Briefs, October 29, 2012

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 October, 2012, 3:55am

Top ETA military man arrested in France

MADRID - French police arrested the suspected head of Basque separatist group ETA's military wing yesterday in the eastern French town of Macon. Izaskun Lesaka, 38, said to be one of the three leading figures of the group, was arrested in a hotel 70 km (40 miles) from Lyon with ETA member Joseba Iturbide Ochoteco , 33, Spanish authorities said. Reuters

Ukrainians go to polls again after two years

KIEV - Ukraine voted yesterday in legislative polls seen as a test of democracy under President Viktor Yanukovych, with the jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko forced to watch from the sidelines. The nation of 46 million people is holding its first vote since Tymoshenko lost to Yanukovych in 2010. AFP

Church car bomb riot burns man alive

KADUNA - A suicide attacker drove a car bomb into a Nigerian church, sparking fierce reprisals that saw a Christian mob burn a man alive. The day of a bloody of violence left at least 10 people dead and 145 wounded. Christian youths took to the streets of the northern city of Kaduna with machetes and sticks, targeting those they believed to be Muslims. The city of Kaduna has suffered a wave of deadly violence recently, blamed on Islamist extremist group Boko Haram . AFP

Israel kills Hamas militant in airstrike

GAZA CITY - An Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip killed a Hamas militant and wounded another, after they fired mortar shells at Israeli tanks on an incursion near the southern town of Khan Younes. An Israeli military spokeswoman confirmed that a strike had taken place. The exchange took place after a three-day lull between the sides brought some respite from a latest spike in cross-border fighting. AFP

Sicily votes in test for Italian PM Monti

ROME - About four million Sicilians went to poll yesterday in regional elections seen as a key test before a national vote next year. The focus will be on former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party. Voters, weary of party-funding scandals and Prime Minister Mario Monti's austerity government, are not expected to give any party clear mandate. Reuters

Zuma drops lawsuit over 'rape' cartoon

JOHANNESBURG - South African President Jacob Zuma intends to drop a four-year-old lawsuit claiming nearly US$600,000 in damages from a cartoonist who depicted him poised to rape "Lady Justice". The Sunday Times, named as a defendant in the case, said it had reached an agreement with Zuma's lawyers for the suit and all claims to be dropped, including the demand for monetary damages and an apology. The civil case had been due to start today. The cartoon, from the award-winning cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, better known by his pen name, "Zapiro", shows Zuma's supporters holding down Lady Justice while Zuma stands over the woman with his trousers unzipped. Reuters

Two die as police try to shut market in Lima

LIMA - Two people died and 21 others were injured in Peru's capital on Saturday as protesters clashed with police trying to shut down a sprawling wholesale market, raising the death toll to four since street battles erupted at the site on Thursday. The unrest in Lima's centre has stunned residents and could hurt Mayor Susana Villaran's chances of winning a recall election in the city of 8 million. The vote must occur within 40 days. Reuters

Rubber bullets used to disperse miners

RUSTENBURG, South Africa - South African police fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas on Saturday to disperse a demonstration by striking miners accusing union leaders of betraying worker interests. Bullet casings littered the ground and a helicopter circled, with police sirens howling, outside a stadium in northwestern Rustenburg in the latest strike unrest that has rocked the key mining sector for weeks. AFP