Fate of Air France at stake in row

Air France pilots are protesting over the carrier’s expansion of its low-cost business


The fate of Air France is “at stake” in a dispute between the airline and its pilots, according to France’s Transport Minister.

Pilots are protesting over the firm’s plan to develop its budget carrier, Transavia, where pilots are paid less.

Speaking on French radio, Alain Vidalies said the company must expand its low cost business. “I think pilots are fully aware of this,” he said.

The pilots’ strike will enter its second week on Monday.

It is due to run until Friday, but the SNPL pilots’ union has warned it could be extended further if talks fail.

“There must be a positive approach in this situation, otherwise I think that it’s the fate of the company that could be at stake,” Mr Vidalies told France Info radio.

“The low cost [sector] is not a choice, it’s an obligatory move, that’s reality. I think pilots are fully aware of this,” he said.

The airline estimates the strike, which started last Monday, is costing up to 15m euros (£12m) a day.

On Monday Air France expects to operate 41% of its flights.

The union has called on the French government to intervene and help resolve the dispute.

“Talks have reached a complete impasse,” the SNPL said in a statement.

“Management is playing for time, waiting for the movement to weaken.”

UK joins talks after hostage killing

IS has now threatened to kill another hostage, Alan Henning


David Cameron: “They are not Muslims, they are monsters”

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is meeting foreign ministers from around the world to discuss plans to tackle Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria.

David Haines was being held by Islamic State militants, as Caroline Hawley reports

Mike Haines: “My first reaction could have been hatred… my brother’s life wasn’t about hatred”

US President Barack Obama said the US would work with the UK and a “broad coalition of nations” to “bring the perpetrators of this outrageous act to justice”.

Militants from IS have killed two US hostages in recent weeks, posting videos on the internet.

They had threatened to kill Mr Haines during a video posted online showing the killing of US journalist Steven Sotloff earlier this month. They also released a video of the killing of US journalist James Foley last month.

German industry has bumper July

Stagnation in the eurozone has put pressure on the ECB to boost the economy


German industry has posted its strongest month in almost two and a half years.

The Economy Ministry said industrial production was up 1.9% in July, lifted by an increase in manufacturing and construction output.

It is a big improvement from June when industrial production rose just 0.4%.

It is another piece of strong data from Germany. On Thursday data showed that industrial orders rose at the strongest rate in the more than a year in July.

However last month the ministry released figures to show the economy shrank by 0.2% in the second quarter.

In an effort to avoid further stagnation in Europe, on Thursday the European Central Bank announced a surprise cut in interest rates.

It also launched a programme to buy private sector debt to stimulate lending.

US travel ban on Venezuela officials

The US said Venezuelan officials were responsible for abuses during recent anti-government protests


The US is imposing travel restrictions on a number of Venezuelan officials.

Officials did not specify how many people would be affected, but said those “who have been responsible for or complicit in human rights abuses” would not be “welcome” in the US.

The Venezuelan opposition has been lobbying for sanctions since thousands of protesters were detained during anti-government protests.

At least 43 people were killed in the protests.

The victims were from both sides of the political divide.

Relations between the US and Venezuela took a turn for the worse on Sunday when the former head of Venezuelan military intelligence, Gen Hugo Carvajal, was released from custody in the Caribbean and given a hero’s welcome in Caracas.

Gen Carvajal had been detained on the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba over US accusations of drug-trafficking activities.

The US Treasury said he had been protecting drug shipments by Colombian Farc rebels.

He was released after Venezuela claimed he had diplomatic immunity because he had been appointed as Venezuela’s consul in Aruba.

The US said his release was “deeply disappointing” and accused Venezuela of threatening Aruba and the Netherlands into freeing Gen Carvajal.

In a statement released on Wednesday, US state department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the travel restrictions were in response to “arbitrary detentions and excessive use of force” by Venezuelan officials as they tried to contain growing anti-government protest.

Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets in February and March in protest at skyrocketing inflation, high crime rates and shortages of some basic staples.

Key opposition figures behind the protests were arrested and have been charged with inciting violence.

Thousands of protesters were detained, many of them have since been released but there have been allegations they were intimidated, beaten and even tortured.

The Venezuelan government says it is investigating dozens of members of the security forces in connection with the allegations.

The demonstrations have since become smaller and less frequent but tensions in the deeply divided country remain high.

President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to launch a coup against his government at the behest of “the imperialist US force”.

Comedian Joan Rivers dies aged

Melissa Rivers, right, with mother Joan and co-host Kelly Osbourne on Fashion Police


Her career took in highs and lows but she still performed in her 80s, as David Sillito reports

Comedian and TV host Joan Rivers has died, her daughter has said.

Rivers, 81, had been on life support in Mount Sinai Hospital since having a cardiac arrest in New York last week.

In a statement, her daughter Melissa said she died surrounded by family and friends, and she thanked hospital staff for their “amazing care”.

The comedian, best known for her lacerating wit, stopped breathing during a procedure on her vocal cords at an outpatient clinic last Thursday.

“My mother’s greatest joy in life was to make people laugh,” said Melissa Rivers.

“Although that is difficult to do right now, I know her final wish would be that we return to laughing soon.”

The actress and stand-up comedian is well known for her legendary put-downs and has more recently turned her razor-sharp tongue on the red carpet’s worst dressed celebrities, hosting the E! network’s Fashion Police.

Both Rivers and Melissa, her only child, have appeared together in reality TV show Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?

