Briefs, December 30, 2012

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 December, 2012, 6:35am

Pakistan briefly lifts YouTube ban

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan briefly unblocked access to YouTube yesterday before Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf ordered the plug be pulled again. Ashraf had in September blocked the website after it refused to heed the government's call to remove a controversial anti-Islam video. Interior Minister Rehman Malik initially said on Twitter that the decision to allow access was due to huge public demand. AFP


Death row inmates in Japan want warning

TOKYO - Criminals awaiting the death penalty in Japan want to be told of their execution in advance, instead of on the day they are to be hanged, a survey found. The survey was carried out by Mizuho Fukushima, deputy chairwoman of the Parliamentary League for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Of the 78 people on death row who replied, 51 wanted to know ahead of time that they would be put to death, with opinions varying from a day to a month in advance. AFP


Seoul nominates trade minister for WTO job

GENEVA - South Korea nominated Taeho Bark, its trade minister, to lead the World Trade Organisation, making him the eighth candidate to be put forward for the top job. Bark's candidacy was submitted three days before nominations close and as Pascal Lamy, the global trade body's current director general, prepares to step down on August 31. Reuters


US shrimpers target Asian imports

WASHINGTON - US shrimp producers filed a petition asking the Commerce Department to impose punitive duties on billions of dollars of shrimp from countries like China, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to offset what they said were unfair foreign government subsidies. "Today's filing is about the survival of the entire US shrimp industry," said C. David Veal, of the Coalition of Gulf Shrimp Industries. The seven countries named in the petition exported US$4.3 billion worth of shrimp to the US in 2011, accounting for 85 per cent of US imports. Reuters


24 dead after drinking toxic cough syrup

LAHORE - At least 24 people, mostly drug addicts seeking a fix, died after drinking toxic cough syrup in the eastern Pakistani city of Gujranwala, 70 kilometres north of Lahore. The deaths started occurring on Wednesday with most of the victims, aged between 20 and 40, addicts who took the syrup for intoxication. The culprit syrup has not been identified. AFP