The Independent

World news in brief


Tanker breakup threatens marine wildlife

An oil slick off the coast of the Philippine­s is threatenin­g wildlife in a protected marine area, environmen­talists have warned. The pollution is the result of the sinking of the tanker MT Princess Empress, which was carrying 800,000 litres of industrial­ised fuel oil when it sank off the northeast coast of Mindoro Island on 28 February. Despite days of efforts to contain the oil spill, officials

of the Department of Environmen­t and Natural Resources have warned that up to 21 locally managed marine protected areas may have been impacted by the spill.

The affected areas include the Verde Island Passage, a marine ecosystem that provides food and livelihood­s to millions of people. The Philippine Coast Guard is investigat­ing the cause of the incident. The probe will determine if there are people accountabl­e for the sinking of the oil tanker.

Two dead as dozens of police held hostage in Colombia

A police officer and a civilian were killed during protests in Colombia’s Caqueta province as 79 officers and nine oilfield workers were taken hostage by members of rural communitie­s. The violence on Thursday erupted in part of the San Vicente del Caguan municipali­ty, where members of rural and Indigenous communitie­s blocked access to an oil field, national police said, to demand Emerald Energy help fix roads.

President Gustavo Petro said: “We have a popular movement which by its exclusion and the influence of groups which want to destroy this government and subsume Colombia in war, has ended up murdering a young policeman,” he said. The attorney general’s office should investigat­e the killings, while the Red Cross should attend to those being held hostage, he said. Protests in areas close to oil and mining projects regularly occur in Colombia as communitie­s push for companies to build infrastruc­ture including roads and schools. Reuters

Nigeria extends old banknotes amid cash shortage

Nigeria’s Supreme Court yesterday ordered the central bank to extend until 31 December the use of old banknotes, whose withdrawal from circulatio­n became an election issue after it caused cash shortages, widespread hardship and anger. Sixteen states in Nigeria had brought the case to the court, arguing that most Nigerians were stuck with old notes and needed more time

beyond the 10 February date when the bills ceased to be legal tender in a botched move to replace them with newer ones.

Replacemen­t banknotes have been in short supply, which has caused chaotic scenes at banks. It has also overwhelme­d the digital banking network, as a flood of transactio­ns shifted into cyberspace. In a country where most people rely on cash for everything from taxi fares to buying food from markets, the shortages of naira bills has riled citizens, some of whom have attacked banks and burned cash-dispensing machines. Reuters

Greece train crash victim buried

The first funeral for the nearly 60 victims of Greece’s worst rail disaster was held yesterday as families began receiving remains after a harrowing identifica­tion process. Athina Katsara, a 34year-old mother of an infant boy, was buried in her hometown of Katerini, northern Greece. Her injured husband was in hospital and unable to attend. Recovery teams spent a third day scouring the wreckage in Tempe, 378km (235 miles) north of Athens, where a passenger train slammed into a freight carrier near Larissa just before midnight on Tuesday.

After evening protests over the past two days, some 2,000 students took to the streets in Athens yesterday, blocking the road in front of parliament for a moment of silence. Railway workers extended their strike to a second day yesterday, and more rallies were planned, as many demanded how such a tragedy could have happened. Almost 40 survivors remain in hospital, seven of them in intensive care. Anger has grown across the country over the crash, which the government has attributed to human error but which unions say was inevitable due to lack of maintenanc­e and faulty signalling.

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 ?? (Reuters) ?? The coastguard collect samples yesterday from a massive oil slick off the northeast coast of the Philippine­s
(Reuters) The coastguard collect samples yesterday from a massive oil slick off the northeast coast of the Philippine­s

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