Briefs, January 23, 2013

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 January, 2013, 3:48am

Netanyahu poised for third term as PM

JERUSALEM - Israelis went to the polls yesterday and were expected to return Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as head of a right-wing coalition. He called on voters to back the joint list of his Likud party and the secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu faction of former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. Polling projected an easy win for the Likud-Beitenu list, and Netanyahu is expected to preside over a sharply right-wing government that will be less likely to achieve a comprehensive peace deal with the Palestinians. AFP


Driver charged over Kurds' murder in Paris

PARIS - French prosecutors have filed murder and terrorism charges against a Turkish citizen who worked as a driver for one of three Kurdish activists shot dead this month in France's capital, an official said. Omer Guney, 30, drove for the most prominent victim, Sakine Cansiz, who helped found the Kurdistan Workers Party, a rebel group seeking autonomy for Turkey's Kurds. Prosecutor Francois Molins said there was "serious and corroborating evidence" to show that Guney had a role in the killings. AP


Inmates freed in Iraqto appease protesters

BAGHDAD - Iraqi authorities claimed to have freed 888 prisoners in two weeks to end month-long rallies in the country's Sunni areas that have hardened opposition against the Shiite prime minister. The demonstrations come amid a political crisis that has pitted Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki against several of his erstwhile government partners just months ahead of provincial elections. The protesters have railed against the alleged exploitation of anti-terror laws to target their minority community, and demanded the release of prisoners they say were wrongfully detained. AFP


Restructuring firm works to rescue HMV

LONDON - Restructuring specialist Hilco UK says it has acquired the debt of HMV from the retailer's lenders and is now working with administrators on efforts to rescue the music and games retailer. Hilco, which already owns HMV Canada, said it believed there was "a viable underlying HMV business" in Britain. Hilco stressed that it had not bought the HMV business. HMV admitted defeat last week after more than 90 years, suspending trading in its shares and calling in Deloitte to administer the business, which continues to operate. AP


Airports back in business after big chill

LONDON - Europe's largest airports are returning to normal operations after five days of heavy disruptions related to ice and snow. Airports across Europe ground to a halt at times since last week when snow covered runways and freezing rain coated planes with thick layers of ice. Vienna received the most snow in 26 years. Bloomberg


Eritrea calm as rebels agree to surrender

NAIROBI - Eritrea's government said all was calm yesterday in the capital Asmara a day after armed mutineers seized the information ministry, with opposition sites saying the stand-off was settled. Opposition website said yesterday the commander of around 100 rebel soldiers had agreed to surrender. "The face-off was 'solved' when the government accepted his terms'" Awate said. But the reports could not be confirmed independently and it was not clear if the mutineers had formally surrendered. AFP


Judges told to reject Charles Taylor appeal

LEIDSCHENDAM , Netherlands - Prosecutors urged international judges to reject former Liberian president Charles Taylor's appeal against his war crimes conviction and 50-year prison sentence, saying courts should hold "lords of war" as responsible for sponsoring atrocities as the machete or machine gun-wielding killers they support. Taylor was found guilty in April last year of aiding and abetting Sierra Leone rebels. Taylor's lawyers were due to speak yesterday and argue that his conviction was based in part on hearsay evidence. AP


Iraqi Airways to pay US$500m damages

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwaiti MPs ratified a settlement deal between the Kuwaiti and Iraqi national carriers, under which Baghdad will pay US$500 million in compensation, ending a 22-year-old dispute. Under the deal reached in July, Iraqi Airways agreed to pay the compensation to state-owned Kuwait Airways for damage caused by Saddam Hussein's troops during the 1990-91 invasion. Kuwait says 10 of its planes as well as aircraft parts were plundered after its airport was seized. AFP