Fri, Jan 13, 2017 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

AFGHANISTAN

Taliban exhibit two hostages

An American and an Australian have appeared in a Taliban hostage video, five months after they were kidnapped from Kabul. Gunmen wearing police uniforms abducted the two professors at the American University of Afghanistan in the heart of the capital on Aug. 7 last year. The 13-minute, 35-second video circulated by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid on Wednesday offers the first apparent proof that they were still alive. Australia yesterday said it “has been working closely with other governments to secure the release” of the hostage, but would not elaborate, citing his family’s wishes and safety concerns. The video comes after US Special Operations Forces conducted a failed secret raid in August to rescue them.

AUSTRALIA

Castaways cross Tasman

A New Zealand man and his six-year-old daughter who were missing at sea for more than a month have landed in the nation after sailing their small, damaged yacht across the treacherous 2,000km Tasman Sea. Alan Langdon, 46, and his daughter Que had planned a short journey from Kawhia to the Bay of Islands on New Zealand’s east coast, but after a storm damaged the yacht’s rudder they found themselves drifting out to sea. “Once we were in the position with no rudder, we didn’t have as many options,” Langdon told local media on Wednesday after docking his 6.4m yacht in Ulladulla, a fishing port 230km south of Sydney. “I waited for the fine weather, that didn’t come. At that stage we were getting pushed south and out,” Langdon said, adding he then decided it would be safer to head to Australia across the Tasman Sea.

CHINA

Bird flu hits farm: ministry

The Ministry of Agriculture late on Wednesday said that a bird flu outbreak, the country’s fifth since October last year, hit a goose farm in Hunan Province, killing 1,054 birds. The outbreak in Yuanjiang, a city of more than 700,000 people, was confirmed as a case of influenza A virus subtype H5N6, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site. The local government culled a further 2,067 birds after the outbreak, which the ministry said had been brought under control. The case brings China’s total poultry cull since October to more than 175,000 birds, as South Korea and other neighboring countries battle their own major outbreaks. China has confirmed 106 cases of human H7N9 bird flu infections, and 20 deaths in total last month, the National Health and Family Planning Commission said on Wednesday.

INDIA

Amazon.com pulls doormats

Amazon.com yesterday said it has withdrawn doormats featuring the national flag from sale after New Delhi called them “insulting” and threatened to expel the company’s foreign workers. Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj late on Wednesday said on Twitter that the mats, available only on Amazon’s Canadian Web site, were an “unacceptable” insult to the national flag and demanded an apology. The company yesterday said it had responded by removing them from sale. Swaraj, an avid Twitter user with nearly 7 million followers, issued her ultimatum after a user sent her a screenshot of the doormats on sale. “Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately,” she said on Twitter. “If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier.”

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