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Cameron's mission to reform EU given boost by Merkel

David Cameron's mission to reform the EU treaty was given a significant boost today, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: "Where there is a will, there is a way".

The Prime Minister was in Germany for the latest part of his European charm offensive - though earlier in the day, in Poland, his views were not so well received.

Leaders in Poland are upset by plans to curb benefits for foreign workers.

ITV News Europe Editor James Mates reports:

Corfu tragedy mum: Thomas Cook ex-CEO has 'no humanity'

The mother of two children who died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on a Thomas Cook holiday in 2006 has accused the company's former boss of failing to show any "humanity".

Sharon Wood said Harriet Green has still not spoken to the family, and accused the ex-chief executive of trying to "offload" her guilt by donating a third of her shares to charity, and said it was "abhorrent" to use her children's deaths as a way to provoke public sympathy.

ITV News consumer editor Chris Choi reports:


US removes Cuba from state sponsors of terror list

The US and Cuba are working together to restore diplomatic ties. Credit: Reuters/Stringer

The US has formally dropped Cuba from a list of state sponsors of terrorism as the country continues efforts to restore diplomatic ties with the Communist-ruled island.

President Barack Obama had announced on April 14th he would drop the former Cold War rival from the list, initiating a 45-day review period for Congress that expired today.

Obama ordered a review of Cuba's status on the terrorism list as part of a landmark policy shift.

The move followed a meeting in December between the US President and Cuba's leader Raul Castro where they announced they would seek to restore diplomatic relations that Washington severed in 1961, and work toward a broader normalisation of ties.

Cuba had cited its listing as a state terrorism sponsor, which had been in place since 1982, as an obstacle to the re-establishing of diplomatic relations.

The two sides have held four rounds of high level negotiations since December and say they are closing in on a deal to reopen embassies in Havana and Washington.

EU treaty change not ruled out by Germany

David Cameron and Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel refused to rule out treaty change as she met with David Cameron in Berlin to discuss his plans to renegotiate the terms of the UK's membership of the European Union.

Mrs Merkel said: "Of course we have the desire to work very closely together. We would like to be a part of the process that is going on in Great Britain at the moment and we would like to be a constructive partner in this process.

"I have also said wherever there is a desire there's also a way and this should be our guiding principle here as well."

Cameron meets with Polish PM Ewa Kopacz

David Cameron has met with Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz in Warsaw as he continues his tour of Europe to lay out his plans for renegotiating the terms of the UK's membership of the European Union.

David Cameron has met with Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz in Warsaw Credit: RTV

They agreed on issues including making Europe more competitive by strengthening the single market, cutting back red tape, ensuring fairness between euro-ins and euro-outs and more subsidiarity, respecting the sovereignty of Member States, a Downing Street spokesperson said.

On immigration and welfare, Kopacz also welcomed Cameron's "commitment to respect the principle of free movement."

"They agreed that there were issues concerning the interaction between free movement and national welfare systems that should be discussed further, the spokesperson said.

The pair also discussed the situation in Eastern Ukraine and agreed that the EU's existing sanctions must remain in force until the Minsk agreements are fully implemented.


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.

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.

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