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New satellite images show Japanese homes washed away in floods as death toll hits 179

New satellite images have shone a light on the devastation wrought by torrential rain and flooding in western Japan.

Pictures from southern Enshoji showed homes and roads swept away by landslides triggered by heavy rainfall

Heavy downpours on the back of Typhoon Prapiroon brought as mush as 4ins of rain per hour to some areas, while the town of Motoyama in western Japan reported over 23ins of rain from Friday morning to Saturday morning.

At least 179 have died so far and 80 are still missing in the worst affected areas. Local media say 10,000 people are in emergency shelters.

Warm weather and severed water supplies are causing further concern for survivors. Ichiro Tanabe, who lives in the port city of Kure told Mainichi newspaper: “No water, food, nothing gets here"

“We are going to be all dried up if we continue to be isolated.”

The destruction caused by the floods resulted in over 16,000 landlines and internet connections going down.

"Electricity is out, water is cut off and there is no information there,"  Akira Tanimoto, a 66-year-old retired Self-defense serviceman, told ABC News.

Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister cancelled foreign visits following the flooding. He told reporters that the government will “cut through all the bureaucracy to secure the goods people need for their lives, to improve life in the evacuation centres”.

Continuing he stated they would secure the temporary housing among “other things people need to rebuild their lives.”

Seismically unstable, Japan is prone to natural disasters such as Earthquakes and Tsunamis. Considerable safety measures are taken to prepare against them, but commentators have suggested the country is less prepared for wide-scale flooding.

Takashi Okuma, an emeritus professor at Niigata University who studies disasters, said: "The government is just starting to realise that it needs to take steps to mitigate the impact of global warming."

Isil suicide bombers kill more than 180 in southern Syria in one of deadliest days of war

More than 180 people have been killed in a series of co-ordinated Islamic State suicide bombings in southern Syria, in one of the deadliest assaults of the seven-year civil war. 

Some 183 people including 89 civilians died in attacks across Sweida city on Wednesday, the bloodiest of which saw a motorcycle bomber strike a busy vegetable market at morning rush hour.

State media Sana published images of the aftermath, showing the bodies of victims lying in the middle of the road among fruit that had spilled out of cartons.

Sweida, located halfway between Damascus and Amman, is mostly under the control of the government and while Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) has a presence on the outskirts, attacks by the group are rare.

"Three bombers with explosive belts targeted Sweida city alone, while the other blasts hit villages to the north and east," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. Two others were killed before they could detonate their explosives. 

Later on, a fourth suicide attack hit the city.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Observatory, said the jihadists then followed up with further attacks, seizing three of the seven villages they had targeted.

AP on Beatles death penalty

In a statement on the Telegram messaging app, Isil said "soldiers of the caliphate" attacked security positions and government targets in Sweida city before detonating their explosive belts.

The regime retaliated with a series of air strikes on Isil positions.

The jihadists appear to be looking to exploit a power vacuum left by overstretched regime forces.

President Bashar al-Assad’s troops have been busy fighting rebel groups in the neighbouring Deraa province, which fell to the regime earlier this month. 

The army is now closing in on a patch of territory in Deraa held by jihadist group Jaish Khaled bin al-Walid, which has pledged allegiance to Isil.

Emmanuel Macron pictured in emphatic celebration as France lift World Cup in Russia

Emmanuel Macron celebrated France’s victory over Croatia in the World Cup final with his own animated display of patriotism.

The French president was seen wildly gesticulating from the VIP area in the stands next to a more subdued Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader, and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Croatia’s president.

Before embracing the players after the final whistle – and opting to kiss 19-year-old goalscorer Kylian Mbappé on the head – Mr Macron was pictured pumping his fists in the air as he looked down on the packed Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

As his team collected the cup on the pitch he joined Mr Putin and Mrs Grabar-Kitarović in handing out the winners and runners-up medals.

Before the game Mr Putin said he told France’s leader at a bilateral meeting that it’s about time for Russia and France to "get over" the difficulties straining their relations.

Mr Putin met on Sunday in Moscow with French President Emmanuel Macron. Mr Macron’s office said he wanted to make Europe’s voice heard after last week’s contentious Nato summit and before Putin’s summit with US President Donald Trump.

In the run-up to his election in 2017, Mr Macron accused the Kremlin of election meddling, saying that servers belonging to his campaign were hacked by a group likely to be associated with Russia.

