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Ban overturned on Polish independence march by nationalists

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Media captionThese were the scenes in 2017 when a nationalist march and counter-protest took place in Warsaw

A Polish court has overturned a ban on a nationalist march in Warsaw to mark 100 years of Poland's independence.

"We're victorious," said the organisers of the annual event, which has become a magnet for the far right and has been marked by violence in recent years.

The ruling comes a day after Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz barred the rally, saying the city had suffered enough from "aggressive nationalism".

After the ban, President Andrzej Duda vowed to organise an official march.

"Everyone is invited, come only with red-and-white flags," he said, referring to the march that was expected to follow the same route as the nationalist rally – only starting one hour later.

The president warned that anyone carrying the kind of offensive banners seen last year would be dealt with by the police.

  • 60,000 join nationalist march in Poland

Why are nationalist marches controversial?

Although the yearly event is popular with thousands of ordinary, patriotic Poles, including supporters of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, it is partly organised by the far-right National Radical Camp (ONR).

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption In 2015, some participants carried a banner that read Poland for Poles – Poles for Poland

Among the Polish flags last year were smoke bombs, along with racist and anti-Semitic chants and banners. Some of the marchers were far-right agitators from other countries including the UK and Italy.

A smaller counter-protest attracted some 2,000 people.

The march was cited in a European Parliament resolution last month, which called for a ban on neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups.

  • Poland defies EU over judge appointments

What did the mayor say?

Ms Gronkiewicz-Waltz, a member of the opposition Civic Platform party, explained that security on Sunday was a concern and her appeals to the government for help had fallen on deaf ears.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The mayor complained that no charges had been brought against people who had broken laws at last year's march

Strike action by police would also make it difficult to secure the event properly, she said, and Warsaw had suffered historically from aggressive nationalism under German occupation.

"Poland's 100th anniversary of independence shouldn't look like this, hence my decision to forbid it," she said. Poland's second republic was established on 11 November 1918 at the end of World War One, after more than a century of rule by Prussia, the Austro-Hungarian empire and Russia.

  • Poland country profile

Ms Gronkiewicz-Waltz also complained that no charges had been brought against people who had broken laws at last year's march.

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California fires: Winds propel fires as death toll rises

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Media captionCalifornia wildfires continue to rage

Strong winds have been fuelling California's deadly fires as search-and-rescue teams begin the grim task of searching for bodies among the ashes.

Winds of up to 40mph (64km/h) are expected throughout Tuesday in the state's south, where the Woolsey Fire is threatening some 57,000 homes.

Firefighters in the north are still battling the Camp Fire, which has left at least 42 people dead.

Meanwhile, two new fires began in the south on Monday.

They started within minutes of each other. The smaller of the two has since been put out, news agency Reuters reports.

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  • 'Three minutes separated me from death'

In the north, the Camp Fire, which has destroyed more than 7,600 homes, surpassed the 1933 Griffith Park disaster to become the deadliest in California's history after 13 more bodies were found, bringing the total killed to 42. The earlier tragedy left 31 dead.

Many more people are said to be unaccounted for, with coroner-led search teams preparing to comb the largely incinerated town of Paradise on Tuesday.

Three portable morgues, specialist dog units, forensic anthropologists and a "disaster mortuary" have been requested to help with the operation, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea told reporters on Monday.

Further south, the Woolsey Fire has so far killed two people as it damaged beach resorts including Malibu, a favourite with the rich and famous – bringing the state-wide death toll to 44.

Around 9,000 firefighters have been tackling the fires, with 16 other states sending crew and resources to help.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Many of the town's 26,000 residents have had their homes devastated

More than 300,000 locals have been forced to flee their homes across California.

US President Donald Trump has declared a "major disaster" in the state, making federal aid available to affected residents.

Authorities are investigating the cause of the wildfires.

What's the latest on the Camp Fire?

Paradise and its surrounding areas bore the brunt of the Camp Fire – the largest blaze – which started in a nearby forest on Thursday.

Some bodies were found in gutted cars that were overrun by the fast-moving fire, as residents scrambled to evacuate overnight.

Sorrell Bobrink, a Paradise resident who managed to drive away with her child, told BBC World Service radio she was first woken up and alerted by a phone call from a friend.

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Media captionParadise resident Sorrell Bobrink describes 'apocalyptic' scenes

She described the scene as "exactly like any apocalyptic movie I have ever seen" and said she did not know if she was driving towards death or out of harm's way as the sky blackened.

"I had to drive through the fire – it was awful. It was probably the most awful experience I will have in my life," she told the Newsday programme.

"It was traumatising, we will be traumatised for a long time. My whole community was traumatised – I can't watch the videos anymore because I actually went through it."

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Many of the victims are believed to have been elderly residents or people with mobility issues who would find evacuating more difficult.

Forensic experts are stepping up their search in the ruins of Paradise, but officials warn that finding the bodies could take weeks.

Dogs are being brought in by local police to try and locate the dead, and two mobile army morgues will be used to help identify them.

The fire has burned around 125,000 acres (50,500 hectares) and is about 30% contained, fire officials said.

What about further south?

The separate Woolsey Blaze started on Thursday near Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles (64km) north-west of central Los Angeles.

It has consumed nearly 94,000 acres and destroyed around 435 buildings, officials said. It is around 35% contained, up slightly from earlier in the day. The smaller Hill Fire, nearby, has scorched 4,530 acres and is reportedly about 90% contained.

Luxury homes in Malibu and other beach communities are among the properties destroyed.

The nearby city of Calabasas, home to well-known celebrities, remains under a mandatory evacuation order.

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Why are the fires so bad?

Historically, California's "wildfire season" started in summer and ran into early autumn, but experts have warned that the risk is now year-round.

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Media captionWith wildfires occurring across the globe, here are some of the techniques used to stop them

The California Public Utilities Commission is investigating what sparked the latest blazes – amid reports electrical companies may have suffered malfunctions near the sources shortly before the fires began.

Low humidity, warm Santa Ana winds, and dry ground after a rain-free month have produced a prime fire-spreading environment.

The state's 40-million-strong population also helps explain the fires' deadliness. That number is almost double what it was in the 1970s, and people are living closer to at-risk forest areas.

And then there's climate change. Recent years have produced record-breaking temperatures, earlier springs, and less reliable rainfall.

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Citing the role of a warming climate, California Governor Jerry Brown declared: "This is not the new normal, this is the new abnormal."

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