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Unlicensed bus, 46 dead, seven survivors: a tragedy that still no one can explain

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An investigation was launched to find out the causes of the car accident, as a result of which 46 people (including 12 children) died in Bulgaria in the early hours of Tuesday. It remains to be seen what led to the accident. “Human error of the driver or technical malfunction of the vehicle” are the initial hypotheses put forward by the head of the Bulgarian investigative service Borislav Sarafov.

Authorities say the car turned off the highway and drove 50 meters away from the side safety barrier. But it is unclear whether the fire that destroyed the bus occurred before or after the accident. There were no more vehicles in the accident. It happened at 2 a.m. (0 a.m. on mainland Portugal) near Bosnec, south of Sofia, ”explained Commissioner Nikolai Nikolov, in charge of the rescue operations, on the air of the public broadcaster BNT.

North Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said DNA tests are being carried out to identify victims. AP News… “Victim identification has already begun. An autopsy, as well as DNA identification, because for some victims this is the only way to identify them. ” Osmani added: “Two things are important to us: first, identifying the victims, and second, finding out the cause of the accident.”

The bus was owned by Besa Trans, a travel company that organizes travel in Europe, and had a Macedonian license plate. Blagoj Botsvarski, Minister of Transport of North Macedonia, said the authorities had initiated a procedure to revoke the Besa Trans transport license. The company has four licensed buses for international passenger transport, but with regard to the bus involved in the accident, “the ministry did not have a record that it had a license.”

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The bus entered the roadway and took off 50 meters from the barrier.

Stoyan Nenov

The road section is degraded

The Bulgarian authorities are analyzing the condition of the respective highway, where accidents are often reported. The mayor of Pernik (a nearby town) confirmed to a local newspaper that the site is in disrepair and that people are often injured.

Bulgarian roads are actually considered to be among the deadliest in the European Union. Bulgaria had the second highest road fatality rate in the EU in 2019, according to the European Commission, with 89 deaths per million people.

This accident, which killed 46 people, was the deadliest in the history of Bulgaria.

Stoyan Nenov

Almost all of the passengers were from Albania.

The bus carried mainly tourists. He left Istanbul, Turkey, and was heading for Skopje, North Macedonia.

According to the Albanian Foreign Minister, most of the 52 passengers were Albanians from North Macedonia. Interim Prime Minister of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev said that among the victims were a citizen of Serbia and a citizen of Belgium. According to Agence France-Presse, only two of the bus drivers were from North Macedonia.

Only seven passengers survived: two women and five men. They managed to escape by breaking the windows. Then they were taken to the capital’s hospital. In accordance with ReutersAccording to a source in the hospital, the survivors are in stable condition, with severe burns, one of them has a leg injury.

The bus ran between Istanbul (Turkey) and Skopje (North Macedonia).

The bus ran between Istanbul (Turkey) and Skopje (North Macedonia).

Stoyan Nenov

“The survivors are traumatized, they have lost loved ones and children. They were rescued through the windows, ”said Maya Argirova, head of the burn department of the hospital where the wounded were taken.

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As the head of the Bulgarian Investigative Service Borislav Sarafov told reporters, both drivers died as a result of the accident, so neither of them was able to open the doors.

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev spoke to one of the survivors, who told him that the passengers were asleep when they were awakened by the sound of an explosion. The question is whether this explosion came from the bus itself or was caused by a collision with a road safety barrier.

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US and European allies remain committed to “Ukraine’s territorial integrity” – News

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In a statement, the White House said that Biden had informed the leaders of France, Germany, Italy and Britain about a virtual summit with Putin, at which he warned Moscow about “the grave consequences of Russian military intervention in Ukraine.”

In their contacts, the Western leaders stressed “their commitment and support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” the statement said.

And they established that their teams will remain in close contact, including in consultation with NATO allies and European Union partners, in a “coordinated and comprehensive” approach.

Joe Biden also informed these NATO allies that in an interview with his Russian counterpart, he stressed “the need to reduce conflict and return to diplomacy,” according to the same source.

