Briefs, February 28, 2013

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 February, 2013, 3:08am

No breakthrough in talks on Iran

ALMATY - Six world powers ended two days of talks with Iran on its nuclear programme without a breakthrough yesterday, but agreed to meet in Istanbul and resume negotiations in Kazakhstan on April 5. The six powers - France, Germany, the United States, China Russia and Britain - offered at the talks to lift some sanctions if Iran scaled back nuclear activity that the West fears could be used to build a bomb. Tehran did not agree to do so and the sides did not appear any closer to an agreement. Reuters

Swiss mull ban on large cash payments

GENEVA - - Switzerland is proposing a ban on cash payments in excess of 100,000 francs (HK$834,000), including on watches and real estate, and wants to tighten the due diligence requirements for banks to prevent money laundering. Transactions above that amount would have to be processed through a bank, the government said in a draft law presented in Bern. Political parties and interest groups will now be able to comment on the proposal. Bloomberg

Turkey discusses peace plan with Kurd leader

ANKARA - Imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan has outlined a peace plan with Turkey in which his fighters may declare a ceasefire by March and withdraw from Turkey by August, Turkish media reported. Turkey's government said in December that it was engaged in talks with Ocalan, who has been held in prison since 1999, with the aim of convincing his rebel group to end the 28-year-old conflict and to disarm. AP

Socialite's ex jailed for blackmail attempt

LONDON - A former boyfriend of British socialite Tamara Ecclestone has been jailed for four years for plotting to blackmail her for £200,000 (HK$2.35 million). Derek Rose was convicted of the extortion attempt against Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone. Rose dated Ecclestone, now 28, in 2002. Prosecutors said that after Ecclestone appeared on reality TV show Billion Dollar Girl in 2011, he sent an e-mail threatening to reveal personal details to a tabloid unless she paid him. In fact, no newspaper had bought his story. AP




35 killed in bus crash in eastern Kenya

NAIROBI - At least 35 people in eastern Kenya died when the bus they were travelling in veered out of control and rolled several times, police said. Many of those on the bus - travelling from Nairobi to the northeastern town of Garissa - were believed to have been on their way to vote in elections on Monday. AFP