Dozen hurt as car hits crowd in Melbourne

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A white SUV vehicle is stopped after allegedly striking pedestrians, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, in Melbourne, Australia. (AP)
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Emergency medical workers offer aid to victims struck by a vehicle, Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, in Melbourne, Australia. (AP)
Updated 21 December 2017
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Dozen hurt as car hits crowd in Melbourne

MELBOURNE: A car plowed into a crowd in Australia’s second-largest city on Thursday, injuring at least a dozen people, some of them seriously, officials said.
Victoria state police said they had arrested the driver of the car after it “collided with a number of pedestrians” in downtown Melbourne at a busy intersection just before 5pm local time (0600 GMT).
Police did not immediately say whether the driver had acted deliberately.
Paramedics were “treating and transporting to hospital” 13 people, with some seriously injured after the collision on Flinders Street between Elizabeth and Swanston streets, Ambulance Victoria added.
Sky News Australia reported that a pre-school child with a head injury was taken to hospital in a serious condition.
Citing witnesses, Sky said a white Suzuki SUV with two men inside drove into the crowd, with no signs the vehicle made an effort to slow down, but later crashed into a bollard.
In a tweet, police appealed to members of the public to upload any images they might have of the incident to a cloud address to help assist with their investigation.
A witness, Sue, told Melbourne radio station 3AW that she heard screams and saw “people flying everywhere.”
“We could hear this noise, as we looked left, we saw this white car, it just mowed everybody down,” she said.
“People are flying everywhere. We heard thump, thump. People are running everywhere.”
Another witness, John, told ABC Radio Melbourne that he saw a “SUV coming at high speed.”
“(I) really just heard the collision with people with bags and what must be shopping trolleys — and I hope not prams,” he said.
“I’ve really never seen anything like this before and I haven’t stopped shaking.”

The incident came months after a car mowed down pedestrians in Melbourne’s busiest mall in January, killing six people.
The driver, whose case is still being heard in court, had been pursued by police prior to the rampage after he had allegedly stabbed his brother.


Rights group slams ‘inhuman’ treatment of migrants in Greece

Updated 3 min 35 sec ago
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Rights group slams ‘inhuman’ treatment of migrants in Greece

  • “Foreign nationals deprived of their liberty by the Greek authorities must be treated humanely and with dignity,” the Council’s European Committee for the Prevention of Torture said
  • “Conditions of detention were found to be grossly sub-standard in some of the police and border guard stations visited,” they said

STRASBOURG: The Council of Europe rights body Tuesday condemned the “inhuman and degrading treatment” of migrants and asylum seekers held in Greece, adding it had credible allegations of abuse by police.
“Foreign nationals deprived of their liberty by the Greek authorities must be treated humanely and with dignity,” the Council’s European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) said.
The committee published the report after visiting the country — which has been at the frontline of the migration crisis in Europe — over ten days in April 2018.
“Conditions of detention were found to be grossly sub-standard in some of the police and border guard stations visited,” it said.
At one center in the Evros region in the northeast on the Turkish border, families, children, pregnant women and single men were held together for weeks and sometimes months in a center that offered just one square meter of living space per person.
It said such conditions “can easily be considered as amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment.”
The committee also said it received “credible allegations of police ill-treatment (slaps, punches, kicks, baton blows and verbal abuse) from foreign nationals held” in the Evros region and at a camp on the island of Lesbos.
Other migrants claimed to have been driven back to Turkey by border guards.
The number of migrants arriving in Greece peaked in 2015, when more than a million people, most of them Syrian refugees, crossed over from Turkey, mainly by boat.
A deal struck between the European Union and Ankara in 2016 helped stem the flow.
However, the number of people attempting to cross the river Evros into Greece has increased since naval patrols intensified in the Aegean Sea in 2016.
The CPT recommended that Greek authorities significantly increase the number of centers for unaccompanied minors.
In 2017 it had denounced the conditions of thousands of migrants who were held in cramped cells lacking food and drinking water as unacceptable.
In a response included in the report, Greek authorities said that investigations into unofficial removals and ill-treatment by officers had found “no disciplinary liability” by the police.
They blamed the poor conditions of detention in the Evros region on “increased migratory pressure” at the time of the CPT’s visit.