Rescuers search debris after
Intelligence has growing list of suspected radicals
France’s domestic intelligence chief says nearly 18,000 people are on French watch lists for radicalism, a growing figure. Laurent Nunez, head of the DGSI agency, is also warning that the Islamic State group’s retreat in the Middle East “doesn’t weaken the level of threat” or diminish the extremists’ ability to inspire violent attacks in the West via propaganda. Speaking on RTL radio Tuesday, he said “the wish of the Islamic State group and al-Qaida to launch an attack is intact,” though the current risk to France comes from homegrown extremists instead of those who come from foreign war zones. Nunez said that of the nearly 18,000 on watch lists, some 4,000 are under active surveillance. A number of people who have carried out attacks in France in recent years had previously been flagged for radicalism.
Lawmakers warn of customs chaos after Brexit
A parliamentary committee is warning of catastrophic consequences if Britain fails to put a new customs system in place before the U.K. leaves the European Union in 2019. The Public Accounts Committee released a report Tuesday outlining the risk of “huge disruption” for business, with border delays causing “massive backups” at the port of Dover and food rotting in trucks if the system doesn’t work properly. The Revenue and Customs Service began developing the new system before last year’s vote to leave the EU, and it is scheduled to be operational by January 2019. The committee says meeting this deadline is crucial because Brexit may lead to a fivefold increase in customs declarations. The dire warning comes as legislation on Britain’s withdrawal from the EU returns to Parliament on Tuesday.
Rescuers on Tuesday used backhoes and heavy equipment to dig through the debris of buildings toppled by a powerful earthquake on the border between Iran and Iraq, with weeping women crying out to God as aid workers found new bodies.
The grim work began in earnest again at dawn in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which appears to be the hardest hit in the magnitude 7.3 earthquake that struck Sunday night.
Both rescuers and local residents alike stood atop the remains of apartment complexes, looking through the rubble. They used heavy blankets to carry away corpses.
The hospital in Sarpol-e-Zahab was heavily damaged, and the army set up field hospitals, although many of the injured were moved to other cities, including Tehran.
The quake also damaged an army garrison and buildings in the border city and killed an unspecified number of soldiers, according to reports.
There are fears more dead could be in the rubble in Sarpol-e-Zahab and other rural villages of Kermanshah province. Mohammad Ali Monshizadeh, a spokesman for the provincial forensic department, said possibly as many as 150 people were buried by family members after the earthquake in remote villages who had not been counted in the official death toll, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.
Iran’s Red Crescent also said it worried about more bodies in rural villages, though it said the rescue operations in larger towns could end soon.
President Hassan Rouhani arrived in Kermanshah province on Tuesday to see the damage for himself and offer his support to those affected.
“This was a pain for all Iranians,” Rouhani said, according to a statement on the presidency’s website. “Representing the nation of Iran, I offer my condolences to the people of Kermanshah, and tell them that all of us are behind Kermanshah.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered his thanks to foreign countries offering to help but wrote on Twitter: “For now, we are able to manage with our own resources.”
Cleric Abdolhossein Moezi, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who also is touring the area, said there was a need for more relief material and “security.” That was echoed by Nazar Barani, the mayor of the town of Ezgeleh, who told state TV on Tuesday his constituency still had a “deep need” for food, medicine and tents. He said 80 percent of the buildings in the town had been damaged by the quake.
Many of the heavily damaged complexes in Sarpol-e-Zahab were part of construction projects under former hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The newly homeless slept outside in cold, huddled around makeshift fires for warmth.
The quake killed 430 people in Iran and injured 7,460, state media reported Tuesday. Most of the injuries were minor with fewer than 1,000 still hospitalized, Iran’s crisis management headquarters spokesman Behnam Saeedi told state TV.
The official death toll came from provincial forensic authorities based on death certificates issued. Some reports said unauthorized burials without cer-
Fallow deer stand on a meadow as the sun rises near Frankfurt, Germany Photograph: AP