Tuesday 12 December 2017

Iran's Revolutionary Guards 'kill bandits' in hostage rescue operation

IRAN'S Revolutionary Guards are reported to have rescued all six people who were taken hostage in a restive south-eastern province, killing some of the 'bandits' who were holding them.

Five soldiers and a bank employee were seized from a bus in the early hours of Thursday in Sistan-Baluchestan, an impoverished area bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The region is a hotspot for militants of Jundollah, a Sunni Muslim rebel group which killed 28 people in a suicide bombing in a mosque there in July.

The province's top security official, Hadi Marashi, said he did not believe the kidnappers were Jundollah members but that he feared they might sell the captives on to the group.

He also denied reports that any high-ranking military officials were among those taken.

Torrential rains cause Slovenian floods

THE Slovenian Environmental Agency says torrential rains have caused rivers across the country to burst their banks, flooding some areas, prompting the evacuation of a village and forcing the closure of some roads into the capital, Ljubljana.

The agency said yesterday that in the town of Lasko, 50km north of Ljubljana, a cultural centre, a spa and police stations were flooded.

Several families were evacuated in the region of Zagorje and a kindergarten and three factories were flooded. In Ziri, 30km west of Ljubljana, a river flooded buildings in the town's old quarter.

Far-right holds key to Swedish polls

SWEDEN'S centre-right government is expected to win re-election today. However, a strong showing by the far-right might leave the ruling alliance short of an overall majority, thus rewriting the country's political map.

Two opinion polls on the eve of polling showed the result of the election teetering on a knife edge, with the government struggling to secure a wafer-thin parliamentary majority.

However, a third poll showed that although the four-party alliance would win, the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats would end up holding the balance of power.

Two of the three polls showed the Sweden Democrats getting seats in parliament for the first time ever. Prime Minister Reinfeldt has called on Swedes to vote tactically in order to keep out the far-right.

Voters face a choice today between the centre-right, which offers a leaner welfare model and cuts in income taxes, and a centre-left that wants the rich to pay more towards schools, hospitals and care for the elderly.

Al-Qaeda fighters killed in Mauritania

MAURITANIAN military forces killed 12 members of al-Qaeda's north African wing and suffered two casualties during fighting in the desert border zone flanking Mali, a Mauritanian security source said yesterday.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is the chief suspect in Thursday's kidnapping of seven foreigners, including five French citizens, in Niger. However, two separate security sources in the region said the latest fighting was unrelated.

Muslims to discuss New york centre

A summit of US Muslim organisations is scheduled to begin today in New York City to address the issue of an Islamic centre near Ground Zero and a rise in anti-Muslim sentiments and rhetoric that has accompanied the nationwide debate over the project.

It has yet to be seen whether the groups will emerge with a firm stand on the proposed community centre, dubbed Park51. The primary purpose of the meeting is to talk about ways to combat religious bigotry.

Top UK doctor faces disciplinary panel

THE former chairman of the British Medical Association is to face a disciplinary panel, accused of professional misconduct. Dr James Johnson, 64, a vascular surgeon, is accused of not making his patients aware of the potential risks and benefits of surgery.

The surgeon, who practises at the Halton NHS hospital in Runcorn, Cheshire, will have to give evidence at the General Medical Council hearing in Manchester.

Some of his operations were allegedly "not surgically appropriate, in the patients' interests or performed correctly," a summary of the charges states. The hearing will start on Monday and is due to finish in November.

Sunday Independent

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