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World in brief: Winds, snow, arctic cold force flight cancellations

Sun., Jan. 10, 2010

A treat is dangled in front of a dog as it pulls a child on a sled Saturday on the frozen Lake of Menteith, in Scotland, where temperatures fell to below zero.  (Associated Press)
A treat is dangled in front of a dog as it pulls a child on a sled Saturday on the frozen Lake of Menteith, in Scotland, where temperatures fell to below zero. (Associated Press)

Berlin – A plane slid off an icy runway and powerful winds and heavy snow forced hundreds of flight cancellations across Europe on Saturday as blasts of freezing cold buffeted Europe.

An Air Berlin plane slid off the runway in Nuremberg, Germany, and got stuck in the snow late Friday. Nobody was injured, but the airport was closed for more than two hours.

By early afternoon, 226 domestic and international flights had been canceled at Frankfurt airport as a low pressure system from the Mediterranean brought gusty winds and several inches of snow.

In Britain, cold winds swept in from the north, sending temperatures tumbling to minus 7 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of Scotland and northern England. The country is in the midst of its longest cold snap in three decades, and transport has been disrupted in many areas.

Conservationists file piracy complaint against whalers

Sydney, Australia – A conservationist group that lost one of its ships in a clash with Japanese whalers off Antarctica has filed a piracy complaint in the Netherlands against the captain and crew of the whaling vessel, one of the group’s leaders said Saturday.

The filing comes after the bow of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Ady Gil was sheared off in a collision Wednesday with the far larger Japanese ship – the most serious clash in what has become an annual confrontation off the frozen continent. A Sea Shepherd volunteer suffered cracked ribs.

On Friday, Sea Shepherd lodged a piracy complaint with the Dutch prosecuting authority, Sea Shepherd Deputy CEO Chuck Swift told the Associated Press by satellite phone from his ship, the Bob Barker.

The complaint argues the whalers are guilty of piracy because they served on a vessel that was used to commit an act of violence. The group chose to file the complaint in the Netherlands because one of the Ady Gil crew members is Dutch and the Sea Shepherd’s main ship, the Steve Irwin, is registered there.

Sea Shepherd is also considering filing charges of attempted murder in New Zealand, where the Ady Gil was registered, Swift said.

Anti-energy industry activist released without charges

Vancouver, British Columbia – An anti-energy industry activist arrested in connection with the investigation into a series of pipeline bombings in northeastern British Columbia was released Saturday without being charged, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Paul Moreau said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have not given any reasons for why they released his client, Wiebo Ludwig, after arresting him Friday at a motel in the western Alberta town of Grande Prairie.

RCMP spokesman Inspector Tim Shields would not comment on why police released the suspect, but said discussions continue with prosecutors on possible charges for the man they arrested.


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