Briefs, November 26, 2012

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 November, 2012, 4:26am

Bombers attack church congregation in Nigeria

KADUNA - Two suicide bombs killed at least 11 people at a church in northern Nigeria, where the Islamist sect Boko Haram is waging a campaign of violence, the military said. An army spokesman said a bus drove into the side of the St Andrew Military Protestant Church at the Jaji barracks in Kaduna state and exploded during a service. Explosives inside a Toyota Camry were detonated outside the church 10 minutes later. The military said at least 30 were injured. Reuters


Italy's centre-left weighs poll hopefuls

ROME - Italians were voting in a primary for a centre-left candidate to run in spring general elections that will in large part determine how Italy tries to emerge from a grinding recession. If none of the five candidates wins a majority, a run-off will be held next Sunday. The race was expected to come down to a face-off between Pier Luigi Bersani, 61-year-old leader of the main centre-left Democratic Party, and challenger Matteo Renzi, 37-year-old mayor of Florence. AP


Congo sets pull-out condition for talks

GOMA - Congo's government will not negotiate with M23 rebels until they pull out of the eastern city of Goma, a government spokesman said. President Joseph Kabila met M23 representatives in Uganda and had reiterated his readiness to consider their demands. A rebel spokesman said Kabila also met Jean-Marie Runiga, the rebels' political chief, after the talks in Uganda's capital, which were also attended by the heads of state of Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Reuters


12 killed in battle for Somalian town

MOGADISHU - Somalia's al-Qaeda-linked Shabab fighters briefly took control of a small town on the border with Kenya in a battle that left at least 12 people dead, military officials said. Heavy fighting broke out in Bulohawo, with residents confirming the militants took control for a few hours before Somali troops were able to reinforce their positions. Casualty estimates varied but most sources agreed that at least a dozen had been killed, mostly fighters for the two sides. AFP


Brotherhood calls for protests to back Mursi

CAIRO - Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood called nationwide demonstrations in support of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in his showdown with judges over the path to a new constitution. The show of strength on the streets by the president's supporters has the potential for triggering clashes with opponents of the sweeping new powers he assumed on Thursday, who remained camped out in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Before dawn, the hardcore of liberal activists who spent the night in the iconic protest hub fought off an attempt by Mursi supporters to burn down the 30 or so tents they had erected in the square, witnesses said. The US embassy warned all Americans to avoid all places where demonstrations were likely to be held. AFP


Catalonia's future in the hands of voters

BARCELONA - Voters in the industrious and economically important northeastern region of Catalonia began casting their ballots as polling stations opened in elections that could determine the future shape of Spain. Just over 5.2 million people were eligible to vote for candidates to fill the 135-seat Catalan parliament located in Barcelona. The regional government, led by Artur Mas, called early elections as part of a power struggle with the central government. Mas claims Catalonia is being asked to shoulder too much of the tax burden and that it could do better if it separated and tried to become an independent member state of the European Union. AP


Syrian rebels take helicopter base

AMMAN - Syrian rebels said they had captured a helicopter base 15 kilometres east of Damascus after an overnight battle, the second military facility on the outskirts of the capital to fall to President Bashar al-Assad's opponents this month. An internet video that activists said was filmed at the Marj al-Sultan base showed rebel fighters carrying AK-47 rifles touring the facility. An anti-aircraft gun could be seen positioned on top of an empty bunker and a rebel commander was shown next to a helicopter. Activists said two helicopters were destroyed in the attack as well as a radar station, and that 15 personnel were taken prisoner. Reuters


Damaged yacht found by accident in Pacific

WELLINGTON - A New Zealand Air Force plane heading to the central Pacific to search for three missing Kiribati fisherman instead found a damaged British yacht in a remote area of the ocean, officials said. Fears had been held for Peter Bernfeld, the sole sailor on the 38-foot British catamaran Troutbridge, after he lost contact with another yacht in a storm on Thursday after they set sail from Fiji. Bernfeld said the catamaran had sustained damage to the hull and rig, and was leaking. The pumps, however, were still working effectively and he was heading towards New Caledonia. AFP