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World news briefs — compiled Jan. 3

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AUSTRALIA

Rescue ship resumes journey

An Australian icebreaker carrying 52 passengers who were retrieved from an icebound ship in the Antarctic resumed its journey home today after it was halted for a second potential rescue operation. The Aurora Australis had been slowly cracking through thick ice toward open water after a Chinese ship’s helicopter on Thursday plucked the passengers from their stranded Russian research ship and carried them to an ice floe near the Australian ship. But on Friday afternoon, the crew of the Chinese icebreaker that had provided the helicopter said they were worried about their own ship’s ability to move through the ice. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre said the Aurora was allowed to continue its journey today despite the Chinese ship Snow Dragon, or Xue Long in Chinese, remaining stuck in ice.

IRAQ

Al-Qaida establishes havens

Two Iraqi cities that were strongholds of Sunni insurgents during the U.S. war in the country are battlegrounds once more after al-Qaida militants largely took them over, fending off government forces that have been besieging them for days. The overrunning of the cities this week by al-Qaida’s Iraqi branch in the Sunni heartland of western Anbar provinces is a blow to the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Malik. His government has been struggling to contain discontent among the Sunni minority over Shiite political domination that has flared into increased violence for the past year.

NETHERLANDS

Mexican drug suspect nabbed

Dutch police arrested a suspected top enforcer for the powerful Sinaloa Cartel on drug-trafficking charges he faces in Southern California, the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego said Friday. The suspect, Jose Rodrigo Arechiga Gamboa, was captured Monday in Amsterdam’s Airport Schiphol. He is accused of trafficking methamphetamines, cocaine and marijuana. Arechiga is presumably a top enforcer for Ismael Zambada, who co-heads the Sinaloa drug organization along with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Compiled from wire reports.


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