Briefs, December 24, 2012

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 5:07am


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Dozens killed in Syrian air attack, say rebels

BEIRUT - Dozens of people were killed and wounded in an air strike on a bakery in Syria's central Hama province yesterday, activists said, with some reporting up to 200 dead. Regime forces bombarded a bakery and committed a massacre that killed dozens of people, including women and children," said the Local Co-ordination Committees, a grass-roots network of activists. A video distributed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights showed a bombed one-storey block, and a crater in the road beside it. Bloodied bodies lay on the road, while others could be seen in the rubble. AFP


Greek probe starts on 2,000 HSBC accounts

ATHENS - Greek prosecutors will investigate some 2,000 holders of HSBC bank accounts in Switzerland for suspected tax evasion. The finance ministry said it had received the list, which was leaked in 2010 by an HSBC employee and passed on to Greece by France's then finance minister Christine Lagarde, the current head of the International Monetary Fund. Greek authorities had claimed that the list was illegally obtained and hence could not be used in the battle against tax evasion. But mounting anger against a new round of austerity cuts put pressure on the government to seek the list. AFP


One-time Republican rising star eyes return

COLUMBIA - Mark Sanford, former governor of the US state of South Carolina, is considering a campaign for his former seat in Congress. Sanford is a former two-term governor, who was a rising Republican star before he vanished from South Carolina for five days in 2009. Reporters were told he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but he later acknowledged he was visiting his mistress in Argentina. Sanford said he was weighing a run for the seat that would open next month when Congressman Tim Scott formally takes Senator Jim DeMint's office. DeMint said this month that he was resigning. AP


Burger King fires up the grill in France again

PARIS - For the first time in 15 years, Burger King served its flame-grilled Whoppers in France, a country better known for its gastronomy than fast food. Burger King Worldwide opened a restaurant at Marseilles airport, returning to France in an agreement with Autogrill, which operates restaurants at highway service stations. The burger chain, the world's second-biggest behind McDonald's, closed its 39 French restaurants in 1997 because they were not profitable. AP