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Leaders reconsider taking detainees

Australia is considering a third request from the United States to resettle Chinese Muslim detainees from the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, the country’s foreign minister said today.

Australia twice rejected such appeals last year from former President George W. Bush.

The current request – the first from President Barack Obama’s administration – is to resettle 10 detainees who are Uighurs – Muslims from northwestern China – who have been in Guantanamo Bay for more than six years.

The Uighurs were also the subject of Bush’s two requests.

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the Australian government would “consider these on a case-by-case basis” because of the country’s strong relationship with the U.S.

KABUL, Afghanistan

Militants, soldiers among 56 dead

A battle in a militant- controlled region of western Afghanistan left 30 insurgents and nine Afghan soldiers dead, while a roadside bomb in the country’s north wounded an Afghan governor, officials said Saturday.

The fighting in Badghis province began Friday and continued into Saturday as Afghan troops supported by international forces killed 30 militants in Bala Murghab district – a region where the Afghan government has little control.

Nine Afghan soldiers died in the battle and four “disappeared,” the Ministry of Defense said. Violence elsewhere in the country killed 17 others, part of a spate of attacks that killed 56 people.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa

Volunteers unable to save 55 whales

Authorities shot dozens of exhausted whales that beached on a shore near South Africa’s storm-lashed southern tip Saturday amid scenes of grief and despair from volunteers who had tried to save them.

Fifty-five false killer whales washed up on the shores of Kommitjie, near the Cape of Good Hope, in the early morning, prompting a massive all-day rescue effort. Hundreds of locals wearing wet suits or shorts braved high winds and rough waves to try to push the massive mammals from knee-deep water back into the open sea – to no avail.

One woman suffered suspected fractured ribs after being pinned between a whale and rocks. A number of volunteers had to be rescued from the surf while trying to swim the whales beyond the breaking waves, said Ian Klopper of the National Sea Rescue Institute.

From wire reports

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