World news in brief

By Drum Digital
23 November 2013

Three women have been rescued from a house in London after claims that they were held as slaves for about 30 years.

Mall collapse kills 52 in Latvia

Latvian police say the death toll from the collapse of a crowded supermarket roof has risen to 52 and that the rescue operation has temporarily been halted.

Police spokeswoman Sigita Pildava said Saturday that only a small section of the store ruins remained but firefighters decided not to proceed given the risk of further collapse.

The roof fell Thursday evening in the Latvian capital of Riga as customers were doing after-work shopping. At least 35 were wounded; 28 remained hospitalized late Friday.

An investigation into the Baltic state's deadliest accident ever has started, and preliminary reports indicate that the supermarket roof caved in due to either faulty construction or building activities on the roof, where workers were creating a garden area and children's playground. - SAPA

18,000 evacuated after oil explosion in China

Some 18,000 people were evacuated from a Chinese coastal city after an oil pipeline explosion killed at least 47 people and sent thick black smoke billowing into the sky, a local government report said.

The Friday morning blast in Qingdao ripped roads apart, pictures showed, while leaving many sections of the city cut off from utilities.

There is still not reason for the evacuation, or whether people had been able to return to their homes.

But, according to official media, students from nearby schools and local residents were handed out masks over fears of possible toxic emissions.

The pipeline, run by state-owned oil giant Sinopec, sprang a leak early Friday and exploded several hours later as workers sought to repair it.  – SAPA

Mauritania votes

Mauritanians voted in nationwide elections overshadowed by a boycott of the "radical" opposition -- apart from an Islamist party calling its participation a struggle against "dictatorship".

Polling stations opened on time in the capital Nouakchott, with observers, election officials and voting equipment all in place as small queues began to form.

The mainly-Muslim republic, a former French colony on the west coast of the Sahara desert, is seen by the West as strategically important in the fight against Al-Qaeda-linked groups within its own borders, as well in neighbouring Mali and across Africa's Sahel region.

Around a third of its 3.4 million people are eligible to vote in the first parliamentary and local polls since 2006, a test of strength for leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz five years after he came to power in a coup and four years after he won a widely contested presidential vote. – SAPA

Women rescued from ‘slavery’

Three women have been rescued from a house in south London as police investigate claims they were held as slaves for about 30 years.

Police arrested two suspects, a 67-year-old man and a 67-year-old woman.

BBC reports that officers were contacted by Freedom Charity, after it received a call from a woman saying she had been held against her will for decades.

A Malaysian woman, 69, an Irish woman, 57, and a British woman, 30, were rescued from the house. - DRUM Reporter

Nigeiran President falls sick in London

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan received unplanned medical treatment in London on Thursday after he "became indisposed" and was forced to miss a scheduled meeting, his spokesperson said.

"In the course of his ongoing visit to London for a meeting of Nigeria's Honorary International Investors' Council, President Goodluck Jonathan became indisposed and could not be present at the opening of the meeting today," said Reuben Abati.

Jonathan, who turned 56 on Wednesday, is not publicly known to be suffering from any serious medical conditions. – AFP

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