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Briefs, January 28, 2013

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 January, 2013, 5:43am
 

UN delegation bid to smooth Yemen talks

SANAA - A UN Security Council delegation began a brief visit to Yemen in a clear boost to President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi aimed at helping to iron out problems hampering national reconciliation talks. Thousands, meanwhile, took to the streets on the occasion of the visit, demanding an end to the immunity given to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who was eased out of office last February after three decades of rule following an UN-backed and Gulf-brokered deal. AFP

 

Roadside bomb kills 10 on police truck

KANDAHAR - A police truck packed with officers and detainees struck a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan's largest city, killing 10 of those aboard, officials said. It was one of four blasts in 24 hours that left at least 24 people dead across the country. Meanwhile, Afghan authorities accused Nato of killing three civilian men in a night ambush in Logar province. The coalition disputed the account. Nato said the three were insurgents killed by Afghan forces. AP

 

Britain urges nationals to leave Somalia

LONDON - The British government warned of a "specific threat" to foreigners in Somalia's breakaway enclave of Somaliland and urged its nationals to leave the country immediately. Britain's Foreign Office gave no details of the threat in the Horn of Africa state, but highlighted in a statement the ongoing danger of "kidnapping for financial or political gain, motivated by criminality or terrorism". It follows a threat warning from European countries to foreigners in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi. Reuters

 

Storms wreak havoc in Australia's northeast

SYDNEY - Two people were missing and the body of a third person was recovered from raging floodwaters as severe storms pounded northeastern Australia, forcing more than 1,000 to flee their homes. Army aircraft were deployed in Queensland, where storms generated by former tropical cyclone Oswald unleashed torrential rains, and localised tornadoes and floodwaters threatened several major towns. One woman was plucked to safety in Biloela, 600 kilometres northwest of the state capital Brisbane, after spending eight hours clinging to a tree. AFP

 

10 die, 33 hurt as bus plunges into ravine

LISBON - Ten people were killed and 33 were hurt when a coach slid off a rain-soaked road and plunged into a ravine in central Portugal, rescue services said. More than 250 firefighters, 88 emergency vehicles and a helicopter were deployed to the scene near Carvalhal, in the Castelo Branco district. AFP

 

Chavez overcomes respiratory infection

SANTIAGO - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has fought off a respiratory infection, but is still being treated for breathing problems after cancer surgery in Cuba last month, a government minister said. Official statements have sounded upbeat about the socialist president's condition in recent weeks, following rumours he was gravely ill in a hospital in Havana and might be unable to keep governing after being re-elected in October to a third term. Vice-president Nicolas Maduro said Chavez, 58, was in his "best moment" since his operation 45 days ago. Reuters

 

Riot squads battle for control of prison

BARQUISIMETO - Riot police worked to establish full control over a prison in northwestern Venezuela, where a riot has left at least 61 inmates dead and twice as many injured. Prisons minister Iris Varela admitted the government was not in full control of the Uribana prison in Lara state. Security forces were working "to remove inmates from the heart of the jail", she said, adding the rioters and other inmates would be moved to other prisons. Vice-president Nicolas Maduro called the riot "regrettable" and "tragic", and said an investigation had been launched. AFP

 

Cameron boosted by referendrum pledge

LONDON - Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to hold a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the EU has boosted his party's ratings, opinion polls suggest. Support for Cameron's Conservative Party jumped five points from the previous month in a poll conducted after he vowed to hold an "in-or-out" vote on Europe if the party wins the next election. The poll put the Conservatives on 33 per cent, up from 28 per cent in December. That halved the lead of the Labour opposition, whose ratings stayed at 39 per cent. AFP

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