Alexa

In Brief

In Brief

U.N. consultant held in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan
The top U.N. representative in Afghanistan called on authorities yesterday to free a local employee detained in a diplomatic row that also saw two foreign officials expelled.
The government last Thursday expelled two Western officials - the second most senior European Union official in Afghanistan and a top U.N. political advisor here - accusing them of threatening national security.
Kabul said an unknown number of the pair's Afghan colleagues had been arrested and were being questioned by authorities.
The U.N. representative to Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, said the incident was a "misunderstanding" and called on the U.S.-backed government here to free a local U.N. consultant arrested for links to the diplomats.
Blue skies
BEIJING, China
Beijing reached its goal of 245 "blue sky" days for 2007 yesterday, but just barely as a cold front scattered the familiar smoggy haze that remains a key concern for next year's Olympic Games.
The rare clear day followed one of the worst air-quality days of the year on Thursday, when pollution hit a maximum "5" reading.
Thursday's air, worsened by a lack of wind, was so bad that Beijingers were warned to stay indoors out of health concerns and visibility was reduced to a few hundred meters.
Beijing is desperate to avoid international embarrassment over the smog, created by soaring car ownership, industrial emissions, dust storms and a massive building boom.
The stakes were raised in August when International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge said some endurance events such as the marathon may be postponed or cancelled to prevent harm to athletes.
Beijing has taken aggressive steps to clean up its air, but the smog has remained a problem, prompting the city to frequently declare "blue sky" days despite obviously hazy conditions.
Airplane crash
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia
Two people were killed and another two critically injured when a light navy plane crashed in Indonesia's Aceh province yesterday, an official and reports said.
The Nomad aircraft crashed on Weh island, north off the provincial capital of Banda Aceh shortly after it took off at 11:00 a.m. (Indonesia time), Munawarliza Zainal, mayor of Sabang city on Weh, told Agence France-Presse.
Zainal said four of the seven crew were found in "critical condition," while three others are still missing. Two of the survivors later died in hospital, state news agency Antara reported.
Indonesia quakes
JAKARTA, Indonesia
Two moderate quakes of 5.5-magnitude struck western and eastern Indonesia yesterday, but there was no threat of a tsunami and no immediate reports of damage, meteorologists said.
The first earthquake, which hit at 10:36 a.m. (Indonesia time), occurred at sea about 147 kilometers southeast of the city of Gunungsitoli on Nias island, off the west coast of Sumatra island, at a depth of 60 kilometers.
The second undersea tremor hit about an hour later in the eastern province of Maluku about 340 kilometers southeast of the provincial capital Ambon, at a depth of 125 kilometers.


Updated : 2021-04-13 04:31 GMT+08:00