Ahad, 29 Disember 2013

The Star Online: World Updates

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The Star Online: World Updates

Severe Antarctic weather slows Australian icebreaker bid to reach stranded ship

Posted: 29 Dec 2013 09:35 PM PST

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Severe Antarctic weather was slowing an Australian icebreaker's bid to reach a Russian ship trapped in ice since Christmas eve with 74 people onboard, the Australian maritime rescue agency said on Monday.

The Aurora Australis was currently about 11 nautical miles (20 kms) from the stranded Russian ship Akademik Shokalskiy, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is co-ordinating the rescue.

"The area is currently experiencing snow showers, resulting in poor visibility. The Aurora Australis is travelling slowly due to the conditions to ensure the safety of all on board," AMSA said in a statement.

AMSA had earlier expected the Aurora Australis to arrive at the scene Sunday evening.

"It is unknown at this time if or when the Aurora Australis will arrive near the Akademik Shokalskiy due to weather and ice conditions," the agency said.

The Russian ship left New Zealand on November 28 on a private expedition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey led by famed Australian explorer Douglas Mawson.

It is now trapped some 100 nautical miles (185 km) east of French Antarctic station Dumont D'Urville and about 1,500 nautical miles (2,800 km) nautical miles south of Australia's southern island state of Tasmania.

The Akademik Shokalskiy's 74 passengers include scientists and tourists, many of them Australian, and what the Russian Foreign Ministry said were 22 Russian crew members.

Chris Turney, an Australian professor who helped organise the voyage on the Russian ship, posted photos of passengers on board, including one of a passenger and a penguin.

"Set up tent on top deck. All well. Aurora making good progress. Waiting game!" Turney said on his twitter on Monday morning.

Ice that has trapped the ship appeared to be cracking up, raising hopes for a rescue, Turney said earlier.

The Australian icebreaker was one of the three vessels sent to try and free the Russian ship.

A Chinese icebreaker, the Snow Dragon, has been halted by thick ice within sight of the ice-bound ship, while another French-flagged ship was no longer involved in the rescue.

The Chinese Snow Dragon would remain on standby until the Aurora Australis reaches the Russian ship, AMSA said earlier.

The Snow Dragon has a helicopter on board that can be used to rescue passengers if the Aurora Australis can not break through the ice, the agency said.

Second blast in Russian city kills 10 on trolleybus - reports

Posted: 29 Dec 2013 09:20 PM PST

VOLGOGRAD, Russia (Reuters) - At least 10 people were killed when an explosion ripped through a trolleybus in the second deadly blast in the Russian city of Volgograd in two days, the Interfax news agency reported, citing law enforcement officials.

The explosion came a day after a suicide bomber killed at least 17 people in the main railway station of the southern Russian city 40 days before Russia is to hold the Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Writing by Steve Gutterman)

Shots fired at residence of German ambassador in Athens

Posted: 29 Dec 2013 09:15 PM PST

ATHENS (Reuters) - Gunshots were fired at the German ambassador's residence in Athens early on Monday, but caused no injuries or damage, police said.

At least four shots hit the outside metal gate of the residence, which lies behind a security wall on a busy street in a northern suburb of the Greek capital, police said. Investigators have collected 15 spent bullet cases so far.

The police sources said two attackers on foot were involved in the attack, which occurred at about 3.40 a.m. (0140 GMT),

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras spoke to the German ambassador to Athens, Wolfgang Dold, after the incident, a police statement said.

Anti-German rhetoric has become common among Greek opposition politicians and anti-bailout groups since the country's international financial bailout in 2010, due to the harsh austerity policies that accompanied it.

Germany is the biggest single contributing nation to 240-billion euro financial rescue and has been pushing Athens for painful budget cuts and reforms to fix its finances.

The residence was the target of an attack in 1999, when members of the now dismantled extremist group November 17 fired a rocket that hit its roof.

(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

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