Six In The Morning Monday January 4

Iran-Saudi Arabia row: Tehran envoys must leave ‘in two days’

4 January 2016

Saudi Arabia has given Iranian diplomats two days to leave the country, amid a row over the Saudi execution of a top Shia Muslim cleric.

The Saudi government announced on Sunday that it had broken off diplomatic ties with Iran.

Iran has accused Saudi Arabia of stoking tension in the region.

Saudi Arabia and Iran are the major Sunni and Shia powers in the region respectively and back opposing sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

The US has appealed for calm, calling for continued diplomatic engagement.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others were executed on Saturday after being convicted of terror-related offences.

Late on Sunday, police came under heavy gunfire in his home town of Awamiya in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, leaving one civilian dead and a child injured, the Saudi Press Agency said.

Security forces are still hunting the attackers, calling the incident a “terrorist” act, a police spokesman was quoted as saying.

Charlie Hebdo anniversary edition cover released: ‘the assassin is still out there’

Cartoonist Laurent Sourisseau draws cover and writes editorial for French magazine that takes swipe at those who hoped for demise of publication

French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo will mark a year since an attack on its offices with a cover featuring a bearded man representing God with a Kalashnikov slung over his shoulder, accompanied by the text: “One year on: the assassin is still out there.”

One million copies of the special edition will be available on newsstands on Wednesday, with tens of thousands more to be sent overseas.

It will mark a year since brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi burst into Charlie Hebdo’s offices in eastern Paris and killed 12 people, including eight of the magazine’s staff.

The attack on 7 January 2015, claimed by al-Qaida’s branch in the Arabian Peninsula, came after a 2011 firebombing of its offices that forced it to move premises. Its staff had also been under police protection since it published cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in 2006.

The Giants Club: Botswana becomes fourth African country to join the elephant-protection initiative

Amid the slaughter of elephants in recent years, Botswana has shone as a rare bright spot

On one bank of the river Chobe, elephant carcasses can be found, lost to hunters and poachers. On the other bank, herds emerge from the surrounding floodplain each evening to drink and bathe in the river’s mud.

It is a stunning contrast, one that illustrates the state of one of the most iconic, and under threat, of African animals in the two countries whose border is defined by the waterway.

On the Namibian side, hunting is still allowed and, despite efforts by the country’s government, elephants are lost to those illegally seeking ivory. On the Botswana side, in the Linyanti Wildlife Area and the neighbouring 7,270sq mile Chobe national park, some 80,000 elephants roam free as their ancestors did across the African continent for millennia.

Making skateboards out of discarded fishing nets

David Stover

Three entrepreneurs have come up with an innovative way to decrease the environmental hazards caused by fishing nets abandoned off the coast of Chile and on its beaches. Their company, Bureo, collects discarded nets and gives them a surprising second life.

Each year, about 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets are abandoned or thrown into the sea. These nets make up 10 percent of marine litter, according to a reportby the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. These discarded nets can damage the sea floor and hurt wildlife as they continue to trap animals [a problem called ‘ghost fishing‘]. They can also cause accidents or damage boats.

The issue caught the attention of three Americans surfers, Ben Kneppers, Kevin Ahearn and David Stover, who came up with an innovative plan for collecting and recycling these nets. The three Americans founded Bureo, a company that makes skateboards from recycled net material.

2 terrorists still inside Pathankot airbase, ops in final stage: NSG

  • Aseem Bassi & Vinay Dhingra, Hindustan Times, Pathankot Updated: Jan 04, 2016 13:36 IST

Security operations to secure the Pathankot Indian Air Force facility from two remaining terrorists are in the final stages and will conclude only after all assets are physically combed, the National Security Guard said on Monday.

As the operation against the terrorists entered the third day, NSG, IAF and Army officers said there was no collateral damage to the strategic Air Force assets.

“Till now, we have eliminated four terrorists and operation to eliminate two more terrorists, possibly is in the final stage of conduct,” Inspector General NSG Maj General Dushant Singh said.

Singh, who was flanked by Air officer commanding, Air commodore J S Damoon and Brigadier Anupinder Singh, said “the entire operation will continue till all the personnel, assets, structure are physically combed. So it is likely to take a long time.”

Tale of the missing Hong Kong booksellers: Government wants answers

Updated 0652 GMT (1452 HKT) January 4, 2016

Hong Kong’s leader has appealed for information after the mysterious disappearance of five people linked to a publisher of books critical of China.

C.Y. Leung said there was “no indication” that those reported missing had been taken to mainland China by Chinese security agents, an accusation raised by some opposition political leaders in Hong Kong.

Instead, Leung stressed that only Hong Kong law enforcement agencies had the legal authority to enforce laws here.

“Anyone who thinks they have information that may lead to a better understanding of the whereabouts and the reasons why they seem to be missing from Hong Kong would be welcome to provide such information to the Hong Kong government authorities,” he said.