Antarctic rescue launched
An Antarctic cruise ship was yesterday racing to rescue a French yachtsman who had abandoned his boat and was drifting in a life raft hundreds of nautical miles off the southern island of Tasmania. Authorities are coordinating the rescue of the round-the-world sailor, who was forced to leave his yacht after it lost its mast and sustained damage to the hull in rough conditions on Friday. The cruise vessel is not expected to reach him until late today. The yacht is skippered by accomplished sailor Alain Delord. Up to three aircraft were to be used in yesterday’s operations with the focus on maintaining communications with the sailor, with at least one French-speaking officer onboard to help communicate with the solo yachtsman, she said. Australian Maritime Safety Authority said one of its Dornier aircraft had later confirmed the sailor had abandoned his yacht and was in a life raft.
Kurds detained over killings
Police have detained two men in connection with the killings of three female Kurdish activists in Paris last week, judicial and police sources said on Friday. The two men are both ethnic Kurds, born in Turkey in 1974 and 1982, and one of them is thought to have been a driver for one of the victims, a police source said, describing the arrests as the product of “significant leads.” The two men were arrested during the day on Thursday, a judicial source said, the same day thousands of Kurds gathered in Diyarbakir, Turkey, for the funerals of the three activists. The three women, one of them 55-year-old Sakine Cansiz, a co-founder of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), were found shot execution-style at a Kurdish center in Paris on Jan. 10. The Paris killings came amid nascent peace talks between Turkish secret services and jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan with the aim of disarming the group. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has speculated the killings could be the result of an “internal feud” within the PKK aimed at sabotaging the talks, recalling that the separatist group has carried out similar executions in the past.
Train crash deemed accident
Authorities have dropped a criminal investigation against a woman previously suspected of stealing a commuter train that crashed into an apartment building. Investigators on Friday said the woman probably started the train by accident as she was cleaning it at a depot early on Tuesday. The four-car train rolled about 1.6km to the end station of the railway line, where it jumped off the tracks, careered for about 25m and crashed into a three-story building. No one was hurt except the woman, who was airlifted to a hospital with serious, but not life-threatening injuries.
Man admits Amritsar attack
A man pleaded guilty on Friday in London to attacking the Indian military leader of the contentious 1984 Amritsar Golden Temple assault, in which India’s army raided a shrine occupied by Sikh separatist militants. Retired lieutenant general Kuldip Singh Brar, the commander of Operation Blue Star, ordered by then-Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, was attacked on Sept. 30 last year in a street off London’s main shopping thoroughfare Oxford Street. Barjinder Singh Sangha, 33, from Wolverhampton in central England, pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to wounding with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm on Brar, 78.