Briefs, December 17, 2012

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 December, 2012, 5:09am

S Korean candidate withdraws from race

SEOUL - The presidential candidate from South Korea's far-left party quit three days before Wednesday's election in an attempt to unify left-leaning voters against the conservative front runner. Lee Jung-hee of the United Progressive Party - supported by about 1 per cent of voters, according to polls - was a distant third in the race behind Park Geun-hye and Moon Jae-in, of the main opposition Democratic United Party. Her departure could offer a slight boost to Moon, who has been neck and neck with Park. AFP

Typhoon death toll in Philippines tops 1,000

MANILA - The death toll from the strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year has passed 1,000, the government said. Typhoon Bopha killed 1,020 people, mostly on the southern island of Mindanao, civil defence chief Benito Ramos said. A total of 844 people remained missing, about half of them fishermen who were at sea when Bopha hit. AFP

KFC chicken dumped after protest in Nepal

KATHMANDU - Poultry farmers in Nepal have stopped trucks importing chicken from India for KFC restaurants and destroyed the cargo. Nepal has banned chicken from India since an Indian outbreak of bird flu four years ago. Police said authorities took control of the trucks but the cargo was dumped in a pit and covered after consultation with livestock officials. KFC, the only Western fast-food restaurant in Nepal, says it imports its chicken from Brazil. Bed Prasad Kharel, chief government administrator of Nepal's Dhading district, said tags on the cargo showed it came from India. AP

Avalanche hits outpost in Kashmir, killing six

SRINAGAR, India - An avalanche on the high-altitude Siachen glacier, disputed between India and Pakistan, killed at least six Indian soldiers when their outpost was swept away before dawn. An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, mostly due to avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure. AFP

Low-sugar alms urged for Sri Lanka's monks

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka unveiled new guidelines encouraging devotees to donate low-sugar, healthier food to Buddhist monks. Sri Lanka's monks eat food containing on average 12 teaspoons of sugar a day and it should be reduced to a maximum of eight, the Health Ministry said. Fifty per cent of country's 40,000 monks face the risk of diabetes. The national average is 10 per cent. AFP

Pakistani police storm militants after attack

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Six people were killed as police and troops battled militants armed with automatic weapons, grenades and mortars in northwestern Pakistan, a day after a deadly Taliban raid on Peshawar's airport. Fierce fighting broke out after police stormed a building near the airport, where a suicide and rocket attack on Saturday left 10 dead and 50 injured. AFP

Italy seeks release of marines held in India

KOCHI, India - Italy's defence minister visited two marines awaiting trial in India on charges of murdering two fishermen in February while guarding an oil tanker, and appealed for them to be allowed home for Christmas. Giampolo Di Paolo said he had faith in the Indian justice system after meeting Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone in the southern city of Kochi. AFP