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12 crew killed in boat hijack

TWELVE Chinese crew members on two boats plying the Mekong River were killed by suspected drug traffickers, who hijacked their ships to smuggle speed pills worth ¤2.3m.

The China Daily newspaper said the boats were hijacked last Wednesday. The bodies were found near Chiang Rai in north Thailand on Friday and Saturday. Most of the victims had been bound and blindfolded with adhesive tape and shot. One crew member is missing.

Hurricane Jova gaining power

Hurricane Jova is gaining strength out in the eastern Pacific Ocean, say forecasters.

The US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said that Jova had sustained winds of 90mph, was centred about 305 miles south-west of Manzanillo, Mexico, and it was moving east.

Forecasters expect Jova could become a major hurricane by tonight or tomorrow.

Qantas staff call off strike

QANTAS Airways's engineers have called off threatened strike action that would have hit up to 11,000 passengers.

Engineers had been due to start a four-day strike today, affecting over 40 flights.

The move comes amid a bitter climate in the company, with unions claiming that death threats made against Qantas boss Alan Joyce and top executives could be the airline's own PR stunt.