Italy urges other EU countries to open ports
ROME • Italy's Interior Minister yesterday called on other European countries to open their ports to rescue ships ahead of talks with France and Germany on tackling the migrant emergency. With arrivals in Italy up nearly 19 per cent compared with the same period last year, Rome has threatened to close its ports to privately funded aid boats or insist funding is cut off to European Union countries which fail to help with the crisis.
Brazil police nab cocaine kingpin
RIO DE JANEIRO • One of South America's biggest cocaine kingpins, who evaded the police for three decades and even underwent plastic surgery to change his face, has been captured, the Brazilian authorities said.
Luiz Carlos da Rocha, nicknamed White Head, was arrested in the western state of Mato Grosso in a city called Sorriso, which means "smile", the federal police said in a statement.
France launches 2 new high-speed rail lines
RENNES (France) • France inaugurated two new high-speed rail lines linking the capital to the western cities of Bordeaux and Rennes, in what is likely to be the last launches of their kind for years as public cash becomes increasingly scarce.
The state-owned SNCF railway operator said nearly €8 billion (S$12.6 billion) was invested in the stretch to Bordeaux, while €3.4 billion went into the Rennes line, both under public-private partnerships.
Britain withdraws from fishing pact
LONDON • Britain said yesterday it is to withdraw from a 50-year-old agreement allowing some foreign countries to fish close to the UK coastline, fulfilling a key Brexit pledge. The deal - the London Fisheries Convention - predates Britain's European Union membership and would therefore still have applied after the UK completes its divorce from the bloc, expected in March 2019.