Chinese Rescue Icebreaker May be Mired in Antarctic Ice
All 52 passengers aboard a Russian research ship stuck in ice for over a week in Antarctica were airlifted to safety Thursday, but now there are concerns that a Chinese vessel involved in the rescue has also gotten stuck.
On Friday, the crew of the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon, which provided the helicopter used in the airlift, said they were worried about their ship's ability to move through the thick sea ice after remaining stationary for several days.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, tasked with taking the rescued passengers back to Australia, has been instructed to stay in the area temporarily in case the Snow Dragon needs help. The Authority said the crew of the Chinese ship will attempt to break through to open water early Saturday when tidal conditions are more favorable.
Israel's Sharon in a Decline
Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's health has deteriorated further, with hospital officials now saying he is in a "slow, steady decline."
The director of the Tel Hashomer hospital (, Zeev Rotstein,) said Friday that Mr. Sharon's kidneys and other vital organs are now malfunctioning.
The hospital said Thursday the 85-year-old former Israeli leader was in critical condition. He has been in a coma since suffering a stroke in 2006 at the height of his political power.
Mr. Sharon was one of Israel's most iconic and controversial figures. In mid-2005, he directed a unilateral withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, ending a 38-year military control of the territory.
It was considered by many to be a shocking turnaround for a man who had been a leading player in building Jewish settlements in captured Palestinian territories.