Man dies after Melbourne car attack

Above, a videograb from the Australian Broadcasting Corp. shows emergency medical workers aiding victims struck by a vehicle in Melbourne. One of the victims, 83-year-old Antonios Crocaris, an Australian national, died from his injuries late Friday. (Australian Broadcast Corp. via AP)
Updated 30 December 2017
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Man dies after Melbourne car attack

MELBOURNE: An elderly man has died after being mowed down during a car rampage in Melbourne last week, police said Saturday, with one of 18 attempted murder charges expected to be upgraded to murder.
Afghan-Australian Saeed Noori, who has a history of drug abuse and mental problems, is accused of plowing his car through a busy intersection earlier this month, careering into tourists and shoppers.
He has been charged with 18 counts of attempted murder, but now faces at least one murder charge after 83-year-old Antonios Crocaris, an Australian national, died from his injuries late Friday.
Six others remain in hospital.
“A man has died following an incident on Flinders Street on December 21 where a number of pedestrians were struck by a vehicle,” Victoria state police said.
“Homicide squad detectives are expected to upgrade one of those charges to murder.”
Nine foreigners were among those hurt, including from South Korea, China, Italy, India, Venezuela, Ireland, and New Zealand.
Police have alleged Noori made “utterances” to them about voices, dreams and the “poor treatment of Muslims” after his arrest, but no link to any terrorist group has been found.
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday that he may be suffering psychiatric issues or have an undiagnosed illness. He is due back in court on May 30.
The incident came less than a year after a car rammed into pedestrians in Melbourne’s busiest mall, killing six people. That driver, whose case is still before the courts, also had a history of drug issues.
Like other countries, Australia has been taking steps to prevent vehicle attacks in crowded public places since the Nice truck incident in southern France last year that killed 86 people.
They include deterrent options like fencing and closed circuit cameras, and using delaying tactics such as trees and bollards to slow down vehicles.


UK Conservatives to pick final 2 contenders for prime minister

Updated 2 min 35 sec ago
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UK Conservatives to pick final 2 contenders for prime minister

  • Tory lawmakers will vote to eliminate two contenders from a four-strong field
  • All the candidates are vowing to lead Britain out of the European Union, a challenge that defeated outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May

LONDON: Britain’s governing Conservatives were set to pick two candidates Thursday who will square off to become the country’s next prime minister.
Tory lawmakers will vote to eliminate two contenders from a four-strong field that includes ex-foreign minister and London mayor Boris Johnson, current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Environment Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
Johnson has a commanding lead after three rounds of voting that cut the list from an initial 10 contenders. The three others are battling to join him in a runoff to be decided by 160,000 Conservative Party members nationwide.
All the candidates are vowing to lead Britain out of the European Union, a challenge that defeated outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May. She quit as Conservative leader earlier this month after failing to win Parliament’s backing for her Brexit deal.
The winner of the contest, due to be announced the week of July 22, will become Conservative leader and prime minister.
Many in the party doubt that anyone can beat Johnson, a quick-witted, Latin-spouting extrovert admired for his ability to connect with voters, but mistrusted for his erratic performance, and record of inaccurate and sometimes offensive comments.
Hunt is considered an experienced and competent minister, but unexciting. Gove is the sharpest performer and could come out best in head-to-head debates with Johnson, his longstanding frenemy. The two men led the “leave” campaign Britain’s 2016 EU membership referendum, but later fell out.
Javid, the son of Pakistani immigrants, says he offers a common-man alternative to private school-educated rivals like Johnson and Hunt, although he was a highly paid investment banker before entering politics.
Brexit, originally scheduled to take place on March 29, has been postponed twice amid political deadlock in London. The candidates differ on how they plan to end the impasse.
Johnson has won backing from the party’s die-hard Brexiteers by insisting the UK must leave the bloc on the rescheduled date of Oct. 31, with or without a divorce deal to smooth the way.
Javid, like Johnson, says he would try to leave the EU without an agreement rather than delay Brexit beyond Oct. 31. Gove and Hunt both say they would seek another postponement if needed to secure a deal, but only for a short time.
Critics say none of the candidates’ plans is realistic.
The EU is adamant that it won’t reopen the Brexit agreement it struck with May’s government, which has been rejected three times by Britain’s Parliament. Many economists and businesses warn that leaving without a deal on divorce terms and future relations would cause economic turmoil as tariffs and other disruptions are imposed on trade between Britain and the EU.
UK Treasury chief Philip Hammond warned Thursday that a no-deal Brexit would put Britain’s prosperity at risk and leave the economy “permanently smaller.”
“The question to the candidates is not ‘What is your plan?’ but ‘What is your plan B?’ Hammond said in extracts from a speech he is giving later in the day.”