In Brief

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 March, 2007, 12:00am

Senate passes war budget with deadline attached

WASHINGTON - The US Senate narrowly approved a war-spending bill yesterday that calls for most American combat troops to be out of Iraq by March 31 next year, and in so doing defied a veto threat by President George W. Bush. The 51-47 vote endorsed a US$122 billion package, most of which would go to the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, although some domestic spending is included. The Senate and House bills must now be reconciled in negotiations between the chambers. The vote followed a similarly narrow vote on Tuesday that rejected a move to strip the withdrawal-date language from the bill. The New York Times

Attorney-general 'incorrect'

WASHINGTON - US Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales wrongly stated he was not involved in discussions about the firings of US prosecutors, his former chief of staff told the Senate Judiciary Committee. 'I don't think the attorney-general's statement that he was not involved in any discussions of US attorney removals was accurate,' testified Kyle Sampson, who quit this month as Mr Gonzales' top aide. 'I remember discussing with him this process of asking certain US attorneys to resign.' He said Mr Gonzales attended a meeting on the firings November 27, 10 days before they were carried out. AP

Papal witness a nun in Paris

PARIS - A French nun at the centre of the Vatican case for beatifying pope John Paul II works in a Paris maternity clinic. Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, 45, a member of the Congregation of Little Nuns of Catholic Maternity Wards from Puyricard, near Aix-en-Provence, has been working at the Sainte-Felicite clinic since late 2006. She has told of being miraculously cured of Parkinson's disease after praying to John Paul. AFP

Sand-bath girl beaten, suffocated

TOKYO - A British teacher whose naked body was found in a sand-filled bathtub at an apartment outside Tokyo was beaten and then suffocated, police said, as authorities handed the woman's body to her father. Police are still hunting for the 28-year-old Japanese male resident of an apartment in Ichikawa city, where Lindsay Ann Hawker's body was found on Monday. AP

Sydney ferry kills 3

SYDNEY - A passenger ferry ploughed into a pleasure boat under Sydney's Harbour Bridge, killing at least three people - including two figure-skating judges - and injuring eight others. The ferry shattered the 10-metre wooden cruiser and pitched its passengers into the water. Most of the 12 passengers on the smaller boat were members of Australia's ice-skating community. AP

Anti-smoking ads scare children

SINGAPORE - Singapore has rescheduled a graphic anti-smoking television message after public concerns it was unsuitable for children, the Health Promotion Board said. After feedback that young children had been alarmed by the ad, the board said it would only air the message after 8pm. AFP