Silvio Berlusconi

Briefs, February 5, 2013

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 February, 2013, 4:38am


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Shackleton explorers cross Southern Ocean

SYDNEY - An exhausted British-Australian expedition recreating Ernest Shackleton's 1916 crossing of the Southern Ocean in a small boat made landfall yesterday after a perilous 12-day journey. Led by renowned adventurer Tim Jarvis, the team of six reached Peggotty Bluff on rugged South Georgia, where they landed their vessel in the same place as Shackleton and his men nearly 100 years ago. The next leg will see three of the team tackle a two-day climb over the mountainous interior of South Georgia. AFP


Russians, Italian freed as Syria releases rebels

MOSCOW - Two Russians and an Italian have been freed in Syria in exchange for three captured rebels after being held hostage for almost two months, Russia's Foreign Ministry said. The ministry said Viktor Gorelov, Abdessattar Hassun and Mario Belluomo, who were taken hostage by rebel forces on December 12, had been released on Sunday and were in good health. "The Russians have already been brought to the Russian embassy in Damascus," the ministry said. Reuters


Oil tanker missing off Ivory Coast 'hijacked'

JOHANNESBURG - A French-owned oil tanker missing off Ivory Coast with 17 sailors on board has likely been hijacked, an official with an international piracy watchdog said, in what may be the latest attack by criminal gangs targeting the ships to steal their valuable cargo. Details remained scarce about the fate of the ship, flagged in Luxembourg. It was reported missing on Sunday, and officials believe it fell victim to the same pirates operating throughout the Gulf of Guinea, said Noel Choong, a spokesman for the International Maritime Bureau in Malaysia. AP


British ex-minister Huhne faces jail term

LONDON - Former British energy secretary Chris Huhne pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice by persuading his then wife in 2003 to accept penalty points on her driving licence for a speeding offence he had committed. The senior member of the Liberal Democrats, the smaller party in Britain's ruling coalition, resigned from his cabinet post in February last year when he was charged. He had remained a member of Parliament, but said after the London court hearing that he would quit his seat. The judge signalled to Huhne that he would likely face a prison sentence. Reuters


22 killed as bus and truck collide in UAE

DUBAI - At least 22 people were killed when a truck laden with gravel and a bus carrying 46 Asian migrant workers collided in the oasis town of Al-Ain in the United Arab Emirates, police said. The truck driver lost control of his vehicle, causing it to land on top of the bus and trap its passengers under the cargo of gravel, police said of Sunday's incident. Reuters


Belgian jailed for killing 4 children seeks parole

BRUSSELS - Notorious Belgian child serial killer Marc Dutroux appeared before a special court yesterday, seeking to be released and placed under house arrest with an electronic tag. His appeal for early release comes three months before he completes 16 years of his life sentence for the kidnap and rape of six girls, and the murder of four of his victims, in one of the darkest episodes in Belgium's criminal history. A decision on Dutroux's request is not expected before February 18. AFP


Berlusconi trying to buy votes, Monti says

ROME - Italy's former prime minster Silvio Berlusconi is trying to buy votes by offering to refund a property tax paid last year, said his successor, Mario Monti. Berlusconi pledged on Sunday to refund tax payments on first homes from a levy imposed by Monti's government, which the media tycoon supported for a year. By tapping into popular anger over measures that Monti has used to tame the country's budget deficit, Berlusconi has closed the gap with Democratic Party leader Pier Luigi Bersani, the front runner in elections to be held this month. Bloomberg


Bolshoi director 'knows who ordered attack'

MOSCOW - The artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet said he knows who ordered an acid attack that left him with severe burns to his eyes and face but will not identify them, voicing hope that investigators will soon name the perpetrator. Sergei Filin checked out of a Moscow hospital and headed to Germany for further rehabilitation. Filin, 42, spoke energetically and seemed to be in good spirits as he left the hospital with his wife. AP