December 28, 2009 in Nation/World

World in brief: Chinese rescue hijacked ship

From Wire Reports

BEIJING – A hijacked Chinese cargo ship and 25 sailors were rescued today, two months after they were seized by pirates off the lawless Somali coast, Chinese state media said.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the ship and crew were now under the protection of a Chinese naval fleet after an early morning rescue but didn’t say if the ship was retaken by force or if a ransom was paid.

The ship, De Xin Hai, was the first Chinese vessel to be hijacked since China deployed a three-ship squadron to the Gulf of Aden last year.

Avalanches kill tourists, rescuers

ROME – Seven people, including a German teenager, have been killed by avalanches in northern Italy, officials said Sunday.

In one incident, two Italian tourists were killed when an avalanche hit them in the Italian Alps, said local Carabinieri police. Four rescuers who were looking for them were hit by a subsequent avalanche and were also killed.

The two tourists had gone missing Saturday afternoon while mountain climbing in the Trentino Alto Adige region.

In a separate incident in the same region, rescue and Carabinieri police officials said Sunday that a 14-year-old from Germany was hit by an avalanche when he was skiing with his brother and a friend. The 14-year-old was killed on the spot, officials said.

Stranded whales die on beaches

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Some 125 pilot whales died in New Zealand after stranding on the beach over the weekend – but vacationers and conservation workers Sunday managed to coax 43 others back out to sea.

Rescuers monitored the survivors as they swam away from Colville Beach on North Island’s Coromandel peninsula, and by this morning they were reported well out to sea.

Meanwhile on South Island, 105 long-finned pilot whales that stranded died Saturday, conservation officials said today.

Large numbers of whales become stranded on New Zealand’s beaches each summer as they pass by on their way to breeding grounds from Antarctic waters.

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