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Ecuador prison violence leaves nearly 70 dead

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At least 68 prisoners were killed and more than two dozen injured in overnight violence at Ecuador’s Penitenciaria del Litoral prison

At least 68 prisoners were killed and more than two dozen injured in overnight violence at Ecuador’s Penitenciaria del Litoral prison, the government said on Saturday, in what officials characterize as fights among rival gangs. Bryan Wood reports.

Dozens of Ecuadorians gathered outside a prison on Saturday waiting for news of loved ones who may have been killed in an overnight riot.

Nearly 70 prisoners were killed and more than two dozen injured at Ecuador’s Penitenciaria del Litoral prison.

General Police commander, Tannya Varela, characterized the violence as fights among rival gangs.

“These events are due to a territory dispute by criminal gangs inside the prison. At the moment there are certain pavilions that are without leaders, because, this may be surprising to all citizens, but the leaders were released after having served 60% of their sentence.”

At the same prison earlier this year, located in the southern city of Guayaquil, over 100 inmates were killed in the country’s worst incident of prison violence in recent history.

The latest disturbance was set off by a power vacuum following a gang leader’s release

The provincial governor, Pablo Arosemena told the press on Saturday, “There was no leader of the gang at this cell block because a few days ago that prisoner was released. Other cell blocks with other groups wanted to control them, get inside and have a total massacre.”

Ecuador’s prison system has come under spotlight in recent years for overcrowding and poor sanitation and living conditions.

In September, the country’s president, Guillermo Lasso, declared a two month state of emergency in the prison system and most recently he called on the highest court to allow military to enter prisons, instead of providing only outside security.

The court responded in a statement that the prison crisis will require more than temporary emergency solutions.

Climate Change

Hurricane Ian could be Florida’s deadliest storm

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Hurricane Ian could be Florida’s deadliest storm as it continues north towards South Carolina

U.S. President Joe Biden says Hurricane Ian could be the deadliest storm in the region’s history, with early reports suggesting substantial loss of life.

Biden spoke at an afternoon briefing at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema).

Ian made landfall on Wednesday local time near the city of Fort Myers. It has led to severe flooding, high winds and storm surges.

Several areas remain submerged, and more than 2.5 million homes are without power.

Many residents are trapped in their homes and unable to escape. Search and rescue teams are working around the clock to provide assistance where they can.

5,000 Florida National Guard troops and 2,000 Guardsman from surrounding states have been deployed.

Eight teams with 800 members are carrying out search and rescue operations.

More than 200 public shelters have now been opened, housing around 34,000 people.

The National Hurricane Centre has downgraded Ian to a tropical storm for now but warns it will likely become a hurricane again later.

The entire coast of South Carolina is just the latest region to be placed on high alert as the storm continues north on its path of destruction.

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Finland slams its borders shut on Russia

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Finland will officially closed its border to Russian tourists, marking the last of Moscow’s E-U neighbours to do so.

Finland will close its border with Russia as Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also closed theirs.

The Finnish government made the decision following Vladimir Putin’s decision to call-up of 300,000 military reservists.

Queue’s at Russia’s border crossings with E-U nations were stretching for kilometres as people attempted to flee the country.

The closure of the border only applies to tourists – and Russians who are visiting family or travelling for work or study will still be granted entry.

The Finnish Foreign Minister stated that the decision was a difficult one to make, but ultimately it was in the best interest of the country.

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Queen’s death certificate has been released

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Queen Elizabeth II’s death certificate has been released, and reveals Her Majesty died of old age.

The document, signed by Queen’s daughter Princess Anne, says Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully at 3:10 p.m. on September 8.

The 96 year old was surrounded by family at Balmoral Castle in Scotland as she took her final breaths.

Now laid to rest in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II’s period of national mourning has concluded.

When she was alive there was a curtain of privacy around the Queen’s health, and in her death there remains some restraint.

Her cause of death is recorded as “old age”, without any further details.

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