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news digest
1/20/2006
 

          Iran president visits ally Syria
DAMASCUS, Jan 19: Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began a two-day visit to Syria, Tehran's only regional ally, Thursday as both countries struggle to fend off increasing international pressure. Ahmadinejad was greeted at the airport by Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shara , ahead of talks with President Bashar al-Assad, the state news agency SANA reported. "Our position on regional issues is clear. We reject any foreign interference," the Iranian leader said Wednesday in reference to international pressure on Damascus over Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri's murder. AFP

Light plane crashes in
northern Australia
SYDNEY, Jan 19: A light plane crashed Thursday in northern Australia as it headed to a mine, police said. It was not immediately clear how many people were on the charter flight or if there were any survivors, Northern Territory Police said in a statement. The plane, a Beechcraft B58 which can sit five people, was heading for a landing strip at the McArthur River zinc mine about 750 kilometres (466 miles) southeast of the northern port of Darwin. AP

No change in Sharon's
condition
JERUSALEM, Jan 19: There has been no change in the condition of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who has been in a medically induced coma for 15 days, a hospital spokesman said early Thursday. "There has been no change in the state of health of the prime minister whose condition remains serious but stable," the spokesman at Jerusalem's Hadassah hospital told AFP. AFP
Japan postpones satellite launch due to storm
TANEGASHIMA, Jan 19: Japan's space agency said Thursday it is postponing the launch of an observation satellite due to poor weather. The original date of a Thursday launch has been moved back to Saturday at the earliest. The rocket launch had earlier been delayed because of a technical failure in data transmission equipment on the launch vehicle. The H-2A rocket was to carry a four-ton Advanced Land Observing Satellite. AP

Yash Chopra on jury of Berlin film festival
BOMBAY, Jan 19: Indian director Yash Chopra will serve on the jury of the Berlin International Film Festival next month, Indian newspapers reported Thursday. Chopra said the festival would also feature a special screening of four Indian films including the Bollywood blockbuster "Parineeta The Married Woman," which has won several awards in India. "It is indeed a delight to be given this honour," he told the Mumbai Mirror newspaper. Bombay, India's entertainment capital, is also known as Mumbai. AP

China sent 7,000 pilgrims to Mecca this year
BEIJING, Jan 19 (AP): A record-high 7,000 Chinese Muslims made the pilgrimage to Mecca this year, state media reported Thursday. Most were members of Muslim ethnic minorities from the country's northwest and southwest, the China Daily newspaper said, citing the State Administration for Religious Affairs. The number of Chinese making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the hajj, has soared in recent years as economic growth has given more people the ability to pay for the trip. In the 1970s, only about a dozen Chinese a year made the pilgrimage, which is required once in a lifetime for every able-bodied Muslim who can afford it. AP

 

 
 

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