Briefs, November 13, 2012

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 November, 2012, 2:56am

WHO unites to tackle illegal tobacco trade

SEOUL - More than 170 countries yesterday adopted what World Health Organisation chief Margaret Chan called a "game-changing" global pact to combat the illegal tobacco trade. The protocol, reached at a meeting in Seoul, gives signatory states five years to establish a tracking and tracing mechanism on cigarettes and every other tobacco product. The system will use non-removable markings and will be co-ordinated to detect illegal tobacco trading. AFP


Facebook murder teens get two years in jail

AMSTERDAM - Two Dutch teenagers were sentenced to two years in juvenile detention and three years of compulsory therapy for ordering the death of a girl after an argument on Facebook. The case, known as the "Facebook murder", involved three teenagers from the Chinese community in the country. The victim, 15-year old Winsie, was fatally stabbed in January at the request of the boy and girl, who were aged 17 and 16 respectively at the time. Reuters


Tehran flexes its military muscle

TEHRAN - Iran launched an air defence exercise a general said was aimed at optimising its deterrent capabilities as well as sending a "strong warning" to those threatening it with military strikes. About 8,000 troops drawn from the ranks of the Revolutionary Guards, the army and the Basij militia are participating in the drill, which will span four days and cover much of Iran's eastern regions. AFP


Russian police arrest six Islamic militants

MOSCOW - Russian police have arrested six members of a banned Islamic group on suspicion of recruiting followers in Moscow mosques and possessing weapons. Police searching places where the detainees were staying found nine hand grenades and other weapons, as well as extremist literature. Reuters


Ignominious end for 'loveable' husband

THE HAGUE - A Dutch man died of a heart attack at a sex party after he apparently took a mix of recreational drugs and Viagra. The man, only identified as Luc W, 43, was attending a "swingers party" in Belgium when he suffered a heart attack, the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper reported. "It was highly likely the victim used drugs and possibly also Viagra," it said of the incident, which happened in the Flemish town of Essen, just across the Dutch border. "The party took place in a converted garage," the paper said. The victim's wife described him as a "loveable man." AFP


Rock band INXS calls it quits

SYDNEY – Australian rock band INXS have called it quits, reports said yesterday, 15 years after the suicide of original frontman Michael Hutchence. The band, which formed in 1977 and has sold more than 30 million records, made the announcement to fans at a concert in Perth on Sunday night, when they were supporting American rockers Matchbox 20. Drummer Jon Farriss broke the news and admitted, “I’m getting teary” before they launched into one of their biggest hits, Need You Tonight, the Perth Now website reported. INXS management was not available for confirmation. AFP


Massive cocaine haul in Paraguay

ASUNCION – Anti-drug police in landlocked Paraguay seized 1,700 kilograms of cocaine at a remote site on the border with Brazil and arrested 19 suspects. Among those arrested was Paraguay’s most-wanted criminal, Ezequiel de Souza, who was carrying both Brazilian and Paraguayan identification papers. Police found the drugs at an indigenous community known as La Paloma, 600 kilometres northeast of the capital, Asuncion. AFP


Google ordered to pay for defamation

SYDNEY – Google was ordered to pay A$200,000 (HK$1.6 million) in damages to an Australian man after a jury found the internet giant had defamed him by publishing material linking him to mobsters. Milorad Trkulja, an entertainment promoter who is now 62, was shot in the back in 2004 in a crime that was never solved. He accused Google of defaming him with material he said implied he was a major crime figure. Searches of his name brought up references to the city’s gangsters. Google said it had innocently disseminated material published by others, but a jury found it had been on notice and failed to act since Trkulja sought action over the content in October 2009. AFP


Emergency landing after A380 engine fails

SYDNEY – An Emirates flight from Sydney to Dubai made an emergency landing soon after takeoff because of an engine fault. Passengers reported hearing a loud bang and seeing flames coming from the engine of the A380 after it took off from Sydney on Sunday night. The plane landed without incident and passengers were rebooked on other flights. John Fothergill of Auckland, New Zealand, said he saw flames shooting out of the engine and felt the plane shake. The airline said an investigation was under way. AP