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Queen Elizabeth II’s 97-year-old husband was recovering Friday at the royal Sandringham estate after the Land Rover he was driving rolled on a nearby highway in a collision with another vehicle.

Witness Roy Warne told the BBC he was driving home from work when the accident involving Prince Philip’s black Land Rover and a compact car unfolded in front of him. Warne said he helped free a baby from the second car, a Kia, before helping the prince out of his vehicle, which was lying on its side.

“I saw a car, a black [Land] Rover, come out from a side road and it rolled and ended up on the other side of the road,” Warne said. “I saw it careering, tumbling across the road and ending up on the other side.”

Warne found Philip trapped in the car, but persuaded him to move one leg at a time to get out. He then pulled him out of the Land Rover through the windscreen or sun roof. The prince was able to immediately stand and walk around.

“He was obviously shaken, and then he went and asked if everyone else was all right,” Warne said.

Police conducted breath tests on the drivers after the accident, shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday. Both tested negatively.

The driver of the Kia, a 28-year-old woman, suffered cuts to her knee while her passenger, a 45-year-old woman, suffered a broken wrist. Both were taken to the hospital and released. A 9-month-old baby in the Kia was not injured.

The prince was checked by a doctor after the accident and determined to be fine, Buckingham Palace said.

“We are aware of the public interest in this case, however, as with any other investigation it would be inappropriate to speculate on the causes of the collision until an investigation is carried out,” Norfolk Constabulary said in a statement.

By coincidence, authorities in the area had planned to consider improving safety on the road, the A149. Norfolk County Council will discuss reducing the speed limit on the road from 60 mph to 50 mph and installing safety cameras.

Philip has largely retired from public life but is well known for his fierce independence and his love of cars. He has seemed to be in generally good health in recent months.

He and Elizabeth, 92, have been on an extended Christmas vacation at Sandringham, one of her favored rural homes.

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Prime Minister Theresa May held talks Friday with European leaders and British Cabinet colleagues, but efforts to end Britain’s Brexit stalemate appeared deadlocked, with neither May nor Britain’s opposition leader shifting from their entrenched positions.

May has been meeting with politicians from several U.K. parties this week to try to find a way forward after her European Union divorce deal was overwhelmingly rejected by Parliament.

Despite that, May has been unwilling to move her “red lines” in the Brexit negotiations, which include taking Britain out of the bloc’s customs union. And opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to meet with May unless she rules out the possibility of Britain leaving the EU with no deal — a scenario that many believe would hurt the British economy.

May on Friday also spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and planned more calls to European colleagues over the weekend.

But the talks yielded little progress.

The European Commission said tersely that the May-Juncker call was “an exchange of information on both sides” and that the two had “agreed to stay in touch.”

May, who narrowly defeated a no-confidence vote in her Conservative government triggered by Corbyn this week, said it was “not within the government’s power to rule out no-deal” because by law Britain will leave the EU without an agreement on March 29 unless Parliament approves a deal before then.

May is due to publish her revived Brexit blueprint on Monday, before British lawmakers debate it — and doubtless try to alter it — on Jan. 29.

The prime minister is in a bind. Many lawmakers think a “soft Brexit” that keeps Britain in the EU’s single market or customs union is the only plan capable of winning a majority in Parliament. But a large chunk of May’s Conservative Party is vehemently opposed to that idea.

Britain’s political chaos has spurred EU nations to step up preparations for a disorderly British exit. France and other countries are spending millions, hiring thousands of workers and issuing emergency decrees to cope with the possibility that Britain will crash out of the bloc, sparking major disruptions to travel and trade.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Friday inspected some of the country’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit, visiting the Eurotunnel complex and meeting with small businesses on the English Channel coast.

France is paying special attention to the Channel tunnel, which carries millions of passengers annually between Britain and France, as well as freight trucks that play a significant role in Britain’s trade with the continent.

On Friday, a group of high-profile Germans made an emotional appeal to Britain to stay in the bloc. A letter published in the Times of London said “without your great nation, this Continent would not be what it is today: a community defined by freedom and prosperity.”

It went on to list things Germans would miss about Britain, among them “tea with milk” and “going to the pub after work.”

The signatories include Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Airbus chief Tom Enders and former German national soccer player Jens Lehmann.

