Singed and raw, koalas are fighting for survival in hospital as bushfires sweep across Australia

In one of Port Macquarie Koala Hospital’s intensive care units "Flame" is climbing again for the fire time in weeks.

His fur is shorter than usual and brown in parts, telltale signs of his brush with death.

The koala, nicknamed by his rescuer, was brought in with burnt paws and a burnt nose, and patches of singed fur.

For about six weeks he huddled in his basket, but now he has enough strength to painstakingly ascend the branch frames in his room. He is sleeping today.

Located almost 390km north of Sydney, the koala hospital has seen a flood of patients as Australia’s wildfire crisis takes a heavy toll on the animals and their habitat. 

As ferocious blazes have destroyed  8.4 million hectares…

Booming Istanbul hair transplant scene dubbed an ‘epidemic’ by healthcare specialists

In the years leading up to his fortieth birthday, John Sullivan found himself glancing himself increasingly often in the mirror to monitor the retreat of his hairline. 

The British salesman still had a relatively full head of dark hair but was unsettled by the ever deeper Vs pushing back from his brow.   

So he made the same decision as hundreds of thousands of other men suffering from hair loss around the world: he booked a flight to Istanbul. 

Acting on the local advice of a Turkish client he paid 5,000 lira (£661) for a hair transplant at a clinic in the city’s Etiler neighbourhood. 

After several painful hours in the chair – hair is first plucked from the back of the head and then replanted…

Who was Qassim Soleimani? The shadowy Iranian general who undermined Washington for decades

His face was plastered on billboards across Iran and he was considered one of the most powerful figures in the Middle East.

Qassim Soleimani, killed on Friday morning by a US airstrike on his car at Baghdad airport, was a shadowy character about whom not much is known – except his astonishing influence.

The mastermind of Iran’s recent campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, Soleimani was the leader of the republic’s elite Quds force, a black-ops squadron whose objectives and tactics have long infuriated and compromised American policy in the region.

Charming, quiet and softly-spoken, he has been compared to Keyser Soze and the Scarlet Pimpernel. In 2015, The Wall Street Journal compared him to…

How a fateful July phone call led to Donald Trump’s impeachment vote

It began the day after Robert Mueller flopped. Dressed in a sober suit, the US special counsel investigating Russian election meddling finally broke his silence on July 24.

Appearing before a congressional committee, Mr Mueller walked congressmen and the public through the most damning findings in his report, answering questions about his investigation for the first time.

Democrats hoped the moment would be the film version of the Mueller Report, a chance for his stark conclusions – not least the litany of episodes uncovered of Mr Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice – to be hammered home for a television audience.

They were wrong. Mr Mueller’s performance defied his image as a ruthless Vietnam…

Democrat ‘to switch parties and oppose impeachment’ as Republicans rally round Trump before vote

A Democratic congressman is expected to switch party allegiances and vote against impeaching Donald Trump on Wednesday, joining Republican members who have rallied round the US president ahead of the historic decision. 

Jeff Van Drew, elected only last year in a traditionally Republican district in New Jersey, is reportedly set to cross the aisle either just before or after voting to reject the two articles of impeachment being debated on Wednesday. 

Mr Van Drew’s predicted defection has horrified his congressional staff, who have resigned en masse, but won acclaim from Mr Trump at this moment of grave political peril.

“Congressman Jeff Van Drew is very popular in our great and very united Republican Party,” Mr Trump tweeted, previewing a defection not yet formalised.

“It was a tribute to him that he was able to win his heavily Republican district as a Democrat. People like that are not easily replaceable!”

Jeff Van Drew was elected as a Democrat to the House of Representatives but is now expected to switch to the Republicans and vote against impeachment Credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans

Mr Van Drew has not commented publicly, but also not denied the widespread speculation about his defection. He faces a tough battle to hold onto his seat next year. 

The news gave Mr Trump a timely boost ahead of what is expected to be one of his darkest days in office – his formal impeachment by the US House of Representatives. 

Congressmen will debate two articles of impeachment on Wednesday, one of abuse of power and the other of obstruction of Congress. Both relate to Mr Trump’s behaviour in the Ukraine investigations scandal.

