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Briefs, January 7, 2013

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 January, 2013, 4:43am
 

Call for inquiry into Iranian blogger's death

DUBAI - Iran's parliament called for a special inquiry into the death in detention of a blogger whose posts criticised the country's leadership. In a case that provoked international outrage, Sattar Beheshti was arrested at his home on October 30 after receiving death threats and died some days later, having complained of being tortured. The parliament also recommended training for all staff in detention units, the installation of CCTV in detention centres and the regular inspection of facilities. Reuters

 

Monk, 100, hurt in fire at German monastery

BERLIN - Ten monks, including one aged 100, were injured after a fire broke out at a Franciscan monastery in southern Germany. The centenarian was flown by helicopter to a specialist clinic suffering from serious burns from the blaze in the Bavarian town of Füssen, near the Austrian border. The monastery sustained around €100,000 (HK$1 million) worth of damage, including numerous objects of art history. AFP

 

Netanyahu issues plea amid centre-left threat

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed in a rare interview to his right-wing base to cast ballots for his list rather than hawkish alternatives, to prevent him being unseated by a potential centre-left coalition. His plea reflects developments in recent weeks that have left Netanyahu more vulnerable ahead of January 22 elections. These include the emergence of a charismatic new pro-settler leader, blistering criticism of his leadership by a respected former security chief, and feelers by three centre-left parties to establish a bloc that would vie to form the next government. AP

 

Opposition tweeter sent to jail in Kuwait

KUWAIT CITY - A court in Kuwait sentenced an opposition youth to two years in jail for writing tweets deemed offensive to the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state, a rights group said. Rashed al-Enezi, who was in the courtroom to hear the sentence, was immediately taken to jail, according to the Kuwait Society for Human Rights. Enezi is the first to be sentenced among dozens of tweeters, activists and former opposition lawmakers who have been similarly charged since the government began a clampdown on the opposition in the lead-up to elections that were held on December 1. AFP

 

Mandela recovers from lung infection

JOHANNESBURG - Former South African President Nelson Mandela has recovered from a lung infection and surgery to remove gallstones that kept him in hospital for nearly three weeks. Mandela, 94, spent most of December in a Pretoria hospital - his longest stay for medical care since his release from prison in 1990. Reuters

 

Hammer and bribe get message to phone thief

NEW YORK - A New York musician used a combination of technology, seduction, a hammer and a bribe to reclaim his missing iPhone from a thief. Jazz trombonist Nadav Nirenberg left the phone in a taxi. The next morning, the 27-year-old learned via e-mail that someone was sending messages to women using a dating app on the phone. Nirenberg logged on to the service and offered the man a date — posing as a woman. When the culprit arrived at Nirenberg's flat with wine, the musician greeted him with a US$20 bill while holding a hammer. The thief handed him the iPhone and left without saying a word. AP

 

Duvalier's diplomatic passport reissued

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Haitian officials have renewed the diplomatic passport of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, his lawyer said. The country's foreign ministry reissued the travel document for Duvalier as is customary for ex-presidents and former prime ministers. Duvalier returned to Haiti in 2011 after 25 years in exile in France. AP

 

Icy plunges mark end of Epiphany in Bulgaria

SOFIA - Thousands of young men plunged into icy rivers and lakes across Bulgaria to retrieve crucifixes cast by priests in a ritual marking the feast of Epiphany. By tradition, a wooden cross is cast into the water and it is believed the person who retrieves it will be freed from evil spirits. In the city of Kalofer, 350 men waded into the icy Tundzha River carrying national flags. AP

 

British Girl Guides may scrap oath of loyalty

LONDON - The Girl Guides, Britain's largest voluntary organisation for girls, is considering scrapping its oath to God and the queen, it emerged. The British group, which boasts about 500,000 members, has opened a consultation suggesting amendments to the pledge known as "the promise", saying increasing numbers of its members "struggle with the wording". AFP

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Briefs, January 7, 2013

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