Three 9/11 firemen die on same day

From left: Lt Howard Bischoff and firefighters Daniel Heglund and Robert Leaver


Three firefighters who were on duty at Ground Zero during the 9/11 attacks have died on the same day from cancer, fire officials have said.

Lieutenant Howard Bischoff, 58, and firefighters Robert Leaver, 56, and Daniel Heglund, 58, died within hours of one another on Monday.

Thousands of people who helped the 9/11 rescue efforts have been diagnosed with illness, including cancer.

But doctors say it is unclear whether sickness can be linked to the attacks.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro described the three men’s deaths as a painful reminder that 13 years later we continue to pay a terrible price for the department’s heroic efforts

“On that day when first responders arrived, the air was toxic and remained toxic for many months afterward said the president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, James Lemonda.

Some 1,000 deaths have been linked to illnesses caused by toxic dust issuing from wreckage at Ground Zero.

Many of those who were on the site have suffered from respiratory illnesses, and hundreds of first responders have also contracted cancer

But despite these numbers, no clear link between the attacks and cancer has been made

Medical studies have not reported evidence of a substantial surge in cancer rates to those connected to 9/11, though government reports have suggested that workers were exposed to a number of chemicals that could cause cancer.

The Fire Department of New York has said that in addition to the 343 firefighters who died on the day of the attacks, a further 89 have died from illness.

The US Congress has set aside $2.78bn (£1.7bn) to compensate those with illnesses that might be related to the attacks.

But legislation which provides medical treatment and compensation to 9/11 victims is due to expire in two years, and Congress has yet to vote to extend it.

“I’m asking [leaders in Washington] to be as brave as the people who responded on that day,” said Mr Lemonda.

“This is not just a firefighter issue. This is an American issue.”

Clashes in Yemen capital Sanaa

Fighting took place in the north-west outskirts of Sanaa


Fighting between Shia rebels and Sunni militias in Yemen has escalated, with clashes on the edge of the capital.

Armed rebels, known as Houthis, shelled buildings of the state TV and the main Sunni Islamist party, Islah, in Sanaa.

Hundreds of residents have fled their homes and international flights to the city have been suspended.

About 40 people have been killed since Tuesday, reports say. The rebels have staged protests for weeks, demanding political and economic reforms.

President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi has dismissed the government and promised to review a decision to cut fuel subsidies.

Over the past few weeks the rebels have occupied protest camps on the road to the airport and staged sit-ins at ministry buildings, as well as clashed with fighters loyal to Islah.

On Thursday night Houthi fighters attacked the state television headquarters in Sanaa.

“The Houthi group is continuing to shell the television building with all kinds of weapons until this moment,” the channel said on Friday morning.

As fighting intensified, foreign airlines suspended flights to the Sanaa.

“Arab and foreign airlines have decided to suspend their flights to Sanaa for 24 hours because of developments in the capital,” the Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement on state news agency Saba.

The measures could be extended depending on the security situation, the statement added.

The Houthis, who belong to the minority Zaidi Shia community, have staged periodic uprisings since 2004 to win greater autonomy for their northern heartland of Saada province.

They consolidated control over Saada during the 2011 uprising that forced long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, and since July have inflicted defeats on tribal and militia groups backed by Islah, in neighbouring Amran province.

In mid-August, the Houthis’ leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi demanded that President Hadi reverse a decision taken in July to remove subsidies that had hit the country’s poor and replace the “corrupt” government with a body that better represented Yemen’s various factions.

On 2 September, Mr Hadi dismissed his government and promised to review fuel subsidy cuts in a bid to end the stand-off.

However, this initiative was rejected by the rebels, prompting some critics to say that the group is attempting to grab power and create a semi-independent state.

Japan to restart whaling programme

Japan maintains that its whaling programme is for research purposes


The Japanese government has vowed to restart its controversial whaling programme in the Antarctic next year

The move comes despite the International Whaling Commission’s vote on Thursday that the programme is illegal because it is not for research purposes and should stop

Japanese Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the IWC’s decision was regrettable

Japan maintains its annual hunt is solely for research.

But the meat from the slaughtered whales is sold commercially in Japan.

Participants at the IWC’s meeting in Slovenia passed the non-binding resolution with a 35-20 majority.

It was adopted from an International Court of Justice ruling earlier this year stating that Japan’s hunt did not meet the requirements to be “scientific”.

Objection: A country formally objects to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium, declaring itself exempt. Example: Norway

Scientific: A nation issues unilateral scientific permits any IWC member can do this. Example: Japan

Indigenous (aka Aboriginal subsistence): IWC grants permits to indigenous groups for subsistence food. Example: Alaskan Inupiat

Guide to the great whales

That forced Japan to call off its 2014-2015 hunt in the Southern Ocean. It still carried out its smaller hunt in the Northern Pacific

Mr Suga said Japan would work on meeting the strict conditions under which scientific whaling is allowed

We are now carrying out preparations for a new plan for scientific whaling to resume in the 2015/2016 year, a plan that takes the International Court ruling into account he said

Our actions are based on international law, scientific fact and the international whaling treaty

Japan started its whaling programme in 1987, a year after an international moratorium was enacted.