 

Fraud investigation begins after South Korean firm disputes £100bn shipwreck claim

A South Korean company that claimed to have found the wreck of a Russian warship holding $130 billion in gold said on Thursday it has not verified the existence of any gold, while a financial watchdog said it was probing possible unlawful stock trading.

Shinil Marine said last week it had discovered the wreck of the Dmitrii Donskoi, a Russian armoured cruiser sunk in 1905 after fighting Japanese warships off South Korea’s Ulleung Island, and that a staggering 150 trillion won ($130 billion) of gold was on board.

However, the company backtracked on those claims on Thursday and apologised for having cited unverified news reports carrying the $130 billion figure..

"The reports said the Donskoi held…

Donald Trump designing ‘incredible’ new Air Force One to be red, white and blue

Donald Trump is redesigning Air Force One to be more patriotic with red, white and blue paint – at a cost of $3.9bn (£2.9bn).

The plane’s current light blue design, chosen by President John F Kennedy and his wife Jackie, has become synonymous with presidential jets over the past five decades.

However Mr Trump said he wanted to do away with the "baby blue colours" for the next version of 747s created by Boeing.

In December 2016, Mr Trump tweeted that cost for a pair of Air Force One planes was "out of control" at "more than $4 billion."

The president is thought to have personally negotiated the deal for the replacement set with Boeing’s CEO at a cost of $3.9bn, which Mr Trump claims is a $1.5bn saving for the American public.

Effusive in his praise for the new design, Mr Trump variously described it as "top of the line" and "top of the world" in an interview with CBS News.

"Boeing gave us a good deal. And we were able to take that," Mr Trump said. "But I said, ‘I wonder if we should use the same baby blue colors?’ And we’re not."

Mr Trump conceded that the "incredible" new design will largely be for future presidents since it will not be completed until 2021 at the earliest.

"I hate to say this, it’s gonna be a long time," Mr Trump said. "It’s a very complex project. But by the time it gets built, you’re gonna have many presidents, hopefully, use it and enjoy it."

Air Force One – the name used to describe whichever plane carrying the US president – typically consists of two planes. The jets are highly customised, designed with secure communications networks and specialised equipment to allow presidents to continue working as they travel.

The current planes first came into use for President George H W Bush – making them more than 30 years old.

The first official jet was used by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1959 and was decorated in a red and gold colour scheme.

This will be the first change to the jet since the distinctive light blue and white colour scheme was adopted by the Kennedys in the early 1960s.

However, some critics have pointed out that Russia’s presidential plane is also decorated in the same colours as the new design.

Mr Trump has also announced he is making changes to the plane’s interior – it follows reports last week that the president wished to increase the size of the beds, complaining they were smaller than those on his own private jet.

Archaeologists find remains of ‘ancient church’ on banks of Tiber in Rome, close to site of historic battle

The remains of what could be one of Rome’s earliest churches have been discovered on the banks of the Tiber, close to where an epic battle between rival armies led to Christianity being adopted as the Roman Empire’s official religion.

The routine digging of a trench for an electrical cable revealed the find – a 1,600-year-old building with brick walls and exquisitely rendered floors made of red, green and honey-coloured marble from Sparta, Egypt and what is now Tunisia.

After months of excavations, archaeologists found a small cemetery with several tombs, including one with a giant amphora for a lid that contained the skeleton of a Roman man.

The splendour of the decoration, the size of the structure…

‘Explosive device’ thrown at Gerry Adams’ home in Belfast

Northern Ireland’s politicians and community groups have condemned attempts to derail the peace process following days of street violence and an attack on the home of former Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

Explosive devices were thrown at the Belfast home of Mr Adams last on Friday night, causing damage to a car in his driveway, just feet from where his young grandchildren had been standing moments earlier.

At the same time another device was thrown at the home of prominent Sinn Fein leader Bobby Storey by suspected dissident republicans.

Mr Storey was involved in the Maze Prison escape in 1983, where 38 IRA prisoners escaped from the maximum security prison.

Police described the devices used as being “large industrial fireworks capable of causing serious damage or injury”.

Mr Adams, who led Sinn Fein from 1983 until February 2018 and helped negotiate the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which led the the IRA laying down its arms, yesterday [SAT] condemned the attacks and invited those behind the attacks to talk to him.

He said  “I’m very, very thankful that no one was hurt. In our case two of our grandchildren were just in our driveway 10 minutes before the attack. Had a child or indeed anyone else been caught up in that blast… the fact is it would have injured or perhaps would have killed a child."

