Briefs, December 6, 2012

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2012, 5:31am

Serbian ambassador in airport suicide leap

BRUSSELS - Serbia's ambassador to Nato jumped to his death from a car park platform at Brussels Airport while surrounded by his country's delegation, a diplomat said. The Serbian government said Branislav Milinkovic, 52, died on Monday night, during two days of meetings of Nato foreign ministers. Milinkovic was at the airport to meet deputy foreign minister Zoran Vujic and other officials who were due to hold talks with Nato representatives. After the delegation arrived, as they walked over to their cars in the diplomatic area, Milinkovic suddenly strolled to a barrier, climbed over it and jumped, the diplomat said. AP

Honeymoon bride's killer jailed for life

CAPE TOWN - A South African judge sentenced the gunman in the honeymoon murder of a Swedish bride to life in prison, calling Xolile Mngeni "a merciless and evil person" who deserved the maximum punishment for his crime. Prosecutors say the newlywed's British husband orchestrated the November, 2010, killing of 28-year-old Anni Dewani. Husband Shrien Dewani, who is fighting extradition from Britain, has been accused of arranging the death and trying to make it look like a carjacking in Cape Town's Gugulethu township. AP

EU raises West Bank concerns with Israel

BRUSSELS - The European Union has summoned Israel's ambassador to discuss the bloc's concerns over Israeli plans to expand its settlements in the West Bank, an EU foreign affairs spokeswoman said. Several EU countries have already called in Israeli ambassadors for consultations, but EU states have been struggling to agree on a common response to the settlement expansion plans. The move came as Israel moved forward with plans to build some 3,000 settler homes in one of the most sensitive areas of the occupied West Bank, in defiance of international protests. A defence ministry planning committee gave its green light for the plan. Reuters

Bond breaks British box-office record

LONDON - Skyfall, the 23rd official James Bond movie, has become the most successful film in British box-office history, earning £94.3 million (HK$1.17 billion), its producers said. The tally, earned over 40 days, surpasses the previous record of £94 million set by 2009 3D adventure film Avatar over its 11-month run in UK cinemas, although the figures do not take inflation into account. Skyfall, which has been well received by critics, stars Daniel Craig in his third outing as 007, and is directed by Sam Mendes. Reuters


We have your drone, Iran's Guards insist

TEHRAN - Iran's Revolutionary Guards told the United States to "recount" the drones in its fleet as they insist that - despite US denials - they captured a US unmanned spy plane over the Gulf, Iranian media said. The Guards have claimed to have recently captured a ScanEagle drone, a low-cost, short-range aircraft made by Boeing. A spokesman for the US Fifth Fleet based in the Gulf said none of its drones was missing. AFP


School shut after child brings grenade to class

SYDNEY - An Australian school was evacuated after a child took a hand grenade into the classroom for a "show and tell" lesson. The grenade resembles a second world war "pineapple" model and was believed to be inert but police said it would not be moved from a teacher's desk until specialists were satisfied it was safe to do so. It was not yet known where the student, whose age was not disclosed, obtained the grenade. The ordnance was taken to the Hunter Christian School in Newcastle, 160 kilometres north of Sydney, which caters for children aged four to 18. AFP


Clerks reach deal over harbour strike

LOS ANGELES - Striking harbour clerks reached a tentative deal with management at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, settling an eight-day labour clash that has kept most of America's biggest cargo-shipping complex idle. The strike cost Southern California, a region struggling to recover from an economic slump, an estimated US$8 billion, including lost wages and the value of cargo rerouted to other ports over the past week. It marked the worst cargo traffic disruption at Los Angeles and Long Beach - which account for 40 per cent of all US container imports - since a 10-day lockout of longshoremen at several West Coast ports in 2002. Reuters


Longevity record holder dies at 116

MONROE - The woman once listed as the world's oldest person died in a Georgia nursing home at age 116. Besse Cooper, from Monroe, 72 kilometres east of Atlanta, was declared the world's oldest person in January 2011. In May 2011, Guinness World Records learned that Maria Gomes Valentin of Brazil was 48 days older than Cooper. Valentin died the next month. AP