Briefs, November 23, 2012

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 2:56am

Chinese oil workers freed in Colombia

BOGOTA - Colombia's main leftist rebel group has freed four Chinese oil workers in the same southern jungles from where it kidnapped them 17 months ago. The three contractors and a translator worked for Emerald Energy, which is part of the Sinochem Group. Authorities identified the freed men as Tang Guofu, 28; Zhao Hongwei, 36; Jian Mingfu, 46; and Jiang Shan, 24. Jiang was the translator. They were seized June 8, last year. AP

Former Ivory Coast leader's wife indicted

THE HAGUE - The International Criminal Court has indicted Simone Gbagbo, the wife of former Ivory Coast president Laurent Gbagbo, on charges including murder, rape and persecution. The court unsealed an arrest warrant issued February 29 for the first woman indicted by the world's first permanent war crimes court. Laurent Gbagbo is already in custody facing similar charges. AP

Suspended UK MP voted off reality show

LONDON - A British lawmaker suspended from Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative Party for appearing on a reality TV show has been voted off the programme by viewers after just a few days. Nadine Dorries, 55, spent 12 days in the Australian jungle on "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!" before becoming the first person to be evicted from the ITV show by a public vote on Wednesday night. AFP

Nearly HK$1m for gun of Ned Kelly's brother

MELBOURNE - A gun used by the brother of notorious Australian outlaw Ned Kelly during their gang's infamous last stand against police in 1880 has sold at auction for A$122,000 (HK$980,000). The East India Company cavalry pistol, which has Dan Kelly's name and the year 1876 engraved on the walnut stock, was bought by a private collector. The vintage muzzle-load single-shot percussion pistol was expected to fetch up to A$125,000. AFP

Russian arms designer shot dead in street hit

MOSCOW - A weapons designer at a Russian defence industry enterprise that makes rifles, grenade launchers and other arms was shot dead on a city street in a contract-style killing. State television identified the victim as Vyacheslav Trukhachev and said investigators believe the hit may have been related to his job at the Central Sports and Hunting Weapons Research and Design Bureau. His body had a bullet wound to the head. Reuters

Pair jailed in Dubai for sex in the back of a cab

DUBAI - A British woman and Irish man accused of engaging in sexual activities in a Dubai taxi were sentenced to three months in prison and then deportation. Rebecca Blake and Conor McRedmond both denied charges of "breach of honour with consent" and committing "an indecent act in a taxi" when they appeared in court last month. They pleaded guilty to a charge related to consumption of alcohol in public. Reuters

Missing helicopter found eight years later

WELLINGTON - A helicopter that went missing in New Zealand eight years ago carrying a local pilot and a British tourist has been found in a remote part of the country. Police on Thursday confirmed that a helicopter found in Fiordland was the Hughes 500 that went missing in 2004 carrying pilot Campbell Montgomerie, 27, and tourist Hannah Timings, 28. An extensive two-week search at the time did not turn up any sign of the missing craft, which was finally found on the edge of the original search area. AP

Justin Bieber won't face assault charges

LOS ANGELES - Teenage pop star Justin Bieber will not face charges for an alleged altercation with a man who was taking photos of him at a suburban shopping centre in May. Deputy District Attorney Mara McIlvain said there was "insufficient evidence for proof beyond a reasonable doubt" that the Canadian singer scuffled with paparazzo Jose Hernandez-Duran before leaving the shopping centre with his girlfriend, actress Selena Gomez. The photographer accused Bieber, 18, of leaving a van to kick him in the abdomen and punch him in the face. Reuters

Diana's biographer hurt in car crash

JOHANNESBURG - Princess Diana's biographer, Andrew Morton, and his wife have been badly hurt in a car crash near Kruger National Park. Morton is thought to have suffered broken ribs, while his wife Carolyn suffered a broken breast bone when their car collided with another vehicle over the weekend. Two people in the other car, a woman and a child, were killed in the crash. AFP

Sacked game show model wins US$7.7m

LOS ANGELES - A former model on the US daytime television game show The Price is Right was awarded US$7.7 million in punitive damages by a Los Angeles court after suing the show for not letting her return to work after giving birth. The amount was in addition to HK$775,000 in damages awarded to Brandi Cochran, 41, on Tuesday, after the jury in the case ruled that the producers of the show had acted with malice. Reuters