- At least five members of Yemen's government forces were killed in a bomb blast in the oil-rich southern province of Shabwa on Saturday, a security official said.
"Suspected al Qaeda gunmen attacked vehicles of government forces with an improvised explosive device in the western part of Shabwa, causing a huge explosion in the area located near the oil fields," the local security official said on condition of anonymity. .
He confirmed that a total of five soldiers, including a senior officer, were killed and several others injured in the terror attack.
The bomb blast destroyed a military vehicle of the newly recruited Shabwa Defense Troops, which is largely backed by the Saudi-led coalition, the source said.
The Aden-based Southern Transitional Council (STC) said in a brief press release that its forces defused another explosive device in Shabwa.
Attacks by militant groups against pro-government southern troops increased in several regions of Yemen just two months after a UN-brokered truce expired on October 2.
The terror attacks occur when Yemeni government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition sporadically attack hideouts of the Yemen-based al Qaeda branch, mainly in the mountainous areas of Shabwa and neighboring provinces.
The Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) network has been responsible for many high-profile attacks against security forces in the country's southern provinces.
AQAP has exploited years of deadly conflict between the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence in the war-torn Arab country. ■
Iranian police have seized a batch of smuggled ammunition in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Saturday.
Tasnim quoted provincial police commander Mohammad Salehi as saying that the country's security and intelligence forces identified the smuggler bringing the weapons and ammunition to Ahvaz through close night surveillance.
It added that the smuggler was arrested in an operation in Ahvaz and 1,800 Kalashnikov rifle bullets, 50 Colt pistol bullets, eight magazines and a Colt pistol were found in the smuggler's car and confiscated.
Earlier this month, Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps intelligence service identified and crushed a European-backed "terrorist" team in Ahvaz, whose detained members had confessed to plans to "murder several people." and Arab personalities in Khuzestan". Province." ■
- The Libyan capital of Tripoli held the fifth annual marathon on Saturday under the motto "racing for peace" with more than 1,500 participants.
Participants from Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Turkey, the Philippines and Japan took part in the marathon, along with 70 observers and judges, said Abdul-Hamed Shbet, head of the Organizing Committee.
The first-place winner took home a prize of 5,500 Libyan dinars (US$1,119) and a return plane ticket to Türkiye, Shbet said.
Plane tickets, smartphones, sportswear and cash prizes were also awarded to the participants, it added.
The marathon was 21 km, about half the distance of a standard run, and took about three hours to finish. ■
- Over the last decade, wood pellets have become a very popular fuel for heating homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a country with almost two-thirds of its territory covered by forests.
But with pellet prices tripling this year, many Bosnians now regret the money they spent installing expensive pellet boilers.
Alija Hadzic, a 61-year-old forest worker from Sarajevo, is one of them.
When he installed his boiler in the basement of his house in 2021, he was able to buy a ton of wood pellets for around €150 (US$154). Now, prices are around 450 euros per tonne and more, if one is lucky enough to get it.
"Even the ban on the export of wood pellets didn't help much," Hadzik said, referring to government measures in June that suspended the sale of wood pellets and firewood abroad.
However, he was lucky because he bought his five tons on time, "just before prices skyrocketed," he said.
While Hadzik is scheduled for this winter, he is looking forward to the prospects for next year. If prices remain this high, or if there is a shortage of wood pellets, he would be forced to switch back to more affordable firewood.
"The price of firewood has also increased, but not as much as wood pellets," he said.
Before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the latter used to be a major supplier of firewood and wood pellets to Europe. Now the markets are forced to look for new sources of supply, including some 40 Bosnian wood pellet producers.
The high demand has pushed up the prices of wood pellets and firewood in the domestic market. In the latter case, the increase has been greater than 50 percent.
Before the export ban, Bosnia was exporting between 500 and 700 tons of wood pellets a day, said Muhamed Helac, co-owner of Drvosjeca. His company is the largest supplier of firewood, wood pellets and charcoal in the country.
In early November, the governments of both Bosnian entities, the Republika Srpska and the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, decided to cap the price of wood pellets at €280 per tonne.
"That's still double the price I used to pay in previous years," said Emir Hasanbegovic, 56, from Mostar, a city about 120 kilometers southwest of the capital Sarajevo. This angers him because Bosnia is covered in forests, so he expects wood products to be cheaper.
In previous years, he used four tons of wood pellets per season to heat his home. But due to skyrocketing fuel prices, this is no longer economical, she said.
On Klix, the most visited website in the country, a pensioner revealed a "strategy" to keep warm in the most economical way.
"My friend and I spend a lot of time in shopping malls, where we meet our friends. We drink coffee or tea, hang out, and then go for a walk, looking out the windows. This way we could save money to heat our homes and also divert our dark thoughts from the problems," explained the retiree.
Hasanbegovic is one of many Bosnians who are switching to electricity to heat their homes. Bosnian media reported on the growing demand for cheaper heat pumps and electric heating devices such as air conditioning, radiators and heating fans.
Subsidized by the state, the price of electricity has remained unchanged this year, making it a more competitive option for heating homes than previously popular wood products. But there is no guarantee that electricity prices will stay low, said Admir Andelija, director of Elektroprivreda, one of the country's three public electricity companies.
"The company will be forced to double the price of electricity for households for the extra part of consumption that is above last year's average," Andelija told BHT, the state television broadcaster, in an interview.