"I’d like them or their representatives to come and meet me. I’d like them to sit down and explain to me what this is about.

"I’d like those who are involved in exploiting children in Derry to do the same thing, or those who are poisoning the atmosphere in east Belfast and causing havoc to do the same thing."

Gerry Kelly, Sinn Fein’s Policing and Justice spokesman, appealed for calm and described the attacks as “the desperate acts of increasingly desperate and irrelevant groups”.

The attacks on Mr Storey and Mr Adams, blamed by Sinn Fein on dissident Republican groups who have long objected to the party’s support for the peace process, followed six nights of rioting in Derry which saw dozens of petrol bombs and two improvised explosive devices thrown at PSNI police officers.

The violence is thought to have been orchestrated by the same republican groups who oppose Sinn Fein’s commitment to the peace process.

It comes at a sensitive time for Northern Ireland, following the collapse of power sharing between the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein at Stormont last year and the repeated failure to restore devolved government.

Profile | Gerry Adams

In response activists and ordinary residents from across the nationalist community gathered on Friday evening in protest at the violence.

Hundreds gathered in the Fahan Street area of Derry to condemn what they described as  dissident republicans exploiting vulnerable teenagers in the area.

Those attendingincluded Donal McKeow, bishop of Derry; John Boyle, the city’s mayor; Colum Eastwood, the leader of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP); and the veteran civil rights activist Eamonn McCann.

Following the attacks,  Naomi Long, the leader of the Alliance party, said: "This week we have seen those who remain wedded to violence bring chaos and fear onto our streets, in scenes which we had all hoped we would never witness again.

"These latest attacks on the homes of Gerry Adams and Bobby Storey are a deliberate and calculated attempt to cause fear and raise tensions in our community.

"We have all worked too hard and come too far to see the peace we have enjoyed put at risk by those who offer nothing to this society but destruction."

Mr Eastwood said: "It is important, at moments like this, that we all stand together against those who want to drag us back to the past. They should be left in no doubt, it will not work."

The PSNI has said it was “nothing short of a miracle” that nobody had been killed over the past week.

Chief Constable George Hamilton said on Thursday: “This was the sixth consecutive night of reckless violence, violence that I am confident is being orchestrated by dissident republicans, with the New IRA being the primary grouping responsible.”

Islamic State claims responsibility for Toronto shooting as 10-year-old victim named

Islamic state on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a shooting in Toronto on Sunday that killed two people and wounded 13, the group’s propaganda arm said on Wednesday.

The attacker "was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the attack in response to calls to target the citizens of the coalition countries," a statement from AMAQ news agency said.

The group did not provide further detail or evidence for its claim. Canadian police have said the motive for the shooting remained unclear.

The assailant, Faisal Hussain, died after an exchange of gunfire with police. His family has said he suffered from lifelong "severe mental health challenges". 

A statement issued by his family said their son had not responded to numerous treatment approaches, including therapy and medication, for long-term psychosis and depression

It was not immediately clear whether he took his own life or was killed by police during the attack Sunday night.

Canadian authorities said on Wednesday that they have no evidence to substantiate the Islamic State group’s claim.

Toronto police on Tuesday night named the 10-year-old girl killed during the shooting as Julianna Kozis from Markham, Ontario.

Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti said in a statement: "This heartbreaking story speaks to the unbreakable bond between a father and his daughter and I salute the Toronto paramedics, doctors and nurses who reportedly brought them together, showing incredible compassion and kindness in her final moments.

"This senseless act of violence has shaken us and hurt us. We stand with the victims, the brave first responders and all the communities impacted by this tragedy."

Ms Kozis was killed along with 18-year-old student Reese Fallon during the shooting. Officials have not released the names of any of the 13 wounded, who were aged from 17 to 59.

Anthony Parise, who taught Ms Fallon English class, remembered her as "a leader among her peers" who planned to become a nurse.

Investigators searched the apartment that Hussain shared with his parents and siblings on Thorncliffe Park Drive in the eastern part of the city, and removed boxes of potential evidence overnight.

Where Hussain got his handgun remains unknown.

The Toronto City Council voted Tuesday overwhelmingly to urge Canada’s federal and provincial government to ban the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition in the largest city in the country. 

Police Chief Mark Saunders said he would not speculate on the motive for Sunday’s attack. "We do not know why this has happened yet," he said. "It’s going to take some time."

According to videos and witness accounts, the assailant, clad all in black, was seen walking quickly down a sidewalk on Danforth Avenue, firing a handgun into shops and restaurants in Greektown, a district of expensive homes, eateries and cafes.

