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A balcony collapsed near the University of California’s Berkeley campus killing 5 Irish students and injuring nine others have been injured.

Police found debris on the street below after an emergency call at 01:00 local time on June 16.

Officers arriving at the scene found that the balcony on the fourth floor of an apartment building on Kittredge Street, near the University of California, Berkeley, had collapsed.

The students are believed to have been holding a birthday party at the time, Irish officials said, but the cause of collapse is unknown.

They were believed to be in the US on temporary worker visas.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Photos taken at the scene appear to show a balcony on the fourth floor of the building fallen to the balcony on the floor below.

Berkeley Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Coats said that many of those hurt have life-threatening injuries.

Officer Jennifer Coats said that the police were still investigating and that she did not have any information on what the people were doing on the balcony at the time.

Four of the victims died at the scene and another died in hospital, said Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan.

“It is with great sadness that I confirm that a number of young Irish citizens have lost their lives,” Charlie Flanagan said, “while a number of others have been seriously injured following the collapse of a balcony in Berkeley.”

He said another eight or nine people who were injured in the incident were Irish students as well.

The identities of the victims are not yet being released, pending family notification.

Irish President Michael Higgins said that he had “heard with the greatest sadness of the terrible loss of life of young Irish people and the critical injury of others in Berkeley, California today”.

He said his heart goes out to the families and their loved ones.

The Irish consul general in San Francisco is helping those affected and there is an Irish helpline (+353 1 418 0200).

The building has apartments in the upper floors and shops on the ground floor.

Missouri police have clashed with protesters in St Louis after an officer shot dead a black teenager close to where another black youth, Michael Brown, was killed in August sparking national protests.

A crowd of about 100 gathered at the scene in St Louis early on December 24 after scuffles the night before.

Police said the man who was shot, Antonio Martin, 18, had pointed a gun at the police officer.

For weeks there have been widespread protests over alleged police brutality.

Berkeley is about 2 miles from the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by a white officer.

St Louis County police chief Jon Belmar said a police officer was responding to a call about a theft when he saw Antonio Martin and another man at a petrol station in North Hanley Road and approached them.

He said that Antonio Martin pointed a handgun at the officer, and the officer responded by firing three shots. One of the shots hit Antonio Martin, he said.

Photo AP

Photo AP

The officer “responded with what he thought was commensurate force at the time”, Col. Jon Belmar said, adding that “most of us would feel in imminent danger of losing our lives at that point”.

Col. Jon Belmar described the incident as “a tragedy for everybody”, and said a prosecutor had been assigned to investigate the case.

“Our hearts certainly go out to the family, but bad choices were made,” he added.

“This individual [Antonio Martin] could have complied with the officer; he could have run away; he could have dropped the gun. Things did not have to end with him approaching an officer with a 9mm pistol in his hand.”

Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins said that both the city and St Louis County would hold independent investigations.

The incident could not be compared with the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Theodore Hoskins said, adding: “The video shows that the deceased pointed a gun… at the officer.”

Between 200 and 300 people gathered at the scene after the incident, Col. Jon Belmar said, adding that bricks were thrown at police officers, and three explosive devices set off.

Four people had been arrested for assaulting police officers, he said.

Police are releasing video footage of the run-up to the shooting, and an image of the second man, who fled the scene.

The handgun said to belong to Antonio Martin has been recovered by police.

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Heavy rains and high winds slammed northern California leaving more than 220,000 people without power.

The storm brought rainfall of more than an inch an hour in San Francisco and winds gusts of 140mph in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Flooding has already closed two major motorways in the area, delayed public transport, cancelled 240 flights and shut ferry services.

The rain is much needed in the drought-hit state but mudslides are a concern.

Power cuts were widespread, from the suburban area south of San Francisco to Humboldt, near the Oregon border.

National Weather Service forecaster Diana Henderson said: “It’s a two-pronged punch – it’s wind and rain.

“Once the ground gets saturated and the winds are howling, there’s a bigger chance of trees going down on power lines.”California storm December 2014

There were multiple vehicle accidents but no series injuries.

Rain and floods also led to rare weather-related school closures for students in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz County.

Some 240 flights at San Francisco’s airport were cancelled and delays averaged two hours, said a spokesman.

In Santa Cruz, a young child was trapped after an 80ft (24m) tree fell on his arm and shoulder,

Rescuers with chain saws cut it apart and the student was taken to hospital in a good condition.

In the small town of Healdsburg, cars were stalled in heavily flooded streets.

However, surfers welcomed forecast of waves as high as 15ft and unseasonably warm temperatures near San Francisco Bay and ski resorts in the northern Sierra Nevada were hoping for more than two feet of snow.

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