Heroin found in swords
Police said on Wednesday they had found heroin worth more than US$1 million that had been smuggled into the country from Pakistan in the hollowed-out blades of 25 antique sword replicas. They made the discovery after raiding the apartment of a British man who had died earlier from a drug overdose along with a woman of unknown nationality in a hotel room in Copenhagen. Detectives found 740g of heroin of 70 percent purity in the metro-long engraved blades of the decorative swords. "The blades were the last place we thought to look and it was a surprising place to find the drugs," said Ole Wagner of the drugs squad.
Retiree flushes fortune
A German pensioner flushed bundles of old banknotes worth a small fortune down the toilet because he thought they were now worthless, police in the northern city of Kiel said on Thursday. "He flushed the cash down the loo because he didn't think it was worth anything," said police spokesman Uwe Voigt. Police said he dumped some DM60,000 -- which the euro replaced in 2002 -- into the bowl, unaware they could still be exchanged for about 30,000 euros (US$37,000). Sewage workers recovered about half the sodden currency from the 64-year-old's plumbing. The remaining notes created a bottleneck in local sewers, where most were fished out.
Nation hopes to broker talks
The government said on Thursday it was hoping to spearhead an initiative to bring Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert together for direct talks. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in Cairo: "We are working towards the establishment of negotiations and to halt one-sided Israeli measures." Referring to Olmert's plans to determine Israel's final border with the West Bank without peace talks, Aboul Gheit said "one-sided" measures would further complicate the situation in the region and hinder a comprehensive solution to the conflict.
Opposition launches party
The supporters of Vice President Atiku Abubakar launched a political party on Thursday to oppose President Olusegun Obasanjo's alleged plan to run for re-election next year. The Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD) was formed by Atiku allies who left the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) when Obasanjo supporters launched a bid to amend the Constitution to allow him to run for a third term. Atiku wants to contest next year's presidential election and he has been rallying opponents of Obasanjo. ACD members include the former national chairman of the PDP Audu Ogbeh, the former speaker of the lower house Ghali Umar Na'Abba, legislators and some former ministers.
S Africa asked to mediate
Burundi's government has asked South Africa to mediate in peace talks with its only remaining rebel group, an official said on Thursday, after negotiations scheduled in Tanzania this week failed to begin. In an attempt to bring lasting peace to a country scarred by a 12-year civil war, President Pierre Nkurunziza said this month talks with the Hutu Forces for National Liberation would focus on getting the rebels to join new security forces. Tanzania has taken the lead in wooing the FNL to the bargaining table, but South Africa has long led Burundi's peace negotiations.