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At least 189 dead and hundreds missing after catastrophic floods in Western Europe

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the disastrous floods that have ravaged Western Europe “terrifying” as the death toll continues rising

Huge floods across Western Europe have killed at least 189 people, with hundreds more still missing. Tens of thousands of people remain displaced, with many still without power and drinking water, and many other still unable to return home.

Germany’s Chancellor described the flooding event as “the worst natural disaster” the nation has seen in over a century. She said, “it is shocking – I can almost say that the German language doesn’t have words for the devastation”.

Chancellor Merkel says the floods are an indication that Europe needs to ramp up their efforts against climate change. This comes days after after Europe outlined a package of steps towards net zero emissions by the middle of the century.

floods Western Europe
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Rhineland-Palatinate State Premier Malu Dreyer. Christof Stache/Pool via REUTERS

As the death toll climbs, Germany pledges aid

The German government is in the process of fast-tracking disaster relief packages to help areas across Europe affected by the floods. Merkel promised over $300 million Euros in financial aid after visiting one of the areas worst affected by the floods.

“There is huge damage and that much is clear: those who lost their businesses, their houses, cannot stem the losses alone,” said Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. There is also a short term payment of 10,000 Euro for businesses.

The floods have killed at least 157 people in Germany alone. About 37,0000 household in Belgium don’t have access to electricity, with the supply of clean drinking water also a major concern.

The European floods mainly hit the German states of Rhineland Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia and parts of Belgium. Entire communities are without power and internet. In North Rhine-Westphalia at least 46 people have died. The death toll in Belgium climbed to 31 on Sunday.

Read more climate stories here.

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Julian Assange wins small but important UK court victory

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A British court ruled that the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can appeal a decision that would allow for his extradition to the United States to face charges under the Espionage Act.

He is accused of obtaining and publishing secret government documents.

The latest twist in the long-running case comes after a decision last month that he could be extradited to the United States to face the charges.

A small. but important win

The decision to extradite Mr. Assange has turned on whether prison conditions in the United States during his detention would be too harsh for his mental health, which his lawyers argue has grown increasingly fragile.

Last year, a lower court judge in Britain rejected the extradition request, saying Mr. Assange might be driven to suicide if he was held at the highest security prison in the United States.

But last month, Britain’s High Court said that it was satisfied by assurances made by the Biden administration that Mr. Assange would not be held in this facility.

What he’s charged with

The charges against Mr. Assange stem from the 2010 publication of diplomatic and military files on his website, WikiLeaks, after they were leaked by Chelsea Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst.

Assange spent years living in an embassy in London. When he left, he was immediately arrested.

The indictments, which were handed down during the Trump administration, accuse Mr. Assange of participating in a criminal hacking conspiracy by offering to aid Ms. Manning in covering her tracks and also encouraging hackers to obtain and send secret material.

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U.K. begins withdrawing embassy staff from Ukraine

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The UK has begun withdrawing its staff from the Ukrainian embassy in Kyiv amid the rising tensions between the country and Russia.

The United Kingdom Foreign Office has begun withdrawing some diplomats and their families from the British embassy in Ukraine.

The move follows the US state department ordering American diplomats and their families to leave Kiyv as soon as they could.

According to reports UK officials said the decision was not the result of intelligence targeting British Diplomats – instead it was a response to the growing risk that Russia could invade Ukrain.

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Man survives after flying from Africa to Amsterdam in Boeing 747 landing gear

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Dutch police have confirmed a man has been found alive after being found in the wheel section of a plane that landed at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport from South Africa

The stowaway travelled in the landing gear of a Boeing 747 cargo jet.

Flights from Johannesburg to Amsterdam take approximately 11 hours, with the cargo plane believed to have made one stop, in Nairobi, Kenya.

It is very unusual for stowaways on long flights to survive, due to the cold and low oxygen at high altitudes.

Police say the man’s age and nationality have not yet been determined.

“The man was found alive in the nose wheel section of the plane and was taken to hospital in a stable condition,” Royal Dutch Military Police spokeswoman Joanna Helmonds told the AFP news agency.

“It is quite remarkable that the man is still alive”

According to Dutch broadcaster NOS, the man’s body temperature was raised at the scene and by the time an emergency services arrived, he was able to answer basic questions.

A spokesperson for freight carrier Cargolux confirmed in an email to ticker NEWS affiliate, Reuters, that the man had been on a flight operated by Cargolux Italia.

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