Briefs, December 27, 2012
Kenji Fujimoto was accepted into Kim Jong-il's inner circle during a 13-year stint serving North Korea's first family. The Japanese sushi chef gives Julian Ryall his take on the communist dynasty'...
Syrian military police chief defects
BEIRUT - The general who heads Syria's military police has defected and joined the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. Major General Abdul-Aziz Jassem al-Shallal said he was joining the "people's revolution" and that the army had deviated from its mission of protecting the nation and become "a gang for killing and destruction". The defection came as a delegation of Syrian officials headed to Moscow to discuss proposals for ending the conflict following talks with the UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi in Damascus this week. Shallal is one of the most senior generals to defect since the crisis started last year. AP
Mursi signs constitution into law
Egypt's controversial new constitution has been signed into law by President Mohammed Mursi. Critics say it is undemocratic and too Islamist. They fear it could allow clerics to intervene in the lawmaking process and leave minority groups without proper legal protection. The signing paves the way for parliamentary elections. Guardian
Spain seizes 11 tonnes of hashish
MADRID - Spanish police have seized 11 tonnes of hashish smuggled from Morocco on trucks with tanks rigged to hide the drugs. Thirty-five people were arrested in what was described as the breakup of a major smuggling ring. Authorities displayed much of the haul outside the headquarters of the National Police. Much of it was held in suitcases made out of tape and packaging material. They said the hashish was sent to a Madrid suburb for distribution to countries including Britain, France and Holland. AP