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Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2001

World briefs

June 28, 2001

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Canada: Persian Gulf threat keeps warship at sea

The Canadian military has ordered its only warship in the Persian Gulf to remain at sea instead of docking this week in the United Arab Emirates, reportedly because it has received an unspecified security threat.

The order follows a similar move last week by the U.S. military officials, who ordered Navy ships out of port in Bahrain and cut short a Marine training exercise in Jordan in response to a terrorist threat against Americans in the Middle East.

The HMCS Winnipeg, the only Canadian Forces vessel in the region, will not dock in Dubai as planned, a Defense Department statement said.

The HMCS Winnipeg is part of a U.S.-led international interdiction force that monitors United Nations oil sanctions against Iraq imposed after the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

Nepal: Queen recovers from gunshot wounds

New Queen Komal was discharged from a hospital Wednesday, almost a month after she was injured in a shooting that left nine members of Nepal's royal family dead, the palace said.

A statement said the queen was discharged after doctors found her recovery satisfactory. She was shot twice in her left shoulder by Crown Prince Dipendra, who killed his parents and seven other royals at a family dinner June 1.

Dipendra was reportedly unhappy with his parents, King Birendra and Queen Aiswarya, who rejected his choice of a bride.

Komal was operated on twice. Three other injured royal family members are still recovering in the military hospital.

Her husband, Prince Gyanendra, was first named as regent after the killing of his elder brother. He then became king after Dipendra died of his self-inflicted injuries.

Beijing: Fashionable antelope on brink of extinction

A rare species of Tibetan antelope whose fur is used to make expensive shahtoosh shawls will disappear within five years if nothing is done to protect it, an environmental group said Wednesday.

The antelope which has seen its numbers dwindle from several million a century ago to 75,000 today is still hunted in China and its fur openly sold in India and Britain, the International Fund for Animal Welfare said.

The U.S.-based group estimates the antelopes, called chirus and found in the high plateaus of Tibet and Central Asia, are being killed at a rate of 20,000 per year.

It's sought after for its fur, used to make a soft, lightweight wool called shahtoosh. A shahtoosh shawl can sell for more than $17,000, the group said.

Up to five antelopes must be killed to produce one large shahtoosh shawl. The United States and 142 other nations have signed the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, which outlaws trade in shahtoosh.

Berlin: Police, rangers search Rhine for crocodile

Swimmers were barred from a stretch of the Rhine on Wednesday as German forest rangers searched an island for a crocodile that has eluded authorities for five days.

The nearly 5-foot-long reptile was first sighted in the waters last Friday in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Police boats and helicopters entered the hunt Tuesday after the crocodile was spotted downstream on Mariannenaue island, west of the city of Wiesbaden, in the state of Hesse.

Hesse state police told bathers to stay out of the waters around the island while the search continued.

Police said the crocodile was likely released by a private owner who could no longer cope with its size and appetite.

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