Briefs, February 25, 2013

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 February, 2013, 5:17am

Yemeni leader visits port city amid protests

ADEN - Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was paying a surprise visit to the port city of Aden as witnesses said clashes raged between police and protesting southern separatists amid calls for civil disobedience. Hadi would meet military leaders and officials in Aden, his first "inspection visit" since becoming president in February last year. AFP


Fidel Castro in rare visit to assembly

HAVANA - Retired Cuban leader Fidel Castro made a rare public appearance as he took his long-empty seat beside brother Raul Castro at the opening session of the National Assembly, the official National Information Agency reported. Fidel Castro has graced the assembly chambers just once, in 2010, since taking ill in 2006 and ceding power to his brother. Reuters


Conservative candidate heading for poll win

NICOSIA - Conservative candidate Nicos Anastasiades was set to defeat his left-wing rival Stavros Malas by a wide margin in Cyprus' runoff presidential election, exit polls showed, as Cypriots cast ballots for who will lead them through the country's financial crisis. The poll showed Anastasiades with 57.5-61.5 per cent of the vote, far ahead of Malas with 38.5-42.5 per cent. The election comes as Cyprus faces the spectre of economic meltdown, and the new president will be under pressure to quickly finalise a financial rescue package. AP


UN airs concern over fresh Darfur violence

KHARTOUM - The UN expressed deep concern over the latest deadly tribal violence in Sudan's Darfur region, which has hampered assistance for tens of thousands of people fleeing earlier fighting. Residents in the North Darfur town of El Sireaf said an Arab militia firing heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades burned houses and killed more than 50 people on Saturday. AFP


African leaders sign peace deal for Congo

ADDIS ABABA - A UN-mediated peace deal aimed at ending two decades of conflict in the east of Congo was signed in the Ethiopian capital by leaders of Africa's Great Lakes region. African leaders failed to sign the deal last month after a disagreement over who would command a new regional force that will take on armed groups operating in the region. The Democratic Republic of Congo's army is fighting the M23 rebels, who have hived off a fiefdom in North Kivu province in a conflict that has displaced an estimated half a million people. Reuters


Nuclear programme is sustainable, Iran says

DUBAI - Iran said it has found significant new deposits of raw uranium and identified sites for 16 more atomic power stations, days before talks with western powers over its disputed nuclear programme. The Iran Atomic Energy Organisation report cited by state news agency IRNA said the deposits had trebled the amount outlined in previous estimates. There was no independent confirmation, but with few uranium mines of its own, western experts previously thought that Iran may be close to exhausting its supply. Reuters


Revolutionary Guard captures foreign drone

TEHRAN - Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard said it had captured a foreign unmanned aircraft during a military exercise in the south of the country. General Hamid Sarkheili said the Revolutionary Guard's electronic warfare unit spotted signals indicating that foreign drones were trying to enter Iranian airspace. Sarkheili said experts took control of one drone's navigation system and brought it down near the city of Sirjan. He did not say whether the drone was American. A CIA spokeswoman in Washington declined to comment on the report. Iran has claimed to have captured several US drones. AP


European Parliament official injured in crash

BERLIN - Alexander Alvaro, deputy president of the European Parliament, was seriously injured in a car crash in western Germany overnight, a spokesman for the European liberals group ALDE said. Alvaro, 37, is a member of Germany's Free Democrats. Reuters