NZ police find cocaine in sculpture
WELLINGTON • New Zealand police said yesterday they had seized a record NZ$14 million (S$13.5 million) worth of cocaine hidden inside a diamante-encrusted horse head from Mexico. The largest haul of the drug has been linked to the reconstruction of the city of Christchurch, severely damaged in a 2011 earthquake, as well as demand in Australia. The 35kg shipment had been air-freighted from Mexico to Auckland where it was detected in the bejewelled horse head statue, triggering an investigation that led to three arrests.
Plane on fire-fighting mission crashes
MOSCOW • At least eight people have died after a Russian plane on a fire-fighting mission crashed in Siberia, Russian news agencies reported yesterday. Rescue workers found the Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane early yesterday in Russia's Irkutsk region, according to a statement on the Emergency Situations Ministry website. The toll may rise as there were reportedly 10 people on board.
Nigerian oil militants claim new attacks
LAGOS • Nigerian oil militant group the Niger Delta Avengers yesterday claimed five attacks on the country's oil and gas infrastructure in a revival of their sabotage campaign after a recent lull. Since early this year, the Avengers have been bombing pipelines as they fight to win the Niger delta region a bigger share of crude revenue and greater political autonomy.