Man mistakenly shot
NATO-led troops mistakenly shot and killed a man in the south of the country, believing he was a suicide bomber, the alliance said in a statement. The victim was shot as he ran between vehicles of a military convoy that had stopped near Kandahar's military airfield, the statement from NATO's International Security Assistance Force said on Saturday. "A gunner on one of the vehicles flashed a light at the individual after he kept moving toward the convoy, then fired warning shots," statement said. "When the individual failed to stop, ISAF forces fired upon him." The man was taken to a military hospital for treatment but died of his wounds, the statement said.
Drought threatens prices
The cost of wine is set to soar after droughts, frosts, bush fires and swarms of locusts have plagued vineyards and reduced production by up to 30 percent. "The drought has been the worst in living memory," said Bill Hardy of Hardy's, the country's bestselling wine brand. "We are seeing grape prices creep up, particularly on varieties such as pinot noir and sauvignon blanc, of which Australia only has a small amount, but which are growing in popularity." The news will hit the wine industry hard.
Yellow River to be restocked
Six million fish will be released each year into the Yellow River from next year to boost fish stocks seriously depleted by pollution and over-fishing, the state-owned Xinhua news agency said yesterday. The country has invested 3 million yuan (US$350,000) in a farm on the upper reaches of the river in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which will supply 5 million carp and 1 million catfish each year, the agency quoted local officials as saying. More than two decades of rapid industrialization have taken place at a high cost to the environment. Many cities are shrouded in smog and half of the country's rivers are severely polluted, according to the government.
Fireworks injure 100
At least 125 people were injured setting off Lunar New Year fireworks yesterday in Beijing, where the noisy tradition has made a comeback after a ban was lifted, state media said. The official Xinhua news agency cited police as blaming the injuries on shoddy firecrackers that had flooded into the capital city this year. The fireworks were part of celebrations marking the start of the Lunar New Year which began yesterday. Xinhua described three of the injuries as serious; one person's eyes had to be removed.
Ceremony to continue
Pakistani troops will continue an aggressive military ceremony at a border crossing with rival India because it is a tradition and attracts tourists, officials said on Saturday. Indian border guards announced in November they would tone down their ceremony performed every evening at the Wagah border post amid warming relations between the nuclear-armed South Asia rivals. But the chief of Pakistan's paramilitary frontier force said the furious goose step and slamming of gates by his soldiers when the border closed for the night was an important tradition. "It is not hostility but a tradition to pay utmost respect to the flag and it will continue," Major General Javid Zia said.
Tonnes of tacos
A group of businessmen in the northern city of Chihuahua broke a tasty record, making a hunk of pork on a skewer big enough to serve 24,000 tacos. In the event on Friday dubbed "Tacoton," the pastor taco, a variety of the Mexican dish made with pork cooked on a rotisserie, weighed 3.5 tonnes and was 4m high, the Mexican state news agency Notimex reported. The Guinness Book of Records recognized the hunk of meat as the world's "largest skewer of kebab meat," Notimex reported. Portions were sold with a drink for US$1 a piece to hungry spectators, with proceeds going to a home for abandoned children, Notimex said.
■ United Kingdom
Duckling has adult legs
Webbed feet run in Stumpy's family, but he's the first to have four of them. A rare mutation has left the eight-day-old duckling with two nearly full-sized legs behind the two he runs on. Nicky Janaway, a duck farmer in New Forest, Hampshire, 150km southwest of London, unveiled the duckling to reporters on Saturday. Stumpy would probably not survive in the wild, but Janaway, who runs the Warrawee Duck Farm in New Forest says he is doing well. "He's eating and surviving so far and he is running about with those extra legs acting like stabilizers," Janaway said.
■ United States
Tusko's tooth torment
The next time you dread a trip to the dentist, consider the plight of poor Tusko the elephant. It took a team of veterinarians and a dentist nearly five hours on Saturday to remove what was left of an elephant's infected tusk at the Oregon Zoo, and it took a chainsaw, hand saws and a drill that can punch through concrete to do the job. At least 20 people worked from mid-morning to early afternoon to remove the rock-hard ivory, which was extracted in 30cm-long bloody slabs. A ring the size of a roll of duct tape remains; veterinarians plan to go after it in about six weeks. Tusko, who weighs about 6 tonnes, broke his tusks decades ago.
■ United States
Avalanche kills man
A man died after being caught in an avalanche while snowmobiling near Tower Mountain in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest in Utah, authorities said. The man was with at least three people but was the only one caught in the slide on Saturday, according to the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office. His friends dug through the snow looking for him, first finding his snowmobile and then his body. They administered CPR and called for help, and the man was flown to the University of Utah Hospital, where he later died, police said.
Correa issues ultimatum
New leftist President Rafael Correa said on Saturday that he will resign if his supporters do not win control of an assembly to rewrite the Constitution. Congress has approved an April 15 referendum on whether to create the assembly. Most opposition lawmakers abandoned the session before Tuesday's vote in protest, calling the measure unconstitutional. Correa said in a nationwide radio speech on Saturday that if opposition candidates win control of the assembly, "I simply have to go home. ... If we want a change, vote for the candidates of the people to end these mafias that have plundered the country." Correa hopes to win at least 70 percent of the seats in the assembly.
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
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