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British PM apologises for Grenfell Tower fire

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Theresa May

London, June 22, 2017: British Prime Minister Theresa May has issued a public apology to the victims of the horrific fire that swept through Grenfell Tower, a 24-floor residential block in London.

“Let me be absolutely clear, the support on the ground for families in the initial hours was not good enough. People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without basic information about what had happened, what they should do and where they could seek help,” May told British lawmakers on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

“That was a failure of the state — local and national — to help people when they needed it most. As Prime Minister, I apologise for that failure — and as Prime Minister, I’ve taken responsibility for doing what we can to put things right,” she said.

May’s apology came in the House of Commons where the MPs had gathered to start a week-long debate on the Queen’s Speech which earlier on Wednesday had started the new session of Parliament following the snap general election.

May has faced sharp criticism for her initial responses to the tragedy which left at least 79 people dead.

The British Prime Minister, who also said the whole country had been heartbroken by the fire, confirmed a measure announced in the speech earlier by Queen Elizabeth.

The government says that to support victims of tragedies, an independent public advocate will be appointed to act for bereaved families after public disasters and support them at public inquests.

The government also announced on Wednesday that work is to be speeded up on a new housing scheme close to Grenfell Tower to provide new homes for 68 families made homeless in the tragedy.

May said all families who lost their homes in Grenfell Tower will be re-housed within three weeks.

Read More: 12 dead in massive fire at London residential tower

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Suicide attack near US embassy in Montenegro

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Image: Reuters

Podgorcia, Feb 22: An unidentified man on Thursday threw a hand grenade near U.S. embassy compound in Montenegro before blowing himself up.

“In front of the USEmbassy MNE building in Podgorica, Montenegro an unknown person committed suicide with an explosive device. Immediately before, that person threw an explosive device,” the Montenegrin government tweeted, adding that the device was “most probably” a hand grenade.

As of now, no casualties or loss of property has been reported.

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44 killed in Peru bus accident

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Peru bus accident
Photo taken on Feb. 21, 2018 shows the site of a bus accident off a highway in Camana, Arequipa, Peru. (P C-Xinhua)

Lima, Feb 22: At least 44 people were killed and 24 others injured when a bus skidded off the road and plunged into a river in Peru’s Arequipa region, authorities said.

Seven of the injured are in serious condition, including three children, reports Efe news agency.

Health workers transport a man injured in a bus crash in Arequipa, Peru, on Wednesday. At least 25 people were killed when their bus veered off a highway and tumbled 200 meters down a cliff. (Photo Credit: AP)

The accident occurred on Wednesday on the Pan-American Highway.

The authorities were still trying to determine what caused the bus to skid off the road and plunge 200 metres into the Ocona River.

The bus was travelling from Chala to Arequipa city, and was running on an expired operating permit, the transportation ministry said.

“My condolences to the families of the victims of the transit accident in Arequipa,” President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski tweeted.

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Pakistan Supreme Court orders ex-PM Nawaz Sharif removed as head of his political party – judge

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nawaz sharief

ISLAMABAD: In another blow to the ruling PML-N, the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday ruled that a disqualified individual cannot head a political party.

The apex court elaborated that a person disqualified under Article 62, 63 of the Constitution can not head the party. As a result of this verdict, all decisions taken by Nawaz as PML-N’s president stand null and void.

As a consequence, Senate tickets issued by Nawaz are also declared void, throwing the fate of March 3 Senate elections in doubt.

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Mian Saqib Nisar concluded on Thursday the hearings of several petitions against the recently-passed Elections Act 2017.

A three-member bench had been hearing several petitions challenging specific clauses of the act that led to Nawaz Sharif’s appointment as party president following his dismissal as prime minister last year.

During today’s hearing, the chief justice remarked that the country’s leadership is respectable, adding that the media misreported the court’s remarks.

Chief Justice Nisar also observed that there is no reason for the apex court to use words like thief, adding that the fallout of the issue is unacceptable.

Addressing the Pakistan Peoples Party counsel Latif Khosa during the hearing, the chief justice remarked that there would be a difference in rallies held by you or [slain party leader and former prime minister] Benazir Bhutto.

Another petitioner’s counsel, Farogh Naseem, argued that there is a precedent of a court order against a political party’s head.

The chief justice remarked that in other countries intra-party elections are held but the situation is different in Pakistan.

“The party head is an important position,” the chief justice observed, adding that in Pakistan people are willing to sacrifice their lives for their leaders.

Disqualification to party president
Following Nawaz’s disqualification as prime minister in July 2017 in the Panama Papers case, the ruling party managed to amend the Constitution to allow the former premier to retain his chairmanship of the PML-N.

As a result, the Elections Act 2017 was passed by Parliament bringing Nawaz back as the party president despite his disqualification from the National Assembly.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, MNA Jamshaid Dasti, National Party and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), among others, challenged the law for allowing a disqualified parliamentarian to become a party head.

The petitions, challenging specific clauses of the Elections Act 2017, state that Nawaz’s appointment as party president is in violation of Clause 5 of the Political Parties Order 2002 and Article 17 of the Constitution.

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