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With a cannon blast and a piercing whistle, Britain and France on Friday marked 100 years since soldiers emerged from their trenches to begin one of the bloodiest battles of World War I at the River Somme. Under grey skies, unlike the clear sunny day that saw the biggest slaughter in British military history a century ago, the commemoration kicked off at the deep Lochnagar crater, created by the blast of mines placed under German positions two minutes before the attack began at 7:30 am on July 1, 1916. A lone piper walked around the edge of the crater at the ceremony, to be followed by a main event attended by the British royal family and Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as French President Francois Hollande and former German president Horst Koehler.
A Taiwanese warship mistakenly launched a supersonic "aircraft carrier killer" missile towards China on Friday, hitting a fishing boat and killing one person, the navy said, as ties between the island and its once bitter rival deteriorate. The domestically developed Hsiung-feng III (Brave Wind) missile flew about 75 kilometres (45 miles) before hitting the trawler in waters off Penghu, a Taiwanese-administered island group in the Taiwan Strait. The skipper on the "Hsian Li Sheng", a 60-tonne trawler based in the southern Kaohsiuing city, was killed and three other crew on board, including a Vietnamese and a Filipino, were injured.