In Brief

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 August, 2007, 12:00am

Survivors in rubble of building

BAKU - Ten people are alive under the rubble of a 14-storey building that collapsed on Tuesday killing at least eight in Azerbaijan's capital, emergency services said yesterday. One of those trapped had made contact by mobile phone and reported that there were nine other people alive in the basement, Baku city prosecutor Aziz Seidov said. Initial evidence pointed to shoddy building work as the cause of the collapse, he said. Reuters

Noriega nearing extradition

PANAMA CITY - Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is a step closer to facing money-laundering charges in France after a federal judge in Miami approved his extradition, less than two weeks before the end of his US prison sentence on a drug racketeering conviction. Attorneys for the 73-year-old Noriega vowed to continue fighting for his return home to Panama, but they have now lost before two different judges. AP

Pope attacks wildfire arsonists

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict has condemned the 'criminal acts' and 'irresponsible behaviour' of arsonists who authorities blame for setting many of the recent wildfires that have devastated parts of Greece and Italy this summer and killed at least 70 people in the two countries. 'One cannot help being worried by the irresponsible behaviour of those who put human safety at risk and destroy the environment,' Pope Benedict said. AP

No drunk astronauts, says Nasa

WASHINGTON - Nasa's top safety official dismissed claims that astronauts had been drunk on flight missions, in a boost to the US space agency as it battles to repair its credibility. A month-long review by Bryan O'Connor found no proof to the claims made last month by an independent panel. That appraisal had found 'heavy use of alcohol' inside the standard 12-hour abstinence period for Nasa crews. AFP

Rhys murder suspect arrested

LONDON - Police in Liverpool arrested a 15-year-old boy on suspicion of murdering an 11-year-old boy as he returned home from a game of soccer. A total of 11 people, most of them teens, have been arrested in connection with the shooting of Rhys Jones last week. All of those arrested previously have been released on bail or freed without charge. Police believe the boy may have been the unintended victim of gang warfare. AP

Study shows US wealth imbalance

WASHINGTON - Top private-equity and hedge-fund managers made more in 10 minutes than average-paid American workers earned all last year, according to a new study. The 20 highest-paid fund managers made an average US$657.5 million a year, or 22,255 times the average annual salary of US$29,500, said the study by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy, citing Labor Department and Forbes data. Bloomberg

Hotelier leaves US$12m to dog

NEW YORK - Late US hotelier Leona Helmsley, known as the 'Queen of Mean,' has left a US$12 million trust fund to her white Maltese dog, her will said. The dog, named Trouble, will live an opulent life and be buried alongside her in a mausoleum. However two of Helmsley's grandchildren got nothing from the real-estate billionaire's estate. Her brother got US$10 million and will look after Trouble until the pooch dies. AP, AFP