The White House has already reported that at a virtual summit, Biden told Putin that Russia risks “tough sanctions, including economic ones” in the event of a military escalation in Ukraine.

Biden expressed “deep concern” for the United States and its allies about the increase in Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, the White House continued, before adding that the two heads of state also touched on cybersecurity issues and their “joint work on regional issues such as Iran.”

The US president has refused to make “promises or concessions” to Russian head of state Vladimir Putin, who basically wants NATO to close its doors to Ukraine.

The Americans also noted that the future of the Russian Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will transport Russian gas directly to Western Europe via Germany, would be in jeopardy if Russia invaded Ukraine, indicating talks with the German government on this issue.

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Biden also stressed to Putin that Washington will take a tougher stance than in 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea.

Following Biden’s talks with European allies, French President Emmanuel Macron said he would take on mediation with his Ukrainian counterparts Vladimir Zelensky and Russian Vladimir Putin in an effort to avoid conflict.

Macron stressed that he remains committed to “continuing to explore all ways and means to ensure that tensions between the two countries are reduced,” Paris said in a statement disclosing meetings with Zelenskiy and Putin.

After talking with Biden, Vladimir Putin made it clear that he had condemned his North American counterpart today about NATO’s growing military potential along Russia’s borders and asked for “guarantees” about the Alliance’s non-proliferation eastward.

The Kremlin denies any invasion projects and has accused Washington of ignoring its concerns: growing NATO activity in the Black Sea, Ukraine’s intentions to join the Atlantic Alliance, and Kiev’s desire to continue to receive weapons from the West.

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One of Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged killers arrested in France

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Border police at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport detained 33-year-old Khalid Alotaibi as he was about to fly to Riyadh, a source close to the case said.

The man is in custody and is awaiting submission on Wednesday to the Paris Court of Appeal, which will issue an international arrest warrant requested by Turkey, the source said in court.

According to US and UK government documents consulted by AFP, Alotaibi is suspected of being part of a team of a dozen Saudis sent to the country’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 to “execute” Khashoggi and “cover up evidence.”

However, the detainee may refuse to extradite to Turkey. In this case, the court may ask you to remain at large in France, subject to judicial control or pre-trial detention, pending a decision on whether to accept the transfer.

The arrest came three days after French President Emmanuel Macron shook hands with Saudi Arabian Prince Mohamed bin Salman during a criticized meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The international image of the heir was tarnished by the murder of a close-to-power journalist who worked for The Washington Post and was dismembered at his country’s consulate in Turkey by a team of Saudi agents. Your body never appeared.

A US intelligence report, released at the behest of President Joe Biden, accuses the crown prince of “approving” the assassination of this staunch critic of the Saudi government.

During his visit to the Gulf countries, the French head of state defended a dialogue with Saudi Arabia with the aim of “working for stability in the region”, although he clarified, speaking of a crime, that this does not mean “relax”.

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“We talked about everything without taboo. And obviously we raised the issue of human rights (…) and it was a direct discussion, ”said Emmanuel Macron after the meeting.

While denying the murder, Riyadh admitted that it was committed by Saudi agents acting alone. An obscure process in Saudi Arabia resulted in five people being sentenced to death before their sentences were commuted, and three to prison terms.

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UAE Changes Work Schedule To Increase Country Competitiveness

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The UAE is cutting its workweek to four and a half days and moving weekends from Friday and Saturday to Saturday and Sunday, an important step towards improving the country’s competitiveness.

The “National Work Week” will be mandatory for government agencies from January 1 and is in line with the regional full day off Friday for Muslim prayers.

While it will become the only Gulf state not to have a Friday-Saturday weekend, the move will bring the resource-rich and ambitious UAE closer to the non-Arab world.

According to the new schedule, the public sector weekend starts at noon on Friday and ends on Sunday. Friday prayers in mosques will be held after 13:15 throughout the year.

The move aims to “better align the UAE with global markets,” state news agency WAM said, citing the new workweek as the shortest in the world. “The UAE is the first country in the world to introduce a national work week that is shorter than a five-day global week,” the agency said in a statement.

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