News RoundUp

Brazil swamped

Floods in Brazil have been blamed for the deaths of 29 people. More than 100 cities have declared a state of emergency and 13 people were killed after mudslide in the state of Rio de Janeiro. A year ago floods in the country killed more than 800 people.

Picasso stolen

A precious painting by Pablo Picasso given to the Greek government for their Nazi resistance in WWII is among three works stolen from the National Art Gallery in Athens. Police said the thieves interfered with the alarm system early last Monday.

Compensation fight

A group of 1500 Venezuelan women with breast implants linked to cancer are suing the bankrupt French manufacturers. The women are seeking money for replacement surgery. Their lawyer said the European Union should be forced to pay.

Drones strike

At least eight militants from Turkmenistan were killed by American drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal region on Thursday. The unmanned craft targeted a car and plane. There had been a lull in strikes after one killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November.

‘Armed thugs’ denied

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is using armed thugs to attack demonstrators protesting high fuel prices, according to two union learders. The protests have involved widespread strikes. A government spokesman denied the allegations.

Uni stampede

The mother of a student was killed and more than a dozen people were injured after a stampede at the University of Johannesburg on Tuesday. Prospective students were gathered in the early hours to enrol in courses.

Deaths are terror: Iran

Iranian officials in New York have asked United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to declare the assassination of two nuclear scientists a terror attack. Israeli operatives have been blamed, though, Israel and America deny involvement.

Peace deal

Burma’s government has announced a cease-fire deal with an ethnic rebel group Karen National Union, which it has fought for decades. The Christian Karen will now be allowed to travel the country and take part in politics.

Soldier outrage

American soldiers featured in footage posted online urinating on dead bodies in Afghanistan have been identified. An investigation is ongoing but no charges have been laid. The actions were condemned by military and political leaders in both countries.

Leader on show

The body of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il will lie in state in Pyongyang permanently, it has been announced. The “eternal leader” will rest beside his father in the Kumsusan Memorial Palace where it has been since his death last month.

Separation fight

The Scottish National Party administration has announced plans for an independence referendum. The poll would be conducted by autumn 2014. The decision has divided politicians in London and dominated the 2012 return to Parliament.

ID charges

Fifty people have been arrested in Puerto Rico in relation to a massive identity theft racket which was selling personal details to thousands of illegal immigrants. Investigations found the ring had been in operation in the US island territory since 2009.

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