Friday, October 9, 2009

Top stories from around the world.(Features).

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1 Russia Vladimir Putin has released an instructional film that encourages his countrymen to take up judo, the Moscow Times reported. During the 90-minute video, entitled Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin, the prime minister explains the history and philosophy of the Japanese martial art, and demonstrates some of his own techniques.

Putin, 56, who is a black belt, downplayed his role in the DVD, saying viewers will "learn from the true masters - Japanese athletes and Russian world champions". In an interview with the French daily Le Figaro last month, Putin revealed that he planned to give judo lesssons to Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president. "He is interested in martial arts and we have decided to do some training together," he said.

Arms trial friction

2 France The government of Angola has asked a French judge to halt an arms trial that has poisoned relations between the two countries. Forty-two defendants went on trial last week in a case the French have dubbed "Angola gate". Charges of arms trafficking and high-level bribes have been levelled at the chief suspects - Pierre Falcone, a French tycoon; Arkady Gaydamak, an Israeli billionaire; and Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, the son of the former French president Francois Mitterrand.

A lawyer representing Angola told the court that the investigation jeopardised the former Portuguese colony's defence secrets and was an attack on its sovereignty. The case centres on shipments of Pounds 290m of Russian arms to the Angolan government in the 1990s while it was fighting a civil war.

Women drivers 3Iran The country's largest carmaker has designed a vehicle specifically for women. Features include devices that help with parking, a fool-proof navigation system and an easy-to-use jack for changing tyres. The company - Iran Khodro - said the car will come in a range of "feminine" colours.

It will also include as standard an automatic gearbox and an alarm that warns women-drivers of a flat tyre.

The Islamic regime upholds strict rules to ensure the sexes do not mix. Last year, it announced plans for a women's bicycle that has a "modesty cover" to hide the rider's legs and upper body. "Women's necessities are different from men's," said Vahid Najafi a senior executive at Iran Khodro.

Penguins fly home

4 Brazil Hundreds of penguins that were stranded along the coast have been returned to their natural habitat in the south Atlantic by the air force. Each year, the penguins, pictured below, head north from the colder waters of Patagonia to warmer areas in search of food; but this year, many more than usual made the journey, some popping up in the far north of the country. Many of these penguins became stranded and had to be returned by plane.

Scientists have suggested that the mass movement this year may have been caused by an increasingly desperate hunt for fish.

Badland boutique

5 Mexico A rise in gangland murders has led to a surge in business for a boutique specialising in fashionable bullet-proof clothing. The Miguel Caballero chain, which is based in Bogota, Colombia, sells bullet-proof leather jackets, polo shirts and dress shirts that contain a special protective fabric. Prices range from a few hundred dollars to as much as $7,000 (Pounds 4,000).

Members of the shop's staff take turns at being shot while wearing an item so they can vouch for reliability. "It feels like being punched," a salesman who was shot in the stomach told The New York Times. The shop's customers include Mexican film stars, politicians and business executives.

Food fight

6 Lebanon A dispute is looming between Lebanon and Israel, this time over the origins of traditional Middle Eastern cooking. A trade association plans to issue a writ against Israel for promoting Lebanese food, such as falafel, houmous and tabbouleh, as its own.

Fadi Abboud, head of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists, told Al Arabiyah television station that Lebanon is losing "tens of millions of dollars annually" because of the Israeli claims. Abboud said he was registering Lebanese food and ingredients in readiness to take his case to the international courts.

Plane crash toll

7 Nepal A small aircraft has crashed at Lukla airport in Nepal, killing 16 tourists and two of the crew. The Twin Otter, owned by Yeti Airlines, was trying to land in fog at an airport near Mount Everest when it caught fire after its landing wheels snagged on a fence.

Suraj Kunwar, who was waiting for a flight, said: "Suddenly there was a big bang...People ran to help put out the flames but the passengers were already dead." Twelve of the dead passengers were from Germany, two from Australia and two from Nepal.

War against pirates

8 Somalia Nato defence ministers have agreed to send warships to escort vessels carrying food aid - as protection from pirates. The announcement followed calls by Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, to step up security for the ships. "Three million people are in danger of starving because nearly 90% of the food that feeds them arrives by sea on World Food Program ships," he said.

Piracy off the Somali coast has spiralled in the past year. Pirates recently seized a Ukrainian ship, laden with tanks and heavy weapons, and demanded a $20m (Pounds 11.6m) ransom. A spokesman for the pirates vowed to "cause a lot of problems for the world" if military force is used to end the two-week standoff.

Airstrike inquiry

9 Afghanistan An inquiry by the American military into an airstrike that killed dozens of civilians, including children, in Azizabad in August, has concluded that its forces "acted in legitimate self defence", the Washington Post reported. The US had stated that between five and seven civilians were killed, but last week the investigator, Brigadier-General Michael Callen, agreed that many more, including children, were buried under rubble.

Depths revealed

10 Pacific Ocean A UK-Japanese team of oceanographers has filmed the "deepest ever" fish, 4.8 miles beneath the surface of the Pacific. Alan Jamieson, a member of the joint expedition, said:

"It was an honour to see them. No one has ever seen fish alive so deep down before."

The 17 fish, of a type known as Pseudoliparis amblystomopsis, were filmed scooping up shrimp. They were surprisingly lively and rather cute, according to the scientists, considering that they live in near darkness where food is scarce.

Copyright (C) The Sunday Times, 2008

Source Citation:"Top stories from around the world.(Features)." Sunday Times (London, England) (Oct 12, 2008): 10. Academic OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 9 Oct. 2009

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