Briefs, November 28, 2012

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 5:27am


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France to vote 'yes' for Palestinian state in UN

PARIS - France said yesterday it would vote in favour of recognising a Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly this week, becoming the first major European country to back Palestine and dealing a setback to Israel. The timing of the announcement appears aimed at swaying other European nations. Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France has long supported Palestinian ambitions for statehood and "will respond 'yes' out of a concern for coherency". AP


Fury over the freeing of convicted martial artist

MOSCOW - A world martial arts champion from Russia's southern Caucasus was yesterday convicted of involuntary manslaughter but set free after time served in pre-trial detention. The verdict led to protests by nationalists outside the court. Rasul Mirzayev hit Ivan Agafonov in August 2011 outside a Moscow nightclub. Agafonov hit his head on the pavement, dying days later. AP


Permafrost threat 'off politicians' radar'

DOHA - Melting permafrost is emerging as a new factor in climate change, allowing long-frozen carbon to be released into the air and accelerating global warming, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said. In a report issued as the annual round of UN climate talks entered their second day, UNEP said scientists had already pronounced thawing permafrost to be a worry but it remained off politicians' radar. AFP


Buying frenzy forecast for 'Cyber Monday'

NEW YORK - Americans clicked away on their computers and smartphones for deals on Cyber Monday, which is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history. Shoppers were expected to have spent US$1.5 billion, up 20 per cent from last year, according to research firm comScore, making it the biggest since the firm started tracking online buying habits in 2001. AP


Facebook tells users to ignore copyright notice

SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook is telling its users to ignore rumours spreading on the social network that they need to post a statement to protect the copyright of their comments and other materials. "This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms," it said. The notice came after the copyright rumour went viral. AFP


'Two and a Half Men' actor slams own show

LOS ANGELES - An actor on "Two and a Half Men" has lashed out at the hit US television show, urging viewers to stop "filling your head with filth", after apparently undergoing a religious revelation. Nineteen-year-old Angus T Jones who reportedly earns US$350,000 an episode, made his comments in a video for the Forerunner Christian Church. AFP


Superstorm Sandy leaves US$42b bill

ALBANY, New York - Superstorm Sandy cost about New York US$42 billion. and the state and city were making big requests for disaster aid from the federal government, the state's governor said. Andrew Cuomo said the cost included US$32 billion for repairs and restoration but also included an additional accounting of US$9 billion for mitigation of damage and for preventive measures for the next disastrous storm. AP


Cockroach eater chokes to death

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida - A West Palm Beach man who collapsed during a cockroach-eating contest last month choked to death on bug parts and his own vomit, a medical examiner has ruled. Edward Archbold, 32, a canvas worker, had stuffed handfuls of roaches and worms down his throat during an October 5 contest at the Ben Siegel Reptile Store. Shortly after winning the prize, an expensive ivory ball python, Archbold collapsed outside the store. MCT


Row brews over Brazil oil revenues

RIO DE JANEIRO - Thousands of people marched in Rio de Janeiro to protest against legislation that they claimed would strip the oil-producing state of much of its income from Brazil's energy sector. The protesters called on President Dilma Rousseff to veto a measure that would divide oil royalties more evenly between Brazil's 26 states instead of favouring top oil producers such as Rio and neighbouring Espirito Santo. State officials said that loss in revenue could endanger preparations for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. AP


Miami airport 'bomb' no laughing matter

MIAMI - Part of Miami International airport was partially evacuated after a man allegedly joked that he had dynamite in his luggage. Miami-Dade police say Alejandro Hurtado, 63, of Guatemala, made the remark when an airline ticket agent asked if he was carrying any hazardous materials. Police say that when the agent told him he was calling police, Hurtado said he was only joking. Concourse J was partially evacuated. Hurtado was taken into custody and charged with falsely reporting a bomb at an airport. AP