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DateLine Monday, 15 September 2008

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Typhoon slams into Taiwan, 13 injured

TAIWAN: A powerful typhoon pounded Taiwan on Sunday with fierce winds and torrential rains, causing thousands of people to flee their homes and leaving at least 13 people injured, officials said.

Traffic was severely disrupted as Typhoon Sinlaku made landfall in northeastern Ilan county early Sunday, packing winds of up to 173 kilometres (107 miles) per hour, the Central Weather Bureau said.

Hundreds of domestic and international flights have been cancelled on the island, and around 500 passengers were stranded in Kinmen airport, a Taiwan-controlled offshore island near the southeastern Chinese city of Xiamen.

Traffic on 20 highways was interrupted by landslides caused by heavy rains, which have accumulated to up to 1,000 millimetres (40 inches) in some remote mountainous areas over the weekend.

Power and telephone services were also disrupted to nearly 100,000 households as trees were uprooted by the strong winds.

Taipei, Sunday, AFP


Somali pirates attack French ship off Seychelles

FRANCE: Somali pirates have tried to board a French tuna fishing boat off the Seychelles but failed due to a heavy swell, France-Info radio reported Sunday.

After failing to board the Drennec from the port of Concarneau in Brittany, the pirates in a speedboat fired two rockets at the fishing boat without claiming any victims or causing major damage, the radio said.

The captain of the tuna boat, in a telephone interview with the radio station, said that he like most other French and Spanish skippers fishing in the area had decided to return to port in the Seychelles pending naval protection.

Somalia, a poor Horn of Africa country riven by civil war and without a functioning central government since 1991, has become a focal point for world piracy over the past few months.

Many attacks take place along Somalia’s 3,700 kilometres (2,300 miles) of largely unpatrolled coast infested by pirates, who operate high-powered speedboats and carry heavy machine guns and rocket launchers.

In June, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution authorising foreign warships to enter Somalia’s territorial waters with the government’s consent to combat pirates and armed robbery at sea, but it is yet to be implemented. In recent months, a multinational taskforce based in Djibouti has been patrolling parts of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, where a pirate mothership is believed to be operating.

Paris, Sunday, AFP


 Indonesia to appeal Tommy Suharto ruling

INDONESIA: Indonesia is to appeal a court ruling ordering it to give Suharto’s youngest son 134 million dollars in assets seized from a company linked to him, the Tempo daily reported Sunday.

Indonesia has ordered a bank to hand over 1.23 trillion rupiah (134 million dollars) belonging to Hutomo “Tommy” Mandala Putra’s now-defunct car company in a move to bring the former dictator’s family to account for alleged graft.

But the Supreme Court ruled last month that the government should give the seized money to Tommy, Tempo said. State prosecutor Yoseph Suardi Sabda told the paper he would “file a judicial review against the ruling” once he received a copy.

Tommy, who was reputedly Suharto’s favourite child, enjoyed privileged access to business deals during the heady years of crony capitalism before the Asian financial crisis and his father’s 1998 fall.

Jakarta, Sunday AFP

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