270,000 flee latest fighting in Syria
DARAA (Syria) • More than a quarter of a million people have fled a Russian-backed government onslaught on southern Syria, the United Nations said yesterday, in the latest civilian exodus in the seven-year war.
For nearly two weeks, regime forces and their Russian allies have battered rebel-held parts of southern Syria with air strikes, rocket fire and barrel bombs.
"We were expecting the number of displaced in southern Syria to reach 200,000, but it has already exceeded 270,000 people in record time," said Mr Mohammad Hawari, a spokesman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR in Amman.
Meanwhile, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said he would hold formal talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow tomorrow over a ceasefire in south-western Syria. This would pave the way for a peace deal that would allow tens of thousands of refugees to return home.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
Girl dies in bouncy castle mishap in UK
LONDON • A child has died in Britain after reportedly being thrown from a bouncy castle that had exploded.
The incident happened on Sunday morning at a beach in Gorleston, which lies about 30km east of Norwich city. British newspaper The Daily Mail reported witnesses as saying that the girl was flung into the air after the bouncy castle exploded.
California raises alert as wildfires spread
SAN FRANCISCO • The authorities in California have issued red-flag weather warnings and mandatory evacuation orders after a series of wildfires fanned by high winds and hot temperatures ripped through thousands of acres.
The latest blaze, sparked in Yolo county last Saturday, had by Sunday afternoon spread across 9,000ha with zero per cent containment, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
More than 100 fire trucks and a dozen helicopters are involved in putting out the inferno. The fire crossed over into Napa county on Sunday afternoon.