Ontario’s police watchdog agency said there was an exchange of shots between the attacker and two officers on a side street before the gunman was found dead.

Toronto has long prided itself as being one of the safest big cities in the world.

Macron aide filmed beating protesters claims he is victim of plot to undermine president

French President Emmanuel Macron’s ex-bodyguard has admitted he made a “mistake" when he beat protesters at a demonstration, but said the scandal his violence unleashed was being used “to get at the president" by his opponents.

The president for his part dismissed the affair as a "storm in a teacup", but furious criticism from his political enemies showed no sign of abating and parliamentary committees continued their grilling of top Elysée officials and police chiefs.

Alexandre Benalla, the bodyguard who faces criminal charges after videos emerged of him manhandling May Day demonstrators in Paris while wearing a police helmet and armband, spoke publicly on Thursday for the first time since the scandal broke last week.

"I don’t feel I betrayed the president, I feel I made a big mistake," he said in an interview with Le Monde, the paper which broke the story when it posted videos of the 26-year-old hitting one protester and violently wrestling another.

Revelations that top Elysée officials knew about the incident have sparked furious opposition claims of a cover-up.

“I should never have gone to that demonstration as an observer, and maybe (having gone), I should have remained in the background,” Mr Benalla told Le Monde, adding that he had provided a way for opponents to attack the president.

"It’s a way of grabbing the president by the scruff of the neck. I was the way in to get at him, the weak link,” he said.

Mr Benalla also claimed to be the victim of score-settling within the ranks of the police and that senior politicians had orchestrated the publication of the videos.

“The people who got this information out are of a high level… police officers and politicians,” he told the paper.

Mr Macron on Thursday again sought to downplay the scandal.

"I’ve said what I had to say, which is that I think it’s a storm in a teacup," he told AFP news agency during a visit to the village of Campan in southwest France.

He has accused his opponents of "disproportionate actions", and said he remained proud to have hired Mr Benalla as he was a "devoted" employee who had "taken an unusual path" professionally.

Christian Jacob of the Right-wing Les Républicains party, who like many opponents has accused Mr Macron of displaying arrogance in his response, condemned what he called the president of "monarchical leanings".

"We’re facing a very serious incident – the president must explain himself before the people, he cannot do it with the disdain and provocation with which he has done so thus far," he told Franceinfo radio.

Opposition MPs have repeatedly called on Macron to address the nation over the affair.

Head of alleged Syrian chemical weapons factory killed in car bomb attack

A Syrian rebel group has claimed it killed the director of a government chemical weapons programme research facility in a car bombing.

Aziz Asber, director of the Syrian Scientific Research Centre, died near the city of Homs when explosives planted in his car went off, pro-regime newspaper Al-Watan reported Sunday. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, said the attack took place on Saturday.

The Abu Amara Brigades rebel group claimed responsibility in a statement posted on its Telegram channel, saying it it detonated "planted explosive devices" in Mr Asber’s vehicle.  

The group is an affiliate of Islamist group Tahrir al-Sham, which is itself linked with al-Qaeda.

The government denies it possesses chemical weapons, and denies the claims that it killed hundreds of people in rebel-held areas using chemical agents.

Al-Watan blamed Israel for Mr Asber’s killing.

An Israeli official refused to comment on the report, according to Reuters.

Israel has carried out air strikes in Syria to block weapons transfers to the Lebanese militant group Hizbollah, which is supporting the Syrian government’s campaign against rebels.

Western governments claim the research centre was a covert government facility.  It had been targeted by air strikes last year, which the Syrian government said were carried out by Israel. 

The US Britain, and France struck another research facility in Damascus in April in response to a gas attack in Douma that killed more than 40 people.

It was the second major Western intervention against the regime, following several chemical weapons attack during the civil war, which has been ongoing since 2011.

Syria chemical weapons

A UN investigation held the government of Bashar al-Assad responsible for a sarin attack on the then rebel bastion Khan Sheikhoun in April 2017, which killed about 100 people.

The worst attack, also blamed on the government, was in 2013, when about 1,000 people died in a sarin attack in a rebel-held area in the suburbs of Damascus, the capital.

Assad’s forces, backed by Russia, Iran, and Hizbollah, have regained most of the rebel-held territories across the country.

The fighting in Syria has led to one of the worst modern humanitarian disasters, with more than 10 million people forced to flee their homes.