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Cladding on 120 tower blocks failed safety tests, says May

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London, June 29: British Prime Minister Theresa May said that cladding on over 100 high-rise buildings had failed fire safety tests.

May on Wednesday made her comments as part of the weekly session of the government’s question time in Parliament, Efe news reported.

“As of this morning, the cladding from 120 tower blocks across the country, in 37 local authority areas had been tested, and had failed the combustibility test,” May said.

The buildings underwent safety tests in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in west London, which left 79 people dead or missing when the 24-floor residential building was ravaged by a blaze.

In her debut question time appearance since the general election of June 8, May urged local authorities to carry out safety checks on buildings that they own.

“Given the 100-per cent failure rate,” May said, local authorities and housing associations “should not wait for test results,” but should get on with fire safety checks and take necessary action.

The Conservative leader the day before called for a national investigation into the use of flammable materials in the cladding used on public housing blocks in Britian.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, for his part, pointed out cuts in the number of firefighters across the country and said the Grenfell fire had exposed “the disastrous effects of austerity”.

“I urge the Prime Minister to come up with the resources needed to test and remove cladding,” Corbyn said.

London’s Metropolitan Police confirmed that the Grenfell blaze that began early on June 14 started “in a fridge freezer”, before rapidly spreading to the other floors.

In recent days, residents of similar tower blocks in London have been moved to alternative accommodation over safety concerns.

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Trump not considering firing special counsel Mueller

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Washington, Dec 18: US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller is investigating allegations of Russian interference in the last year’s US presidential election and collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow, Xinhua news agency reported.

When asked if he was considering dismissing Mueller, Trump responded, “No, I’m not,” and did not elaborate on the issue.

Democratic lawmakers have raised concern that Trump might fire Mueller.

The President, however, criticised the fact that Mueller’s team had gained access to tens of thousands of emails sent and received by officials from Trump’s transition team before the start of the presidency.

Trump said it was “not looking good.”

Mueller’s team received those emails from the General Services Administration that had housed Trump’s transition team.

In a letter to several congressional panels on Saturday, a lawyer for the transition accused Mueller of illegally obtaining the emails.

In response, a spokesman for Mueller said the emails were obtained appropriately.

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Car bomb hits NATO convoy in Kandahar, kills civilian

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Kandahar (Afghanistan) Dec 17: An Afghan woman was killed and four civilians wounded when a suicide car bomb struck a NATO-led coalition forces’ convoy in Kandahar city on Sunday, an official said.

The blast occurred around 2 p.m. local time in Police District 5 of Kandahar city, capital of southern province of Kandahar, along a road which connects the city to the international airport, the official, who did not want to be named, told Xinhua news agency.

“The initial information found a woman was killed and four civilians were wounded by the blast. But no foreigner from the convoy was hurt as they were sitting in bomb proof vehicles,” he said.

“We heard a huge blast when a convoy of international forces was passing our neighbourhood. The whole place has now been sealed off, and no one knows what happened to residents near the blast site,” witness Ahmad told Xinhua.

Several vehicles and nearby houses were also damaged by the blast, he said.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban insurgent group routinely claims responsibility for such attacks.

More than 2,640 civilians were killed and over 5,370 others injured in conflict-related incidents in first nine months of the year in Afghanistan, according to figures released by the United Nations mission in the country.
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Balochistan: 8 killed, several injured in Quetta Church blast

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Quetta Blast (Photo- Dawn)

A blast in Bethel Memorial Methodist Church in Quetta of Balochistan claimed 8 lives. Meanwhile almost 44 people are injured.

According to pakistani media Gunshots were also heard at the site, where the explosion took place.

All casualties were shifted to Civil Hospital Quetta.

Pakistani news paper Dawn confirmed that Four suicide attackers struck while church service was ongoing. Initial reports suggested an explosion took place, which was followed by a sustained gunfight.

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