Mr Trump is all but certain to be impeached, given the Democrats have a majority in the House, making him only the third president in US history to suffer the ignominy.

Andrew Johnson, who took over the presidency after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, was impeached in 1868 after being seen as too sympathetic to the defeated Confederacy.

Bill Clinton was impeached after lying under oath about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in 1998. Richard Nixon, who faced an impeachment push, resigned before a vote was held.

Congressman Jeff Van Drew is very popular in our great and very united Republican Party. It was a tribute to him that he was able to win his heavily Republican district as a Democrat. People like that are not easily replaceable!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2019

Impeachment – a device included in the US Constitution for removing government officials – does not guarantee Mr Trump’s departure from office.

That decision will be taken by the Senate, which is preparing to hold a trial on the matter in January.

The chance of removal from office is slim given 67 of the 100 senators would need to support the move, meaning at least 20 Republicans would have to forgo their party allegiance and vote against the president.

Mr Trump’s fury at the impeachment push, which he has characterised as a “witch hunt” and repeatedly lashed out at in public, appears to have shored up any doubts among Republican congressmen.

All Republican members in the House are expected to vote against the articles of impeachment, while a handful of Democrat rebels – including Mr Van Drew – could join them in opposing the move. 

Failing to win a single Republican vote would weaken the Democratic leadership’s attempt to portray the impeachment drive as a necessary step to protect the country and above party politics.

The impeachment vote comes just thee months after an impeachment inquiry was called by the Democrats over Mr Trump’s attempt to secure politically helpful investigations from Ukraine.

It emerged that Mr Trump had urged Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy to launch an investigation into Joe Biden, the former US vice president he could face at the 2020 election, and Hunter Biden, Mr Biden’s son who worked for a Ukrainian gas company.

The abuse of power article accuses Mr Trump of harming the country’s interests for his own political benefit by holding back almost $400 million in military aid from Ukraine and the prospect of a White House meeting with Mr Zelenskiy to secure the investigations.

The obstruction of Congress article alleges Mr Trump ordered “without lawful cause or excuse” his government’s officials not to give testimony to the impeachment inquiry or hand over vital documents, undercutting the probe into his own conduct. 

Mr Trump and his allies have vehemently denied both claims. 

Pakistan court sentences former military ruler Pervez Musharraf to death for treason

A Pakistan court Tuesday sentenced former military ruler Pervez Musharraf in absentia to death for treason, state media reported, an unprecedented move in a country where the armed forces are often considered immune from prosecution.

"Special Court Islamabad has awarded death sentence to former President Pervez Musharraf in a high treason case," Radio Pakistan tweeted.

The case centres around Musharraf’s decision to suspend the constitution and impose emergency rule in 2007, according to his lawyer Akhtar Shah.

The controversial move ultimately sparked protests against Musharraf, leading to his resignation in the face of impeachment proceedings.

Musharraf has been in self-imposed exile ever since a travel ban was lifted in 2016 that allowed him to seek medical treatment abroad.

The emergency rule in 2007 sparked riots  Credit: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

The 76-year-old has since spent most of his time between Dubai and London.

"Musharraf wanted to record his statement and was ready to visit Pakistan but he wanted foolproof security which was not provided," lawyer Shah said.

"He is still in Dubai and sick."

Musharraf, who was born in India’s capital New Delhi but moved with his family to Pakistan at partition, took power after ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup in 1999.

A cigar-smoking, whisky-drinking moderate, the general became a key US ally in the "war on terror" and escaped at least three Al-Qaeda assassination attempts during his nine years in office.

His rule faced no serious challenges until he tried to sack the chief justice in March 2007, sparking nationwide protests and months of turmoil that led to the imposition of a state of emergency.

After the December 2007 assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the national mood soured further and he was left isolated by the crushing losses suffered by his allies in February 2008 elections.

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007 Credit: AP Photo/M.Zia

Following the court’s decision Tuesday, Bhutto’s son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari tweeted: "Democracy is the best revenge".

Musharraf finally in resigned in August 2008 the face of impeachment proceedings by the new governing coalition and went into exile.

He returned in 2013 in an attempt to contest elections but was barred from taking part in the polls and from leaving the country while facing a barrage of legal cases.

