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Hundreds of people have been protesting following the death of a child killed by a stray bullet during a police operation.

Agatha Sales Felix, eight, was shot in the back while she sat with her grandmother in a van in Rio de Janeiro’s Complexo do Alemao shantytown on Friday evening.

Police said officers had been nearby when they were “attacked from various locations and retaliated”, according to local news reports.

On Saturday, family blamed police for the death of the little girl, who was described by family members as “affectionate and sweet”.

Hundreds of residents of one of Rio de Janeiro's largest shantytowns marched Saturday to demand an end to the violence after an 8-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet during a police operation
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Police in Rio killed 731 people in the first five months of this year

Ailton Felix, Agatha’s grandfather, said: “The community, all the entire hill feels because we are residents, we are workers, we pay taxes, we are the life of this place. They [the police] just can’t arrive, see a minivan and shoot it, out of nothing, shoot it. Where’s their training?

“Where is Witzel who says police will be prepared? Prepared for what? If I’m with this (he held up a plastic water bottle) in my hand at night like this (by the hip) they will say it’s a gun and will shoot me.”

Wilson Witzel is the governor of Rio de Janeiro and an ally of Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who has promised more powers for police.

But many people blame him for an increase in the number of civilian deaths during police operations.

Hundreds of residents of one of Rio de Janeiro's largest shantytowns marched Saturday to demand an end to the violence after an 8-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet during a police operation
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Hundreds of people in the Rio de Janeiro’s favela demanded an end to violence

During protests on Saturday, people shouted “Justice! Justice!”.

Signs read: “Enough deaths”, “Favela lives matter” and “more schools, less shootings”.

A community leader told the crowd: “If we keep silent, tomorrow it will be me, it will be you, it will be your grandchild.”

Police in Rio killed 731 people in the first five months of this year, an increase of almost 20% compared to the same period last year, according to Rio’s Public Security Institute.

In July Mr Witzel, a former judge and military veteran, described the increase as “normal”, telling reporters: “We live in a situation of confrontation and the criminals are testing the limits of the police and the government”.

“Nobody wants to kill bandits. We want to arrest them,” he said. “But they need to know we are going to act with rigour. When we arrive, they either surrender, or die.”

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Lesbian kiss row: Wedding-planning site hits out at Hallmark for pulling adverts | Ents & Arts News

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A wedding planning website has refused to advertise on the Hallmark Channel again after it scrapped commercials featuring two brides kissing at the altar.

The network removed the adverts following a complaint by One Million Moms – a conservative group linked with the American Family Association.

Zola had submitted six adverts, four of which featured a lesbian couple.

After Hallmark axed those, but not the two featuring only opposite-sex couples, Zola pulled its remaining adverts.

“The only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved was that the commercials that did not meet Hallmark’s standards included a lesbian couple kissing,” said Mike Chi, Zola’s chief marketing officer.

“All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark,” he said.

The decision was also met with anger by a number of US celebrities.

Ellen DeGeneres asked Hallmark: “Isn’t it almost 2020? What are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.”

Ellen DeGeneres also defended the royal couple
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Ellen DeGeneres questioned the decision

Actress Sandra Bernhard, who played one of the first openly bisexual characters on network TV in Roseanne also criticised Hallmark’s decision.

“All the groovy gay ladies i know won’t be watching your Christmas schlock,” she wrote on Twitter, addressing Hallmark.

“They’ll be out celebrating with their “families”, wives, children, friends on & on & getting married in chic ensembles. Didn’t you all get the memo? Family is all inclusive.”

In one of the adverts for Zola, two brides stand at the altar and discuss whether their wedding would go more smoothly if they had used a planning site before sharing a kiss.

Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark, said: “The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value.

“The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. We don’t want to generate controversy, we’ve tried very hard to stay out of it… we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.”

Ms Biwer said One Million Moms had complained about the adverts to Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, Hallmark’s parent company.

A post on the group’s website said that Mr Abbott “reported the advertisement aired in error”.

The group also wrote: “The call to our office gave us the opportunity to confirm the Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family-friendly network.”

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White Island volcano death toll rises to 16 as victim dies in Australia hospital | World News

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The death toll from the volcanic eruption on White Island has reached 16 after another victim died in hospital in Australia.

At least 19 other people remain in hospital following Monday’s eruption on the New Zealand island, also known as Whakaari.

It comes as recovery teams failed in their latest efforts to locate two remaining bodies.

The divers were unable to locate the two missing bodies and returned to the mainland where they underwent decontamination
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They returned to the mainland where they underwent decontamination

Authorities said eight police search and rescue staff were deployed for 75 minutes to an area where reports suggested one body could be.

“I can say we have found no further bodies in that area,” Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement told reporters.

On Friday, six bodies were successfully retrieved from the island by a New Zealand military team and taken to the mainland for disaster victim identification.

Aerial view of the White Island volcano erupting, in New Zealand. Pic: Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust
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Aerial view of the White Island volcano erupting, in New Zealand. Pic: Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust

Police have said they remained committed to recovering the two bodies and that police and military divers were continuing to scour the waters around the island.

“Everyone went out there absolutely desperate to find bodies and return them to loved ones,” Mr Clement said.

The volcano, a popular destination for day-trippers, erupted on Monday, spewing ash, steam and gases over the island.

Among the 47 people on the island at the time were Australian, US, German, Chinese, British and Malaysian tourists.

Police have begun formally releasing the names and nationalities of those killed, with 21-year-old Australian Krystal Browitt the first person identified.

On Sunday, police also released the names of New Zealander Tipene Maangi and Australians Zoe Hosking, Gavin Dallow and Anthony Langford.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called on New Zealanders to observe a minute’s silence in memory of victims of the disaster at 2.11pm on Monday – exactly one week on from the eruption.

Ms Ardern and her cabinet will pause in silence during their regular meeting at parliament in Wellington.

Krystal Eve Browitt was a 21-year-old veterinary nurse from Melbourne. Pic: Facebook/Krystal Eve Browitt
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Krystal Eve Browitt was a 21-year-old veterinary nurse from Melbourne. Pic: Facebook/Krystal Eve Browitt

“Wherever you are in New Zealand or around the world, this is a moment we can stand alongside those who have lost loved ones in this extraordinary tragedy,” she said.

“Together we can express our sorrow for those who have died and been hurt and our support for their grieving families and friends.”

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Hertha Berlin U16 team walks off pitch after players ‘racially abused’ by opponents | World News

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Hertha Berlin’s under-16 team has walked off the pitch during a game after its players were allegedly racially abused by opposition players.

The German club’s officials informed the referee of the alleged abuse and decided to stop playing in the 68th minute while leading 2-0 against regional rivals Auerbach.

The Bundesliga club says in a statement on its website that it took the decision “because we as Hertha BSC condemn racism and discrimination in every form”.

On Twitter, the club said: “There are times when football doesn’t come first. Racism has no place in our society.”

Executive board member Paul Keuter called it “the only correct decision, not to continue with the game”.

Jessic Ngankam (L) of Hertha BSC and Tim Sechelmann (R) of Borussia Dortmund
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Jessic Ngankam (L) in action for Hertha BSC

Hertha under-23 player Jessic Ngankam said he was targeted with monkey chants and called an “ape” by an opposing player during his side’s fourth division game against Lokomotive Leipzig on 6 December.

“Insults are unfortunately an everyday occurrence in football, and I can put up with them. But racist abuse is a no-go,” the 19-year-old said.

Both Hertha and Lokomotive condemned the alleged abuse.

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