World Briefs

Europe storm toll 59

PARIS: Thousands of firefighters and other rescue workers searched house by house on Monday along France’s devastated Atlantic coast, trying to help those still stranded by a storm that smashed sea walls and killed 59 people across western Europe. The storm, called Xynthia, blew into France early on Sunday with hurricane-force winds, flooding ports, destroying homes and leaving 1 million households without electricity. It also battered Belgium, Portugal, Spain and parts of Germany.

Australia fire rages

SYDNEY: A wildfire towering up to 60 feet high bore down on homes in Australia’s western Outback on Monday, officials said, urging residents to flee. An emergency warning released at 5:00 pm Sydney time said houses in an area near Eneabba, north of Perth, will be in danger in a matter of hours as the blaze burns out of control. “Homes will be impacted by fire in the next three hours. Embers are likely to be blown at your home,” the Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia said.

Rebel leader killed

SANAA: A separatist leader accused of Al-Qaeda links, his wife and two children as well as two policemen were killed in a gunbattle in southern Yemen on Monday, officials and his supporters said. “Ali Saleh al-Yafei, wanted for links with Al-Qaeda, was killed as well as some of his followers” in an assault on his hideout, the defence ministry said in a statement. Sources said Yafei’s wife, their son and daughter also died in the raid in the southern province of Abyan.

Iran bans newspapers

TEHRAN: Iran’s hardline press watchdog on Monday banned the best-selling reformist daily Etemad and a weekly run by the family of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, ISNA news agency said. “The press

watchdog banned Etemad and referred the case to the judiciary for repeated and persistent violations,” the report said without giving the newspaper’s alleged offences. The watchdog also revoked the licence of Irandokht (Daughter of Iran) weekly,” ISNA said.

Crossing reopens

DARIAL GORGE: Bitter regional rivals Georgia and Russia reopened their only usable land border crossing on Monday, restoring a vital transport route that had been closed since 2006. The reopening of the crossing — known as Verkhny Lars in Russia and Darial Gorge in Georgia — is expected primarily to benefit Armenia, which had relied on it for trade with Russia, its key economic partner.