Briefs, January 8, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 January, 2013, 7:08am

Leaders of uprising in Bahrain to stay in jail

DUBAI - Bahrain's highest court upheld prison sentences against 13 leaders of the 2011 uprising, a defence lawyer said, a ruling that could stir further unrest in the Gulf state. The case has drawn international criticism from rights groups and came under scrutiny from US officials keen for acquittals to help restore calm in a country that Washington counts as a regional ally against Iran. The US Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain. Reuters


Missoni family issue plea after plane crash

MILAN - The family of Italian fashion executive Vittorio Missoni said they still believed he was alive, three days after his plane disappeared off the coast of Venezuela, and begged rescuers to find him. The small twin-engine plane carrying Missoni, 58, his wife Maurizia Castiglioni, another couple and two Venezuelan crew members went missing on Friday after taking off from the resort of Los Roques, off of Venezuela. Reuters


British youth dies at waterfall in Australia

SYDNEY - A 20-year-old British tourist has died after falling from a waterfall west of Sydney. Police said the man was walking with friends at Wentworth Falls, in the Blue Mountains, when he slipped over the edge of the fall. A witness told ABC radio that the man fell 100 metres. AP


BBC veteran denies sexually abusing girls

LONDON - A BBC broadcaster has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually abusing three girls. The charges against 82-year-old sports broadcaster Stuart Hall relate to events alleged to have occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. Police say the alleged indecent assaults involved girls between the ages of nine and 16. AP


Cop offered hack probe info to Murdoch paper

LONDON - A senior British counterterrorism detective committed a "gross breach" of public trust by trying to sell information to Rupert Murdoch's News of the World about the police investigation into the tabloid's illegal phone hacking, a prosecutor told a court. Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn is charged with misconduct for allegedly offering to pass on information about whether the police would reopen its stalled hacking probe. Prosecutors said the newspaper did not print a story and no money changed hands. AP


Cruise liner's captain 'worse than Bin Laden'

ROME - The captain of the luxury cruise liner that crashed off the Italian coast nearly a year ago, killing 32 people, said he had been portrayed as worse than Osama bin Laden. The Costa Concordia sank after hitting a rock 300 metres off the Tuscan island of Giglio just as many of the ship's 4,229 passengers and crew were sitting down to dinner. Captain Francesco Schettino has been accused of multiple manslaughter and abandoning the ship before all the passengers were safely ashore. In an interview with La Stampa newspaper, the captain called for a review of the cruise industry's rules. AFP


Protests planned over Chavez inauguration

CARACAS - A top Venezuelan opposition leader has called for street protests if the government delays the inauguration of ailing President Hugo Chavez, who has suffered complications after his latest round of cancer surgery. Julio Borges, of the opposition Justice First party, also promised to file complaints with unspecified international groups if the constitutionally-mandated January 10 swearing-in ceremony fails to take place. AFP


'Human head' found on Australian beach

SYDNEY - Police were carrying out forensic tests after a young girl found what was believed to be a human head in a plastic bag, washed up on a beach in Western Australia. The discovery was made at Porpoise Bay by the girl, who was on holiday with her family on Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth. AFP


No unity deal for Israel opposition parties

JERUSALEM - The chiefs of three of Israel's centrist and left-wing parties met overnight in a bid to create a unified bloc ahead of elections, but failed to reach an agreement. Tzipi Livni, of the newly formed centre-left HaTnuah faction, met the opposition Labour party's Shelly Yachimovich and Yair Lapid of the centre-left Yesh Atid, ahead of the January 22 elections. Polls show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the lead. AFP


Envoy takes the blame for embassy orgy

TEGUCIGALPA - The former Honduran envoy to Colombia accepted blame for a party held at his embassy that reportedly involved prostitutes, but said he was away on vacation when it took place. Carlos Rodriguez Andino's bodyguard and close friend, Jorge Mendoza, had reportedly organised the party in Bogota which turned into a booze-fuelled orgy. Reports said the prostitutes stole computers and phones, and defecated on the desks of the ambassador after they were asked to leave without being paid. Rodriguez resigned over the incident. AFP


True Grit actor jailed for New Year boozing

SANTA MONICA - Actor Josh Brolin spent part of New Year's Day and the following morning in a southern California jail cell after getting arrested for misdemeanour public intoxication. Police said the True Grit star was not given a citation for the arrest, which likely meant he would not have to appear in court. Officers found Brolin heavily intoxicated on a Santa Monica pavement. AP