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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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Poland pulls out of Israel summit after ‘racist’ comments in row over Holocaust | World News

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The Polish prime minister has cancelled plans to send a delegation to Jerusalem after the acting Israeli foreign minister said Poles “sucked antisemitism from their mothers’ milk”.

Mateusz Morawiecki had already pulled out of a meeting with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leaders of four central European nations, following a comment by the Israeli leader last week that “Poles collaborated with the Nazis”.

Poland’s foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz had been chosen to take the prime minister’s place at the meeting on Monday and Tuesday but has now cancelled the Polish participation altogether.

Israel Katz, acting foreign minister in Israel, said in an interview on Sunday: “I am the son of Holocaust survivors.

Israel Katz got the acting foreign minister job on Sunday
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Israel Katz got the acting foreign minister job on Sunday

“The memory of the Holocaust is not something to compromise about. It is obvious. We will not forget, and we will not forgive.

“Poles collaborated with the Nazis, definitely. Collaborated with the Nazis. As (former Israeli prime minister) Yitzhak Shamir said – his father was murdered by Poles – he said that from his point of view they sucked antisemitism with their mothers’ milk.

“You can’t sugarcoat this history.”

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It was Mr Katz’s first interview since being made acting foreign minister on Sunday.

Mr Morawiecki called the comments “racist” and “completely unacceptable”.

Poland’s withdrawal has triggered the collapse of the summit with the four nations known as the Visegrad group. The Hungarian and Slovak prime ministers are already in Israel and bilateral talks will take place instead.

Mr Netanyahu had said the meetings would be an important step in his outreach to central European countries.

Many have pro-Israel governments, and he is relying on them to counter the criticism the nation faces in international forums.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel Katz was misquoted
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel Katz was misquoted

Mr Netanyahu’s comments came as he was asked about hosting delegations from countries like Lithuania and Ukraine who have taken part in selective Second World War commemorations, playing down their countries’ involvement.

The Israeli leader said he challenges those who try to revise history.

He said: “I know the history. I don’t starch it and I don’t whitewash it. In Lithuania, in particular, there were some horrible things. No one is concealing that.

“This whole idea that we diminish history – we don’t distort, and we don’t hide, and no one has any interest in that, on the contrary.”

During the briefing, Mr Netanyahu tried to deflect criticism over the deal he struck with Polish leaders on their Holocaust speech laws, which has criminalised blaming Poland for crimes against Jewish people in the Second World War.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at a V4 meeting earlier this year
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Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at a V4 meeting earlier this year

He said: “Poles collaborated with the Nazis and I don’t know anyone who was ever sued for such a statement.”

He was reported by some to have said “the Poles”, prompting fury.

Mr Netanyahu’s office said he had referred to “Poles and not the Polish people or the country of Poland”.

Poland was the first occupation of Adolf Hitler’s regime and never had a collaborationist government.

Members of the resistance in Poland struggled to warn the world about the mass killings and thousands of Poles risked their lives to help Jews.

However, Holocaust researchers have also collected evidence that shows Polish villagers murdered Jews as they fled the Nazis, and some preyed on Jews for financial gain.

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Firefighters in California rescue a mountain lion stuck in a tree | World News

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Firefighters have rescued a mountain lion that was stuck in a tree outside a home in the California desert.

The homeowner called for help after spotting the cougar close to his home near the edge of the San Bernardino mountains.

The big cat was perched on a branch about 15m (50ft) above ground.

The cougar was about 15m (50ft) above the ground. Pic: California Department of Fish and Wildlife
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The cougar was about 15m (50ft) above ground

State wildlife officials tranquillised the feline before San Bernardino County firefighters lowered the animal to the ground using a rescue harness.

The mountain lion was assessed by experts before being released back into the wild.

Rick Fischer, a warden for the State Department of Fish and Wildlife, said it was not uncommon for big cats to wander outside their habitat in the mountains nearby.

Attacks on humans remain rare – although the animals are known to prey on pets and livestock.

Experts say young mountain lions are known to wander outside their normal habit in an attempt to establish their territory.

Pic: California Department of Fish and Wildlife
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The animal was released back into the wild

Mr Fischer added: “Leaving the lion in the tree would not have been safe for the community.

“Once the lion regained consciousness we ensured he safely returned to his suitable habitat.”

The latest mountain lion incident comes days after a runner who was attacked by one of the animals in Colorado described how he wrestled it to the ground and jammed his foot on to its neck during a life-and-death struggle.

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British tourists ‘stocking up on euros’ as Brexit looms, figures suggest | UK News

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Britons are stocking up on euros ahead of Brexit, new figures suggest.

Post Office Travel Money says there has been “strong demand” among holidaymakers for the currency, with sales in 2019 up 3% so far compared with the same period last year.

Its figures also reveal there was a 5% surge in sales during November and December 2018 when compared with the final two months of 2017.

The data indicates that some tourists are considering changing sterling now to protect themselves against potential currency swings in the future.

However, sterling remains resilient against the euro – rising 2% compared with its position a year ago.

Sterling has strengthened particularly against the Turkish lira
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Sterling has strengthened particularly against the Turkish lira

Sterling has strengthened against 18 of the Post Office’s 40 bestselling currencies over the past 12 months – meaning British tourists are seeing their money go further.

This is especially true when it comes to Turkish lira, with tourists getting the equivalent of £98 extra when converting £500 than they would have done a year ago.

And today, British visitors to Iceland who change £500 to Icelandic krona will get the equivalent of £50 more than they would have done at this point in 2018.

Sterling has also strengthened against the South African rand, Swedish krona and the Russian rouble.

Andrew Brown, Post Office Travel Money expert, said: “There is little doubt that the strength of sterling will exert some influence on holiday choice in the coming months and that is why it is important for people to do their homework before booking.

“Our research has shown that over two-thirds of holidaymakers bust their budget by nearly £100 on their last trip abroad.

“Choosing a destination where sterling is performing best and where the cost of meals, drinks and other tourist staples is low could help to prevent that.”

Despite the strengthening of sterling against several countries, it has weakened against some long-haul destinations – including the US dollar, the Hong Kong dollar and the Thai baht.

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