Beirut – Five staffers of the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders have been taken in for questioning in northern Syria, the group said Friday.
The five staffers have been out of contact since Thursday evening, said Michael Goldfarb, a spokesman for the aid group. He did not say whether the missing staffers had been taken by government forces or rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad.
Karin Ekholm, a spokeswoman for the Swedish branch of the organization, said those seized were Swedish, Danish, Swiss, Belgian and Peruvian nationals.
Opposition-held areas of northern and eastern Syria have seen a wave of kidnappings over the past six months that has targeted journalists, aid workers and activists. Al-Qaida-linked rebel factions are suspected of being behind many of the abductions.
Icebreaker resumes journey to continent
Canberra, Australia – An Australian icebreaker carrying 52 passengers who were retrieved from an icebound ship in the Antarctic resumed its journey home today after it was halted for a second potential rescue operation.
The icebreaker Aurora Australis had been slowly cracking through thick ice toward open water after a Chinese ship’s helicopter on Thursday plucked the passengers from their stranded Russian research ship and carried them to an ice floe near the Aurora.
But on Friday afternoon, the crew of a Chinese icebreaker that had provided the helicopter said they were worried about their own ship’s ability to move through the ice. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue, told the Aurora to stay in the area in case help was needed.
But AMSA said the Aurora had been allowed today to continue its journey despite the Chinese ship Snow Dragon remaining stuck in ice.
Meth raid nets 3 tons of drug, 182 arrests
Beijing – More than 3,000 police officers equipped with helicopters and motorboats and accompanied by dogs descended earlier this week on a southern Chinese village notorious for making crystal meth, seizing 3 tons of the drug and 23 tons of raw materials and arresting 182 people.
The massive raid targeted Boshe village in Guangdong province, a difficult-to-reach hamlet of 14,000 people near the city of Lufeng.
Pictures of Sunday’s raid published on Chinese news websites showed dozens of police vehicles massed in the village of traditional-style, single-story tile-roofed homes separated by narrow alleyways, many passable only by bicycle or on foot.