Briefs, December 1, 2012

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 December, 2012, 3:47am

Syrian web, phone lines still down amid clashes

DAMASCUS - Syria's internet and phone services remained cut for a second day after rebels and regime troops clashed through-out the night near Damascus airport, activists said, although flights returned to normal. Meanwhile delegates from more than 60 countries were gathering in Tokyo to find ways to step up the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad's regime. The regime and opposition activists blamed each other for the blackout. AP


UK by-election shows surge for anti-EU party

LONDON - The anti-European UK Independence Party (UKIP) was celebrating its best-ever result in a parliamentary poll after winning almost 22 per cent of the vote in a by-election. The opposition Labour party held the seat in Rotherham, northern England, but UKIP saw a huge surge in its support to finish second. The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, who share power in London, fared badly, finishing fifth and eighth respectively. The coalition parties also slumped in Middlesbrough, northeast England, and Croydon North in south London, which were both held by Labour. AFP


Bronchitis puts Bush Senior back in hospital

HOUSTON - Former President George H.W. Bush was in a Houston hospital for continuing treatment of a lingering cough. Bush, 88, has been in and out of the hospital recently for complications resulting from bronchitis, Methodist Hospital said. The hospital described Bush as in stable condition and said he was expected to be released by the weekend. He's been under hospital care for nearly a week. AP


One of two winners claims huge US jackpot

DEARBORN - One winner emerged, and the other remained a mystery, for the record US$588 million (HK$4.6 billion) Powerball jackpot that had people across the US scrambling to try their luck this week. Missouri Lottery officials verified one of two tickets that matched all six numbers to split the winnings. The other ticket was sold in Arizona. Winners have 180 days to claim their share of the prize money. AP


Creek chemical spill as bridge collapses

PAULSBORO - A rail bridge collapsed over a creek in southern New Jersey, causing a freight train to derail and spill hazardous chemicals into the water, authorities said. Five tanks of the freight train, which was carrying vinyl chloride, fell into the Mantua Creek, which feeds into the Delaware River near Philadelphia, the US Coast Guard said. Vinyl chloride, a highly toxic and flammable industrial chemical, was spilling from the tanks. Authorities evacuated an 800-metre area around the spill. Reuters