Arrest made in deadly New Zealand fire
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand police said Thursday they had arrested a man and charged him with two counts of arson in connection with the fire at a Wellington hostel that killed at least six people.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and they could file more serious charges in relation to the deaths at the scene. Earlier, police said they had launched a homicide investigation.
Police Inspector Dion Bennett said Thursday they are confident they're not seeking anybody else in connection with the fire.
The suspect, who was not immediately named by police, is scheduled to make his first appearance today at the Wellington District Court.
Earlier, police removed the first two bodies from the Loafers Lodge hostel and said they planned to remove the next two today. Bennett said it's possible they could find more victims as officers continue their scene examination.
"The damage on the third floor is significant," Bennett told reporters. "The debris is piled high, and there is much for them to move and search underneath."
Bennett declined to say if they had found accelerant or other evidence of criminal behavior at the scene.
Man jailed after Vatican gate rushed
ROME -- A car driven by someone with apparent psychiatric problems rushed through a Vatican gate Thursday evening and sped past Swiss Guards into a palace courtyard before the driver was apprehended by police, the Holy See said.
Vatican gendarmes fired a shot at the speeding car's front tires after it rushed the gate, but the vehicle managed to continue on its way, the Vatican press office said in a statement late Thursday.
Once the car reached the San Damaso Courtyard of the Apostolic Palace, the driver got out and was immediately arrested by Vatican gendarmes. The Vatican said the driver was about 40 years old and was in a "serious state of psychophysical alteration." He was being held in the Vatican barracks.
It wasn't clear whether Pope Francis was anywhere near the incident, which occurred after 8 p.m. at the Santa Anna gate, one of the main entrances to the Vatican City State in the heart of Rome.
Francis lives on the other side of Vatican City at the Santa Marta hotel, where at that hour he would normally be having dinner and retiring to his room. The Vatican statement said that as soon as the gendarmes sounded the alarm of an incursion, the main gate blocking access to the piazza in front of Francis' hotel was shut.
The incident was a rare incursion into the city state, much of which is off limits to the general public, especially at night.
Tab hits $200M for Elizabeth II's funeral
LONDON -- Queen Elizabeth II's funeral and lying-in-state last year cost Britain's government around $200 million, the treasury revealed Thursday.
The state funeral for the late monarch, held on Sept. 19, was the first in the U.K. since that of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965.
The occasion, attended by world leaders and dignitaries, followed 10 days of national mourning after the queen died at age 96 on Sept. 8 after 70 years on the throne.
Hundreds of thousands of people were drawn to London's Westminster Hall to see the United Kingdom's longest-serving monarch lying in state.
The costs were published Thursday as part of a written statement to Parliament.
"The government's priorities were that these events ran smoothly and with the appropriate level of dignity, while at all times ensuring the safety and security of the public," said John Glen, chief secretary to the treasury, in a statement.
Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, were both buried at St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.
Philip, who died in 2021 at 99 years old, chose not to lie in state and his funeral was a muted affair, because it was held under strict social distancing rules during the covid-19 pandemic.
Intensify search, China asks Australia
CANBERRA, Australia -- A Chinese envoy asked Australian authorities on Thursday to increase efforts to find survivors in the search for 39 crew members who were aboard a Chinese fishing boat that capsized in the Indian Ocean, as Chinese media reported two bodies had been recovered.
"We wish that they could send more -- more aircraft, more ships and more staff," Ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian told reporters. "We wish that our Australian colleagues would coordinate with other international or foreign vessels or ships near that area ... to help the search and rescue to save as many lives as possible."
Xiao said China wanted to coordinate with "friendly countries," including Australia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, in the search and rescue effort.
The search coordinator, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, said three aircraft and seven ships including three Chinese navy ships were involved in the search in the center of the Indian Ocean on Thursday. A Sri Lankan navy ship was also heading for the scene, the authority said in a statement.
Chinese authorities say the missing crew includes 17 from China, 17 from Indonesia and five from the Philippines.