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Italy cruise ship wreck begins final voyage GIGLIO ISLAND: Italy's once-luxurious Costa Concordia cruise liner embarked on its last voyage on Wednesday, as tug boats began towing it from island wreck site to scrapyard grave in one of the biggest salvage operations in maritime history.Sunshine streamed down on the Mediterranean bay where hundreds of onlookers watched as the final cable attaching ship to shore was cut, finally severing ties between the Tuscan island of Giglio and the ship two and a half years after its capsize claimed 32 lives."We've done it! She's off!" shouted salvage specialists in hard hats who popped champagne bottles and sprayed the crowd, while tourists cheered and church bells rang out as the ship was pulled away."It's hard not to get emotional," said Franco Porcellacchia, an engineer with ship owner Costa Crociere."Today, Giglio is once again ours," a local man, visibly relieved to see the back of the Concordia, told AFP.The rusting liner, ...

Rwandan president names new prime minister KIGALI: Rwandan President Paul Kagame named the former labour minister Anastase Murekezi as the new prime minister on Wednesday, a presidential statement said.The appointment is expected to bring in a possible cabinet reshuffle, as under Rwanda's constitution, ministers must be chosen or reappointed by the new prime minister."It is a great honour for me to have been appointed prime minister," Murekezi said on his Twitter account."My new appointment gives me a unique opportunity to keep ...

Indonesia Prabowo to challenge election result in court JAKARTA: The ex-general who lost Indonesia's presidential election to Joko Widodo will challenge the result in court, his campaign team said on Wednesday, a move that could spell weeks of uncertainty for the world's third-biggest democracy.But Prabowo Subianto's last-ditch bid to overturn the result did little to dampen the enthusiasm of Widodo's supporters, with thousands staging a noisy rally next to a Jakarta monument commemorating Indonesia's proclamation of independence in 1945. Widodo, the reform-minded governor ...

13 rebels killed in Colombia fighting: official BOGOTA: The Colombian army killed at least 13 leftist guerrillas early on Wednesday in two separate engagements, the defence ministry said.Eight ELN guerrillas were killed in an operation in the eastern province of Arauca and at least five rebels from the FARC guerrilla group were killed in the central province of Meta, a defence ministry spokesman told AFP.He said the toll could rise as troops continue sweeping the two areas.The army said in a statement ...

Romanian city opens plastic bottle bridge in litter protest ROMANIA: Timisoara in western Romania on Wednesday inaugurated a 23-metre (75 feet) bridge made of more than 157,000 collected plastic bottles to warn against the devastating effects of litter.Residents claim the bridge crossing the Bega Canal in the city centre is the largest in the world built from plastic bottles. A commission of the Guinness book of records has yet to decide on the issue.More than 500 volunteers helped to build the temporary bridge, collecting ...

UK retail sales growth quickens in July: CBI LONDON: British annual retail sales growth quickened in July and expectations for August also picked-up, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry said on Wednesday.The CBI distributive trades survey's retail sales balance rose to +21 in July from +4 in June and above economists' forecasts of +16.Sales expectations for August were +36, up from +17 in July.The data reinforced the idea that Britain is seeing a steady consumer-led recovery. Official data released in June ...

Japan to cut discretionary spending 10pc in next FY budget: draft TOKYO: Japan will cut discretionary spending such as public works by 10 percent in next fiscal year's budget, a draft document showed, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government seeks to cut the government's enormous deficit even as it promotes growth.The savings of just under 4 trillion ($39 billion), detailed in the document seen by Reuters on Wednesday, are equivalent to the amount that the government wants to add for Abe's "growth strategy", economic reforms intended ...


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