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D-Day for Sepp Blatter as he arrives for Fifa election

Credit: Reuters

It's D-Day for Sepp Blatter today as the election for Fifa president gets underway in Zurich.

Blatter refused to answer questions from reporters as he was ushered into the the Fifa Congress, where the vote is expected to take place later this afternoon.

He is putting himself forward for a fifth term as Fifa president but faces stiff competition from Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein. The result is expected around 5pm.


China destroys half a ton of smuggled ivory

Chinese authorities have publicly destroyed more than half a ton of smuggled ivory as part of a crackdown on the illegal trade.

A official with some of the ivory stockpile in Beijing Credit: PA

Wildlife officials in Beijing placed 660kg raw tusks and ornate carvings into a machine that crushed the pieces into tiny pebbles.

China bans smuggling of ivory but has an exemption which allows it to import legal stockpiles for traditional carvings that can be sold domestically.

Conservationists want China to impose a complete ban on the ivory trade Credit: PA

Conservationists argue that this legal trade has prompted a resurgent demand for ivory while providing a convenient cover for a thriving black market and have demanded China impose a complete ban on the trade.

FA chairman backs European boycott of World Cup

FA chairman Grey Dyke. Credit: PA

FA chairman Greg Dyke has backed the idea of a co-ordinated European boycott of the World Cup.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "There is no point in one or two countries saying 'We're not going to take part' because they will carry on with the tournament without them and that is pretty unfair on the fans,

"But if Uefa as a group said 'Look, unless you get this sorted we are not going to be in the World Cup' then I think that we would join them."

Dyke added he hoped Sepp Blatter would not win today's Fifa election but said if he did he "can't see him lasting more than a year or two."

Police seize 200,000 shark fins in Ecuador

Police have seized around 200,000 shark fins in the Ecuadorean port city of Manta.

Credit: Reuters

Officers believe the fins were destined to be illegally exported to Asia.

Colonel Rommel Tapia, head of the judicial police in Mantam, said six people were arrested, including one of Chinese nationality. They now face charges of damaging wildlife.

Credit: Reuters

Interior minister Jose Serrano told the Democracia radio station that the authorities in Ecuador had "dealt a major blow to an international network that trafficked shark fins".

The fins are often used to make shark fin soup, a traditional Chinese dish, and those seized in Manta could have fetched up to £1 million.

Credit: Reuters

Indian heatwave death toll nears 2,000 in one week

Credit: Reuters

The death toll in a weeks-long heatwave in India has now risen to at least 1,826.

Meteorological officials called the hot weather "severe" and warned it would continue for at least another two days across a huge swathe of the South Asian country.

Most of those killed by heat-related conditions, including dehydration and heatstroke, have been in the southern states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana,where temperatures have soared to 47C (117F).

Cooling monsoon rains are expected next week in the south before gradually advancing north.


Cracks show for Blatter as Australia transfers vote

Sepp Blatter's formerly insurmountable reign over Fifa was rocked yesterday when Australia's federation announced it would not be voting for him in the today's presidential election.

The FFA has previously always voted for Blatter, but in a statement, chairman Frank Lowry switched support to his rival, Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, just hours after the Asian Football Confederation reaffirmed its own support for Blatter.

"FFA believes that profound change within Fifa is needed as soon as possible to address issues of governance and transparency," he said. "This belief will be reflected when Australia casts its vote in the presidential election, should it proceed on Friday in Zurich."

Weather: Feeling cool for many

Cloud and rain across southwestern and central parts will gradually spread east during today, with the rain turning heavy at times.

The rain will also be accompanied by some gusty winds, before brighter but showery conditions move in from the west during the afternoon.

Further north across northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland it will be a day of sunshine and showers, with some of the showers turning heavy at times, especially in the west.

Feeling cool for many, with a high of 17C in the southeast.

Watch Japanese volcano Mount Shindake erupt

Spectacular footage has been captured of a volcano erupting on a remote Japanese island.

Mount Shindake, on Kuchinoerabujima, erupted suddenly at around 10am local time (1am GMT), blasting plumes of black smoke 9km into the sky, forcing evacuations and flight diversions.

A pyroclastic flow of super-heated gas and rock flowed down the side of Mount Shindake and reached the ocean after the mountain's "explosive" eruption, but officials said there was no danger to human life.

"There was a huge bang and black smoke rose up immediately," Nobuaki Hayashi told NHK television, adding that the island's 140 residents were gathering to await evacuation. No one has been hurt.

Just before noon a Coast Guard ship headed for the island to evacuate residents. The closest neighbouring island is Yakushima, roughly one hour to the east.

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