Wikinews Shorts: December 10, 2008

A compilation of brief news reports for Wednesday, December 10, 2008.

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United Kingdom to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq

Flag of the British Army

According to a senior defence source, there are plans to start withdrawing British armed forces from Iraq in March of next year. A large portion of the 5,500 troops are to return home within a year or less. It had been previously considered that the army could start leaving in January.

The Sunday Times reports that this plan has been recommended by Lieutenant-General Graeme Lamb, the deputy coalition commander and the most senior British officer in Iraq. It, however, has not yet won the approval of the Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant-General Nick Houghton.

The withdrawal would allow the troops and resources to move to Afghanistan.


Pilots rescued from ice flow south of Baffin Island

Baffin Island

Two pilots who crashed their aeroplane in frigid waters south of Baffin Island in northern Canada were rescued Tuesday, after being stranded on an ice floe in for eighteen hours in temperatures as low as -20°C.

The pilots' aeroplane, a Cessna Skymaster, was scheduled for a flight from Wabush, Newfoundland, to Iqaluit. Both the aircraft's engines cut out over the Hudson Strait. The pilots were forced to send a mayday call and ditch the aeroplane.

The pilots were eventually rescued by a fishing boat named the Atlantic Enterprise, which had traveled 290 kilometres out of its due path after hearing the pilot's mayday call.

The two pilots involved in the accident were Troels Hansen, aged 45, and Oliver Edwards-Neil, aged 25.


Somali pirates foil revolt plan by hostages onboard ship

Somali pirates standing guard aboard the Faina.

An anonymous pirate told the AFP news agency that crew members of the MV Faina, a Ukranian ship that had been seized by pirates two and a half months ago, attempted to "harm" two of their captors. The ship is reportedly carrying 33 battle tanks, as well as other military weapons.

"Some crew members on the Ukrainian ship are misbehaving," the pirate said.

A foreign ministry spokesman for Ukraine stated that he had not received any information about this.