Kabul, Sep 2 (AP/UNB) — U.S. Army Gen. Austin Miller has assumed command of the 41-nation NATO mission in Afghanistan following a handover ceremony.
Miller took over Sunday from Gen. John Nicholson, who held the post for more than two years, at a ceremony attended by senior Afghan officials and foreign ambassadors.
The handover comes at a time when Afghan forces are struggling to contain a resurgent Taliban and an increasingly powerful Islamic State affiliate. The Taliban control several districts across Afghanistan, and both groups have launched a relentless wave of attacks in recent months.
The NATO mission began with the U.S.-led invasion that toppled the Taliban after the Sept. 11 attacks. The U.S. and NATO formally ended their combat mission in 2014 but still routinely come to the aid of Afghan forces.
Kathmandu, Sep 3 (UNB) – A domestic aircraft of a private air service provider skidded off the runway of Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) in Kathmandu, injuring five passengers on board, reports NDTV.
"The Aircraft bearing the call sign 9NAHW was carrying 21 passengers from Nepalgunj to Kathmandu. It skidded off the runway at around 8:30 PM (Local Time) on Saturday," TIA General Manager Raj Kumar Chettri told ANI.
According to Chettri, five of the passengers sustained minor injuries without any serious threats, while remaining passengers and the crew members were safe.
The airport is, however, shut for maintenance as the decade-old runway bears cracks on the surface.
Beirut, Sep 2 (AP/UNB) — A group monitoring the Syrian war says at least two military personnel were killed and 11 wounded in overnight explosions in a military airport on the edge of the capital.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday the blasts that rocked Damascus are believed to have been caused by an Israeli strike.
Syrian pro-government media initially blamed the blasts on Israel. But state media later quoted an unnamed Syrian military official as saying the explosions were caused by an electrical malfunction in a munition depot nearby.
The Observatory relies on various sources on the ground to monitor the war.
The government has blamed Israel for previous attacks on the airport. Israel rarely acknowledges such strikes, but has recently targeted suspected Iranian posts inside Syria.
Dhaka, Sep 2 (UNB) – Myanmar officials investigating a "ghost ship" found mysteriously drifting near the Yangon region this week have found the answer to its fate, reports BBC.
The large, empty and rusty container vessel, Sam Ratulangi PB 1600, had been discovered by fishermen off Myanmar's commercial capital.
The navy now say the freighter was being towed by a tugboat headed to a ship-breaking factory in Bangladesh.
However, the crew abandoned the ship after being caught up in bad weather.
Authorities and navy personnel had boarded the Sam Ratulangi PB 1600 on Thursday to search for clues after it ran aground on a beach.
Police and observers were baffled at how such a large ship, with no sailors or goods on board, had ended up in Myanmar.
The vessel, which was built in 2001, is more than 177 metres (580 ft) long, according to the Marine Traffic website, which logs the movements of ships around the world.
The ship's location was last recorded off the coast of Taiwan in 2009, and this was the first reported instance of an abandoned ship appearing in Myanmar's waters, according to the AFP news agency.
On Saturday, Myanmar's navy said it suspected the ship had been towed by another ship after "two cables... were found at its head".
They later found a tugboat, called Independence, about 80km (50 miles) off Myanmar's coast.
After questioning the 13 Indonesian crew members on board, they learned that the tugboat had been towing the vessel since 13 August, and intended to take it to a factory in Bangladesh that would dismantle and salvage the ship.
However, some of the cables attached to the boat broke in bad weather, and they decided to abandon the ship.
The authorities are investigating further.
The owner of the tugboat is thought to be from Malaysia, news site Eleven Myanmar reports.
Bangladesh has a large ship-breaking industry - with hundreds of old commercial vessels dismantled in Chittagong each year.
But the business is controversial - with critics saying the work is poorly regulated and dangerous to labourers.
Gary, Sep 01 (AP/UNB) — Indiana State Police say four people, including a child, have died in a wrong-way driver crash on Interstate 90.
Police say the crash early Saturday in Gary killed the driver of a Toyota SUV that was traveling west in the eastbound lanes of the highway with no headlights on. She was identified as 25-year-old Tiara Davis of Calumet City, Illinois.
Police say the crash also killed three people in a Jeep: 45-year-old driver Octavio Chavez-Renovato of Chicago, his 34-year-old wife, Eva Gonzales, and their son, 14-year-old Luis.
All four died at the scene.
Police say three daughters of the couple, 10-year-old Emily, 11-year-old Damaris and 7-month-old Florali, sustained serious to critical injuries and were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Chicago.