Nelson Mandela

Briefs, December 16, 2012

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 5:14am

Mandela undergoes gallstone surgery

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's presidency said Nelson Mandela has successfully undergone surgery to remove gallstones. The presidency said the 94-year-old Mandela underwent the surgery yesterday. Mandela, revered as the leader of the struggle against white rule in South Africa, has been in hospital since December 8. AP


Opposition leaders held after Putin protest

MOSCOW - Russian police arrested several opposition leaders, including well-known blogger Alexei Navalny, as hundreds of people packed a central Moscow square in defiance of an official ban to protest Vladimir Putin's rule. Scores of Muscovites, many holding white roses, defied the authorities by turning up at Lubyanka Square, the seat of the FSB security services, despite temperatures of minus 14 degrees Celsius and warnings that the unsanctioned rally would be broken up. AFP


Asian migrants' bodies found off of Greece

ATHENS - Coastguard officials say they have found the bodies of 18 people who were trying to cross illegally into Greece when their boat capsized early on Friday. A 20-year-old man found alive told authorities there were 28 people on the crowded boat, including its Turkish owner, when it capsized off the northeastern island of Lesvos, near the Turkish coast. The man, who has been sent to hospital, is the sole survivor found so far. A coastguard spokeswoman said the migrants were "of Asian origin". AP


ANC leader killed ahead of Zuma vote

JOHANNESBURG - A South African ruling ANC regional leader was killed two days before a crunch leadership conference that opens today and will see President Jacob Zuma fight to retain his top position. North West province ANC branch secretary David Mosiane Chika was gunned down outside his home, in what party officials believe was a political assassination. Chika was part of a group opposed to Zuma's renomination as party leader at the five-yearly conference. AFP


'No ransom' in release of Chinese oil workers

BOGOTA - No ransom was paid to secure the release of four Chinese oil workers freed last month after being held hostage for more than a year, the company employing them said. "We haven't paid a single peso, we haven't been in talks with armed groups operating outside of the law," Emerald Energy corporate affairs manager Juan Manuel Cuellar said. Colombia's former president Alvaro Uribe wrote in a Twitter message that the company paid the FARC more than US$2 million to free the Chinese hostages. AFP


US city spurns visits by Vietnam communists

WESTMINSTER, California - The Southern California home of a huge Little Saigon community has renewed its opposition to visits from communist Vietnam officials. The resolution unanimously approved by the Westminster City Council said officials from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam are not welcome. The resolution, which was first adopted in 2004, expired in 2009. The Orange County Register said the renewed resolution came on the same night the city's first elected Vietnamese-American Mayor Tri Ta was sworn in. AP


UN climate report 'leaked by sceptic'

GENEVA - A major report on climate change being compiled by the United Nation's climate science panel was leaked online in what appeared to be an attempt by a climate sceptic to discredit the panel. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said the full draft of its Fifth Assessment Report, which was not due out until next September, was published online by one of 800 experts contributing to it. Climate sceptic Alec Rawls apparently said in a blog posting he was responsible. AFP