Vladimir Putin

Briefs, November 10, 2012

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2012, 3:00am

Thousands of Syrians flee border town

ANKARA - Thousands of Syrians fled their country yesterday in one of the biggest refugee exoduses of the 20 month war after rebels seized a border town. The United Nations said 11,000 refugees had fled in 24 hours, most to Turkey. An estimated 4 million people in Syria will need humanitarian aid by early next year, a senior UN official said. Reuters

US to probe sale of plywood from China

WASHINGTON - A US trade panel approved an investigation into charges Chinese companies are selling hardwood plywood in the United States at unfairly low prices, setting the stage for the Commerce Department to set preliminary duties next month. The department is expected to announce preliminary countervailing duties in December. Reuters

Rhino poacher jailed for 40 years in S Africa

JOHANNESBURG - A Thai national who pleaded guilty to organising bogus trophy hunts to sell rhino horns on the international black market was sentenced to 40 years in jail by a South African court. Chumlong Lemtongthai admitted paying prostitutes who posed as hunters to harvest the horns, which were then sold on Asia's lucrative traditional-medicine market. The group is thought to have netted around 26 rhino horns. AFP

Russia's army chief replaced in shake-up

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin replaced Russia's army chief of staff with a veteran commander from the second Chechnya war, in a shake-up of the military after the sacking of the defence minister. General Nikolai Makarov was to be replaced by General Valery Gerasimov, Putin announced days after sacking defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov over a graft scandal. AFP

Swedish PM's security guard found shot

STOCKHOLM - A security guard at the Swedish prime minister's residence was killed in what appeared to be a self-inflicted shooting, police and Swedish media said. The prime minister was not in the building, officials said. The incident occurred in the early afternoon at the Sagerska Palace, the waterfront home and office of the prime minister. The police said there were no signs that a crime had been committed. AP

Storm hits Charles' visit to Bondi Beach

SYDNEY - Britain's Prince Charles needed an umbrella on Australia's famous Bondi Beach as a tropical storm hit during his visit. The downpour scattered the waiting crowd as the official cavalcade drew up at the Bondi Surf Club. When the rain eased, the Prince of Wales walked onto the beach to greet onlookers. Amid shouts of "Charlie, Charlie", the prince took to the sand to watch Aboriginal youths taking part in a National Rugby League programme. AFP

Britain to stop all aid to India by 2015

LONDON - Britain will cease all aid to India in 2015 and the assistance budget will be cut by £200 million (HK$2.48 billion) until then, the international development minister said. Britain's aid to India has long been a controversial issue for Prime Minister David Cameron's government, with London paying money to a country that can fund its own space programme at a time when British taxpayers face harsh austerity. AFP