Provisional postmortem examinations of 39 bodies found inside a shipping container in southeast England concluded the victims from Vietnam died of a combination of a lack of oxygen and overheating in a closed space, police said Tuesday.
The bodies were found Oct. 23 in the English town of Grays, east of London. Police said the people who died ranged in age from 15 to 44. The 31 men and eight women are believed to have paid people traffickers for their clandestine transit into England.
"Our teams are continuing to progress hundreds of lines of enquiry and are working with the National Crime Agency and other law enforcement agencies from across the globe to further their lengthy and complex investigation,'' Essex county police said in a statement.
The revelations came as police made strides to identity suspects in the network believed to be responsible for the smuggling operation.
Gheorghe Nica, of Basildon in eastern England, was detained at Germany's Frankfurt Airport on Jan. 29. The 43-year-old appeared at Chelmsford Magistrates' Court on Saturday. He faces 39 counts of manslaughter and one count of conspiracy to assist unlawful immigration.
A second man, who is 22, was arrested in Northern Ireland Sunday on suspicion of manslaughter and facilitating unlawful immigration. He remains in police custody in southeast England but has not been charged or named yet.
Another suspect from Northern Ireland, Eamonn Harrison, 23, is being held in Ireland on charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic people. He has a Dublin High Court hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
Prosecutors allege that Harrison drove the container to the port of Zeebrugge in Belgium, where it was put on a ferry to England and picked up at the other end by Maurice Robinson Robinson, who also is from Northern Ireland and has been charged with manslaughter.
Harrison's lawyers have argued that Britain should not be able to seek his extradition from Ireland because the alleged offenses took place in Belgium.
Russia is open to dialogue with the United States, if its interests are taken into account and Washington stops interfering in its internal affairs, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Tuesday.
"Refusal of cooperation and of partnership in some areas has become the norm in Washington," Ryabkov was quoted by RIA Novosti news agency as saying.
"For our part, we invariably confirm openness to dialogue, resolving any issues in the search for mutually acceptable solutions, but, of course, only on the basis of mutual respect, consideration of interests and equality," said Ryabkov.
Commenting on Washington's intention to allocate over 700 million US dollars in 2021 to counteract Russia, Ryabkov said the move will fail.
Ryabkov says Washington can spend its money how it chooses but ignores the obvious fact that it is simply impossible to solve a number of global problems without Russia, he said.
The newly released US Middle East peace plan departs from internationally agreed parameters concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said the four EU members of the UN Security Council -- Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany -- plus Poland, which has just left the council.
"In line with the long-standing EU position, we remain committed to a negotiated two-state solution, based on 1967 lines, with equivalent land swaps, as may be agreed between the parties, with the state of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable state of Palestine, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition," said a joint statement of the five countries.
"The US initiative, as presented on Jan. 28, departs from these internationally agreed parameters."
The U.S. plan, contrary to UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided capital." The US plan was immediately rejected by Palestine and the Arab world.
The five EU countries on Tuesday reaffirmed their readiness to work toward the resumption of direct negotiations between the two parties to resolve all final-status issues, including issues related to borders, the status of Jerusalem, security and the refugee question, with the aim of building a just and lasting peace, said the joint statement, which was read out to reporters by Belgian Foreign and Defense Minister Philippe Goffin, who was flanked by representatives of the other four countries.
"We call on both sides to exercise restraint and abstain from any unilateral actions contrary to international law and to re-engage in negotiations. We condemn all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as acts of provocation, incitement and destruction," said the statement.
"We reaffirm our concern about Israel's settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory, which is illegal under international law and constitutes an obstacle to peace and a two-state solution. We are also deeply concerned about potential steps toward annexation after repeated calls for a possible annexation of areas in the West Bank. The annexation of any part of the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, constitutes a breach of international law, undermines the viability of the two-state solution and challenges the prospects for just, comprehensive and lasting peace. In line with international law and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, we do not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the territories occupied since 1967."
The five EU countries said they will continue to engage with the parties and relevant stakeholders to revive a political process in line with international law, which ensures equal rights and which is acceptable to both parties.
