Briefs, January 10, 2013

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 10 January, 2013, 4:06am


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Aquino backs civilian gun ownership

MANILA - Philippine President Benigno Aquino has insisted civilians have the right to carry guns for self-defence, after a series of deadly shootings prompted calls for a total firearms ban. He said: "'Total gun ban would be a nice headline, but a knee-jerk reaction. It's not in my nature to humour people. We should look for means to really solve the issue." Politicians, media groups and Catholic church leaders have led calls for stricter gun laws, or an outright ban after a series of shootings starting on New Year's Eve left 23 dead. AFP


Activists jailed for plot to overthrow state

HANOI - A Vietnamese court jailed 13 activists linked to a banned US-based opposition group for plotting to overthrow the communist state. The accused, who included Catholics, bloggers and students, were handed sentences ranging from three to 13 years. Rights groups say dozens of peaceful political activists are languishing in Vietnamese jails. AFP


'No Beijing answer' to Manila sea row plea

MANILA - The Philippines asked China to explain its deployment of a patrol ship to guard territory it claims in the South China Sea, saying the move has sparked new tensions over the potentially oil-rich waters, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said. Manila had asked China to specify the limits of the territory it will guard, he said. "Everybody's hot and bothered. That's why we're saying, define, please define for us. But they're not answering." AP


Baby's death: Saudi Arabia beheads helper

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia has beheaded a Sri Lankan domestic helper convicted of murdering her employer's baby, despite calls for a stay of execution. Rizana Nafeek was accused of smothering the infant to death after an argument with the child's mother. Her supporters said the child choked to death while drinking from a bottle. AFP