At least 42 people have died in Germany and dozens were missing on Thursday as record rainfall in western Europe caused rivers to burst their banks, swept away homes and flooded cellars. Eighteen people died and dozens were missing around the wine-growing region of Ahrweiler, in Rhineland-Palatinate state, police said, after the Ahr river that flows into the Rhine rose and brought down half a dozen houses.
The Taliban have proposed a three-month ceasefire in Afghanistan in return for the release of 7,000 captured fighters, a government official said. Clashes between the government and the Taliban have intensified since US troops began to withdraw from the country. The Taliban recently claimed their fighters had retaken 85% of territory in Afghanistan – a figure impossible to independently verify and disputed by the government.
Vladimir Putin personally authorized a secret spy agency operation to support a “mentally unstable” Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election during a closed session of Russia’s national security council, according to what are assessed to be leaked Kremlin documents. The key meeting took place on 22 January 2016, the papers suggest, with the Russian president, his spy chiefs and senior ministers all present.
Dutch crime reporter Peter R de Vries has died nine days after he was shot in an Amsterdam street, RTL News has reported. The attack happened after he made a regular appearance on a current affairs television show. Mr de Vries is one of the Netherlands’ best-known crime reporters and has won critical acclaim for his fearless reporting on the Dutch underworld.
Cocaine disguised as charcoal with a potential street value of up to 35 million euros ($41.4 million) has been seized in a joint operation between Irish and Dutch authorities. The drugs were found inside two shipping containers from South America that arrived at the port of Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, as part of what Irish investigators believe was an attempt to import up to half a ton of cocaine to Ireland.