Militants in Iraq freed four Jordanian and two Turkish drivers after taking them hostage to put pressure on their companies to stop working in the country, relatives and media said yesterday. \nThe four Jordanians, who were freed in the Iraqi town of Fallujah on Tuesday night, were to be handed over to Jordanian diplomats in Baghdad later yesterday, relatives said. \n"They are now staying in the home of Haji Ibrahim Mohammad in the town of Fallujah. They spent the night in his house after their release last night by their kidnappers," said Mohammad Hassan Abu Jafaar, the brother of Ahmad Hassan Abu Jafaar, one of the four drivers seized nine days ago. \nAl Jazeera television reported that a militant group linked to al-Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had released two Turkish drivers it was holding hostage because their companies had agreed to stop working in Iraq. \n"Due to the Turkish firm's decision to stop sending supplies to US forces in Iraq, the Tawhid and Jihad Group has decided to free the two Turkish hostages," said a videotaped statement from the group broadcast on the Arabic-language channel. \nIn Amman, a government source confirmed the release of the four Jordanians and said local mediators were making preparations for their handover to embassy officials in Baghdad. \nMaher Sinoqrut, brother of freed hostage Ahmad Sinoqrut, 26, credited tribal leaders and local elders, who were asked by Jordan to act as mediators, for securing their release. \nMaher said his brother had telephoned him on Tuesday night to say he had been freed and was in good health. \nA group calling itself the Death Squad of Iraqi Resistance said last Thursday it was holding the Jordanians to put pressure on their transport company to stop cooperation with US forces in Iraq. It also urged Arabs to pressure on governments to end support for the US-led forces. \nThe kidnappers were reported to have been pleased by a sit-in organized by the relatives urging US ally Jordan to end support for the US military campaign in Iraq and praising anti-American insurgents.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete