Shark attack kills surfer off France’s Reunion

People gather after a man died while surfing off Saint-Leu, Reunion Island, following after a shark attack. (AFP)
Updated 09 May 2019

Shark attack kills surfer off France’s Reunion

  • The surfer, a man aged 28, lost a leg in the attack and was pronounced dead on being brought back to the port of Saint-Leu
  • It is the 24th shark attack recorded since 2011 on the island, which is French territory, and the 11th one to result in a fatality

SAINT-DENIS DE LA REUNION: An attack by a shark has killed a surfer off France’s Indian Ocean island of Reunion, the latest fatality in increasingly dangerous waters, emergency services said on Thursday.
The surfer, a man aged 28, lost a leg in the attack and was pronounced dead on being brought back to the port of Saint-Leu in the west of the island, emergency services told AFP.
The “surfer was accompanied by three friends who tried to take him back to land but did not manage,” said Olivier Tainturier, a senior local official in the nearby town of Saint-Paul.
A sharp increase in shark attacks on Reunion since 2011 has been dubbed locally the “shark crisis” and prompted authorities to step up alert systems.
It is the 24th shark attack recorded since 2011 on the island, which is French territory, and the 11th one to result in a fatality. As after previous attacks, operations have started to catch sharks in the waters of the incident.
Before the latest attack, the local authorities had urged the “greatest vigilance” among beach users as more people flock to the coast at a season when there are high numbers of the highly aggressive bull shark.


Russia warns Belarus will pay price for contractors’ arrests

Updated 05 August 2020

Russia warns Belarus will pay price for contractors’ arrests

  • Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, said that the Belarusian leadership has turned bilateral ties into “small change in the election campaign”
  • Medvedev described the arrested contractors as part of a “simple political technology — to create an enemy image and to achieve a political result using that enemy image”

MOSCOW: Russia’s security chief described the arrest of 33 Russian private military contractors in Belarus as a presidential campaign stunt and warned Wednesday that it would have grave consequences for ties between the two neighbors and allies.
Authorities arrested the Russian contractors outside the capital of Minsk last week on charges of planning to stage mass riots, amid an upsurge of opposition protests ahead of the Sunday election — in which Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is seeking a sixth term.
Russia has demanded the release of the contractors for a private firm, saying they only were in Belarus because they missed a connecting flight to another country. The government in Minsk has further irked Moscow by raising the possibility that some of the contractors could be handed over to Ukraine, which wants them on charges of fighting alongside Russia-backed separatists.
Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council, sharply raised the stakes in the dispute Wednesday, saying that the Belarusian leadership has turned bilateral ties into “small change in the election campaign.”
Without mentioning Lukashenko by name, Medvedev described the arrested contractors as part of a “simple political technology — to create an enemy image and to achieve a political result using that enemy image.”
“It’s not only offensive, it’s very sad,” said Medvedev, who served as Russia’s president in 2008-2012 and then as prime minister for the next eight years, before becoming No. 2 in the Security Council chaired by President Vladimir Putin. “And it will entail sad consequences, too.”
Throughout his 26 years in office, the authoritarian Lukashenko has relied on Russian subsidies and loans to shore up his nation’s Soviet-style economy but fiercely resisted Moscow’s push for control over Belarus’s economic assets.
The Kremlin turned the heat up on the Belarusian president earlier this year by withdrawing some of the subsidies and warning the government it would have to accept closer economic and political integration to continue receiving Russian energy at a discount.
Lukashenko denounced Moscow’s position as part of Russia’s alleged efforts to deprive Belarus of its independence.
The 65-year-old president alleged in a state-of-the-nation address on Tuesday that another group of “militants” had been sent to southern Belarus, but gave no details. He warned Moscow against trying to fuel tensions in his country, saying that the instability could spread to Russia.
In a move certain to anger the Kremlin even more, Lukashenko had a phone call Wednesday with the president of Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy asked for Belarus to hand over 28 of the arrested Russians so they can be prosecuted for allegedly fighting alongside Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Belarusian authorities claimed the arrested contractors worked for the Wagner company. The private military firm is linked to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian businessman who was indicted in the United States for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Wagner has allegedly deployed hundreds of military contractors to eastern Ukraine, Syria and Libya.