4 Thursday, 20 August 2009 London Lite World at a glance TerrorofTalibankeepshalf HelmandspollstationsshutFEWER than half of Helmands polling stations opened this morning as Afghanistan began a landmark election to pick its next president. Security fears left 115 sites closed across the province, large areas of which are still under Taliban control. Insurgents have threatened to attack polling stations with suicide bombers and chop off the fingers of people who vote. Despite pressure from president Hamid Karzai, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) refused to open polling stations in areas beyond the reach of soldiers and police. Just 107 sites opened in pockets of the province controlled by Nato and the Afghan government, according to the local IEC head. Were prepared for up to 350,000 to vote, said Abdul Hadi. But only God knows how many will come. A low turnout may threaten the legitimacy of the result. Security fears: voter is searched at a Helmand poll station today Hijackersthreatenedtoblowupship HIJACKERS who seized the Arctic Sea cargo ship threatened to blow it up if their ransom demand was not met, Russian defence officials said today. The vessels eight alleged hijackers and its 15-man crew have arrived back in Moscow after being questioned aboard a Russian naval ship off West Africa. The suspects are thought to have hijacked the timber freighter off the Swedish coast and sailed via the English Channel to the Atlantic. Speculation about what happened has included a Russian mafia dispute, a business row, smuggling or trafficking. Aircontrollerjokedaboutgrillingcat AN AIR traffic controller was joking on the phone about barbecuing a dead cat, minutes before a small plane collided with a tour helicopter over New Yorks Hudson River killing nine people, it has emerged. Draft transcripts show that shortly after the controller at Teterboro airport cleared the plane for takeoff on 8 August, he made a phone call and remained on the line until just before the collision. The controller is on leave while an investigation continues into the accident. Magiciansexattackclaim US MAGICIAN David Copperfield is being sued by a woman who claims he sexually assaulted her. The woman, who has not been named, claims the attack took place in 2007 while she was a guest on his private island in the Bahamas. The lawsuit said the 22-year-old woman, from Seattle, met the magician during a performance earlier that year. His lawyers denied the allegation. No criminal charges have been filed. Luckydiphubbyfindsweddingring A MAN who lost his wedding ring in Auckland Harbour and promised his wife he would recover it has kept his word -- more than a year later. Ecologist Aleki Taumoepeau told wife of three months Rachel that he would find the ring after it fell into the water. Following a failed first effort, the New Zealander, who had marked the spot with an anchor, went back to dive after 16 months and saw the ring glowing 10ft down. Police quiz two over 40mgemsrobbery DETECTIVES investigating Britains biggest jewellery robbery were today interviewing two men in connection with the raid. The suspects were arrested in London yesterday -- nearly two weeks after the 40m raid at Graff Diamonds in Mayfair. Police said the arrests were sig- nificant but refused to disclose further details for operational reasons. Sources described the inquiry as fast-moving. Flying Squad detectives have been hunting a six-man gang who staged the auda- cious robbery on the New Bond Street jewellers on 6 August. Two smartly dressed men travelled by taxi to the store before walking inside. They pulled out two handguns and ordered a woman employee to put 43 items of jewellery in a bag. As they fled, they briefly took a woman staff member hostage before firing at a security guard. Four getaway vehicles were used, each with a different driver. Police are believed to be focusing on a British gang after recovering DNA from atleast onegetaway car. Specialists have been examining a discarded gun and seeking clues at the premises where the robbers face mask disguises were made by an unwitting staff member. Last week officers released a 50- year-old man in Ilford on bail pend- ing further inquiries. Insurers have offered a 1m reward for information leading to the arrest of the gang. BY GEORGINA LITTLEJOHN Summit special: hikers queue to climb to the top of the Giewont mountain in Zakopane, Poland, where congested paths caused a three-hour wait yesterday. Picture of the day Denial: Copperfield index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html