Afghanistan War

Briefs, October 18, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 October, 2012, 3:37am


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Police apologise after blind man tasered

LONDON - British police apologised for using a stun gun on a blind man after officers mistook his white cane for a samurai sword. Officers were responding to "a number of reports that a man was walking through Chorley armed with a samurai sword", when they confronted Colin Farmer in the northern English town. When Farmer, 61, did not respond to their calls to stop, one of the officers used his taser stun gun, which delivers a 50,000 volt shock. After realising their mistake, the innocent man was taken to hospital for treatment. Police later arrested a 27-year old man over the sword reports but released him. Reuters


Chinese gangsters in court after raids

MADRID - Several suspects arrested in Spain as part of a probe into Chinese gangs suspected of laundering tens of millions of euros each year have appeared in court for questioning. Among the detainees were Chinese businessman and art gallery owner Gao Ping, Spanish porn actor Nacho Vidal and Jose Borras, a city councillor from Fuenlabrada in southern Madrid. The 83 people arrested included 58 Chinese nationals, 17 Spaniards and eight people from other countries. AFP


Marie-Antoinette's slippers auctioned

PARIS - A pair of silk slippers believed to have been worn by Marie-Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI, sold at auction for €62,460 (HK$629,000) in Paris. The slippers, green with ornate pink bands across them and featuring a silk bow, had been expected to sell for between €8,000 and €10,000. Marie-Antoinette, best known for her "let them eat cake" remark about hungry protesters during the French revolution, was given the slippers by a member of her court, Alexandre-Bernard Ju-Des-Rets, in 1775. AFP


Israel worked out food needs in isolated Gaza

JERUSALEM - The Israeli military calculated the number of calories Gaza's residents would need to consume to avoid malnutrition during a sweeping blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory between 2007 and mid-2010, according to a document the Defence Ministry released under a court order. Critics claim it is evidence that Israel limited food supplies to put pressure on Hamas, the militant group that seized power in the coastal strip in 2007. An Israeli military spokesman said a mathematical formula was devised to identify food needs and avoid a humanitarian crisis. It was never used to restrict the flow of food, he said. AP


Rolling Stones ticket prices anger fans

LONDON - Rolling Stones fans are furious over the steep cost of tickets for the British band's 50th anniversary shows, as prices soared to thousands of pounds on resale websites. The Stones announced they would play two nights in London on November 25 and 29, followed by gigs just outside New York in December. Hundreds of fans have taken to the web to complain about the ticket prices, with a seat for the London shows costing £406 (HK$5,060) on the official ticketing website. Premium tickets are selling on resale sites for more than £13,000 each. AFP


Suspect letter sparks scare at US embassy

STOCKHOLM - The US embassy in Stockholm was evacuated over a possible security incident, a spokesman for the mission said, while police said a suspect envelope had sparked the scare. Swedish police said a patrol was sent to the embassy after "a letter with unidentified content had arrived at the embassy". News agency TT reported the letter contained an unidentified white powder, which was being tested. AFP


Teenage girl escapes from kidnapper


BERLIN - A 17-year-old girl who was kidnapped after she left a club in northern Germany and allegedly raped while in captivity has escaped, police said. Officials said they arrested a 28-year-old suspect with a previous rape conviction. He is alleged to have kidnapped her at knifepoint in Rostock and taken her to his apartment, where he beat and tied her up. The girl was reported missing after she left a disco in the city on foot and failed to appear at an arranged meeting with a friend. Police said the girl managed to free herself and escape through a first-floor window while the suspect was out of the flat. AP


Suicide bomber injures 10 Afghan soldiers

KABUL - A suicide car-bomber blew up his vehicle near the gate of a US-Afghan outpost, wounding 10 Afghan soldiers, officials said. The blast in Paktiya province in eastern Afghanistan shattered windows in village homes three kilometres away, but no one was killed, a government spokesman said. It appeared the bomber detonated his car before reaching the actual gate of the camp. Many of the injured soldiers were in rooms inside the base that collapsed from the force of the explosion. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. AP


Policeman killed by suspected Islamist

MOMBASA - A Kenyan police officer was killed and nine others wounded when suspected Islamists hurled a grenade at them during a house raid, in a clash that left two assailants dead, police said. It was the latest in a string of clashes and police raids on Kenya's coast, a popular tourist region where Islamists and a separatist movement have increasingly battled with security forces. Police said the attackers might be Kenyan supporters of neighbouring Somalia's al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda linked insurgent group. AFP