ANTARCTIC SHIP RESCUE
An operation to rescue the passengers of the Russian ship Akademik Shokalsky was launched this morning, as a Chinese helicopter attempts to ferry tourists and scientists to an Australian ice-breaker, Russia Today reports. The Shokalksky has been trapped in ice since Christmas eve and several evacuation attempts had failed due to poor weather conditions. By midday, CNN reports that all 52 passengers had been successfully rescued.
STATE OF EMERGENCY IN SOUTH SUDAN
The head of the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan Hilde Johnson has called for an end to fighting between supporters of President Salva Kiir and those of his sacked deputy Riek Machar, BBC News reports. Meanwhile, Kiir declared a state of emergency in two of the country’s states on Wednesday, ordering the regular army to fight dissident rebels, according to the Sudan Tribune.
ARIEL SHARON’S HEALTH HAS SERIOUSLY DETERIORATED
The former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon remains in critical condition after his health seriously deteriorated this week, according to Haaretz. Prof. Zeev Rotstein of the Sheba Medical Center said that Sharon, who has been in a coma for the past eight years, “is suffering problems in a number of organs.” Another medical source said it could be “a matter of days” until he dies, if his condition continues to worsen.
RISING STOCKS AFTER FIAT’S TAKEOVER OF CHRYSLER
Shares for Fiat automaker rose in morning trading in Milan after news that it had struck a $4.35 billion deal to acquire full control of the Chrysler Group, the third largest American car manufacturer.
SCHUMACHER’S CONDITION “STABLE” BUT STILL “CRITICAL”
The German Formula 1 driving legend and seven-time world champion still lies between life and death at the University Hospital of Grenoble. Michael Schumacher’s press agent, Sabine Kehm, said on Wednesday that his medical condition was “stable, but remained critical”. Schumacher has undergone two operations since he fell into coma on Sunday after a skiing accident. The German tabloid Bild reported that the accident happened after Schumacher veered off the trail in an attempt to help the daughter of a friend who had fallen.
The French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean has been put on red alert as it braces for the arrival of Cyclone Bejisa — the first tropical cyclone of the year.
GUN V. BROOM
Near Paris, this armed thief got kicked out of the bakery he tried to rob by a woman with a broom.