World Briefs

  • 25/09/2008 02:00
  • 25/09/2008 02:00
SYDNEY - Asian economic growth will slow at some point but demand for raw materials from countries such as China is expected to continue...

SYDNEY - Asian economic growth will slow at some point but demand for raw materials from countries such as China is expected to continue, the chairman of the world's largest mining company said Wednesday. BHP Billiton's Don Argus said commodity markets would be volatile in the short-term due to the global financial crisis but he was confident longer-term market fundamentals would support growth in demand. "We expect Asian demand for our products to continue,"he said.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The Pakistani army said Wednesday it found the wreckage of a suspected U.S. spy plane near the Afghan border, but denied claims that it had been shot down. This comes amid strained ties between Washington and Islamabad over missile strikes from American drones on the Pakistan side of the border.

KAUHAJOKI, Finland - Finland's prime minister called for stricter gun laws Wednesday as investigators revealed that a 22-year-old's shooting spree at a trade school hit women especially hard, killing eight female students and leaving another with a gunshot wound to the head. The slaughter Tuesday, which killed 10 people and the gunman, was Finland's second deadly school shooting in less than a year. Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said it was time to consider restricting gun access seeing as there are about 1.6 million firearms in private hands.

VIENNA, Austria - Iran is nearing the ability to arm a nuclear warhead even if it insists its atomic activities are peaceful, the European Union warned Wednesday. In comments prepared for delivery to the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35 board members, the EU also asserted that Iran appeared to have had a past nuclear arms program despite its denials.

BEIJING - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his country's oil exports to China could soar to 1 million barrels a day by 2012. Chavez's visit this week to Beijing has focused on trade and business ties, including refinery construction deals and China's launch of a Venezuelan communications satellite.

KHARTOUM - Sudanese forces were laying siege on Wednesday to a remote desert hideout where bandits have 19 people captive, including European tourists, but do not plan to storm the area. The tourists, along with Egyptian drivers and guides were snatched by masked gunmen on Friday during a a desert safari around Gilf el-Kabir in southwestern Egypt and then taken to Sudan. A Sudanese official said the hostages were alive and that negotiations were continuing with the kidnappers, who have reportedly demanded a ransom of up to $15 million. "Our aim is to help secure their release unharmed," the director of protocol at the foreign ministry told AFP.

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