Pope Benedict XVI

Briefs, December 4, 2012

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 December, 2012, 5:48am

Colombia's leftist rebels face deadline

BOGOTA - Colombian leftist rebels faced a new deadline for striking a peace deal with the government after President Juan Manuel Santos warned they have until November to reach a negotiated end to Latin America's longest-running insurgency. The warning on peace talks came after the Colombian military launched a new operation against the FARC rebels on the weekend in which, it said, at least 20 rebels were killed. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia started talks formally with Bogota on October 18 in neutral Norway. AFP


Broadcaster fined for showing The Simpsons

ISTANBUL - Turkey's broadcasting regulator is fining a television channel for insulting religious values after it aired an episode of The Simpsons which shows God taking orders from the devil. Radio and television watchdog RTUK said it was fining private broadcaster CNe 52,951 Turkish lira (HK$229,000) over the episode of the hit US animated TV series, whose scenes include the devil asking God to make him a coffee. RTUK also accused the show of showing scenes in which copies of the bible are burnt and encouraging young people to consume alcohol. Reuters


Pope Benedict gives his blessing to tweeting

ROME - It's official. Pope Benedict's handle on Twitter will be pontifex. The Vatican said the pope would start tweeting on December 12. A senior media adviser to the Vatican said the handle means 'pope' and 'bridge builder'. The first papal tweets would be answers to questions sent to #pontifex. The tweets would be in multiple languages. Reuters


Two Chinese arrested after cash found in car

STRASBOURG - Two Chinese nationals arrested in France after customs officers found €1.8 million (HK$18.11million) in cash hidden in their car said they were headed to Austria for a holiday, officials said. The pair, who were residents of Portugal, were detained on November 11 on a motorway in the Alsace region but officials did not immediately release the news to avoid harming an investigation into the source of the cash. They had flown from Portugal to Paris where they were given the car, a customs official said, adding that the 38,000 bills of various denominations were found stuffed into the back of the seats in the Audi A6. AFP


Solution to mystery of non-existent island

SYDNEY - A New Zealand researcher claimed to have solved the riddle of a mystery South Pacific island shown on Google Earth and world maps that does not exist, blaming a whaling ship from 1876. The phantom landmass in the Coral Sea is shown as Sandy Island on Google Earth and Google maps, midway between Australia and the French-governed New Caledonia. The Times Atlas of the World appears to identify it as Sable Island. After investigating, Shaun Higgins, a researcher at Auckland Museum, said a whaling ship's master reported only a series of "heavy breakers" and some "sandy islets". AFP


Coast guard dies as smugglers ram boat

VENTURA - A coast guard member was killed and another injured when their small boat was rammed by a smuggler's vessel off the Southern California coast. Terrell Horne suffered a traumatic head wound, while the second man was treated for minor injuries. Another coast guard vessel stopped the fleeing craft and detained two suspects. AP

Thousands stuck in Russian jam for 2 days

MOSCOW - Thousands of trucks and cars have been stuck on a major motorway, some for more than two days, in a traffic jam dozens of kilometres long caused by heavy snow northwest of Moscow, Russian media reported. Police in the Tver region said field kitchens were operating on the road, but many drivers complained that supplies never reached them and they were running out of fuel to keep their engines running and heating on in sub-zero temperatures. Reports put the length of the traffic jam at between 40 kilometres and 200 kilometres at different times on Sunday. Reuters