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UUP leaders agree to withdraw from NI government

Leaders approve the withdrawal of the party from the power-sharing government. Credit: PA wire

Senior members of the Ulster Unionist Party have voted to withdraw from Northern Ireland's power-sharing government over claims the Provisional IRA (PIRA) still exists.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt proposed the exit in response to a police assessment that structures of the supposedly defunct paramilitary organisation remain in place and some of its members were involved in a recent Belfast murder.

The UUP's ruling executive approved Mr Nesbitt's recommendation at a meeting in an east Belfast hotel.

Mr Nesbitt has said the revelations about the IRA have shattered trust in Sinn Fein and the UUP can no longer work in coalition with the republican party.

The move will not cause a collapse of the administration but will pressure the Democratic Unionists, the largest party in the coalition, to follow suit.


European countries to increase security checks on trains

Theresa May and Patrick McLoughlin meet with European ministers in Paris. Credit: PA

European ministers have agreed to increase security on key international rail routes and improve intelligence sharing after the thwarted gun attack on a French train.

Home Secretary Theresa May and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin were among representatives of nine countries at a summit in Paris called to formulate a co-ordinated response to the threat of an atrocity.

Mrs May said the attack on the Thalys service was "a shocking reminder of the threats we all face".

"Only by working together can we protect our citizens and defeat those who want to harm us," she added.

French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said after the talks that it was "essential to put in place co-ordinated operations on certain targeted routes".

The nations taking part include Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy and Spain, who have agreed to "co-operate more closely still" over intelligence about the movements of suspected terrorists.

Minister criticises Egypt over Al-Jazeera sentences

Canadian Al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy talks to media before the verdict. Credit: Reuters

The Government has called on Egypt to take urgent action to resolve the position of two British reporters caught up in legal cases against journalists in the country.

Minister for Middle East and North Africa Tobias Ellwood spoke after an Egyptian court sentenced three Al-Jazeera English journalists to three years in prison for broadcasting false news.

Two British journalists, Sue Turton and Dominic Kane, have previously been tried in their absence, and found guilty.

I am deeply concerned by the sentences handed down today against journalists in Egypt. These sentences will undermine confidence in Egypt's progress towards strong long term stability based on implementing the rights granted by the Egyptian constitution.

We have repeatedly raised this case and the restrictions on freedom of expression in Egypt with ministers and senior officials. It is vital that the Egyptian authorities take urgent action to resolve the position of the two British nationals in this case.

– Tobias Ellwood

Three children in critical condition after lorry rescue

Three children are in a critical condition, suffering from severe dehydration, after being rescued from a lorry in Austria containing 26 refugees on Friday.

The lorry carrying refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Bangladesh was stopped in the small town of St. Peter am Hart, close to the German border, local police said.

The 29-year-old Romanian driver was arrested, while the children and their parents were taken to the hospital in a nearby town of Braunau.

"It was a very close call," David Furtner from the Austrian police said, adding the children had been dizzy due to dehydration in the hot and sticky lorry. Medical staff said they would not have made it much longer.

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