The ice-bound ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, left New Zealand on November 28 on a privately funded expedition to commemorate the 100th anniversary of an Antarctic journey led by famed Australian explorer Douglas Mawson. The Australian icebreaker the Aurora Australis is expected to reach the stricken ship at about midnight on Sunday. A Chinese icebreaker could not break through the thick ice earlier but the weather on Sunday boded well for a rescue. "The ice conditions seem to have improved and there appears to be some softening and some cracks appearing," Lisa Martin of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the rescue, told Reuters.
With vigils and prayers, India on Sunday marked the first anniversary of the death of a student savagely gang-raped on a Delhi bus -- a tragedy that sparked nationwide protests. The attack and her subsequent death shook the country, shone a global spotlight on India's treatment of women and unleashed seething public anger about sexual violence and harassment of women.
Passengers on a Russian research ship trapped in thick Antarctic ice faced an uncertain wait Sunday for one last icebreaking attempt with no guarantees of success. The MV Akademik Shokalskiy has been marooned by heavy ice since Tuesday about 100 nautical miles east of the French Antarctic base Dumont d'Urville, with two icebreaking ships so far failing in attempts to reach it. The Australian government's resupply ship Aurora Australis is now en route to make one final bid to free the icebound boat and is expected to reach the Akademik at 11pm Australian time (1200 GMT). "It will then assess if it can make it through the ice to the Akademik Shokalskiy," the Australian Maritime Safety Authority told AFP.
HONOLULU (AP) — Not far from these wind-swept shores, Barack Obama was born and raised, soaking in an island sensibility that his family says he's carried with him throughout his journey as president. Yet in the search for a home for his future presidential library, Hawaii is playing the underdog, overshadowed by Chicago and the commanding role it plays in Obama's story.