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Briefs, January 25, 2013

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 January, 2013, 3:15am

Shrinking glaciers 'a threat' to S America

LIMA, Peru - Climate change has shrunk Andean glaciers between 30 and 50 per cent since the 1970s and could melt many of them away altogether in coming years, according to a study published in the journal The Cryosphere. Andean glaciers, a vital source of fresh water for tens of millions of South Americans, are retreating at their fastest rates in more than 300 years, according to the most comprehensive review of Andean ice loss so far. The researchers also warned that future warming could totally wipe out the smaller glaciers found at lower altitudes. Reuters

 

Putin blames US, Nato for Middle East chaos

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin said that revolts in Syria and Libya had unleashed instability in the Middle East and Africa that had exacted a "tragic toll" in last week's militant attack on a gas plant in Algeria. Putin said the United States and its Nato allies had sacrificed stability to their political ambitions in the Middle East and North Africa, often playing into the hands of radical Islamists. "The Syrian conflict has been raging for almost two years now. Upheaval in Libya, accompanied by the uncontrolled spread of weapons, contributed to the deterioration of the situation in Mali," Putin said. Reuters

 

Polish PM laid low by respiratory infection

JOHANNESBURG - Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is in hospital with an acute infection of the respiratory tract. But his office said Tusk would be temporarily discharged from hospital today to attend a voting session in Parliament. The 55-year-old Tusk is Poland's longest serving premier, at the helm of the centre-liberal government since 2007. He was re-elected for a second term in 2011. AFP

 

Obama to nominate Allen for Nato post

WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama will proceed with General John Allen's nomination as Nato's supreme commander in Europe after the Pentagon cleared him of misconduct over e-mails to a Florida socialite, the White House said. Allen, the outgoing commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, was ensnared in the scandal that prompted David Petraeus to resign last year after the CIA director's affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was exposed. The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that an investigation had cleared Allen of any wrongdoing in the e-mail saga. Reuters

 

Dreamliner flaws remain a mystery

WASHINGTON - The top two US aviation regulators have said they do not know what led to battery flaws that prompted them to ground Boeing's 787, and defended their decision to not let the plane fly until the cause is found. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Federal Aviation Administration administrator Michael Huerta gave no indication that the Dreamliner would return to service soon, as regulators around the world try to figure out what triggered smoke and fire this month on two Japanese planes, one of which made an emergency landing. Bloomberg

 

Fox fossil may help unravel canine history

JOHANNESBURG - Archaeologists digging outside Johannesburg have unearthed a fossilised species of previously unknown fox, which they hope will help flesh out the evolutionary journey of modern canines. The new species - named Vulpes skinneri, after South African ecologist John Skinner - is thought to have lived two million years ago. Five years ago, fossils belonging to a new species of hominid were found at the same location. AFP

 

Westerners warned to leave Benghazi

LONDON - Britain, Germany and the Netherlands urged their citizens to immediately leave the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi in response to what was described as an imminent threat against Westerners. But Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Abdullah Massoud expressed "astonishment" at the "very strong tone" of the British warning, and said there was nothing to justify it. Britain's Foreign Office described the threat as "specific and imminent" and urged all British nationals still in Benghazi to "leave immediately". AP

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