Briefs, February 4, 2013

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2013, 5:22am

French planes pound Islamist bastion in Mali 

PARIS - Thirty French warplanes blasted Islamist extremist's training and logistics centres in northeastern Mali, hours after President Francois Hollande visited the African country, the military said. Fighter jets, and refuelling and reconnaissance planes took part in the "major" overnight operation in the Tessalit area north of Kidal, French military spokesman Colonel Thierry Burkhard said. Kidal is the last bastion of radicals who occupied Mali's desert north for months before France's intervention. AFP


Socialists urge Rajoyto resign over scandal

MADRID - The leader of Spain's opposition Socialist party called for Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to resign amid a damaging corruption scandal. "Rajoy should give up his role as the head of government, because he cannot tackle the very difficult situation confronting Spain," Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said. The centre-left newspaper El Pais published account ledgers purportedly showing that donations had been channelled into secret payments to Rajoy and other top party officials. AFP


Canberra to replace two exiting ministers

MELBOURNE - Australia will swear in replacements for two government ministers today. Mark Dreyfus, parliamentary secretary for climate change, will become attorney general and minister for emergency management, replacing Nicola Roxon. Immigration minister Chris Bowen will be sworn in as minister for tertiary education, skills, science and research to replace Chris Evans. Both departing ministers cited family reasons for their exits. AFP


Dolphin lures pod out of danger off Australia

SYDNEY - A young dolphin has been used to lure a pod of more than 100 others to safety, Australian officials said. The dolphins were milling in shallow water at Whalers Cove, on the south coast, and in danger of a mass stranding when found on Saturday. Local conservation leader Deon Utber said wildlife experts moved a juvenile dolphin by boat to entice the others to follow. The juvenile was sending out distress signals, and once it was in deeper waters, the rest of the pod followed it out. AFP


Jail for tweeter who insulted Kuwaiti emir

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwait's lower court sentenced an opposition youth activist to five years in jail for insulting the emir on Twitter, a rights group said. Mohammad al-Humaidi, head of the Kuwait Society for Human Rights, said an appeal was planned but Mohammad Eid al-Ajmi would begin serving the sentence immediately. AFP