News stories from around the world
NEW ZEALAND: A shipping company agreed today to pay the government up to $38 million (£19.6m) towards the cleanup cost of the country’s worst maritime environmental disaster.
Greek firm Daina Shipping will pay $27.6m (£14.2m) for oil cleanup costs after the Rena ran into the Astrolabe reef last October and a further $10.4m (£5.4m) if it doesn’t remove all the wreckage.
But the government says it’s spent $47m (£24.2m) on the cleanup and salvage so far, leaving the taxpayer with a substantial shortfall.
BELGIUM: Rail workers started a 24-hour strike this evening on train traffic to Brussels from London and Paris.
Rail workers are fearful their conditions will be undermined under a new plan to revamp the three companies currently overseeing train traffic in Belgium.
Unions want to go back to a single company controlling the rail grid and train traffic.
FRANCE: Prosecutors have dropped a preliminary investigation into allegations of rape in a Washington hotel by former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
Lille prosecutor Frederic Fevre said today that the supposed victim, an escort, went back on her original account and now says no rape was involved.
US: American Express agreed on Monday to cough up $85 million (£53m) to about 250,000 customers plus $27.5m (£17m) in fines to settle regulators’ accusations that it charged unlawful late fees and deceived customers.
US federal agencies said that the credit card giant had violated federal laws prohibiting deceptive practices by using false statements to get customers to settle old debts.
HONG KONG: A boat packed with revellers collided with a ferry and sank on Monday night, killing at least 36 people and injuring dozens in the deadliest accident to strike the Chinese territory in years.
The boat was carrying utility company workers and their families to watch a fireworks display in celebration of China’s National Day. Six crew members have been arrested.
SPAIN: The number of people registered as unemployed rose by a little under 80,000 in September as the summer tourism season came to an end.
The Labour Ministry said today that the total number of people registered as jobless is now 4.71 million.
Spain is in its second recession in three years with an unemployment rate of nearly 25 per cent.
US: The Minnesota Orchestra has cancelled its concerts between October 18 and November 25 after announcing a lockout of its musicians.
Management has rejected union proposals for arbitration on a new contract.
The musicians rejected a management offer that would have cut salaries by an average of 34 per cent.
COLOMBIA: Farc rebels have said talks on ending the country’s protracted civil conflict have been postponed for a week.
Negotiations scheduled for October 8 in Norway will now open on October 15.
Both the guerillas and the Colombian government have agreed to the delay.
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