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Massive crowd sees off world’s largest cruise ship in France

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SAINT-NAZAIRE, FRANCE — Tens of thousands of people turned out on Sunday in France to see off the world’s biggest-ever cruise ship, the 120,000-tonne Harmony of the Seas, as it set sail for the first time.

At 66 meters (217 feet), it is the widest cruise ship ever built, while its 362-metre length makes it 50 meters longer than the height of the Eiffel Tower.

As the massive boat pulled away from a shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, where it was built on France’s Atlantic shore, some 70,000 people watched from along the coast, local authorities said.

The crowd waved, cheered and clapped as the boat — built for the US-based Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) — eased away from France.

“It’s gone,” said Christine, who did not give her full name. “We watched it develop and grow over three years. It’s like a child leaving home.”

The floating town, which cost close to one billion euros (dollars), has 16 decks and will be able to carry 6,360 passengers and 2,100 crew members.

The ship is headed for Southampton in southern England and is to embark on its official maiden voyage on May 22 to its new home port of Barcelona.

Harmony of the Seas

AFP

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5 dead as gunman attacks churchgoers in Russia

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At least five people were killed and another five were injured when a gunman attacked a crowd of people leaving a church on Sunday in Russia’s southern province of Dagestan, Russian news agencies reported.

The attack occurred in the village of Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan.

Russian news agencies said the attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar.

CCTV footage from the site of the deadly shooting shows a man armed with a rifle gunning down two women in broad daylight.

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A bearded man clad in a black vest and camouflage pants was seen crossing the street before opening fire on two female churchgoers as they left a service in Kizlyar in the Republic of Dagestan on Sunday afternoon. A woman walking several meters from the attacker was seen rushing away as the bloodshed unfolded.

The attacker was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee.

He was shot and killed by security services who were on duty nearby, TASS said, adding that a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife were discovered on his person.

Initial reports suggested all five victims were women, TASS said, citing the local branch of the interior ministry.

Agencies

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