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Fiji retracts claim UN peacekeepers' release imminent SUVA: Fiji on Wednesday retracted a claim that 45 UN peacekeepers being held hostage in the Golan Heights by Syrian Al-Nusra Front rebels were about to be released, blaming a communications mix-up."I don't think so... someone has misinterpreted," government spokesman Dan Gavidi told AFP when asked if posts on official social media feeds on Wednesday morning trumpeting the impending release were correct.The government later deleted the posts and released a statement saying negotiations with the rebels were continuing.The peacekeepers, all Fijian nationals, were taken hostage two weeks ago when the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra fighters stormed a Golan Heights crossing.The UN sent a specialist negotiating team from New York to hold talks with the rebels, who moved the Fijians to an undisclosed location after capturing them.When quizzed about Suva's claims of a breakthrough, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said he had "nothing new to report on the Fijians".Another UN official, who asked not ...

Government to beef up security following bomb attack: Chile SANTIAGO: Chile's government said it would tighten security to avoid an escalation in violence and use the "full weight of the law" against those responsible for a bomb attack that wounded 14 on Monday. The blast, which the government has called an attack by "terrorists", occurred near a metro station in the affluent residential and shopping neighborhood of Las Condes at Monday lunchtime. No group has claimed responsibility and authorities have yet to identify ...
Japanese emperor cautioned against WWII: official history TOKYO: Emperor Hirohito, the demi-god at the apex of the Japanese state when it waged bloody war across Asia, cautioned against conflict but celebrated military success, according to the long-awaited official history of his reign, released Tuesday.The mammoth 61-volume set, which has taken 24 years to compile at a cost to the Japanese taxpayer of 230 million yen ($2.2 million) reveals little new hard evidence about one of the most controversial figures of the 20th ...
Concern in Australia over Japan sub fleet plan SYDNEY: Opposition politicians and industry groups in Australia demanded clarity from the government Tuesday over reports that it could buy a new submarine fleet from Japan rather than build them at home.Australia needs to replace its fleet of diesel and electric-powered subs, which date from the 1990s. Before the conservative government was elected last year, it said up to 12 new vessels would be constructed in South Australia, potentially with Japanese technology.But The Australian newspaper ...
Six dead after Vietnam karaoke bar accident HANOI: Six people died and six more were left in a critical condition from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at a karaoke bar in northern Vietnam, police said Tuesday. The 12 men had apparently spent Sunday night at the karaoke bar in Quang Ninh province, which borders China, when there was a power failure, a policeman told AFP. "The bar owner ran the generator and we believe the victims suffocated due to generator fumes," he said, ...
New Thai PM uses holy water, feng shui to ward off occult BANGKOK: As he prepares to move in to Bangkok's Government House this week, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is going to great lengths to sweep away any occult challenge.Prayuth, 60, has left nothing to chance since leading a military coup to topple a democratically elected government on May 22. After a meticulously planned power grab, he has systematically snuffed out dissent. That meticulousness is being carried through to his government. Like many politicians and generals ...
Two Australians dead, 18 tourists hurt in Kenya crash SYDNEY: Two Australians were killed and 18 tourists hospitalised when a bus plunged into a river after a tyre burst on a steep section of road in Kenya, officials said Monday.Tour operator Intrepid Travel said 25 people -- 22 tourists and three local staff - were on board when the bus careered down an embankment outside Nairobi on Sunday night."Unfortunately there have been two Australian fatalities confirmed," the agency said in a statement on its ...

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