Australian aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan

An Afghan policeman (R) searches a passenger in the city of Jalalabad, close to the border with Pakistan, on Friday, after reports that an aid worker from Perth has been kidnapped by armed men in Jalalabad. (AFP)
Updated 29 April 2016

Australian aid worker kidnapped in Afghanistan

SYDNEY: An Australian woman working for a charity in Afghanistan has been kidnapped, the country’s foreign minister said Friday.
Julie Bishop said Canberra was working to secure the release of Katherine Jane Wilson, but insisted Australia does not pay ransoms for hostages.
Wilson, who also uses the first name Kerry, was grabbed in the city of Jalalabad, close to the border with Pakistan, on Thursday, a government official in the area told AFP.
“She visited the city of Jalalabad for a women’s embroidery project,” said Ataullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, of which Jalalabad is the capital.
“And unknown masked gunmen abducted her from Police District 2 of Jalalabad city.”
He added that the kidnappers, disguised as police, took her at 4am from a home in which she was staying.
Nangarhar police chief Zrawer Zahed confirmed the abduction by “unidentified gunmen” not long after she arrived on Wednesday evening.
Bishop said she had been in contact with Wilson’s family.
“The details of the reports are still being confirmed but the Afghan authorities certainly believe she has been kidnapped,” she told reporters.
“Our priority is to ensure that she is well, that she’s being treated well, and so that’s what we’re focusing our efforts upon, working with the local authorities. Our embassy in Kabul of course is deeply involved in this matter.”
Asked if Canberra would pay a ransom if one was demanded, she replied: “The Australian government does not, as a matter of policy, pay ransom for kidnappers.”
Wilson’s 91-year-old father Brian Wilson said his daughter had worked in the region with charities related to women’s rights and water security for more than 20 years, and made an emotional plea for her release.
“I feel extremely worried indeed,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“But I presume she’s a hostage, and that they’ll do their best to keep her alive and not harm her, simply because they want to have something or other in return and it’s not very good having a dead hostage.”


UK to reopen thousands of shops in easing of coronavirus lockdown, says Boris Johnson

Updated 25 May 2020

UK to reopen thousands of shops in easing of coronavirus lockdown, says Boris Johnson

  • From June 1, outdoor markets and car showrooms could be reopened
  • Johnson is keen to restart an economy which has been all but shut down since Britain entered a lockdown

LONDON: Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centers next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, setting out a timetable for businesses as part of moves to ease the coronavirus lockdown.
He told a news conference that from June 1, outdoor markets and car showrooms could be reopened as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines, and all other non-essential retail from June 15 if the government’s tests are met.
Johnson is keen to restart an economy which has been all but shut down since Britain entered a lockdown to try to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, but also fears a second peak of infection if measures are eased too quickly.

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READ MORE: Aide to British PM Dominic Cummings says he doesn’t regret COVID-19 lockdown trip

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“Today, I want to give the retail sector notice of our intentions to reopen shops, so they too can get ready,” Johnson said. “There are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country.”
The government said shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, would be expected to be able to reopen from June 15, giving them three weeks to prepare.
It said that businesses would only be able to open from those dates once they had completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks.
“The high street sits at the heart of every community in the country,” Business minister Alok Sharma said in a statement.
“Enabling these businesses to open will be a critical step on the road to rebuilding our economy, and will support millions of jobs across the UK.”