ENGLAND ““ (CNN) At least seven people are confirmed dead and 51 people injured in a “horrific” traffic accident in southwest England. The accident involved 34 vehicles, including cars, vans, and large trucks, some of which erupted into what witnesses describe as a “fireball.” Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham told reporters more bodies are feared to be still trapped in badly burnt vehicles. Some of the vehicles are “burnt to the ground” and unrecognizable, Bangham said in a news conference. “This is a horrific scene.” The crash occurred at about 8:25 p.m. Friday on the M5 highway near Taunton in Somerset ““ Bangham said poor weather was likely to have been a factor, with wet roads after rain and banks of fog reported in the area. Avon and Somerset Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed the events to get in touch, especially if they have mobile phone footage.
GREECE ““ (BBC) Greek leaders at crisis talks in Athens have agreed to form a new national unity government. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has agreed to stand down and his successor will be chosen during talks this week, a statement said. The coalition is to lead the country until elections, which could be held on February 19. The announcement followed a week of turmoil over Greece’s debt crisis. Once the new leader is named, new parties will be invited to join the government. A spokesman for the New Democracy party said it was “absolutely satisfied” with the outcome of the talks. “Our two targets ““ for Mr. Papandreou to resign and for elections to be held ““ have been met,” the New Democracy spokesman told AP news agency, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
HUNGARY ““ (BBC) Eleven Hungarian tourists have been killed after their bus overturned in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada. The driver is believed to have lost control as he drove at high speed along a ring road ““ the crash also injured 27 Hungarian tourists, including four children. The accident took place on the first day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, when many Egyptians and tourists head to Red Sea resorts. Poor road conditions and lax enforcement of traffic laws are blamed for a high accident rate in Egypt.
ITALY ““ (BBC) Italian authorities have issues fresh safety warnings as storms and torrential rain continue to cause havoc across the country. The River Po, Italy’s longest river, rose 4 meters (13 feet) in the city of Turin, as thousands were told to evacuate. One person has died in the province of Naples, bringing the week’s country-wide death toll to at least seven. Heavy rains have hit the country over the past two weeks, especially in the northwest. The BBC’s David Willey in Rome says millions of Italians from Milan to Venice are at risk if flooding continues.
SPAIN ““ (BBC) Campaigning has officially started for Spain’s parliamentary elections, which take place in two weeks. All opinion polls point to the center-right opposition Popular Party (PP) beating the governing Socialists (PSOE) by at least 15 points. This election will show exactly how Spaniards feel about the state of the economy, with the country facing its worst economic crisis in decades. The unemployment rate is close to 22% – more than twice the European Union average – and there are signs that the country is heading back to recession. Two weeks of intense campaigning and debate lie ahead with the PSOE insisting that the battle for parliamentary victory is not over yet.
SWEDEN ““ (BBC) Two Swedish journalists charged with terrorism in Ethiopia face years in prison after their arrest in a prohibited region along the nation’s border with Somalia. Ethiopian troops captured Johan Persson and Martin Schibbye in July during a gunfire exchange with a rebel group in Ogaden, according to state media. Press freedom groups report the two were embedded with the Ogaden National Liberation Front rebels while working on a story about the region. Journalists and aid workers are prohibited from traveling to Ogaden. Ethiopian officials have accused the journalists of being accomplices to terrorism after the government declared the rebels a terrorist group in June. The two men face two counts ““ one for entering the country illegally and a second for providing assistance to a terrorist organization. Both journalists have pleaded guilty to entering the country illegally through Somalia without accreditation. They face 15 years in prison if found guilty.