane

PORTUGAL: Emergency services said yesterday they were making headway in their battle to control forest fires that killed 64 people in the centre of the country.

The Civil Protection Agency said about 1,200 firefighters and nine water-dropping aircraft were fighting the fire in Pedrogao Grande, raging for a third day.

Another 800 firefighters and four planes were fighting a fire in nearby Gois which Commander Vitor Vaz Pinto called “very fast and very explosive” and had forced the evacuation of 11 hill villages.


Immigrants forced to sign allegiance

NETHERLANDS: The Senate passed a new law yesterday obliging new immigrants to sign a declaration pledging to respect “the values and rules of Dutch society.”

Minister of Social Affairs Lodwijk Asscher says the declaration is intended to “familiarise newcomers with the non-negotiable rights and obligations and the fundamental values of Dutch society.”

Municipalities can fine those refusing to sign up to €340 (£300) and deny them a permanent residency permit and citizenship.


ELN looks into kidnap claims

COLOMBIA: National Liberation Army (ELN) negotiators in Ecuador said yesterday they were probing army claims the leftist rebel group kidnapped two Dutch journalists.

The Colombian military alleged the journalists were seized on Monday by ELN guerillas in the volatile Catatumbo region.

Dutch media idenitifed them as reporter Derk Bolt and cameraman Eugenio Follender.


Refugees arrested after driver dies

FRANCE: Nine Eritrean refugees were arrested yesterday after a lorry driver was killed in a collision on the road to Calais when would-be stowaways blocked the road.

Pas-de-Calais regional government said refugees left tree trunks on the A16 road early in the morning, forcing three large lorries to stop. A smaller lorry then hit them and caught fire.