Amid the political impasse, May’s domestic opponents are gathering. Brexit-backing former-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson used a speech Friday at a bulldozer factory to accuse May of lacking the “gumption” to get a good deal from the EU.

Johnson, a likely future contender to replace May as Conservative leader and prime minister, urged her to “go back to Brussels and get a better deal,” even though EU leaders have said the withdrawal agreement won’t be renegotiated.

He dodged a question of whether he would support May as party leader if a sudden general election is called, saying instead that Britain does not need a new vote.

“I think most people in this country feel they have had quite enough elections,” he said. “I certainly do.”

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The European Union insisted Friday that agriculture be kept out of the EU-U.S. trade negotiations, despite Washington’s wishes to include the vast sector, and said any overall deal will be limited in scope.

The EU Commission announced its pro posals for a negotiating mandate from the 28 member states and said that the EU negotiations will be “strictly focused on the removal of tariffs on industrial goods, excluding agricultural products.”

EU Trade Chief Cecilia Malmstrom also said that she is preparing a target list of American products it will hit with punitive tariffs if the Trump administration goes through with its threat to impose duties on European auto imports.

Last July, during a period of heightened tensions over trade, U.S. President Donald Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to start talks meant to achieve “zero tariffs” and “zero subsidies” on non-automotive industrial goods.

With the U.S. criticizing the Europeans for allegedly dragging their feet in the talks, Malmstrom said “the EU is committed to upholding its side of the agreement reached by the two Presidents.”

Any agreement would fall well short of the scope of the free trade deal that had been discussed in recent years — but paused in 2016 after Trump slammed such wide-ranging international deals as unfair to the U.S.

Instead, Malmstrom said, the deal both sides are now looking at could be concluded “quite quickly. We could finalize this and it would be beneficial to all of us.”

 

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Norway’s minority centre-right government has struck a deal with the small Christian Democratic Party to form a four-party majority coalition, it said on Thursday, confirming earlier  reports.

The agreement fulfils a long-standing goal of Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg, in power since 2013, who hopes ruling in a majority will provide stability and help ease her path to re-election in 2021.

“We had tough negotiations,” Solberg said, celebrating the pact alongside leaders of her existing partners the Progress Party and the Liberal Party as well as the Christian Democrats.

She said the government would focus on a “sustainable welfare society”, help combat climate change, reduce taxes for small and medium businesses, strengthen family and children’s rights, and ensure stronger security for all.

The three parties also agreed to slight changes in abortion laws at the demand of the Christian Democrats.

Recent opinion polls have shown a majority of voters backing the Labour-led center-left opposition.

 

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Morocco stopped 89,000 people from illegally migrating in 2018, up 37 percent compared to a year earlier, the interior ministry said Thursday, as the country became the main launchpad in the Mediterranean for Europe-bound migrants.

Morocco, which other Africans can visit without visas, has become a major gateway for migrants into Europe since Italy’s tougher line and EU aid to the Libyan coast guard curbed the number of people coming from Libya.

In 2018, Moroccan authorities dismantled 229 migrant trafficking networks, the interior ministry’s figure showed.

Some 80 percent of illegal migrants intercepted in 2018 were foreigners, 29,715 migrants were saved at sea while 5,608 opted for a voluntary return to their home countries, the ministry said.

While some migrants try to reach Ceuta and another Spanish enclave in Africa, Melilla, others pay smugglers to put them on boats, as Spain is just 14 km across the western end of the Mediterranean.

The EU has already transferred 30 million euros out of 140 million promised last October to help Morocco curb illegal migration, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Thursday at a news conference in Rabat.

About half of the 111,558 migrants and refugees who entered Europe by the Mediterranean Sea in 2018 made it through the Western route separating the Iberian Peninsula from North Africa, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Some 2,217 died while crossing the Mediterranean, including 744 on the western route, the IOM said.

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Russia on Thursday detained a Belarusian model who once claimed she had evidence of Russian efforts to help Donald Trump win office, witnesses told AFP. 

 

Anastasia Vashukevich, known by her pen name, Nastya Rybka, was held for questioning at a Moscow airport after she was deported from Thailand as part of a group convicted of participating in a “sex training course,” other passengers on the flight told AFP.   

 

Russian authorities detained her and several others, including Alex Kirillov, a self-styled Russian seduction guru, witnesses said. 

