Briefs, November 6, 2012

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 3:27am

Britain investigates child abuse claims

LONDON - Britain's government is investigating new allegations related to a major child abuse scandal in north Wales in the 1970s and 1980s. Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said yesterday that the leader's office and at least two government departments were examining claims that previous inquiries into the cases had failed to assess all relevant evidence. In an interview with the BBC's Newsnight programme on Friday, abuse victim Steve Messham alleged that a senior Conservative Party figure was involved in a paedophile ring. AP

Strong sales greet iPad mini debut

SAN FRANCISCO - Apple said it sold 3 million units of its iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad during the debut weekend. "We estimate at least two-thirds of the units are iPad minis," Brian Marshall, an analyst at ISI Group, wrote in a research report. Apple began selling the 7.9-inch tablet in the US and more than 30 other countries on November 2, ramping up an effort to fend off competition in the market for tablets. People who ordered online are experiencing delays. Shipments for the iPad mini are held up about two weeks, according to Apple's website. Bloomberg

Assets seized in textile giant tax fraud probe

ROME - Italian police seized assets including a ski chalet and luxury apartments worth €65 million (HK$818 million) from textile maker Marzotto as part of a tax fraud inquiry. Thirteen people including five members of the Marzotto family and board members are under investigation. The inquiry revolves around the sale of fashion brand Valentino Fashion Group by Marzotto to the European private equity group Permira. Police allege that taxes were not paid on around €65 million in revenues from the sale that passed through a Luxembourg holding. AFP

Man fired blanks near Turkish PM's office

ANKARA - Turkish police detained a man who fired three blanks inside a building housing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office, in a shooting which officials suggested was not politically motivated. Erdogan was presiding over a Council of Ministers meeting when the man fired the shots at a security checkpoint just past the visitors' entrance. The suspect was quickly subdued. AP

Thousands rally in Kiev over alleged poll fraud

KIEV - Thousands of Ukrainians massed in central Kiev to protest against alleged fraud in parliamentary elections won by the ruling party, as the opposition threatened not to recognise the new legislature. At least 2,000 opposition supporters gathered outside the headquarters of the central election commission amid a heavy security presence. Authorities are yet to publish final results from the October 28 elections. AFP

1.4 tonnes of cocaine uncovered in Venezuela

CARACAS - Venezuelan National Guard troops seized a shipment of 1.4 tonnes of cocaine stashed in the compartment of a cargo truck. The truck was stopped at a checkpoint in western Lara state. Officials showed the truck with its side cut open to expose a compartment behind the cab where the drug was hidden. Authorities said the cocaine came from neighbouring Colombia and the Venezuelan driver was arrested. AP

Tear gas fired at protesters in Kuwait

KUWAIT - Kuwaiti security forces fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration by thousands of opposition supporters against new voting rules for parliamentary elections on December 1. The opposition said protesters numbered around 100,000 and dozens were arrested. Protesters were initially prevented from meeting at a scheduled location as security forces blocked all points of access to the site. Reuters

Charles and Camilla arrive in Australia

SYDNEY - Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have arrived in Australia as part of their tour of the Pacific. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall landed in the outback Queensland town of Longreach after a visit to Papua New Guinea. They are due to visit cities across Australia and New Zealand before returning to the UK on November 16. AP

Blast mine 'ignored 21 methane gas warnings'

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A New Zealand coal mining company ignored 21 warnings that methane had accumulated to explosive levels before a blast killed 29 workers two years ago, an investigation released yesterday concluded. The official report said the Pike River Coal company was exposing miners to unacceptable risks as it strove to meet its financial targets. It concluded the whole country has a poor safety record and recommended a new agency be formed to focus solely on workplace health and safety. AP

Baker chained Egyptian immigrant to a tree

ATHENS - Police arrested the employer of an Egyptian immigrant who was found beaten and chained to a tree by residents of the island of Salamina, near Athens. The immigrant was found on Sunday morning. He was badly beaten and it took some time to cut through the heavy chain. His employer, a baker, said he chained him up because he suspected him of theft. AP

Prison guard's suspected killers freed

BELFAST, United Kingdom - Two men arrested by Northern Ireland police in connection with the murder of a prison officer were released without charge on Sunday, but another man remained in custody. Dissident republican Colin Duffy, 44, who has three times been cleared of charges of murdering members of the security forces, and a 31-year-old man were released unconditionally. AFP