She didn’t just fire her barbs at others, however. She was always prepared to joke about herself, and in particular her plastic surgery.

In 2010, she tweeted a joke about her death, saying: With all the plastic surgery I’ve had I’m worried that when I die, God won’t recognise me!

Shortly after her death was announced, tributes poured in from the world of entertainment.

US talk show host David Letterman called Rivers “a real pioneer for other women looking for careers in stand-up comedy”.

He recalled her guest spots on his show, saying: “She would come out here and sit in this chair and say some things that were unbelievable.

“But it was hilarious… the force of her comedy was overpowering,” he added.

On his show, Jimmy Fallon said: “We loved her. We will definitely miss her,” while veteran TV interviewer Larry King said: “We will never see her like again.”

Comedian and actress Whoopi Goldberg tweeted: “My friend Joan Rivers has passed away once again to quote Billy Crystal… There are no words. Bon Voyage Joan.”

TV show host Ellen DeGeneres also described Rivers as a pioneer, adding: “She paved the way for a lot of comedians. I’m very sad she’s gone.”

Lena Dunham, writer and star of sitcom Girls, said: “Watching Joan Rivers do stand-up at age 81 was incredible: athletic, jaw-dropping, terrifying, essential. It never stopped. Neither will she.”

Comedian Sarah Silverman said: “My heart is torn in half. She wasn’t done.”

Kelly Osbourne, who appeared with Rivers on her TV show Fashion Police, said she was my teacher, therapist, closest friend, inspiration and the only grandmother I ever knew

The Prince of Wales also paid tribute to Rivers, who attended his wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005 and performed at a gala for the Prince’s Trust on his 60th birthday.

Joan Rivers was an extraordinary woman with an original and indefatigable spirit, an unstoppable sense of humour and an enormous zest for life. She will be hugely missed and utterly irreplaceable he said

She was born Joan Alexandra Molinsky in Brooklyn, New York, to a family of Jewish immigrants who had fled the Russian Revolution.

Her big break came in 1965 when she appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and a long television career followed.

However, her mentor Carson never spoke to her again after she landed her own, short lived late night talk show on Fox

Her stand-up act took no prisoners and her comments often proved controversial.

Following the 2013 Academy Awards, at which British singer Adele performed her Oscar winning Bond theme Skyfall, Rivers joked about the singer’s weight on The Late Show with David Letterman.

She was very scared because she was singing at the awards said Rivers She kept saying, My throat, my throat I don’t know if I can swallow. And I said, Oh, yeah! You can swallow

Last month, she was criticised for a rant on the Israeli-Gaza crisis, after suggesting to a TMZ reporter that the Palestinians were to blame for the conflict.

Her first marriage lasted only six months but her second with Edgar Rosenberg spanned more than two decades until his suicide in 1987.

One in 10 girls sexually abused – UN

About one in 10 girls had experienced rape or sexual assault by the age of 20, the UN says


About 120 million girls around the world – slightly more than one in 10 – have been raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 20, a UN report says.

Women make up half the world, but do we really hear their stories?

The study revealed that about six out of 10 children aged between two and 14 were subjected to physical punishment from their carers on a regular basis.

One in three girls, aged between 15 and 19, who had at some time been in cohabiting relationships, had been victims of emotional, physical or sexual violence committed by their husbands or partners, the report said.

Partner violence appeared to be particularly prevalent in countries including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, the report said.

Of the countries surveyed, nearly half of all girls aged 15-19 believed that a husband was justified in hitting his wife under certain circumstances, the study added.

Meanwhile, homicide was reported as the leading cause of death in boys and men aged 10-19 in many Latin American countries, such as Venezuela, Panama, Brazil and Colombia.

Nigeria had the highest number of child homicides – 13,000, while the US had the highest homicide rate among countries in Western Europe and North America.

Research showed that violence was “detrimental to all aspects of a child’s growth… with sometimes lifelong repercussions,” the report said.

It noted that while there had been growing recognition in recent years about the impact of violence against children, it largely remained underreported and undocumented.

The report stressed that violence against children in some countries remained socially accepted or tacitly condoned, and quite often victims were too afraid to report the abuse.

Never before have so many statistics been gathered from so many different countries, and together they have produced a grim global audit of violence against children, the BBC’s Nick Bryant at the UN says.

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Jasper Johns aide in $6.5m art theft

Johns is known for his use of flags in his art


An assistant of American painter Jasper Johns has pleaded guilty to selling artworks worth $6.5m (£3.9m) he stole from the artist’s studio

James Meyer, 52, stole 22 artworks deemed not completed by Johns and sold them to buyers who agreed they would be kept private for eight years.

Johns, 84, is known for his use of flags and numbers in his art.

Meyer, who faces up to 10 years in prison, was an assistant in Johns’ Connecticut studio for 25 years.

He pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property and admitted moving the art works from the studio to an art gallery in Manhattan from 2006 to 2011.

“James Meyer made millions by stealing and selling the valuable artworks that he was entrusted with maintaining,” prosecutor Preet Bharara said in a statement.

“With his guilty plea today, Meyer will now have to pay for that decision.”

Meyer told a gallery owner nearly two dozen incomplete works had been personal gifts from Johns, and provided fake documentation.

He also created fake inventory numbers and pages in a ledger book of registered Johns artwork to further assure the gallery owner the works were authorised.

The gallery sold the works for $6..5m, with Meyer eventually receiving $3.4m.