Woman dies amid storms
A woman was killed by a falling tree in Exeter, police said yesterday, as severe flood warnings were introduced in parts of the country already soaked by rain and battered by strong winds. The unnamed woman was taken to hospital, but died later, after a tree fell on her late on Saturday in Exeter, Devon and Cornwall police said. Two other people were said to have been injured in the incident. Cornwall was the main focus of fears for life and property as rivers threatened to burst their banks and residents reported surges of floodwater coursing through picturesque towns. Severe flood warnings — which the Environment Agency classifies as meaning there is a risk to life — were in place in the Cornish towns of Helston and Perranporth, as well as in the fishing port of Polperro. Alan Crockford, a pub landlord in Polperro, said there had been warnings, but “nobody knew it would get this bad.” He told the BBC: “I was actually in my house and I heard a roar, and just looked outside the window and that was the first bit of water that just ... came down the hill, like a river running straight down the road.”
Shot president returns home
Thousands of Mauritanians lined the road from the airport on Saturday to welcome back President Mohammed Ould Abdel Aziz, who went to France for five weeks of medical treatment after being accidentally shot in a friendly fire incident. His return puts an end to speculation over the state of his health, as well as over the future of the country. Analysts had warned that his extended departure could create the instability needed for another coup in the desert nation, which has suffered six since the 1970s.
Stones mark 50th anniversary
The Rolling Stones were to take to the stage late yesterday after a five-year hiatus to celebrate the golden jubilee of one of the most successful and enduring bands in rock and roll history. Now in their mid-60s to early 70s, lead singer Mick Jagger, guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood and drummer Charlie Watts were to perform five concerts — two at the O2 Arena in London yesterday and Thursday and three in the US next month. Joining them at the O2 yesterday were former band members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor, the first time the two ex-Stones have performed with the group in more than 20 years. In a fresh announcement on Saturday, US R&B singer-songwriter Mary J. Blige and guitar great Jeff Beck were also added to the lineup as special guests. A sellout crowd of about 20,000 people was expected, in spite of widespread complaints from fans at ticket prices that ranged from ￡95 (US$150) to up to ￡950 for a VIP seat.
Police recover artifacts
Officials announced on Saturday they had solved an embarrassing museum robbery in Olympia in February after a police sting operation netted three suspects and recovered dozens of archeological artifacts. Earlier on Saturday, police said they had arrested three Greek men aged between 36 and 50, and were seeking another two suspects. The three were arrested at a hotel in the city of Patras late on Friday after one of them tried to sell a Bronze Age gold ring for 300,000 euros (US$387,000) to an undercover officer posing as a potential buyer. The original asking price had been 1.5 million euros, the police said. Officers were then dispatched to a village near Olympia where they found the remaining artifacts buried inside a sack in a field.