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60 injured as explosion rocks Austrian gas pipeline hub (Photos)

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An explosion rocked Austria’s main gas pipeline hub at Baumgarten east of Vienna on Tuesday, police said, with one unconfirmed media report saying 60 people were hurt.

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“An explosion occurred at 8:45 am (0745 GMT), followed by a fire. Things are under control but according to preliminary reports there are several people injured,” police spokesman Edmund Tragschitz said.

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The Kronen-Zeitung daily reported on its website that 60 people were hurt and that several fire brigades from the surrounding area were called in.

The cause of the incident was not immediately clear.

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The Baumgarten gas hub is Austria’s largest reception point and the main distribution hub for natural gas imports from Russia, Norway and other countries.

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Located near Austria’s eastern border with Slovakia, it is also one of Europe’s most important gas hubs, handling some 40 billion cubic metres per year.

24 Hours Across Africa

18 Carat gold toilet stolen at Blenheim palace

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‍An 18-carat solid gold toilet is said to be stolen overnight at Blenheim Palace.

A gang broke into the Oxfordshire palace and stole the artwork, Thames Valley Police said.

The working toilet – entitled America, which visitors had been invited to use – has not been found but a 66-year-old man has been arrested.

The burglary caused “significant damage and flooding” because the toilet was plumbed into the building.

The 18th Century stately home is a World Heritage Site and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. It is currently closed while investigations continue.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Thousands bid fare well to Mugabe..

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Zimbabwe’s founder Robert Mugabe was honored as an icon, principled leader and African intellectual giant at a state funeral on Saturday, after a week of disputes over his burial threatened to embarrass President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mugabe led Zimbabwe for 37 years, from independence until he was ousted by the army in November 2017, by which time he was viewed by many at home and abroad as a power-obsessed autocrat who unleashed death squads, rigged elections and ruined the economy to keep control.

He died in a Singapore hospital on Sept. 6 aged 95, far away from a country he left polarized by a raging political rivalry between its two largest political parties, ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC.

His remains will be interred in a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre in the capital Harare in about 30 days, his nephew said on Friday, contradicting earlier comments that a burial would be held on Sunday.

On Saturday, Mnangagwa walked behind the casket carrying Mugabe’s body as it was wheeled into the center of Harare’s National Sports Stadium and placed on a podium decorated with flowers so that heads of state could say their farewells. Senior army generals and Mugabe’s wife and children followed, as a brass band played.

The 60,000 seater stadium was only half-filled.

In a tribute to his predecessor, Mnangagwa said Mugabe stood in defense of Africans. He urged the West to remove sanctions that were imposed during Mugabe’s rule.

“We who remain shall continue to hear his rich, brave, defiant and inspiring voice … encouraging and warning us to be vigilant and astute,” Mnangagwa said in a speech.

“A giant tree of Africa has fallen. Today Africa weeps.”

Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party wanted Mugabe buried at the national shrine to heroes of the 15-year liberation war against white minority rule. But some relatives, expressing bitterness at the way former comrades ousted Mugabe, had pushed for him to be buried in his home village.

Walter Chidhakwa, who spoke on behalf of Mugabe’s family, said Mugabe was an icon who was determined and unflinching in pursuing policies like land reform and later the black economic empowerment program.

Mugabe left behind a country wrecked by hyperinflation, dollarization and deeply entrenched corruption.

But many Zimbabweans also remember Mugabe as their country’s liberator from white minority rule and for broadening people’s access to education and land

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