Tuesday’s ruling is the latest court decision to target Musharraf.

In 2017, a Pakistani court pronounced Musharraf a fugitive in the murder trial of Bhutto – the first woman prime minister of a Muslim country.

The anti-terrorism court has branded Musharraf an absconder and ordered the confiscation of his property.

Musharraf is alleged to have been part of a broad conspiracy to have his political rival killed before elections. He has denied the allegation.

Suspected killer of British businessman arrested in Argentina

A man sought by police in Argentina on suspicion of killing a British businessman outside a five star hotel has been arrested.

Angel Eduardo Lozano Azuaje, a 21-year-old Venezuelan, was intercepted by officers 1,000 miles north of Buenos Aires, on a bus heading towards Bolivia.

Police sources told Clarin newspaper that the suspect was captured after his girlfriend was interviewed by officials and reportedly provided key information on his whereabouts. 

After she was interviewed on Sunday, officers were able to locate the northbound bus on which he was travelling.

Police suspect that Lozano was one of the men filmed getting out of a grey Chevrolet outside the Fauna hotel, where Mr Gibbard was killed and his stepson Stefan Zone was injured.

Lozano and another man were arrested 1000 miles north of Buenos Aires Credit: La Nacion

Lozano had recently entered the country via Argentina’s northern border. He will be brought to Buenos Aires this morning. 

Police are still hunting more suspects, including the gang’s ‘marker’ – the individual tasked with observing tourists at Ezeiza airport, and choosing the victims of subsequent thefts.

Four suspects are already in custody, although it is understood that none of them were directly involved in the attack on Saturday.

One is thought to be the gang leader, who organised the logistics behind the operation, including arranging the cars and motorbikes.

Yesterday, it emerged that the gang held welcome signs in the airport arrivals hall as cover to spot wealthy tourists.

Property magnate Matthew Gibbard and his family arrived at Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires on Saturday morning, and were identified as targets because of their “high-end watches”, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice and Security in Argentina.

CCTV shows that they were followed to their five star hotel across town, where Mr Gibbard, 50, and his stepson Stefan Zone, 28 were held up and shot while trying to fight off their attackers.

Yesterday, Tom Hartley, a friend of Mr Gibbard’s described how the businessman enjoyed fast cars and helicopters.

“He was a petrol head and a big super car collector,” Mr Hartley told The Times. 

“He had at least half a dozen Ferraris. He used to fly his own helicopter too, which he kept at his home.”

On Sunday, the president, Alberto Fernandez branded the incident “atrocious” adding: “We must be severe, we cannot tolerate this."

Pablo Picasso masterpiece up for grabs for the price of a raffle ticket

Becoming an artist was the gamble of a lifetime for Pablo Picasso, who in the early days poverty and obscurity was forced to burn his own paintings just to stay warm.

But the Spanish genius rose from provincial penury to be the doyen of the Parisian art world, and ultimately harnessed his talent and international fame to aid the oppressed.

His family are now calling on the British people to also take a risk and, with their famed love of a flutter, gamble on the chance to win one of the great painter’s £1 million works for the cost of a  raffle ticket.

The Cubist pioneer’s descendants hope a Picasso could hang in a UK living room following a new prize draw, which seeks to raise almost £20 million for charity this Christmas.

Anyone who can front the cost of a £80 (€100) ticket could win a signed painting donated for the draw, and Picasso’s family are counting on the UK show solidarity with the painter, and indulge in a bet.

“People are able to spend one million, ten million, or one hundred million,” the artist’s grandson Olivier Picasso told The Daily Telegraph.  

“It’s the price of an emotion, it’s really something that you can feel when you are facing an artwork, in a museum or an art gallery.

“But this time maybe it’s a chance to have it in your living room.”

The Frenchman explained the temptation of this prospect to British art lovers: “Gambling is your national sport.”

Peri Cochin believes the prize draw is revolutionary  Credit: Patrick Gaillardin /Patrick Gaillardin 

The vast canvass of Guernica was toured around the world to highlight an atrocity in the Spanish Civil War, as Picasso belatedly politicised his genius to help others.  It is hoped that his paintings can again be put to use outside elegant galleries, this time for the impoverished communities of Africa

A 1921 work, titled Nature Morte,  featuring an obscured newspaper, has been selected for this task.  The painting, valued at £1 million, will be the prize for the charity draw, which anyone can enter for the cost of a ticket.  Proceeds will be invested in securing clean water.