 

Plainclothes officials led away four members of the group, including Vashukevich and Kirillov, a woman who gave her name as Kristina told AFP after emerging at Sheremetyevo airport. 

 

Describing herself as Kirillov’s wife, Kristina said she heard the group shouting and asking for an explanation of “why they were being detained.” 

A law enforcement source told the TASS state news agency that Vashukevich, Kirillov and two others had been detained at the airport for questioning regarding recruitment for prostitution, a crime punishable by up to six years in jail.  

Deripaska link

In a case that veered between salacious and bizarre, Vashukevich said she had traveled to Thailand after becoming embroiled in a political scandal with Russian aluminium tycoon Oleg Deripaska, a onetime associate of Trump’s disgraced former campaign director, Paul Manafort. 

She then set tongues wagging by promising to reveal “missing puzzle pieces” regarding claims the Kremlin aided Trump’s 2016 presidential election victory. But the material never surfaced and critics dismissed the claims as a publicity stunt. 

Vashukevich was held with several others in a police raid last February in the seaside resort of Pattaya, Thailand. In a risque seminar there, led by Kirillov, some participants wore shirts that said “sex animator” — though one person at the time described it as more of a romance-and-relationship course.

Vashukevich pleaded guilty alongside seven others to multiple charges, including solicitation and illegal assembly, at a Pattaya court on Tuesday, which ordered that the group be deported.

Kirillov, who has served as a quasi-spokesman for the mostly Russian group, told reporters as they arrived at that court Tuesday that he believed they had been set up. 

“I think somebody ordered [our arrest] … for money,” he said.

Vashukevich looked somber as she entered the courthouse and did not respond to questions from reporters.

Blacklisted in Thailand

On Thursday afternoon, Vashukevich and the majority of the convicted were put on an Aeroflot flight for Moscow. Thailand’s immigration chief, Surachate Hakparn, said the last of the group would leave the country later in the evening.

They were also blacklisted from returning to Thailand.

It was unclear what would happen to them upon arrival in Moscow, but as a Belarusian citizen, Vashukevich was expected to transit to Belarus. 

Vashukevich, who has more than 120,000 followers on Instagram and penned a book about seducing oligarchs, already faces legal problems in Russia.

Deripaska won an invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against her and Kirillov in July after a video apparently filmed by the model showed the tycoon vacationing with an influential Russian deputy prime minister at the time.

“I don’t think she wants to get out [of the plane] in Moscow,” a Russian friend in Thailand who helped with the case told AFP on Thursday.

Both Washington and Moscow publicly shrugged off Vashukevich’s story, which the U.S. State Department described as “bizarre.” 

 

Kremlin-connected Deripaska and Manafort, Trump’s ex-campaign manager, did business together in the mid-2000s. Manafort has since been convicted in the U.S. of financial crimes related to political work he did in Ukraine before the 2016 election, as well as witness tampering.

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The International Criminal Court has ordered former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo and his top aide to remain in custody, even after judges acquitted them of crimes against humanity.

Prosecutors immediately appealed Tuesday’s verdict and argued the pair may refuse to return to The Hague for trial if the not-guilty verdict is overturned.

The three-judge panel called the prosecution’s case “exceptionally weak.”

Gbagbo and Charles Ble Goude had been on trial for alleged crimes against humanity stemming from the violence in Ivory Coast after the 2010 election.

Gbagbo lost to his bitter rival, current President Alassane Outtara, but refused to concede. The standoff led to violence that killed 3,000 people and sent thousands more fleeing the country for their lives.

Opponents and prosecutors blame Gbagbo and Ble Goude for the deadly unrest. But the three-judge panel ruled Tuesday there was not enough evidence of responsibility to convict the pair.

Gbagbo’s daughter told reporters her father plans to return to Ivory Coast when he is released.

But if he goes back, he faces 20 years in prison on charges of misusing funds from a West African central bank.

An Ivorian court convicted him in absentia last year, but the government has not said whether it will enforce the sentence.

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Poles on Wednesday heatedly condemned the power of hate speech to trigger real-life violence after the slaying of a popular liberal mayor, with many calling for stronger actions against those who threaten others.

Not only did the killer, an ex-convict, take the life of the 53-year-old Gdansk mayor, Pawel Adamowicz, but he stabbed him during a popular fundraising concert by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity, which raises money for life-saving medical equipment. 

