News Roundup

Pilots grounded

Four Indonesian pilots have lost their flying licenses after testing positive to narcotics. Two of them have been charges with drug offences. The Indonesian Pilot Federation said there has been a major increase on in drug use in the industry.

Cold Snap

Severe weather warnings have been issued for England and parts of Wales after heavy snowfall for the second time in a week. Ice has also caused a hazard on the roads. However, meteorologists predict the freezing weather to ease this weekend.

Election fever

Controversial Venezuelan president of 13 years, Hugo Chavez, has competition. While the election is not until October, Henrique Capriles Radonski, 39, is proving to be the most promising candidate at this weekend’s preliminary poll.

Bail-out blackhole

The Greek economy is one step closer to default after Eurozone ministers dismissed a $3.3 billion budget cut package. They presented their budget figures in the hope of securing $130 billion bail-out. They have told Athens to find more than $300 more in savings.

China slows

China's booming economy has slowed. Exports from the powerhouse dipped 0.5 per cent over the last 12 months. Imports plunged 15.3 per cent. The statistics were likely skewed by the Chinese festive season during which the markets close for a week.

Falklands standoff

The Argentinean president Christina Fernandez de Kirchner has fired another verbal missive aimed at London complaining about the "militarisation" of the south Pacific. British leaders dismissed the rebuff of its contentious claim on Falkland Islands.

Deadly chill

A cold snap is proving deadly for Ukrainians. Temperatures have not risen above freezing in a month putting a strain on health authorities. About 112 lives have been attributed to the chill – 90 per cent cause by alcohol poisoning.

Syrians sacked

Syrian Embassy staff in Germany have been expelled after being accused of spying on opposition groups in the country. Two men were arrested and the homes of six others were searched as part of the investigations. Embassy officials have been blamed.

Maldives unrest

Violent clashes in the Maldives could result in the arrest of the deposed unpopular president. A former ministerial colleague says there are 14 unspecified charges being brought against Mohamed Nasheed.

Chinese freed

Almost 30 Chinese construction workers abducted in Sudan have been released. They were kidnapped by rebels late last month. The workers were flown to Kenya before their freedom was announced. The militants responsible were not located.

Monk detained

A prominent Burmese monk has been taken back into custody by authorities less than a month after being freed. Gambira, who was jailed for 68 years after trying to start a rebellion in 1997, was caught breaking locks on monasteries.

Quake charges

Criminal charges may be laid after a report on the Christchurch earthquakes last year found the CTV building in the city centre did not meet safety regulations. The 6.3-magnitude quake killed 184 -about 60 per cent in the six-storey building.

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