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'Battle of the Churches' as Greek island celebrates Easter

Rockets fly over Vrontados village during Greek Orthodox Easter celebrations. Credit: Reuters

Every year, two rival parishes on the northern Greek island of Chios fire handmade rockets at each other's bell towers to celebrate Orthodox Easter.

Rockets in flight Credit: Reuters

The celebration, known as "rouketopolemos", sees parishioners from Aghios Markos and Panagia Ereithiani fire the handmade fireworks at the other's church bell towers.

The winning village is the one which scores the most direct hits on the other's church.

Rockets streak through the sky during Greek Orthodox easter celebrations on Chios. Credit: Reuters

More: Easter celebrations around the world


Briton killed in Malaysia 'after island holiday'

The driver of a bus that crashed in Malaysia, killing a British tourist, reportedly said he "lost control" of the vehicle in the rain while driving back from a holiday island.

The driver, known only as "Along", told The New Straits Times he was transporting the tourists back to Singapore after they had spent their holidays in Redang Island off the Malaysian coast.

The bus was reportedly travelling from Redang Island (marked red) to Singapore. Credit: Google Maps

He said: "It was raining and I suddenly lost control of the vehicle when descending the sloping stretch. The bus spun several times before it rolled over the slope on the left side of the road."

Abdullah ahead in Afghanistan election race

Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah. Credit: Reuters

New partial results in Afghanistan's presidential election show candidate Abdullah Abdullah is still the front-runner.

The chairman of Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission, Ahmad Yousuf Nouristani, announced the latest results today. They represent about half of the estimated 7 million ballots cast in the April 5 poll, though varying levels of votes have been counted in the country's 34 provinces.

The winner will replace Hamid Karzai, the only president the country has known since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the Taliban, and will oversee a tumultuous period during which the US and Nato forces are expected to withdraw most of their troops from the country.

More: Partial results in Afghan election show tight race

South Korea ferry disaster official death toll rises

South Korean coast guard officers try to rescue passengers from the Sewol ferry as it sinks. Credit: PA/Yonhap

The official death toll in the South Korea ferry disaster has risen to 58 as search and rescue divers finally succeed in entering the sunken vessel.

The confirmed death toll jumped from 33 to 58 within 24 hours as divers, hampered for days by strong currents, bad weather and low visibility, finally found a way inside the sunken vessel

Only 174 people are known to have survived the sinking of the Sewol, which had been on its way from the South Korean port city of Incheon to the southern island of Jeju.

More: Prosecutors extend Korea ferry captain's detention

Briton killed in crash 'sole fatality' of 38 passengers

A British man killed in a bus crash in Malaysia was the only fatality among 38 bus passengers travelling on the vehicle, according to local media.

The accident happened along the Segamat-Kuantan highway near the Felda Chini junction in the east of the country, The New Straits Times reported.

The passengers on board included tourists from the UK, US, France, China and India, the Malaysian newspaper said.


Ofsted head to lead 'Trojan Horse' probe

The head of Ofsted is to take a "personal lead" in the watchdog's investigation into allegations of a hardline Muslim takeover plot at a number of Birmingham schools, it has been announced.

Sir Michael Wilshaw is to visit the city next week to meet those directly involved in the inspections.

Sir Michael Wilshaw will visit Birmingham next week. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Ofsted has assessed more than a dozen Birmingham schools in recent weeks in the wake of the so-called "Trojan Horse" allegations and the findings are expected to be published in early May.

An Ofsted spokesman said: "Sir Michael has made clear that he is taking a personal lead in agreeing the individual reports and ensuring that they fully address concerns that have been raised."

Briton killed in Malaysia bus crash

A British man has died after a double-decker bus reportedly plunged into a ravine in Malaysia.

Harry Christopher Woolhouse, 32, from Peterborough, died in the accident, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

The bus was reportedly taking foreign tourists to Singapore when it fell down a 15-metre slope at an oil palm plantation earlier today.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are providing consular assistance to his family at this sad time."

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