Three Georgian soldiers have been killed and five wounded in clashes in Georgia's separatist region of South Ossetia, Rustavi 2 television reported early yesterday, quoting an unnamed official with the Georgian interior ministry. \nOnly one of the wounded could be evacuated from the combat zone, due to the intensity of the overnight fighting between Georgian and South Ossetian forces, Rustavi 2 said. \nGeorgian and South Ossetian forces overnight accused each other of trying to storm the other side's positions in the breakaway region. \nSouth Ossetia's deputy defense minister late Tuesday said Georgian forces were mounting an assault on a village near the Ossetian capital Tskhinvali, Interfax news agency reported. \n"Two Georgian armored units and a large quantity of infantry are attacking the village of Sarabuk," as well as other Ossetian positions nearby, Ibragim Gassiyev said. Georgian forces also shelled Tskhinvali, Gassiyev added early Wednesday. \nBut the local head of Georgian police told reporters that Ossetian forces were trying to storm a road linking villages populated by ethnic Georgians in South Ossetia to mainland Georgia. \n"The Ossetians are launching an assault on this road. We are trying to return fire," Aleko Sukhitashvili said. \nGeorgia's defense minister said that, following the overnight fighting, there was no way Tbilisi would withdraw its forces from the conflict zone. \n"After this night's shooting and attacks, there can be no question of any withdrawal of Georgian forces from the zone of conflict," Interfax quoted Georgi Baramidze as saying. \nEarlier Tuesday, a Georgian soldier was killed and three others were wounded as both Georgian and South Ossetian officials blamed an unnamed "third hand" for stoking the conflict. \n"Today military from both sides looked for the so-called `batmen' in the conflict zone," said Lev Mironov, a Russian representative in a joint commission trying to mediate the conflict. \n"They need to be captured by joint efforts and be put behind bars or destroyed," Mironov said. \nBaramidze said that "there is a well-prepared armed group of about 15-20 people in the conflict zone -- the South Ossetian side agrees with this. During the night they shoot at positions of both sides, trying to provoke all-out war." \nSaid South Ossetian representative Boris Chochiyev: "There is a third side that wants war and we must neutralize them together with Russian peacekeepers." \nThe spiraling violence in the volatile region prompted Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili to call for international peacekeepers to provide security for civilians and ensure that conditions for talks on a permanent settlement were met. \n"An international peacekeeping operation that is balanced and takes into consideration Georgia's Euro-Atlantic partners should be mandated in South Ossetia to provide security for the population and ensure the conditions for political negotiations towards a lasting settlement," Saakashvili said in an op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal Europe. \nTuesday's clashes also led to a telephone conversation between US Secretary of State Colin Powell and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, as US diplomats met with Russian and Georgian officials in an effort to cool tensions, according to the Russian foreign ministry.
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
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
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
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies