Militants storm army camp
At least three heavily armed militants yesterday stormed an army camp in the nation’s portion of Kashmir, wounding an officer and a civilian worker as intense firing set barracks and a vehicle on fire, the army said. The fighting raged close to the heavily militarized line of control dividing Kashmir with Pakistan, said an army officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. He said the militants used grenades and gunfire to attack the camp, located about 150km northwest of the area’s main city of Srinagar. The camp houses the army’s headquarters in the frontier region. There was no independent confirmation of the incident. No rebel group fighting the government immediately issued any statement.
UN urges over refugees
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres yesterday said that Tokyo should be doing more to help with the global catastrophe of asylum seekers. Guterres said that he hoped Japan could admit more refugees, especially Syrians, on a “humanitarian basis.” He said the nation also needs to improve its asylum system and do a better job of integrating the refugees it accepts into its society. Guterres spoke at an event where Japanese apparel company Fast Retailing announced a partnership with the commission to expand the firm’s support for refugees, which includes internships, and donations of funds and of recycled clothing.
Rescue operation launched
Security forces yesterday launched an operation to rescue 18 people who Taliban insurgents captured after their helicopter made an emergency landing in territory under militant control, the Ministry of Defense said. The Taliban said they had shot the helicopter down and captured 15 people. The MI-17 helicopter owned by a private foreign company made an emergency landing in the northern province of Faryab on Tuesday after it developed a technical problem, the ministry said. “The insurgents then attacked and as a result two soldiers and one member of the crew were killed ... 18 people were captured,” the ministry said in a statement. “Security forces have started a clearance operation to free the captives.”
Pope leaves for Africa
Pope Francis yesterday flew out of Rome bound for Kenya on the first leg of a landmark trip to Africa that is fraught with security risks. The 78-year-old pontiff, the third pope to visit the continent, is also to visit Uganda and the troubled Central African Republic (CAR) on a six-day trip. The final leg of the tour, in the CAR, could yet be curtailed or canceled depending on security conditions in a nation that has been wracked by sectarian conflict in recent years. A densely packed schedule will see the pope visit, among others, a shanty town in Kenya, a major Catholic shrine to Christian martyrs in Uganda and both a mosque and a refugee camp in the CAR. Officials say a last-minute change of program will only happen if Francis is made aware of a precise threat that could endanger the thousands of believers expected to come and see him, many of whom will be traveling long distances from neighbouring countries. The pope is due to be welcomed in Kenya by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. In a speech at the presidential residence State House, Francis is expected to address questions of corruption.
Baby found in a manger
A newborn with his umbilical cord still attached was found lying in a manger at a New York City church on Monday, police said on Tuesday. The custodian at Holy Child Jesus Church in Queens found the crying infant wrapped in towels in the indoor nativity scene he had set up just before his lunch break, a police spokesman said. Father Christopher Ryan Heanue said he and others placed a clean towel around the baby while waiting for paramedics to show up. “The beautiful thing is that this woman found in this church — which is supposed to be a home for those in need — this home for her child,” Heanue said, referring to the person he assumed left the baby there. Paramedics took the healthy baby to Jamaica Hospital and police are investigating the incident, the police spokesman said.
Police on Tuesday killed one man after his heavily armed group took the family of a bank manager hostage the northern town of Roubaix, officials said, adding that there was no terrorist link to the incident. A group of heavily armed men wielding Kalashnikovs tried to seize the manager of a local bank branch to make him open the safe, local prosecutor Frederic Fevre said. When police arrived, the manager escaped and the assailants holed up in his house, taking his wife, their daughter and their 11-month-old baby hostage. One of the suspects opened fire at police, prompting security forces to return fire, Fevre said. After two hours, a specialist police unit launched an assault on the house, freeing the captives, killing one of the suspects and arresting a second in the back garden, Fevre said. The other suspects escaped.
Olympic contracts probed
Police investigating corruption around state-run oil firm Petrobras also plan to probe more than US$10 billion of construction contracts for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, a lead investigator said. Some of the big engineering firms caught up in the Petrobras probe “very probably” broke laws against price-fixing and bribery on contracts to build Olympic venues, said Igor Romario, a Federal Police chief and key figure in the investigation. “In every situation where there has been an investigation into contracts with these companies, this model of corruption was repeated,” Romario said. However, he said that there is no evidence so far proving any crimes around Olympic bidding.
Two quakes rock nation
A pair of major magnitude7.6 earthquakes jolted the nation near its border with Brazil on Tuesday, and were felt across several South American nations, but authorities had no immediate reports of damage or casualties. The first quake, which struck at 5:45pm, was 601km deep, according to the US Geological Survey. It was located about 169km west-northwest of Iberia and 688km east-northeast of Lima. Five minutes later, a second temblor of the same strength rocked the same area, but with a different epicenter. Three aftershocks were also reported.
Hurricane forms off coast
Hurricane Sandra formed off the Pacific coast on Tuesday, with the storm expected to strengthen as it heads toward the country’s northwest coast, the US National Hurricane Center said on Tuesday. “Sandra could become a major hurricane by Thursday,” the center said. “Interests in southern portions of the Baja California peninsula should monitor” Sandra’s progress.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
They stand as eyesores to most passers-by and potential public health risks to authorities, decaying buildings wrapped in tangles of exposed wire, studded with protruding leaky plastic pipes, vegetation billowing from cracks and terraces where particulates from polluted air have accumulated over time. With skyscrapers and ultramodern developments on every side, some of these “nail houses” are also sitting on land worth millions of dollars in Shenzhen’s inferno of a property market, where new-unit and second-hand home prices rival London. In battles over land and development, the nail house phenomenon has become widespread throughout China over the past two decades, with owners
An Italian alpine resort on Friday remained on high alert over fears that a vast chunk of a glacier on the slopes of the Mont Blanc massif could plummet in high temperatures. “No one gets through! No cars, bikes or pedestrians,” was the message at a checkpoint where an automatic barrier and two guards blocked the small road snaking up into a lush valley below the Planpincieux glacier, near the town of Courmayeur and the Italian-French border. The blockade has largely been greeted with contempt by the locals, one of whom said: “It’s a joke.” The huge ice block measuring around 500,000 cubic
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (FCC) yesterday said that reporters in the territory were experiencing “highly unusual” visas problems, and called on the US and China to stop using the media as a political weapon. Journalists have been caught up in US-China tensions, with both sides placing limits or expelling reporters from their territories in the past few months. Now the spat is filtering into Hong Kong, a regional press hub nominally in charge of its own immigration policies. The FCC said in a statement that multiple media firms had reported delays getting visas in recent months. “The delays have affected journalists