Briefs, March 7, 2013

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 4:10am

UN eases arms embargo on Somalia

NEW YORK - The UN Security Council eased the arms embargo on Somalia, agreeing a one year partial lifting of the blockade to help the new government. The council unanimously passed a resolution allowing light arms to be sold to Somalia as they seek to rebuild and control territory recently held by Islamist militants. The embargo was imposed in 1992, a year after the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre as rival warlords battled for control. A transitional government is starting to establish itself after victories over al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab. AFP

Number of Syria refugees tops a million

BERLIN - The number of Syrians who have fled their war-ravaged country and are seeking assistance has now topped the one million mark, the United Nations' refugee agency said. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, said that more than 400,000 people have become refugees since January 1. AP

Israel battles swarm of locusts in dawn attack

KEMEHIN - Israel began battling a swarm of locusts from Egypt to prevent crop damage in the south of the country. Locust clouds darkened skies three weeks before the Jewish Passover holiday that recalls 10 Biblical plagues, one of them locusts, that struck Egypt during the exodus of Israelite slaves. The insects covered nearly 800 hectares of desert overnight. Israel sprayed pesticides on the insects from the air and land in the early morning, before dew on their wings dried and they could take off again. Reuters

Riot police break up Tsvangirai meeting


HARARE - Armed riot police broke up a meeting called by Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his spokesman said, raising tensions in a fragile power-sharing government ahead of elections this year. Tsvangirai went into government with his rival President Robert Mugabe after a violent and disputed vote in 2008. The two have had a stormy relationship and Tsvangirai has accused Mugabe of using the security services to intimidate his supporters in the past - charges Mugabe denies. Reuters

Resorts shut in Italian crime clans swoop


ROME - Italian police have arrested 20 people and seized some 17 seaside resorts along the southern coast in a crackdown on organised crime clans suspected of laundering money through the tourist industry. Italian prosecutor Nicola Gratteri said two 'Ndrangheta crime syndicates are believed to have invested illicit revenue in the resorts. Authorities said those arrested include two Spanish businessmen with dealings with the 'Ndrangheta, which is based in southern Calabria. Prosecutors say the investigation indicates that a Belfast-based developer was also involved. AP

Terminator 2 star jailed for probation breaches


LOS ANGELES - A judge has sentenced Terminator 2 star Edward Furlong to six months in jail for violating his probation in a 2010 case. The 35-year-old actor was accused of disobeying the terms of his sentence in a domestic violence case in which he was convicted of violating a restraining order. Furlong has been the subject of restraining orders filed by both his former wife and an ex-girlfriend. He was charged in January with battery on his ex-girlfriend in a case that remains pending. AP