“My grandfather was very concerned about helping people,” said his grandson, the child of the painter’s daughter Maya.  “He was very poor when he left Spain to come to Paris. He was obliged to burn some paintings just to put something in the fireplace.

Nature Morte be raffled off

“I think he would have been very happy, I hope he would have been proud.”

Olivier’s uncle Claude Picasso  called the Christmas project: “A way for our family to continue Picasso’s own commitment to the poor.”

The 1 Picasso for 100 Euros project is set to become an annual event, which inverts the soaring prices of the painter’s work, making them accessible, and wedded to charity.

“I think it’s quite revolutionary,” organiser Peri Cochin said in the Picasso Museum in Paris, where the prize painting currently hangs.

It is hoped British generosity could see it travel across the Channel.

Philippe Leveque, managing director of Care France, believes people can stand in charitable solidarity with Picasso.  Credit: Patrick Gaillardin /Patrick Gaillardin 

Ms Cochin said:  “It’s in their genes: if they can do something nice, I’m sure they can do it.”

She added on British tastes: “They bet on everything. Who’s going to win the football, everything.

“Here you have the generosity, and the chance to win a  great piece from a great painter.”

It is hoped that the 200,000 available raffle tickets will be sold to generate almost £20 million for Care, which with numeric neatness with help 200,000 people in Cameroon, Madagascar and Morocco.

Philippe Leveque, managing director of Care France, believes people can stand in charitable comradeship with the great artist.

"This is a chain of solidarity with Picasso," he said. 

The draw for the competition will take place at Christie’s in Paris on January 6.  Entrants for the draw can apply online.

British tourist shot and killed in Buenos Aires robbery

A British tourist has been killed outside a five star hotel in Argentina in an attempted robbery. A 50-year-old man and his son, 28, were both shot as they tried to enter the luxury Hotel Faena, in the heart of Buenos Aires’ Puerto Madero district, emergency services said.

They were intercepted by two men on a motorcycle who tried to rob them as they got out of a taxi, arriving at the hotel. The robbers, who had been circling the area, also had a support vehicle nearby.

The two Brits attempted to resist the theft and were shot in the struggle, authorities said. Emergency services arrived within minutes and took both to local Argerich hospital.

The father was shot in the armpit and suffered a haemorrage after the bullet entered his chest. He died of his wounds shortly afterwards. His son received a bullet to his left leg and is reportedly out of danger: the bullet missed his femoral artery.

The perpetrators escaped after the attack and police were still searching for them on Saturday.

The luxury Hotel Faena, where the shooting took place

Local police have closed off the area and security footage from the scene is being analysed in order to identify the motorcycle and the route of escape.

The hotel, which is party of the luxury Faena Group including a hotel in Miami, released a statement expressing "deepest condolences" and promising full support in the investigation.

Armed robberies tend to rise at this time of year in Buenos Aires, when tourists flood to the city for the warmer months.

In December last year, Swedish tourist Christoffer Persson was shot during an attempted robbery, and his leg subsequently amputated due to his injuries. In the same month, a US tourist was hospitalised after a violent assault during which his camera was stolen.

Puerto Madero, where the murder took place, is the redeveloped former city docks, hailed as one of the most successful urban regeneration projects in the world, attracting huge foreign investment, young professionals, and luxury tourism.

Bullets and blackout: inside four days of killing in Iran

Pouya Bakhtiari could barely contain his excitement as he sat in gridlocked traffic on the motorway between Tehran and his home city of Karaj. 

The 27-year-old Iranian engineer filmed on his mobile as motorists parked their cars in the middle of the busy roadway to protest a sudden hike in petrol prices pushed through by the government. 

Other drivers may have been frustrated but Pouya was thrilled by the open display of defiance against Iran’s rulers. “People, don’t miss this opportunity. Once and for all let’s destroy this criminal and corrupt regime,” he told the camera. 

As the minutes dragged on and the traffic did not budge, Pouya turned his phone towards the setting sun. “Here is a gorgeous…