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In brief: Freed American begins trip home

Sun., Sept. 19, 2010

Sarah Shourd and her uncle, Thomas “Mike” Sandys, speak in the Muscat airport in Oman on  Saturday.  (Associated Press)
Sarah Shourd and her uncle, Thomas “Mike” Sandys, speak in the Muscat airport in Oman on Saturday. (Associated Press)

MUSCAT, Oman – An American woman released from Iran after more than 13 months in custody began her journey back to the United States on Saturday after asking her supporters to “extend your prayers” to her fiance and another American man who remain in Tehran accused of spying.

In a brief statement, Sarah Shourd thanked Oman – an ally of both Iran and the United States – for mediating the $500,000 bail that led to her freedom earlier this week.

“Please, please extend your prayers” to the other two Americans still held – her fiance Shane Bauer and their friend Josh Fattal – she said at Oman’s international airport before boarding an Oman Air flight on the first leg of her trip.

She was next scheduled to appear at a news conference in New York today timed to coincide with the arrival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Police say a burglar broke into a house in Malaysia to steal watches and jewelry then fell asleep with his loot on the owners’ couch.

The Star and the New Straits Times reported that when the owners returned to their home in northern Penang state Saturday, they were shocked to find the living room in a mess and a man napping upstairs.

The burglar woke up and escaped through a window but was arrested nearby. The 42-year-old man has not been charged yet.

Gan Kong Meng, a Penang district police chief, confirmed the incident.

American-born panda proves prolific

BEIJING – An American-born panda gave birth to her eighth cub in southwest China, a rare accomplishment for the endangered species known for being poor breeders.

Hua Mei gave birth to a male cub at 3 a.m. on Friday at the Wolong China Giant Panda Research Center in Sichuan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The cub weighed 5.7 ounces.

Hua Mei, whose name means China-America, was the first giant panda cub born in the United States in 1999, at the San Diego Zoo, after a decade of failed breeding attempts. She returned to China in 2003 and now has eight cubs.


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