The ICJ says Japan has caught some 3,600 minke whales since its current programme began in 2005.

It has faced global outrage, including from the US and Australia, with critics saying the programme is a front for commercial whaling.

UK joins talks after hostage killing

IS has now threatened to kill another hostage, Alan Henning


David Cameron: “They are not Muslims, they are monsters”

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is meeting foreign ministers from around the world to discuss plans to tackle Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria.

David Haines was being held by Islamic State militants, as Caroline Hawley reports

Mike Haines: “My first reaction could have been hatred… my brother’s life wasn’t about hatred”

US President Barack Obama said the US would work with the UK and a “broad coalition of nations” to “bring the perpetrators of this outrageous act to justice”.

Militants from IS have killed two US hostages in recent weeks, posting videos on the internet.

They had threatened to kill Mr Haines during a video posted online showing the killing of US journalist Steven Sotloff earlier this month. They also released a video of the killing of US journalist James Foley last month.

Hurricane Odile lashes Mexico resort

The authorities in Los Cabos urged people to stay indoors as the storm made landfall


Hurricane Odile has hit the resort of Los Cabos in western Mexico, uprooting trees and confining thousands of holidaymakers to their hotels.

The storm – rated category three, with winds of up to 200km/h (125 mph) made landfall on the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula.

Mexican authorities have declared an alert in the area, warning of storm surges, landslides and flooding.

They have also prepared shelter for some 30,000 people.

US Marines have been placed on stand-by to operate emergency equipment in case of landslides.

The US National Hurricane Center in Miami had earlier said Odile would be a category four hurricane, with winds of up to 135 mph, but it lost some strength as it reached the coast.

Officials said electricity would be shut off in the area to avoid damage from power lines if they came down.

At least 26,000 foreign tourists and 4,000 Mexicans were in the region, local officials said, and those in areas at risk of flooding were being evacuated.

The region is home to massive resort complexes, as well as fishing communities and low-lying shantytowns.

Los Cabos resident Felipa Flores said she was heading for a shelter. “Later on we’re going to be cut off and my house of wood and laminated cardboard won’t stand up to much,” she told the Associated Press news agency.

Luis Puente, the head of Mexico’s civil protection agency, told reporters that 164 shelters had been readied with a capacity for 30,000 people.

Storm experts said it was set to be the strongest hurricane to hit the southern tip of the peninsula since Kiko in 1989, which landed as a category three.

Ferguson road block protest stopped

Police outnumbered protesters at the Interstate 70 highway, preventing them from blocking the road


Police in Ferguson have stopped protesters angry over the shooting of an unarmed black teenager last month from trying to block a nearby highway.

Police said 35 people were arrested as they tried to reach the Interstate 70 highway, but added that the protest was largely peaceful.

Many in Ferguson have demanded the arrest of the white police officer who shot Michael Brown, 18, on 9 August.

Officer Darren Wilson has been on administrative leave since last month.

Police said 32 people were arrested on charges of unlawful assembly, with four people arrested on assault charges.

Organisers said the protest was specifically held in the same location as a similar demonstration in 1999.

On Tuesday, city leaders, mostly white, were heckled by the largely black crowd of residents at Ferguson’s first city council meeting since the shooting.

You’ve lost your authority to govern this community said St Louis activist John Chasnoff. You’re going to have to step aside peacefully if this community is going to heal

Many of the audience held up their hands in a gesture that has been used to protest at Brown’s killing

His supporters say the teenager was trying to surrender when he was shot by Officer Darren Wilson after being stopped for walking in the middle of the street.

Ferguson, which has a population of 21,000, is a majority black city. Many residents questioned why the mayor, James Knowles, and five of the six city council members were white.

I heard the mayor say Ferguson doesn’t have a race problem said resident Taurean Russell. There must be two Fergusons.

Before the meeting, council officials announced proposals to reduce the revenue collected from court fines.

Critics have said this discriminates against low-income defendants who cannot afford private attorneys and who are often jailed for not paying the fines quickly enough.

But the proposals were drowned out by anger from the audience who said nothing had changed since Brown’s shooting.

There were demands for the arrest of Mr Wilson who is currently on administrative leave from the Ferguson Police Department while a grand jury determines whether charges should be filed against him.

Last week, the US Justice Department announced it was launching a broad investigation into whether there was racial discrimination in the department.

This is separate from a federal inquiry and the grand jury investigation into Brown’s killing.

