Briefs, October 28, 2012

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 October, 2012, 3:27am

Rebel leader held, Guinea Bissau says

BISSAU - Guinea Bissau's military yesterday announced the arrest of the man accused of being the mastermind behind an attack on an elite army barracks a week ago which the government said was an attempted coup. "We have arrested Captain Pansau N'Tchama, leader of the October 21 attack in Bissau," chief military spokesman said. Another spokesman said N'Tchama had been arrested with two suspected co-conspirators in the Bolama, the capital of the Bijagos archipelago on the closest of the islands to the Bissau. The Sunday dawn attack on the army barracks left at least seven people dead, including six of the attackers. AFP

France to make birth control, abortions free

PARIS - France's lower house has voted to fully reimburse all abortions and to make contraception free for minors. National medical insurance currently pays in full for abortions for minors and the poor, while other women are reimbursed up to 80 per cent. Contraception is partially reimbursed. The bill would make all abortions free and also pay for contraception for those aged between 15 and 18. AP

MPs cancel Iran trip after activists dispute

BRUSSELS - A planned visit to Iran by five Euro MPs was cancelled yesterday after Tehran refused to let them meet with a jailed activist and a filmmaker who won a European human rights prize. Jailed lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi were awarded the European 2012 Sakharov Prize on Friday. Sotoudeh, 47, is serving an 11-year jail sentence for conspiring against state security. Panahi, 52, is under house arrest. AFP

Mum admits to feeding daughter cannabis

WELLINGTON - A New Zealand woman has admitted giving her three-month-old baby cannabis - through her breast milk. The 29-year-old, from the North Island town of Wanganui, was sentenced to six months' supervision after pleading guilty to administering the drug to her baby, the Wanganui Chronicle said. Police said her actions amounted to child abuse.

'Kidnap Westerners', says al-Qaeda leader

DUBAI - Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, join Syria's rebellion and ensure Egypt implements sharia, SITE Monitoring reported, citing a two-part film posted on Islamist websites. But he said the release of the film had been delayed because of the "conditions of the fierce war". Reuters

Hollywood sign gets major renovation

LOS ANGELES - The iconic Hollywood sign overlooking Tinseltown is getting its biggest renovation for 35 years, ahead of its 90th birthday next year. Workers are using window-cleaner style platforms as they strip down the 15-metre tall letters, powerwash the corrugated iron and apply nearly 400 gallons of fresh paint, organisers said. The operation, which started earlier this month, will take eight to 10 weeks to complete. AFP