At least 9 dead as heavy rain hits France, Italy, Greece

A man walks past a car moved by the force of flood water after storms in Kineta village, about 68 kilometers west of Athens. (AP Photo)
Updated 26 November 2019

At least 9 dead as heavy rain hits France, Italy, Greece

  • The administration for France’s Var region said four people died, including a couple in their 70s from the perfume capital of Grasse whose car got submerged
  • The worst flooding in Greece occurred at the seaside resort of Kineta, where mudslides came from a nearby forest fire-damaged hillside

PARIS: At least nine people have died after heavy rain slammed the Riviera coasts of France and Italy, trapping travelers in their cars, and caused flooding in parts of Greece.
Some roads remained closed Monday on the French Riviera, and rivers were still rising in Italy after the weekend flooding.
The administration for France’s Var region said four people died, including a couple in their 70s from the perfume capital of Grasse whose car got submerged. Another died after a French rescue boat sank in the Mediterranean and another was found dead in a car.
In Greece, the bodies of the two men believed to be tourists were recovered late Sunday and early Monday near the port of Antirio, 250 kilometers (155 miles) west of Athens after a sailboat they were using was caught in the severe weather.
Another two women died when storms hit the country’s eastern Aegean Sea islands late Monday, state ERT TV said. One died when her basement room on Rhodes flooded, while the other drowned on the island of Kos when she went for a swim in stormy seas.
And in northern Italy, a woman was found dead after the Bomida river swept away her car. Rescuers are also searching for possible victims after a landslide caused the collapse of a stretch of an elevated highway near the flooded city of Savona.
Firefighter commander Emanuele Gizzi told SKY TG24 Monday that “we still don’t have the certainty that there is absolutely no one” missing.
Drivers who witnessed the collapse were able to stop in time. There were no reports of witnesses seeing vehicles fall with the roadway, but the search continued as a precaution.
The collapse of the raised highway, just 15 months after a deadly bridge collapse in Genoa, has raised concerns anew about the safety of Italy’s highways, a large part of which are viaducts traversing mountainous terrain.
Meanwhile, the level of the Ticino River in the Lombard city of Pavia was continuing to rise, flooding streets by about 15 centimeters and forcing some residents to evacuate.
In France, rivers started receding slowly but many families who evacuated still couldn’t return home. Authorities worked to restore electricity and clear roads of fallen trees and mud.
In Greece, hundreds of homes were flooded following an overnight storm that affected areas west of Athens.
Torrential rain and mudslides caused the closure of the highway linking the Greek capital to the western port city of Patras.
The worst flooding occurred at the seaside resort of Kineta, where mudslides came from a nearby forest fire-damaged hillside. Several dozen people trapped in their cars and in flooded homes were rescued by the Fire Service.


Special court sets date for Musharraf treason verdict

Updated 06 December 2019

Special court sets date for Musharraf treason verdict

  • Ailing former army chief asks court to record his statement in Dubai

ISLAMABAD: The special court in Islamabad hearing the high treason case against Pakistan’s former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, said on Thursday that it would announce its verdict on Dec. 17.

The case has been in court for the past seven years, as Musharraf’s ill health has meant multiple adjournments.

The Islamabad High Court stopped the special court from pronouncing its verdict on Nov. 27. Musharraf plans to submit an application to the three judges of the special court requesting the bench to form a commission that can record his statement in a bid to stop the court from announcing its verdict, his lawyer Salman Safdar said on Thursday.

“President Musharraf has instructed me to file an application in the court for a commission on the next hearing of the case,” Safdar told Arab News.

The government’s prosecution team asked the court for time to prepare and present its argument at the next hearing.

Musharraf seized power in October 1999 by toppling the civilian government of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup. He remained in power until 2008.

When Sharif returned to power in 2013, he instituted a high treason case against Musharraf for subverting the constitution and imposing a state of emergency in November 2007. The case has been pending since December 2013. High treason is punishable by death or life imprisonment under Pakistani law.

Prosecutor Ali Zia Bajwa informed the court that he had received a 3,000-page record and it would take him time to go through all the documents before presenting his arguments.

“I want to go through the whole record before pleading the case,” Bajwa said, seeking “reasonable time” from the court to prepare. Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth, head of the three-member bench, directed the prosecution team to give their final arguments on December 17.

Musharraf’s lawyer said it would be “unfair” if the court announced its verdict “without allowing me time to plead the case to prove my client’s innocence.”

“We hope the court will hear us in the next proceeding and constitute a commission to record General Musharraf’s statement,” he said.

The 76-year-old former military dictator is living in self-imposed exile in Dubai, where he was rushed to hospital on Monday.

He is Pakistan’s first army chief to be charged with treason. He has pleaded not guilty and dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

“I have fought wars for Pakistan and served my country for 10 years,” Musharraf said on Tuesday in a video message from his hospital bed, claiming that the case against him is “baseless” and that he is being victimized.

“Even my lawyer Salman Safdar is not being heard by the court,” he said. “As for me, a commission can come here, I can give them a statement.”

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