Briefs, November 16, 2012

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 November, 2012, 3:47am


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France raises prospect of arming Syrian rebels

DAMASCUS - France raised the prospect of providing Syria's rebels with defensive weapons in a conflict now said to have cost more than 39,000 lives, but Damascus ally Russia said this would violate international law. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius suggested excluding defensive weapons from the European Union arms embargo on Syria to help rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime. France was the first Western country to recognise the newly formed opposition coalition as the Syrian people's sole representative, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Muslim nations to follow suit. AFP


Greek workers try to attack German envoy

ATHENS - Demonstrators stormed a meeting of Greek and German officials in Greece's northern city of Thessaloniki and tried to attack a German diplomat in a protest over austerity measures. Police used truncheons and tear gas to disperse around 250 city workers after a few of them burst into the meeting at a conference centre. Police said protesters wanted to stop the talks, aimed at smoothing ties between Berlin and Athens. Reuters


US seizes two homes owned by Chen family

WASHINGTON - Authorities in the United States have seized two homes worth US$2.1 million bought by the family of Taiwan's jailed ex-president Chen Shui-bian with alleged bribe money, the Justice Department said. The properties in Manhattan and Virginia had been owned by Chen's son, but US authorities believe they were purchased with bribes paid to his mother, former first lady Wu Shu-chen, who is also in prison for corruption. Chen's family purchased the two luxury properties by using Hong Kong and Swiss bank accounts, British Virgin Island companies and a trust in St Kitts and Nevis. AFP


Ebola outbreak killsat least two in Uganda

KAMPALA - A fresh outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in central Uganda has killed at least two people, the country's health minister said. The virus had killed two members of the same family about 50 kilometres from the capital. Officials from Uganda and the World Health Organisation say they have isolated scores of people after the latest outbreak . AFP


Bon Jovi's daughter held after overdose

NEW YORK - Rock star Jon Bon Jovi's daughter was arrested in New York state on drug-possession charges following a suspected heroin overdose, police said. Stephanie Bongiovi, 19, was found unresponsive in a dormitory room at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, from an alleged overdose and taken to a local hospital. Heroin and marijuana were found in the dorm room during a search, police said. Reuters