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.
By Georgina Prodhan VIENNA (Reuters) - The removal of deadly toxins from Syria under an international effort to rid the nation of its chemical arsenal will likely miss a December 31 deadline, the global chemical arms watchdog said. Bad weather and shifting battlefronts in Syria's civil war have delayed the delivery of essential supplies to sites where the toxins are being prepared to be sent to Latakia port, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said. "A delay will probably occur," Franz Krawinkler, the OPCW's logistics head told Austrian ORF state television on Saturday. "Because of various external influences, including the weather... certain logistical supplies that are needed for this transport, could not be delivered in time." Syria has agreed to abandon its chemical weapons by next June under a deal proposed by Russia and hashed out with the United States, after an August 21 sarin gas attack that Western nations blamed on President Bashar al-Assad's government.
Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - US Secretary of State John Kerry will return to the Middle East next week for talks with Palestinian and Israeli officials on the peace process, a Palestinian official said Saturday. "Mr Kerry has told the Palestinian Authority he will return to the region on January 4 to discuss the peace process and negotiations with Israel," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity. According to a well-informed Palestinian source, the US chief diplomat plans to stay in the Middle East for a "number of days" in what would be his 10th visit to the region since March. Kerry, who helped to launch nine-month direct talks between the two sides in July, insisted this month that concrete progress had been made in the peace talks.
HONOLULU (AP) — On these sun-bathed shores, Barack Obama was born and spent his formative years, soaking in an island sensibility that his wife and friends say is indispensable to understanding who he is as president. Yet in the search for a home for his future presidential library, Hawaii has become the underdog, stuck in Chicago's perpetual shadow.