Body found in rubble brings toll to 4 in Paris bakery blast

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A general view shows debris and car wreckage following the explosion of a bakery on the corner of the streets Saint-Cecile and Rue de Trevise in central Paris on January 12, 2019. (AFP)
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TOPSHOT — A general view shows debris and car wreckage following the explosion of a bakery on the corner of the streets Saint-Cecile and Rue de Trevise in central Paris on January 12, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Body found in rubble brings toll to 4 in Paris bakery blast

  • Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said Saturday the cause of the blast appeared to be accidental
  • About 30 firefighters were at the site Sunday to search for other potential victims, amid a mountain of debris and wrecked cars

PARIS: Paris Fire Department said rescuers have found a woman’s body under the rubble of a bakery in Paris that was blown apart by a powerful explosion, bringing the overall death toll to four.
The blast Saturday morning in the Rue de Trevise in north-central Paris also injured dozens of people. Paris Fire Department spokesman Eric Moulin told reporters Sunday that 9 people were still in critical condition from the explosion that devastated a Paris street and 45 others also injured but not as seriously.
He had said earlier that French rescuers were searching for a missing woman living in the building where the bakery was located.
Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said Saturday the cause of the blast appeared to be accidental. He said Paris firefighters were already on the scene to investigate a suspected gas leak at the bakery when the explosion happened. Two firefighters were among those killed.
About 30 firefighters were at the site Sunday to search for other potential victims, amid a mountain of debris and wrecked cars.
Paris authorities said 12 neighboring buildings that were damaged by the blast apparently due to a gas leak have been evacuated. Temporary accommodations were provided for about 40 residents while dozens of others have been housed by family and friends.
The city hall of Paris 9th arrondissement was offering meals and collecting clothes Sunday to help evacuated people.


No-deal Brexit looms as race for new British PM wraps up

Updated 17 July 2019
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No-deal Brexit looms as race for new British PM wraps up

  • Many lawmakers, business community fear dire economic outcome
  • A majority of lawmakers in the House of Commons are opposed to a no-deal Brexit

LONDON: The battle to become Britain's next prime minister enters the home straight on Wednesday with both candidates hardening their positions on Brexit, putting the future government on a collision course with Brussels.
Ex-London Mayor Boris Johnson, the favourite to replace Theresa May, and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, are now both referring to Britain's departure with no overall deal in place as a realistic prospect.
The business community and many lawmakers fear dire economic consequences from a no-deal Brexit, which would lead to immediate trade tariffs for some sectors including the automotive industry.
Johnson and Hunt are taking part in a final question-and-answer session later on Wednesday before the result of the vote by Conservative Party members is announced next Tuesday.
The new party leader will be confirmed as prime minister by Queen Elizabeth II on the following day.
Britain has twice delayed its scheduled departure from the European Union after 46 years of membership as May tried and failed to get her deal with Brussels through parliament.
The two candidates vying to replace her have vowed to scrap a "backstop" provision in the agreement that Brussels insisted upon to keep the Irish border open.
Their latest attacks on the measure during a debate on Monday prompted a plunge in the value of the British pound.
The currency fell again Wednesday to its lowest level against the US dollar in over two years.
"The tougher stance from both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt in terms of their rhetoric on Brexit is clearly weighing on the pound," said market analyst Neil Wilson.
"Make no mistake, this decline in the pound is down to traders pricing in a higher chance of a no-deal exit."
The backstop has proved a key stumbling block in the Brexit process.
The measure would keep open the post-Brexit border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member the Republic of Ireland whatever the outcome of negotiations over the future relationship between London and Brussels.
Johnson announced early in his campaign that he would not sign up to it and would pursue a no-deal Brexit if required, leading his opponent to follow suit.
However, European leaders have been adamant that the backstop must remain a part of any divorce deal, raising the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who will become European Commission president in November, said the draft withdrawal agreement provided "certainty".
She also broached a possible further delay to Britain's departure, saying: "I stand ready for a further extension of the withdrawal date, should more time be required for a good reason."
Johnson has pledged that under his leadership, Britain will leave "do or die" on the current deadline of October 31.
A majority of lawmakers in the House of Commons are opposed to a no-deal Brexit, but attempts to pass legislation blocking the scenario have failed.
Reports this week suggested Johnson is considering plans to end the current session of parliament in early October, leaving MPs powerless.
Finance Minister Philip Hammond said Wednesday it was "terrifying" that some Brexit supporters thought that no deal would leave Britain better off.
And in a speech in London, May said the "best route" for Britain was to leave with a deal.
Delivering her last major address, she railed against the trend towards "absolutism" in Britain and abroad, and urged her successor to compromise.
"Whatever path we take must be sustainable for the long term, so that delivering Brexit brings our country back together. That has to mean some kind of compromise," she said.