High-speed rail link

ROME: Italy’s infrastructure minister says work on a contested high-speed rail line linking the Italian city of Turin to Lyon in France will restart next month. Altero Matteoli said Friday that preliminary work would begin by December. The rail link is designed to reduce road traffic and boost trade, and is part of a European rail network to link. — AP

Lankans seek asylum

JAKARTA: Sri Lankan asylum seekers caught in Indonesian waters said on Friday that more than 200 of them have started a hunger strike while demanding permission to continue their travel to Australia. One migrant, who identified himself only as Ruben, said most began the hunger strike on Thursday to pressure Indonesian authorities to let them seek asylum in Indonesia. Lankans have been fleeing the country since the government ended the more than two-decade-long bloody war against the movement for a separate Eelam or homeland for the minority Tamils.— AP

Iraqi ex-MP arrested

KUALA LUMPUR: An Iraqi former legislator who fled after being accused of ordering a 2007 bomb attack on the country’s parliament has been arrested in Malaysia, a top official told a newspaper here on Friday. Mohammed al-Daini, a Sunni Arab who has insisted he was not involved in the bombing, which left eight people dead, has been in hiding since Iraq’s parliament voted to lift his immunity in February. Several Iraqi MPs have been facing graft charges in war-ravaged nation.— AFP

Hunt for missing pilot

WASHINGTON: Rescue teams from the US Coast Guard and Navy were searching on Friday for a pilot who went missing after two F-16 fighter jets collided off South Carolina’s coast, the Air Force said. “As of right now the search is still going on. We haven’t found him yet,” spokesman Michael Cowley told AFP on Friday. “The pilot of the missing F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from the 20th Fighter Wing here has been identified as Captain Nicholas Giglio,” a statement from Shaw Air Force Base said. “His fighter apparently collided with another Shaw F-16 in mid-air over the Atlantic Ocean around 0030 GMT Friday, about 40 miles east of Folly Beach.” The pilot of the other aircraft was able to fly his F-16 back to Charleston Air Force Base. — AFP

Grass surprised

GOETTINGEN: Fifty years after he rocketed to the international stage with The Tin Drum, German Nobel laureate Guenter Grass is still surprised at the overnight success of his tale of World War II as told through the eyes of a stunted boy and his toy instrument. The book continues to be a rage among the present generation, much to the amazement of the renowned author. — AP