Briefs, November 7, 2012

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 November, 2012, 4:10am

Brother of parliament speaker assassinated

BEIRUT - Gunmen shot and killed the brother of Syria's parliament speaker as he drove to work in the capital, Damascus, the state-run news agency reported on Tuesday. The Sana news agency said Mohammed Osama Laham, brother of Parliament Speaker Jihad Laham was killed. AP

Funeral held for shot Northern Ireland jailor

COOKSTOWN, United Kingdom - The funeral took place of a Northern Ireland prison officer shot dead in an attack blamed on dissident Irish republicans. David Black, 52, was gunned down on Northern Ireland's main M1 motorway as he drove to work at Maghaberry jail, southwest of Belfast. Inmates at the high-security prison were among those who paid tribute. AFP

25 dead after bomb explodes at Iraqi base

BAGHDAD - A car bomb exploded at the entrance to an Iraqi army base as potential new recruits were massed at the gate, killing at least 25 people. The blast, in the town of Taji, 25 kilometres north of Baghdad, also left at least 30 people wounded. The blast struck as the base was holding a recruitment day to welcome potential new soldiers, events which have previously been targets of militants intent on carrying out mass-casualty attacks in Iraq. AFP

Prince Nayefead new Saudi interior minister

RIYADH - Saudi King Abdullah appointed as interior minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who has led a crackdown on al-Qaeda. The monarch removed Prince Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman from the position "upon his request," according to a royal decree. AFP

3 injured as whale smashes into boat

CAPE TOWN - A breaching whale has leapt out of the sea off South Africa and landed on a boat, injuring three men, one seriously. The National Sea Rescue Institute used illuminating flares to find and rescue the men off Port Elizabeth, in the coastal province of the Eastern Cape. A 41-year-old was taken to hospital in a serious condition with suspected rib fractures and injuries to his arm, leg and soft tissue. AFP

100 arrested at Biafran independence rally

ENUGU, Nigeria - Nigerian police arrested 100 people for marching in support of independence for Biafra, where a rebellion tipped the country into a 1967-1970 civil war that killed an estimated 1 million people. Members of the Biafran Zionist Movement gathered on Sunday to celebrate the birthday of Chukwemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the leader of the Biafran secession effort, who died in March. They continued independence protests on Monday in Enugu, the main town in the southeast region they wanted to form into a breakaway state more than four decades ago. Reuters

Bulgaria's Patriarch Maxim dies, aged 98

SOFIA - Patriarch Maxim of Bulgaria, the spiritual leader of the Balkan country's Orthodox Christians, has died. He was 98. The patriarch died early yesterday at a Sofia hospital, the Holy Synod said. He was taken to hospital one month ago suffering fatigue. Church officials did not say when a new patriarch would be chosen or who would serve as interim head of the church. Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in the Balkan country, followed by more than 80 per cent of Bulgaria's 7.4 million people. AP