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2 January, 2013


UK police recaptures convicted killer who escaped from a secure hospital

­Convicted killer Philip Whiteman has been found and returned to a secure hospital after a day on the run, a Northumbria police spokesman said. He was caught in Newcastle after a member of the public recognized him and called the police. Whiteman escaped from a secure hospital in Gosforth, Newcastle, through the window after asking to go to the toilet. The 44-year-old was detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act in 1989 for leaving a man paralyzed for life during a pub fight. Whiteman was dubbed the ‘Black Dog Strangler’ after he strangled a fellow patient at Ashworth Hospital, Liverpool thinking his victim was a black dog.


Hillary Clinton leaves hospital after blood clot treatment

­US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has left New York-Presbyterian hospital on Wednesday, a Reuters photographer reported. She was driven was driven away with her husband, daughter and an aide. A hospital spokesperson has refused to comment on Clinton’s condition. Hillary Clinton had been admitted to hospital after the discovery of a blood clot, stemming from a concussion she sustained last month.


30 killed in air raid in Damascus suburbs - activists

At least 30 people have been killed as warplanes bombed a gas station in the rebellious Muleiha suburb on the eastern edge of Damascus, opposition activists report. Witnesses said the bodies were either burnt or dismembered. Fighter jets reportedly bombarded the area, as a fuel truck arrived and crowds packed the station. There has been no official government comment on the incident.


UN estimates 60,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict

­The UN has raised the estimate of the number people killed in the Syrian conflict to more than 60,000. In November, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay put the figure at 59,648 people. The UN official said that the fatalities have turned out to be “higher than they expected” adding the figure “is truly shocking”.


IDF forces West Bank Bedouins to leave due to exercises

­The Israeli army forced more than 400 Palestinian Bedouins, including women, children and the elderly, to leave the Wadi al-Maleh area in the north of the Jordan Valley in the West Bank by January 2, so they can hold military training exercises in the area. The Israeli army claims the Bedouins are living illegally in a military zone, although the order is only temporary and they will be allowed to return once the exercises are over. The Palestinian governor of the region criticized the eviction calling it “unacceptable". The Bedouins say they have lived in the area for decades and such evacuations have recently become more frequent.


Burmese govt confirms airstrikes against rebels

­The Burmese military conducted air strikes against the country's northern rebels during a recent outbreak of conflict, government sources confirmed on Wednesday. The military reportedly used helicopters and training jets to seize a key base from the armed wing of the Kachin Independence Organization on December 30, said Hla Maung Shwe, an advisor to the President Thein Sein. The northern rebels have called for greater political representation and an end to human rights abuses by the army. Following the end of the 17-year ceasefire between the government and Kachin rebels in June 2011, tens of thousands of people were displaced.


Taliban compares Afghanistan US troop withdrawal to Vietnam pullout

The planned withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan was marked as a 'declare victory and run' strategy by the Taliban on Wednesday, comparing it to the US military's pullout from Vietnam. The Taliban said in a statement that the transfer of security operations was a retreat akin to that of 1973, when the US withdrew troops from South Vietnam prior to a communist victory. The US-led NATO troops are to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, though a US residual force will remain in the country.


5 killed, 18 injured in apartment blaze in France

­Five people, including two teenagers aged 15 and 18 and a child of 12, were killed and 18 others were injured in a pre-dawn fire in an apartment building in the Paris suburbs, officials said. All five victims of the fire - parents, children and a family friend - were in the same apartment. The family lived in a poor area of Gennevilliers in a flat on the fifth floor while the fire ignited on the fourth. About 100 firefighters were called to the scene. Fifteen people were hospitalized, including two firefighters. The cause of the fire remains unknown.


CAR rebels halt offensive

After a three-week onslaught, Seleka rebels in Central African Republic announced they have stopped their advance on the capital Bangui and are prepared for peace talks with the government, Reuters reported. They may call for the removal of President Francois Bozize, whom they accuse of backing out of an earlier peace deal.


Chavez ‘conscious’ after cancer operation – VP

­Venezuelan President-elect Hugo Chavez, who is to be sworn in on January 10, is in a “delicate situation” after suffering from complications following a cancer operation in Cuba last month. Chavez remains conscious, said Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who recently paid two visits to the president at a Havana clinic. Maduro also denied the widespread rumors in Cuba concerning Chavez's failing health.


World's wealthiest gained $241 bln in 2012

The collective net worth of the world’s top 100 richest people increased by $241 billion in 2012, reaching $1.9 trillion by the end of the year, Bloomberg has reported. Despite widespread global economic hardship, only 16 of the world's wealthiest registered a net loss for the 12-month period. Today’s richest people are Mexican magnate Carlos Slim Helú, American software entrepreneur Bill Gates and Spanish fashion giant Amancio Ortega, who are worth an estimated $75.2 billion, $62.7 billion and $57.5 billion, respectively.


Russian Navy to hold biggest war games in decades

­The four major Russian Navy fleets will hold a joint exercise in late January in the Mediterranean and Black seas, the Russian Defense Ministry has announced. The warships involved are currently sailing to the region where the war games are to take place. The exercise, which will be Russia's biggest in decades, will include scenarios such as the loading of amphibious troops from an unprepared coast onto transport vessels.


13 year old arrested in Singapore over bomb threat

­Police in Singapore have arrested a 13-year-old boy for allegedly threatening to plant a bomb in local casino resort, Marina Bay Sands. The boy, believed to be from India wrote in a Facebook post that the day he leaves Singapore, he is going to take "big big revenge" and "spit everywhere" and "plant bombs on Marina Bay Sands," the online edition of Straits Times reported, quoting the police. If taken to court and convicted, the kid faces a possible fine of 100,000 Singapore dollars (80,000 US dollars) or imprisonment for up to five years, or both.


Turkey plans to negotiate with insurgent party

­Turkey's has launched fresh talks with jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan in an effort to disarm the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) and conclude nearly three-decade insurgency, according to a top political adviser of the prime minister, Xinhua reported. The adviser emphasized that Ocalan, imprisoned for terrorism, was "the main actor" in the effort to find a solution to the Kurdish problem. This comes as Turkish security forces killed at least 10 members of the outlawed group in the southeast of the country. According to a high-ranking official, the armed forces carried out the last military operation of 2012 against a group of PKK members in the province of Diyarbakir.


Nigerian forces kill 13 militants

Thirteen militants of the Nigerian extremist group Boko Haram have been killed in a raid by government troops, the army said. One soldier was also killed and two more injured in the operation. According to residents, the raid followed an attack last week in the town of Maiduguri by Boko Haram militia in which the throats of 15 Christians were cut. Violence linked to this insurgent group in northern and central Nigeria has left some 3,000 people dead since 2009. Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer, is split between a mainly Muslim north and a predominately Christian south.


Egyptian satirist under investigation for presidential insult

­The Egyptian judiciary will investigate a satirist who made fun of President Mohamed Morsi after an Islamist lawyer filed a complaint accusing the comic of “insulting” the new leader. Morsi Bassem Youssef has also been accused of undermining Morsi’s standing. Human rights activists say this is just the latest in a string of actions to crack down on free speech.


Japan dying out - health ministry

­Japan witnessed a record population decline in 2012, by losing 212,000 of its residents, the nation’s health ministry reported. It is the largest reduction since the ministry started tracking demographic trends in 1947. It is also the sixth straight year of declines. A record low 1,033,000 babies were born last year, against 1,245,000 deaths. In 2011 tragedy struck the island nation when 19,000 people lost their lives to a tsunami caused by a 9.0 earthquake.