Kate Middleton

Briefs, January 29, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 January, 2013, 7:05am

Radio show that staged royal hoax scrapped

SYDNEY - An Australian radio show at the centre of a hoax call controversy involving Britain's Prince William and his pregnant wife, Catherine, has been taken off air permanently. Two DJs of Hot 30 were sidelined by the Austereo network after making the prank call to the London hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge. The Indian-born nurse who transferred the call to the duchess' ward, Jacintha Saldanha, was found dead three days later, triggering a massive backlash against Austereo and hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian. AFP


Trial of dead Russian lawyer postponed

MOSCOW - A Moscow court postponed until February 18 a hearing in the posthumous trial of whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky, whose death in custody damaged Russia's image and strained ties with the United States. The court appointed a legal team to defend Magnitsky after his family and lawyers refused to attend Monday's hearing because they say the case is politically motivated. Reuters


SAG win boosts Oscar chances of 'Argo'

LOS ANGELES - Iran hostage crisis drama Argo won the best film drama prize at the Screen Actors Guild awards, in yet another boost for its prospects at next month's all-important Oscars. Daniel Day-Lewis won best actor for the title role in Steven Spielberg's presidential drama Lincoln, while Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence took best actress award for her performance in Silver Linings Playbook. On the small screen, Downton Abbey and Modern Family were the big winners in the drama and comedy categories, respectively. AFP


Four Chinese charged with ivory smuggling

NAIROBI - Four Chinese men appeared in a Kenyan court charged with smuggling ivory. The men were arrested on Sunday carrying ivory products, including 40 chopsticks, six necklaces, bracelets and a pen holder, as well as two pieces of raw ivory weighing 9.6 kilogrammes. The four were arrested in Nairobi airport as they transited from Lubumbashi in Democratic Republic of Congo en route to China's Guangzhou airport. AFP


Attack on Algerian oil pipeline kills two

ALGIERS - Suspected Islamist militants attacked an oil pipeline in northern Algeria, killing two guards and wounding seven others. The Djebahia region, some 70 km east of the capital, is a stronghold of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), which earlier this month killed 37 foreigners at a gas plant in the south, and is where its leader Abdelmalek Droukdel is believed to be based. Reuters


Israel warns Syria over chemical weapons

JERUSALEM - Any sign that Syria's grip on its chemical weapons is slipping as it battles an armed uprising could trigger Israeli military strikes, said Israeli Vice-Prime Minister Silvan Shalom. He confirmed a media report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had last week convened a meeting of security chiefs to discuss the civil war in Syria and the state of its suspected chemical arsenal. Israel and Nato countries say Syria has stocks of chemical warfare agents at four sites. Reuters


Japanese former WHO director-general dies

GENEVA - Hiroshi Nakajima, a Japanese doctor and former director-general of the World Health Organisation, died on Saturday in France, aged 84. Nakajima, who led the WHO from 1988 to 1998, died in Poitiers after a short illness, the UN said. His term at the head of the WHO was a controversial one, marked by accusations of financial mismanagement and dubious priorities and by a famous conflict with the former director of the WHO's anti-Aids programme, Jonathan Mann, who resigned in protest in 1990. AFP


Helicopter scare for Kim Dotcom

WELLINGTON - New Zealand-based internet tycoon Kim Dotcom was involved in a mid-air scare when his helicopter had to make an emergency landing in remote terrain. True to form, Dotcom kept his 280,000 Twitter followers updated as the situation unfolded, posting pictures of himself after he landed safely with the helicopter in the background. The 39-year-old, who launched a successor to his outlawed file-sharing site Megaupload earlier this month, later said the pilot found a disconnected wire on the fuel gauge and he completed the helicopter flight without incident. AFP


Singer Brown accused of punching man

WEST HOLLYWOOD, California - Authorities are investigating allegations that Grammy-winning singer Chris Brown assaulted a man in a West Hollywood car park. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said deputies responded to a report of six men fighting. The department said the altercation, reportedly over a parking space, "allegedly led to Chris Brown punching the victim". The victim wasn't identified but the celebrity website TMZ, which first reported the incident, said the fight also involved Frank Ocean, a nominee in the upcoming Grammy Awards. He later tweeted that he "got jumped by [Brown] and a couple guys". AP


October recovery of Antarctic crash bodies

WELLINGTON - The bodies of three Canadians who died when their plane crashed into an Antarctic mountain will not be recovered until October. Conditions were too dangerous for an immediate recovery operation, with the plane's cockpit embedded in snow and ice at a height of 3,900 metres, New Zealand officials said. A Twin Otter belonging to Kenn Borek Air, a Canadian firm that charters aircraft to the US Antarctic programme, disappeared last Wednesday while on a supply run from the South Pole to Italy's Antarctic base at Terra Nova Bay. AFP