A sudden boom in domestic electricity consumption may also undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina's role as a major electricity exporter, experts have warned. Currently, the country sells a quarter of its annual production mainly to Croatia and Serbia. This generated 450 million euros in revenue in the first nine months of this year, according to Elektroprivreda. ■
- The Bank of China Zambia Ltd. celebrated its 25 years of banking in Zambia as a bridge facilitating the growing economic and trade exchanges between the two countries.
During the celebration event held on Friday, the bank's Managing Director Wang Qi said the bank is proud of its 25 years of service in Zambia and vowed that the bank will continue to provide strong and ardent support for the country's economic development.
Highlighting some of the bank's achievements in the past 25 years, Wang said the bank has provided a total of 3 billion US dollars in financial support for the country's development.
According to him, more than 60 Zambian companies have established business partnerships with their Chinese partners, while in the past two years the bank organized more than 40 Zambian companies to participate in the China International Import Expo.
The bank will spare no efforts to promote Zambia to China and the world not only as an investment option but also as a tourist and holiday destination, he added.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Du Xiaohui said the birth and growth of the bank in Zambia is a vivid example of how China has developed its ties with Africa and facilitated cooperation with developing countries.
"The fact that a Chinese financial institution has taken root, grown and prospered in Zambia shows that the Chinese government and Chinese financial institutions have been optimistic about Zambia's good business environment and ample development opportunities," he said.
Bank of Zambia Deputy Governor in Charge of Operations Francis Chipimo praised the bank for its role in promoting the country's economic development.
Zambian Minister of Finance and National Planning Situmbeko Musokotwane said the Zambian government will do everything possible to ensure that the relationship with China is strengthened. ■
- Namibia will step up efforts against wildlife crime in the country during the festive season this year, an official said on Saturday.
Romeo Muyunda, a spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), said Namibia has observed that in the past poachers took advantage of the festive season to engage in criminal poaching of rhinos, pangolins, elephants and other species.
Muyunda said that while Namibia continues to record successes in combating wildlife crime, poaching of high-value species remains a concern.
"In 2022 to date, Namibia recorded 63 poached rhinos, which includes 15 in custodial farms, 22 in private farms and 26 in Etosha National Park," Muyunda said.
Interventions have been implemented across the country under the leadership of the MEFT to combat wildlife crime. ■
- Israel's rail service was halted on Saturday due to a nationwide train signaling failure, state-owned Israel Railways said in a statement.
Train operations would remain closed until Sunday morning at the earliest, the company said in a statement.
Operations were halted overnight due to safety concerns caused by the fault in the train traffic signaling system, the company said, adding that its engineers, along with signaling experts, are working to fix the fault.
They will carry out extensive tests to make sure the system is stable, he added.
On Saturdays, passenger trains in Israel only run during the evening and evening hours, as Saturday is Israel's weekly day of rest.
The role of the computerized signaling system is to manage train traffic and ensure the safety of all journeys. ■
- More than 100 al-Shabab militants have been killed during planned operations by the Somali National Army and its international partners on the border of the Middle Shabelle and Hiran regions in central Somalia, a senior government official confirmed to the local media.
Abdirahman Yusuf Al-Adala, Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, said the dead included 10 ringleaders, adding that the military offensive against the al-Shabab group had intensified. ■
- At least one person died and several others went missing on the southern Italian island of Ischia on Saturday after heavy rains triggered a landslide that affected several residential buildings, according to authorities and local media.
"So far, we can confirm one casualty," the Italian news agency AGI quoted the prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba, as saying.
The prefect said the victim was believed to be a woman who permanently resided on the island.
The landslide occurred at around 5am local time, however rough sea conditions made it difficult for emergency boats and helicopters to handle the intervention.
Search activities were ongoing, especially in Casamicciola Terme, one of the municipalities of Ischia. At least 10 buildings collapsed in the collapse, according to local media.
As of Saturday night, some 80 people have been evacuated to a local sports facility, but their number could increase, while dozens of families remain isolated and impossible to locate, the ANSA news agency reported.
All the rescue efforts were being coordinated by the head of the Department of Civil Protection, Fabrizio Curcio, of the prefecture of Naples, where local and national rescue agencies were involved in an ongoing emergency meeting. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni participated via video link in the emergency meeting in Naples, according to the local prefect.
Through social platforms and local media, the mayor of Ischia, Enzo Ferrandino, called on people on the island to stay at home to facilitate rescue operations.
Ischia is a volcanic island located in the Tyrrhenian Sea about 30 km from the southern city of Naples. ■
- The energy situation will be even worse next winter in Sweden, an expert from the Swedish Energy Agency warned on Saturday.
The Swedes, who have already experienced exceptionally high energy prices, can expect even higher prices next winter, the newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) reported, citing Anders Wallinder, the agency's head of security of supply.
As a consequence of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Europe is trying to minimize its energy dependence on Russia. Before the conflict, 40 percent of the natural gas consumed in Europe was imported from Russia.
Therefore, before the winter of 2023/2024, Europe will be dependent on shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States and the Middle East. In addition to being considerably more expensive than natural gas, there are practical challenges, such as the fact that the current system relies heavily on imports from the east, which would have to be replaced by terminals for shipments coming from the other direction, he reported. DN.
"This will be resolved, but not without problems," Wallinder said.
Unlike many other European countries, Sweden's dependence on gas is very small, according to the Swedish Energy Agency. Natural gas only accounts for 3 percent of the total energy used. However, since the Swedish electricity grid is connected to the rest of Europe, Sweden, especially the southern regions of the country, is also affected by high energy prices, according to the DN report. ■