They also reiterated their commitment to the security of Israel, including with regard to current and emerging threats in the region.
The joint statement was released ahead of a Security Council meeting on the US Middle East peace plan.
Ferocious winds, with gusts over 200 kph (125 mph), lashed Corsica and whipped up a forest fire that flared overnight on the French Mediterranean island on Tuesday, after a storm with hurricane-force winds and heavy rains battered northern Europe for days, killing at least eight people and causing severe travel disruptions.
More than 300 fire officers were involved in fighting the blazes and two ports were closed and flights suspended on Corsica. Power was cut to 2000 homes.
The storm also continued to batter other parts of Europe. Fallen trees blocked roads and train tracks in southern Germany and Austria.
The Austrian city of Salzburg near the German border was hit by the storm Tuesday. Public broadcaster ORF reported that more than 400 firefighters worked for hours to remove downed trees from crushed cars and roads. They also had to remove a huge metal roof that was blown off a building. No one was injured, ORF reported.
German railroad operator Deutsche Bahn, which had shut down all long-distance trains on Monday, said most of its service resumed Tuesday with the exception of some trains in southern regions that were still being battered by gusty winds. Schools across Germany reopened.
Deaths due to the fierce storm were reported in Poland, Sweden, Britain, Slovenia, Germany and the Czech Republic. On Tuesday, Polish officials reported a third storm-related death in the country, saying a relative of two people killed Monday when the roof of the ski rental building collapsed also died.
In northern Bavaria, where a gust of over 160 kph (100 mph) was recorded, the storm produced a record amount of electricity being fed into the German grid from wind turbines, equivalent to almost 44 nuclear power plants.
The German Weather Service said strong winds would keep blasting much of the country on Tuesday but the brunt of the storm had moved to the southeast. In northeastern Germany, a new storm was expected to reach the Baltic coast. The German Weather Service also forecast heavy rains for most of the country as well as for France and Belgium.
In England and Scotland, the Met Office national weather agency still had 85 flood warnings in force as torrential rains caused numerous rivers to overflow their banks.
Further north, in Norway, water from the North Sea overflowed harbors and entered houses along the country's southern coast, causing damage but no victims. Local airline Wideroe canceled 21 departures because low pressure over northern Norway meant its small planes couldn't fly, the Norwegian news agency NTB reported. The low pressure was affecting the altitude gauges on the planes with no possibility to adjust for the low pressure.
In the Czech Republic, more than 40,000 households remained without electricity Tuesday morning, down from some 300,000 on Monday afternoon. Around 20 train routes were still blocked because of fallen trees on the track. Only one flight from Amsterdam was canceled Tuesday, Prague's international airport said.
A high-speed passenger train derailed in northern Italy before dawn on Thursday on the heavily used Milan-Bologna line, with the motor car completely detaching and slamming into a railroad building, killing two railway workers and injuring 27 people, authorities said.
The state-railway Freccia Rossa train went off the rails while traveling at nearly 300 kph (180 mph), Civil Protection chief Angelo Borrelli told state radio.
Authorities said the train engineer and another train employee, apparently also an engineer, were killed in the crash, which occurred about 5:30 a.m. (0430 GMT) in the countryside outside the town of Lodi.
"The engine car car derailed, detached completely and kept going,'' Girolamo Fabiano, a railroad police official told state radio. "Then the second car derailed."
The second car was believed to be a business class passenger car. The rest of the cars remained upright.
Given the early hour, the train was uncrowded, with only about 30 people in all aboard, police said.
Fabiano said that work had been done on that stretch of line during the night. He said the cause of the crash, which was under investigation, was unclear.
Borrelli said the high-speed state railways train had departed from Milan at 5:10 a.m. (0410 GMT) and was headed south to Bologna when it derailed. Borrelli said two of the injured were in serious condition, while the other 25 were less seriously injured.
The passenger train run is part of a popular high-speed rail service known as Freccia Rossa, or the Red Arrow service. Its southern destination was supposed to be Salerno, a port city south of Naples.
Rail traffic was diverted to local tracks, with delays of about an hour reported.