Airline honors tennis star
The new national airline, Air Serbia, began flying on Saturday with a plane named after favorite son Novak Djokovic, the men’s tennis world No. 2. The Airbus A319, emblazoned with a double-headed eagle and the national red, blue and white colors, took off for Abu Dhabi. Air Serbia said all its future planes would be named after prominent Serb figures. The airline was formed in August, when the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways acquired 49 percent of the country’s sole air carrier JAT.
Shark bites off surfer’s leg
A 24-year-old surfer was fighting for his life in hospital after a shark attack off the French Indian Ocean island on Saturday, authorities said. “The body boarder’s right leg was severed at the thigh,” the territory’s local administration said in a statement. The incident took place around 20m from the beach. The two other shark attacks reported off the island this year were deadly. The authorities said the latest victim, a local man, was outside the protected perimeter. They urged beachgoers to exercise the utmost caution. Some argue that the growing amounts of wastewater poured into the sea attract sharks while others blame a marine reserve where fishing is banned for the spike in attacks in recent years.
Anti-US posters removed
Tehran city officials have ordered the removal of some posters featuring anti-US slogans, a sign that the nation is seeking better relations with the US as the two sides hold talks over its nuclear program. A Tehran municipal official said some anti-US billboards had been put up illegally and that the city had taken them down, state news agency IRNA said on Saturday. “In an arbitrary move, without the knowledge or confirmation of the municipality, one of the cultural institutes installed advertising billboards,” said Hadi Ayyazi, spokesman for the municipality, according to IRNA. Ayyazi did not specify which posters had been taken down. According to IRNA, new anti-US posters questioning the US’ honesty had been put up near busy Tehran thoroughfares since last week, ahead of next Monday’s anniversary of the taking of hostages in the US embassy in 1979. One such poster depicted an Iranian negotiator sitting at a table with a US official who is wearing a suit jacket, but also army trousers and boots, with a caption that reads, “American Honesty.” It is unclear who was behind the posters, but hardliners have expressed skepticism of President Hassan Rouhani’s efforts to engage with the West and the US. Anti-US graffiti and posters in prominent areas of Tehran and other major cities are common. The site of the former US embassy, for instance, depicts the Statue of Liberty with a skull for a face.
Damascus submits plan
The government handed over a detailed plan to destroy its chemical stockpile on time, the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said yesterday. “On 24 October 2013, the Syrian Arab Republic submitted to the OPCW its formal initial declaration covering its chemical weapons programme,” the international watchdog said in a statement, adding that Damascus had had until yesterday to do so. Damascus was required to submit the destruction plan under a US-Russian deal agreed last month that headed off military strikes on the country. The accord also gives the government until the middle of next year to destroy its chemical arsenal.