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A ferry has been struck by an explosion in Mexico, reportedly injuring around a dozen people who were on board.

The ferry, owned by Barcos Caribe, was docked at the tourist resort town of Playa del Carmen when one of the sides appeared to explode.

Images from the resort show the damage done to the side of the ferry, and people with injuries to their arms and legs.

Initial local reports indicate the blast may have been caused by a gas leak or an engine failure.

Contacto Urbano reports the ferry company has links to the former Governor Roberto Borge Angulo.

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Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un to meet on Thursday, Kremlin confirms | UK News



Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un will meet in the Russian city of Vladivostok on Thursday, the Kremlin has confirmed.

Russia’s president and the North Korean leader will discuss political and diplomatic efforts to settle the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov told reporters Mr Kim’s visit is key in the process.

He said Russia’s bilateral trade with North Korea fell by more than 56% last year because of sanctions against Pyongyang.

Mr Ushakov said Moscow believes it is important that North Korea and the United States are interested in maintaining their contact.

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10-year-old girl born without hands wins handwriting competition | US News



A 10-year-old girl who was born without hands has won a handwriting competition in the US.

Sara Hinesley, a pupil at St. John’s Regional Catholic School in Frederick, Maryland, won the Nicholas Maxim award in the Zaner-Bloser national handwriting contest.

The award is for pupils with special needs, and judges take into account “cognitive, intellectual, physical, and/or developmental disability”.

Sara arrived in the US four years ago, from her native China, after being adopted by the Hinesley family.

Although she spoke no English, she picked it up from her older sister Veronica.

Her sister also made her an artificial hand in her science class so the pair could play together.

Sara Hinesley. Pic: WJZ
Sara was adopted by a family in Maryland. Pic: WJZ

Sara writes by holding a pen or pencil between her arms, and likens writing in a cursive, joined-up style – for which she won the award – to art.

She told WJZ: “The things I can’t do, I try to figure out the ways I can do it and try my best to make it work.

“I just try my hardest and put my mind to it and this is what happens.”

Her mother Cathryn Hinesley told ABC: “Sara is very motivated and a disciplined student. She excels really at about anything she tries.”

As well as art, and watching TV, Sara likes rock climbing with her sister.

She told WJZ: “Anytime I fail, I just keep doing it with Veronica cheering me on – I can always get to the top.”

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Microsoft under pressure to resist Chinese censorship of worker protest | Science & Tech News



Microsoft is under pressure to resist Chinese censorship demands after tech workers in the country began using its code-sharing platform to protest being over-worked.

Employees at Microsoft are signing a petition in support of a protest group called 996.ICU, formed by Chinese tech workers on the company’s code repository website GitHub.

The name of the group is “a reference to the gruelling and illegal working hours of many tech companies in China – from 9am to 9pm, 6 days a week” according to the petition.

“By following the ‘996’ work schedule, you are risking yourself getting into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit),” explained the group itself.

The point of the protest was to force Chinese tech companies to obey labour laws in the country, and to allow workers to communicate with each other and share their stories.

The 996 schedule is commonplace in the country’s tech sector and has even been applauded by the chief executive of Alibaba, Jack Ma.

Mr Ma, estimated to have a personal worth of roughly £30bn, called 996 a “huge blessing” and claimed that China’s rapid economic growth had caused workers to become lazy.

Many of his staff members do not agree, however, and the protest group repository has been shared more than 250,000 times by sympathetic observers.

Jack Ma will retire from Alibaba on Monday and look forward to his roles as a philanthropist
Jack Ma called the 996 schedule a ‘blessing’

Because GitHub is used to share code between technology workers, there would be no way for the Chinese government to block the individual repository (and thus the workers’ message) without blocking the whole of the site, which would cause a lot of difficulty for Chinese technology companies.

However, the ability to block the individual repository is held by Microsoft, which already censors its search engine Bing in accordance with Chinese government’s demands.

The signatories to the petition write: “We must entertain the possibility that Microsoft and GitHub will be pressured to remove the repository.

“We encourage Microsoft and GitHub to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone.”

Engineers from companies other than Microsoft have signed the petition, including from Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Chinese companies, but GitHub remains a Microsoft property.

The Microsoft protest follows reports that Google is seeking Chinese government approval for a mobile search service called Dragonfly, that would censor some websites and search terms.

In response, Google staff also expressed their concerns that their work would be used to facilitate human rights abuses rather than enable access to information.

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