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20 students die in freak tree accident in Ghana

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ACCRA — 20 students have died and several other injured after a large tree fell on them at a popular waterfall spot in Kintampo, Ghana, emergency officials said Sunday.

Ghana National Fire Service spokesman Prince Billy Anaglate said the “unusual incident” happened on Sunday afternoon when a group of high school students were swimming at the Kintampo waterfalls, a popular tourist destination in the Brong-Ahafo region.

“They were swimming in the river when there was a storm, a windy atmosphere that had uprooted some of the trees and they had fallen on some of them — those who were apparently swimming,” Anaglate said.

“We extend our condolences to the families of the dead and pray for the injured,” said the country’s tourism minister Catherine Abelema Afeku in a statement.

“A huge tree fell at the top when the rains began and crashed the revellers,” an eyewitness told Ghana’s Starr News.

“Most of them are students of the Wenchi Senior High School. Others are tourists. We are trying to save those who are trapped by cutting the trees with chainsaws.”

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US ready to talk to North Korea without preconditions

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WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said Washington is ready to begin talks on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, without pre-conditions.

“We’re ready to have the first meeting without preconditions,” Tillerson told a meeting on the crisis at the Atlantic Council policy forum in Washington.

Tillerson’s new diplomatic overture comes nearly two weeks after North Korea said it had successfully tested a breakthrough intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that put the entire United States mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.

“Let’s just meet and let’s talk about the weather if you want and talk about whether it’s going to be a square table or a round table if that’s what you’re excited about,” Tillerson said.

This appeared to represent a softening in the US position, seeing as officials had previously demanded that Kim Jong-Un’s regime demonstrate a willingness to consider giving up its arsenal.

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But, the White House later issued an ambiguous statement that left unclear whether President Donald Trump — who has said Tillerson was wasting his time pursuing dialogue with North Korea — had given his approval for the speech.

“The president’s views on North Korea have not changed,” the White House said adding, “North Korea is acting in an unsafe way … North Korea’s actions are not good for anyone and certainly not good for North Korea.”

Meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un has vowed to make North Korea the “world’s strongest nuclear power,” tate media reported Wednesday.

Mr Kim told workers behind the recent test of a new missile that his country “will victoriously advance and leap as the strongest nuclear power and military power in the world,” in a ceremony on Tuesday, according to state news agency KCNA.

GNN/Reuters

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