US must get even for fans Watson

Dates: 26-28 September Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, highlights on BBC Two and live text commentaries on the BBC Sport website each day via desktop, mobile, tablet and app.

United States Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson says the American team must get even at Gleneagles later this month.

The US have lost five of the last six contests, including the most recent match at Medinah in 2012 after Europe’s thrilling final-day comeback.

The American team has to get back on track Watson said. The loss at Medinah should stick in their craw

Ex-Europe captain Bernard Gallacher has called the appointment of eight-time major winner Watson a masterstroke

2002, The Belfry

Lost 15.5-12.5

2004, Oakland Hills

Lost 18.5-9.5

2006, The K Club

Lost 18.5-9.5

2008, Valhalla

Won 16.5-11.5

2010, Celtic Manor

Lost 14.5-13.5

2012, Medinah

Lost 14.5-13.5

Watson has captained the US once before, winning at the Belfry in 1993, and the 65-year-old told BBC Sport he was desperate to be given a second chance.

I wanted to be captain, in the worst way Watson said

When I got the call a couple of years ago, I said to myself, ‘I’ve been waiting for this call for almost 20 years

And Gallacher, who lost as captain to Watson’s American team in 1993, believes it was an inspired decision by the PGA of America to approach Watson again

I thought it was absolutely a masterstroke said Gallacher, whose nephew Stephen will compete for Europe at Gleneagles.

If anybody can keep the interest going on the American side

It’s not just about the players, because the players obviously want to play in the Ryder Cup, but you’re really thinking about the American public keeping them

Yes vote means big Scots EU boost

Alex Salmond outlined the benefits of an independent Scotland in Europe, while on the campaign trail


Scottish independence would give the nation’s profile its biggest ever boost in Europe, First Minister Alex Salmond has said.

Ahead of the 18 September referendum, Mr Salmond said a “Westminster elite” was jeopardising Scotland’s EU future.

SNP ministers said an independent Scotland could negotiate EU membership within an 18-month timescale.

However, campaigners for the Union said nobody could trust a word Mr Salmond had to say on Europe.

Mr Salmond, who was campaigning in Edinburgh’s Parliament Square – home to the old Scottish Parliament – hit out at Prime Minister David Cameron’s offer of an in-out EU referendum, if the Conservatives won the next election.

“At a time when Scotland’s European future is being placed in jeopardy by a Westminster elite obsessed by UKIP, it is becoming ever clearer that Scotland’s European policy is best decided by people in Scotland,” said the first minister.

“An independent Scotland will be an enthusiastic member of the EU, in line with our long-held international and outward-looking focus and values.

“We’ll be able to argue directly for Scotland’s interests and win a better deal for our farmers, fishermen and others.”

Scottish ministers, who previously argued the nation’s EU membership would be “automatic” under independence, said Scotland’s terms of entry would be negotiated “from within”, given its current status as a UK member.

But Deputy Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said: “No-one can trust a word Alex Salmond says on Europe – he has already been caught out lying on Scotland’s place in the European Union and, today, he has tried again to trick Scots about their future.

“The truth is it is Alex Salmond who is causing uncertainty about Scotland’s future in the European Union after separation, and his lies to the people of Scotland won’t do.”

If Scotland chooses independence I would argue on precedent that Europe would enable that choice”

Another intervention into the debate on Scotland’s future EU membership came from former President of the European Parliament Pat Cox.

He said: “The EU and its history and questions of enlargement or withdrawal is that the European Union, its institutions and its member states have always and only ever been enablers of the democratic will of people.

“Europe enables democracy. If Scotland chooses independence, I would argue on precedent that Europe would enable that choice.”

He also dismissed former European Commission President Jose Manuel Borosso’s suggestion that an independent Scotland would find it “extremely difficult, if not impossible to join the EU.

Calling Barosso’s argument simply not sustainable, Mr Cox also warned against the suggestion that Spain would seek to block Scottish membership.

He added: The Scottish case is a case apart

In Spain the constitution does not provide for territorial votes for separation, here under the Edinburgh Agreement, consistent with the unwritten constitution of the United Kingdom, signed by the prime minister of the United Kingdom and the first minister of Scotland, is an international agreement that constitutionally underwrites the referendum.”

But pro-union campaign Better Together have cited comments made by the President of the European Council and the future and current European Commission presidents, to support their view that Scotland’s accession to the EU would be far from straightforward

A spokesperson for Better Together told the BBC The experts, including Jean Claude Juncker, Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy have made it clear. If we vote to leave the UK, we vote to leave the EU

The nationalists have not answered how we would get back into the EU, how long it would take, and crucially, what terms and conditions we would join on.

Today we have special deals like our UK rebate, which is worth £135 a year to families in Scotland. Separation would put that at risk

Earlier this year a spokesperson for Jean-Claude Juncker said that he had not been referring to Scotland when he said the EU would not be admit any new members in the next five years

Speaking in July the source said Mr Juncker has made his position on this clear on many an occasion. This is an internal matter of the UK and he will respect the result of the Scottish referendum

Does limiting the power of appliances save energy?

