Tragic end for boy trapped in Moroccan well
A five-year-old boy trapped in a well in northern Moroccan for five days died before rescuers managed to reach him late on Saturday, two government officials told France 24. Rayan Ouram fell into the well at his village of Ighara in the hills near Chefchaouen on Tuesday, triggering a huge rescue effort that engrossed the country. Rescuers finally managed to retrieve his body late on Saturday after removing much of the adjacent hillside and delicately tunnelling a horizontal passage into the well. Drilling specialist Ali El Jajaoui dug with his bare hands for hours. It was his idea of the tunnel between the crater and the place where the child had fallen. King Mohammed sent condolences to the child’s parents. The bid to free him had gripped the country, with hundreds of people gathered at the well and thousands more following online.
‘Ukraine invasion could cause 50,000 dead civilians’ – USA
The Biden administration has informed American parliamentarians and European partners that Russia has put together 70% of the forces necessary for a complete invasion of Ukraine. US intelligence believes such an invasion could cause up to 50,000 civilian deaths and 23,000 Ukrainian soldiers (in addition to between 3000 and 10,000 Russian soldiers). Kiev could capitulate in two days and unleash a humanitarian crisis with up to five million refugees in Europe. However, they do not think Putin has made the final decision, but, according to The New York Times, the diplomatic window is closing. Meanwhile, the first US troops reinforcing NATO allies in Eastern Europe arrived on Saturday at Rzeszow military base in southeastern Poland. NATO defence ministers are expected to discuss further reinforcements at their next meeting on February 16.
Xi Jinping calls for world unity
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for unity among the international community in face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and emerging global issues, including climate change and terrorism. He was hosting a lunch for heads of state and representatives of international organisations attending the Winter Olympics, part of a real diplomatic offensive that took place on the sidelines of the Games.
China wins its first gold at the Beijing Games
China nabbed its first gold medal on Saturday, the first full day of the games. The host nation won the short track skating mixed team relay. Norway has won two golds – one in women’s skiathlon and the iathlon mixed relay. Six gold medals were up for grabs on Saturday: Slovenia, the Netherlands and Sweden winning the other three. Athletes will compete for another seven gold medals today, Sunday.
New Zealand win historic first Winter Olympics gold
Zoi Sadowski Synnott gave New Zealand their first ever Winter Olympics gold medal after winning the women’s snowboard slopestyle final at the Beijing Games early on Sunday. The 20-year-old launched into a massive jump with her final trick to earn a winning score of 92.88. New Zealand had previously won one silver and two bronze medals at the Winter Olympics – including a third-place finish for Sadowski Synnott in the Big Air competition at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.
Queen wants Camilla to be known as ‘Queen Consort’
Queen Elizabeth has announced she wants Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, to be known as Queen Consort when Prince Charles becomes King. In a message marking the 70th anniversary of her reign, the Queen said it was her “sincere wish” that Camilla would have that title. A Clarence House spokesman said the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were “touched and honoured”. Meanwhile, the Queen has cut a cake to mark her Platinum Jubilee as she met members of the Sandringham community. Elizabeth’s coronation took place a year after the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, when she automatically became queen.
Floating carpet of dead fish due to overfishing
Some 100,000 dead fish were thrown back into the sea off the French coast on Thursday by one of the world’s largest fishing vessels, the Dutch-owned trawler FV Margiris. While the crew dismissed it as a “fishing accident”, NGO Sea Shepherd denounced it as a “pillaging”. Macabre images of this carpet of dead fish went viral on social media when Sea Shepherd posted them on Thursday, as part of their Operation Ocean Killers in the Bay of Biscay on France’s Atlantic coast. The French have called for an investigation into the incident.
Mahmood and Blanco win Sanremo 2022
Mahmood and Blanco, with “Brividi” are the winners of the 72nd edition of Italy’s Sanremo Festival. The couple completed a triumphal ride that saw them at the top of the rankings since the early evening. Behind them Elisa (“O forse sei tu”) and Gianni Morandi (“Apri tutte le porte”). The Mia Martini Critics’ Award was awarded to Massimo Ranieri with “Lettera di là dal mare”. The couple have confirmed their participation in May’s Eurovision Song Contest.
Senegal take on Egypt in Africa Cup of Nations final
After coming into their own in the knockouts, Senegal are tipped to win their first ever Africa Cup of Nations this eveing as they take on Egypt. The final will be a clash of two Liverpool titans as Senegal’s talisman Sadio Mané takes on Egypt’s Mo Salah. Senegal are hungry to fulfil their longstanding promise and finally win the Africa Cup of Nations – while Salah is hungry to take a trophy with his national team after Premier League and Champions League triumphs with his club. Meanwhile, yesterday, Cameroon staged an extraordinary comeback from three goals down against Burkina Faso to level the match at 3-3 and win third place on penalties.