World news in brief: Cargo ship and chemical tanker are hijacked off the coast of Somalia
A cargo ship and a chemical tanker have both been hijacked by pirates in the perilous waters off the coast of Somalia, bringing to four the number of ships seized in the past week, officials said yesterday.
The multiple hijackings indicate that piracy remains a serious problem a year after an international naval armada began deploying off Somalia to protect shipping.
The British-flagged Asian Glory was taken late last Friday roughly 1,000km east of Somalia, said Commander John Harbour, a spokesman with the European Union task force charged with combating piracy off Somalia.
The same day, the Singaporean-flagged Pramoni, a chemical tanker with a crew of 24, was seized by pirates in the heavily defended Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest waterways.
Blow for Karzai over cabinet nominees
Afghanistan's parliament dealt a stinging rebuke to President Hamid Karzai yesterday by rejecting 70 per cent of his nominees for a new cabinet.
The vote, in which 17 of 24 nominees were turned down, presents Mr Karzai with a severe challenge as he tries to get his second term in office into full swing.
Among those rejected were the incumbent women's affairs minister -- the only female in the cabinet -- and the incumbent energy minister, a warlord from a western province.
Avalanche in French Alps kills three
AN avalanche has killed three people skiing off-trail in the French Alps. Mountain police in the town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice say the three were buried under an avalanche in the French ski station of Les Arcs.
French media say one victim was a ski instructor.
Brazilian mudslides and floods kill 64
Rescue crews yesterday intensified the search for victims at a plush Brazilian beach resort ravaged by mudslides and flooding that have killed at least 64 people.
Firefighters waded through mountains of mud and sifted through the remains of a lodge and homes that were destroyed in the early hours of last Friday when a hillside collapsed in the luxury beach resort of Angra dos Reis, removing 35 bodies, authorities said.
Angra dos Reis, the nearby island of Ilha Grande and other towns on the southern coast of Rio de Janeiro state are a magnet for local and foreign tourists over the New Year's holiday.
Iran urged to free Bin Laden daughter
Saudi Arabia urged Iran yesterday to allow a daughter of Osama bin Laden, who fled house arrest and sought refuge in the Saudi embassy in Tehran, to leave the country if she wishes.
Iman bin Laden and five siblings had been held in Tehran since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Iman, 17, escaped during a rare trip outside in November and made her way to the embassy. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a news conference in Riyadh that Iman should be allowed to leave Iran.
Islamic cleric arrested in Kenya
A human rights official says a Jamaican-born Islamic cleric once deported from the UK has been arrested by Kenyan anti-terror police.
Abdullah el-Faisal was arrested last Friday in Mombasa after he left a mosque, says Al-Amin Kimathi, executive coordinator of the Muslim Human Rights Forum. Police told el-Faisal he had violated the terms of his tourist visa by preaching in mosques.
The cleric was sentenced to nine years in British jail in 2003 after being convicted of incitement to murder an stirring racial hatred by urging followers to kill Hindus Jews and Americans.
Hole-in-the-wall thief steals watches
A THIEF bored a hole through the wall of jewellery shop and walked off with 200 luxury watches worth €2.8m in Tokyo's upscale Ginza district, police said yesterday.
Investigators discovered a 40 to 50cm hole in one of the store's walls, said a spokesman for Tokyo Police.
Last February, €450,000 in jewellery was stolen from another Ginza store through a hole in a concrete wall. It was not clear whether the two thefts were linked.
Swedish hunt keeps wolf from door
Sweden is licensing the hunting of wolves for the first time in nearly 45 years to keep the population at a controllable level. The near-month-long hunt began yesterday and allows the killing of a total of 27 wolves.
Susanna Lovgren, of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, says the hunt follows a parliamentary decision to keep Sweden's wolf population below 210.