Woman and hairdryer


The European Commission has banned the sale of powerful vacuum cleaners. Now it might do the same for other domestic appliances, but would this actually cut energy consumption?

It started with vacuum cleaners. Then there were howls of outrage when it emerged the European Commission has set up a working group to look at whether other common household appliances – kettles, toasters, bread makers and hairdryers among them – should also be regulated.

The working group is at an early stage and may rule out many of the products. But is the premise correct – does the power of an appliance determine energy consumption? Or by halving the wattage do you simply mean that someone uses it for twice as long?

Take hairdryers. You could use a 1,000-watt hairdryer for a minute or a 500-watt one for two minutes and it would in theory use the same energy. But, says Henry Lau, outreach officer at the Institute of Physics, it’s not that simple. You have to look at how efficient hairdryers actually are. “Part of the power is being used to power a heating element, you’ll get some energy wasted heating other parts of the hairdryer, not just the air.” Design matters – is it better to have faster-blown air, or hotter air?

For vacuum cleaners, better nozzle and filter design means that you can suck up more dust without increasing the power of the motor, says Chrissy McManus, technical manager at the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances. Which? Magazine has made the same point, while noting many of its Best Buys have motor sizes that exceed the new limit of 1,600 watts.

There’s no simple relationship between motor power and energy use, says Prof Will Stewart, fellow at the Institute of Engineering and Technology. And a big motor used at low power will use about the same energy as a smaller one doing the same job. But the EU is right to expect better efficiency. He estimates it should take about 2,000 watts of power applied for less than a minute to dry wet hair. Yet most hairdryers take far longer with similar or more powerful motors. The hope must be that manufacturers will do more with less power. But he wonders if regulation is necessary. “The hairdryer is a very small potato in terms of energy use.”

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UK pledges 1,000 troops to Nato

David Cameron said Nato must be able to act more swiftly


The UK will contribute 1,000 troops to a new multi-national rapid reaction force, Prime Minister David Cameron has told the Nato summit.

He said the Nato multinational spearhead force could be deployed anywhere in two to five days

The PM said leaders were united in condemnation of the barbaric acts of militant group Islamic State (IS)

He also confirmed a second new Royal Navy aircraft carrier the Prince of Wales  would be brought into service

Speaking on the second day of the Nato summit in the Welsh city of Newport, Mr Cameron said the carrier would be used rather than sold off or mothballed

This would be in addition to the brand new HMS Queen Elizabeth, which Mr Cameron said would be “the mightiest ship that the Royal Navy has ever put to sea

This will ensure that we will always have one carrier available, 100% of the time he said.

They are an investment in British security, British prosperity and our place in the world, transforming our ability to project power globally, whether independently or with our allies

This came as Nato members sealed a pledge to reverse declining trends for defence budgets with a commitment for nations to meet targets of spending 2% of GDP over the next 10 years.

Earlier at the summit, Mr Cameron said the world faced new and evolving dangers

To the east, Russia is ripping up the rulebook with its annexation of Crimea and its troops on the sovereign soil of Ukraine he said.

To the south, an arc of instability bends from North Africa to the Middle East.

He said Nato must be able to act more swiftly

The new rapid reaction spearhead force” will comprise 4,000 troops overall. It will be led by a British general and should be ready to be deployed by the end of 2015.

This would be part of a reformed Nato response force with headquarters in Poland, forward units in the eastern allies and pre-positioned equipment and infrastructure to allow more exercises and, if necessary, rapid reinforcement Mr Cameron said of the force.

In addition, the UK will also contribute 3,500 personnel to Nato exercises in eastern Europe over the next two years.

Speaking about IS, which has threatened to kill British aid worker David Haines, Mr Cameron ruled out talking to Syria’s President Assad as part of attempts to tackle the threat posed by the militants.

He said Mr Assad was part of the problem and not the solution

President Assad is part of the cause of the problem because it has been the brutality with which he has attacked his own people which has led some of them to seek solace in an extremist movement he said.

Mr Cameron also warned that threats from IS would only harden the UK’s resolve to stand up and defeat them.

IS made its threat against Mr Haines – who was kidnapped in Syria in March 2013  in a video of the beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff.

We will not be diverted from doing what is right by the threats that this organisation is making

The extremist group, which has seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria and declared a new caliphate or Islamic state  has killed two US hostages in recent weeks

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the British government would not be diverted from doing what is right by the threats that this organisation is making

He spoke after it was reported that the family of hostage Mr Haines were worried British airstrikes in Iraq would put his life at greater risk

On Thursday, Mr Cameron refused to rule out air strikes against IS, the militant group formerly known as ISIL