Connecticut school shooting

Briefs, January 3, 2013

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 January, 2013, 4:58am

Air raid kills 12 from same Syrian family

BEIRUT - An air raid on a town partly held by rebels on the outskirts of Damascus killed at least 12 members of the same family, most of them children. Warplanes bombed the town of Moadamiyet al-Sham, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The United Nations estimated more than 60,000 people have been killed in the civil war, a toll one-third higher than what anti-regime activists had counted in the 21-month-old conflict. The UN human rights chief called the toll "truly shocking". AFP


Apple goods worth €1m stolen in Paris

PARIS - Armed robbers targeted an Apple store in central Paris on New Year's Eve. The robbery happened three hours after closing time at one of Apple's flagship stores behind the Paris Opera. The thieves reportedly walked away with about €1 million (HK$10.2 million) of loot. Four masked and armed individuals forced their way into the shop and fled the scene in a van. Reuters


Palestinians wounded by Israeli troops

NABLUS, Palestinian Territories - Israeli troops wounded dozens of Palestinians in clashes in a West Bank village after the discovery of a small commando force disguised as Arabs brought a crowd of stone-throwing villagers onto the streets. Palestinian security sources said people in Tamoun village were lightly injured by rubber bullets and one was wounded when a live round hit his hand, while dozens more suffered from tear gas inhalation. They said the troops arrested a local Islamic Jihad member and left with him after uniformed reinforcements arrived to cover their exit. AFP


CAR rebels say they are ready for peace talks

BANGUI -- Rebels in the Central African Republic said they were suspending their advance and would hold peace talks with the government, after regional armies sent reinforcements to stop them reaching the capital. The Seleka rebel coalition's lightning three-week advance from the north of the country to within striking distance of the capital, Bangui, has raised fears of a spreading crisis and drawn regional calls for negotiations with the government in the Gabonese capital, Libreville. AFP


Satirical mag publishes Mohammed comic

PARIS - A French satirical magazine whose offices were firebombed after it published cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed has published a comic book biography of Islam's founder. The editor of Charlie Hebdo weekly has insisted The Life of Mohammed, is a properly researched and educational work prepared by a Franco-Tunisian sociologist. "It is a biography authorised by Islam since it was edited by Muslims," said illustrator Stephane Charbonnier. "I don't think higher Muslim minds could find anything inappropriate." AFP


Afghan warlord vows to attack Nato forces

LONDON, - Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has vowed to kill as many Western soldiers as possible before Nato combat forces withdraw from the country in 2014. Hekmatyar, a former prime minister who leads Afghanistan's second largest militant group Hezb-i-Islami, told Britain's Daily Telegraph that fresh attacks would send a warning to "others waiting to invade Afghanistan". "Before the withdrawal of invading forces, the Mujahideen would like to witness with their own eyes a scene that will teach the invaders to never think of coming this way again," he said in a video obtained by the newspaper. AFP


Hefner, 86, marries 26-year-old Playmate

LOS ANGELES - Hugh Hefner is celebrating the new year as a married man once again. The 86-year-old Playboy magazine founder exchanged vows with his "runaway bride", Crystal Harris, 26, at a Playboy Mansion ceremony on New Year's Eve. Harris, Playmate of the Month in 2009, broke off a previous engagement to Hefner just before they were to be married in 2011. The couple celebrated their matrimony at the mansion as the new year arrived. Hefner has been married twice before but lived the single life between 1959 and 1989. AP


Plain-living New Yorker leaves US$20m fortune

NEW YORK - A shy New York woman whom no one took to be wealthy left a shockingly happy surprise when she died: US$20 million in donations to the city's libraries and main park. Mary McConnell Bailey lived modestly and volunteered at a hospital and schools, before dying at 88 last year. The New York Public Library and Central Park Conservancy recently received checks from her estate worth US$10 million each. Bailey reportedly came from a wealthy family and moved to New York in the 1940s, then inherited the fortune. She spent little and lived in a simple apartment. AFP


Cameron calls for 'bold steps' from G8

LONDON - British Prime Minister David Cameron called on his fellow G8 leaders to start work now on agreeing on "bold steps" to help boost global economic growth, ahead of a summit he will host in June. In a letter marking the start of Britain's presidency of the Group of Eight richest nations, Cameron laid out his three priorities for the year: to extend free trade, tackle tax evasion and fight graft. AFP

Sandy Hook pupils return to class

NEW YORK - Children at the school where a gunman massacred 26 children and teachers last month return to class for the first time today in a new building adapted to look exactly like their old one. Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has been closed since the December 14 tragedy in which a 20-year-old local man shot 20 small children and six staff members before committing suicide. Families were invited to inspect the new school in nearby Monroe, where a disused facility has been prepared to resemble the old one, including pictures on the walls and crayons on desks. AFP