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World in Brief: 19/05/14

CHINA: Beijing announced today an international manhunt for the alleged mastermind of a triple knife murder at a train station last month in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province.

The China Daily newspaper revealed that a request had been submitted to Interpol for the arrest of Ismail Yusup and an unspecified number of associates.

It said that Mr Yusup was a member of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement.



LAOS: Three days of national mourning came to an end today as the funerals took place of three top officials who died in a plane crash in Xiangkhoung province over the weekend.

At least five of the 18 people on board an Antonov transport plane have been confirmed dead so far, including defence minister and deputy prime minister Douangchay Phichit. 

Public security minister Thongbane Sengaphone and Vientiane governor Sukhan Mahalad also lay in state.



MYANMAR: The government sent a team to the Sagaing region today to seek to negotiate the release of two Chinese workers kidnapped on Sunday at a copper mine.

The Wanbao Mining company condemned the “unprovoked act,” demanding the immediate release of the two men who were abducted by a group called Student Activists from Mandalay.

The group claims that mine causes environmental, social and health problems and wants it closed.



THE HAGUE: Former Bosnian Serb military commander General Ratko Mladic today launched the defence case in his trial for crimes against humanity with testimony from a former Serb army officer who denied ever being ordered to fire on civilians in the Bosnian civil war.

Gen Mladic’s 11-count indictment alleges that he was the military mastermind behind a military campaign in Sarajevo and the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

He denies the charges and insists his forces were trying to defend Serbs during the conflict.


MYANMAR: Two Chinese workers abducted on Sunday by activists demanding the closure of a copper mine were freed yesterday after being held for over 30 hours.

A local Wanbao Mining manager said that the men, who were seized as they carried out a land survey, were not physically harmed.

Local people have complained that thousands of acres of farmland were seized to allow expansion of the mine.


IRAQ: Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law party emerged yesterday as the biggest winner in the country’s first parliamentary elections since the US military partially withdrew in 2011.

State of Law won 92 of the 328 seats on offer, but still needs to secure a broader majority coalition to get first crack at forming a government.


NIGERIA: Police reported having averted a “devastating bomb blast in the ancient city of Kano” yesterday, hours after an explosion there claimed five lives.

National police spokesman Frank Mba said that officers, acting on intelligence, had tracked and recovered a station wagon loaded with gas cylinders, fuel and electrical components of improvised explosive devices. 

Bomb disposal experts defused the devices before they could be detonated in the Sabon Gari Christian quarter.


GREECE: Voters in the second-largest city Thessaloniki have voted overwhelmingly against plans to privatise the city’s water company.

Organisers said yesterday that 98 per cent of the 218,000 participants opposed plans to sell a 51 per cent stake in the company under the government’s huge privatisation programme.

The vote was held in Thessaloniki and outlying municipalities on Sunday to coincide with nationwide local and regional elections, but the government insists that the ballot was illegal.


AUSTRALIA: The Canberra-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre revealed yesterday that Chinese ship Zhu Kezhen will conduct a bathymetric survey of the Indian Ocean floor to search for the missing Malaysian airliner.

Chinese, Australian and Malaysian representatives met in Fremantle at the weekend and agreed that the Zhu Kezhen would be directed by Australian air crash investigators.

The ship is scheduled to sail for the survey area tomorrow, weather permitting.


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