Both the mayor and the organization are prominent symbols of openness and tolerance, leaving many Poles to interpret the attack as a double blow to those values.

Assailant recently released from prison

Investigators are checking to see if the assailant, who was recently released from prison, has psychiatric problems. He stabbed Adamowicz three times in the heart and abdomen and told the crowd Sunday evening that it was revenge against Civic Platform, the now-opposition party that was in power when he was imprisoned for bank robberies. 

The brutal killing took place as Poland is more bitterly divided than at any time since it threw off communism 30 years ago, with massive amounts of hate speech and even death threats against prominent figures.

“Stop hate speech,” the major daily Rzeczpospolita wrote Wednesday in a front-page appeal, citing a “brutalization of public debate” and “a wave of hatred that spills both from traditional media and the internet.” 

“I have no doubt that this wave emboldened the murderer of Pawel Adamowicz to act,” wrote editor Boguslaw Chrabota. “Even today, with the entire country in mourning … internet trolls are congratulating the murderer, making him into a national hero, demanding a repeat of such acts.”

Other mayors threatened

​Other city mayors who, like Adamowicz, have also received death threats appealed Wednesday to justice officials to more effectively prosecute such activity.

Adamowicz was a longtime member of the Civic Platform party but left it in 2015. He died on Monday, leaving behind a wife and two daughters, aged 8 and 15. 

“Hatred killed Pawel. A hatred that was insane, a hatred that was well-organized,” Grzegorz Schetyna, the head of the Civic Platform, said Wednesday during a session of parliament that began with a moment of silence and prayers for Adamowicz.

Poland’s ruling party leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, was not present at the session, a gesture that critics denounced as a sign of disrespect. Kaczynski’s spokeswoman said his absence was just a “coincidence.” 

The charity that Adamowicz supported is Poland’s largest nonprofit organization and has become a model of civic engagement and humanitarianism in its 27 years. Founder Jerzy Owsiak is also a prominent liberal voice who has sparred verbally with members of the country’s right-wing ruling party, Law and Justice.

Broadcaster suspended

Just last week, state television, TVP, which is government controlled, ran an animation that depicted Owsiak in a defamatory manner. The broadcaster apologized after an outcry, while the head of the news program has been indefinitely suspended.

In the wake of Adamowicz’s death, Owsiak resigned from his position, citing police inaction despite threats against him.

Wednesday evening, a crowd gathered outside TVP’s main editorial office in Warsaw in protest following a Monday evening report on Adamowicz’s death that seemed to put all blame for all the aggression in the country solely on Civic Platform officials. Meanwhile, pressure mounted on the ruling party to fire the head of TVP. In its main evening news report, TVP said its staff was also being targeted by hate speech and threats.

Adamowicz was also an object of hate for far-right extremists for his support for migrants and gay rights. In 2017, after he voiced support for bringing wounded Syrian children for medical treatment in Gdansk, the far-right group All-Polish Youth issued a symbolic “political death notice” for him and several other liberal leaders.

Prosecutors had dropped that investigation. On Wednesday, Adam Bodnar, an independent state official for human rights, said he was sending a request to the prosecutor general to reopen a list of frozen hate crime cases.

Since Adamowicz’s killing, police in Poland have arrested several suspects threatening to kill public figures, including Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister who is now president of the European Council.

Family joins mourners

On Wednesday evening in Gdansk, Adamowicz’s wife, Magdalena Adamowicz, and elder daughter, Antonina, joined thousands of mourners who formed a large heart with candles. They thanked the people of the city for their support. The widow also urged people to be good to each other, saying her husband loved everyone.

“I love you, daddy, very much and forever,” his tearful daughter said in the family’s first public appearance since the killing. “I love you, Pawel,” his wife said while embracing her daughter.

Gdansk officials said Adamowicz’s funeral Mass would take place at noon Saturday and that he would be buried in St. Mary’s Basilica, a Gothic brick church where other prominent city figures were laid to rest.

Among those signing a condolence book was ex-president Lech Walesa, a democracy leader who founded the anti-communist Solidarity movement in Gdansk shipyard in 1980 and later won the Nobel Peace prize.

“Farewell, my friend, in this vale,” the 75-year-old Walesa wrote. “We will meet soon in a better place.”

 

                  

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