Briefs

Manawatu Standard - - World -

Wild­fire toll in­creases

Fire­fight­ers be­gan to gain ground yes­ter­day against wild­fires that have killed at least 31 peo­ple in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia and left hun­dreds miss­ing in the heart of the state’s wine coun­try. The lat­est ca­su­alty fig­ure marks the great­est loss life from a sin­gle Cal­i­for­nia wild­fire in 84 years. With 3500 homes and busi­nesses in­cin­er­ated, the so-called North Bay fires also rank among the most de­struc­tive in the state’s his­tory. The home of Peanuts cre­ator Charles Schulz was among those that burned to the ground in Sonoma County, but his widow es­caped, her step­son said.

Chief of staff stay­ing put

White House chief of staff John Kelly yes­ter­day slapped down ru­mours that he was about to re­sign or be fired, and said his push to bring more or­der to the West Wing does not ex­tend to con­trol­ling US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump or his so­cial me­dia habits. Kelly re­placed Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, af­ter a tu­mul­tuous first six months in of­fice and sought to bring or­der to an of­ten chaotic op­er­a­tion at the White House. Un­der his watch, Trump parted ways with chief strate­gist Steve Ban­non and other top of­fi­cials, while new re­stric­tions were set to stream­line meet­ings and ma­te­rial for the pres­i­dent. But re­ports of both Kelly’s and the pres­i­dent’s frus­tra­tions have per­sisted, spark­ing con­tin­ued spec­u­la­tion of pend­ing shake­ups.

Ac­tivist ‘was mur­dered’

An anti-apartheid ac­tivist who died 46 years ago when he fell from the 10th floor of a Jo­han­nes­burg po­lice sta­tion was mur­dered by the South African se­cu­rity ser­vices, a judge has ruled. The judg­ment that Ahmed Ti­mol, 29, a teacher and mem­ber of the armed wing of the African Na­tional Con­gress, did not com­mit sui­cide in 1971 paves the way for sim­i­lar cases to be re­opened. The rul­ing is the first time that the au­thor­i­ties have over­turned an apartheid-era ver­dict on a death in cus­tody.

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