News roundup

Murder mystery charges

The wife of fallen senior Chinese politician Bo Xilai has been charged with the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood. Gu Kailai, a former lawyer, and her husband had economic disputes with the Heywood. She has been detained.

Obama’s gun pledge

United States president Barack Obama has pledged gun reform in the wake of the deadly cinema shooting in Colorado. He said he would work across the political divide to ensure firearms were not easily available to criminals and mentally ill.


North Korea’s new leader Kim Jong-un has a wife. State television revealed he had married “Comrade Ri Sol-ju”. She is believed to be a pop singer. Little is known of the 20-something communist leader who had been seen with a woman recently.

Facebook flops

Facebook has failed to prove success on the stockmarket with the social network giant reporting a $151 million loss since floating in last month. The company blames the loss on payments to shareholders. Sales have increase 32 per cent.

Deadly clashes

Fighting between government troops and militia in the southern Philippines has left 11 dead. The military said a skirmish erupted as the troops tried to stop the armed Islamic group attacking and extorting money from local farmers. Six farmers died.

Killer strike

One worker has been killed and four were left missing after an oil tanker in Malaysia was struck by lightning and erupting into flames. The blaze destroyed about 80 per cent of the vessel. Authorities said 24 crew were safely rescued.

Red-faced officials

Officials at the 2012 London Games got off to a controversial start after erroneously displaying the South Korean flag during a women’s football match played by North Korea on Thursday. The countries are at war. Players refused to play for an hour.

Cuba’s olive branch

Cuba’s president Raul Castro says he is “willing to talk” to the socialist state’s rivals in the US. Speaking at a rally Castro said he would only talk if it were a “conversation between equals”. The US earlier called for the release of dissidents.

British support in Somalia

The British government has confirmed it has established a small base in lawless Somalia. The team of 10 military advisers are working in the African Union officers in Mogadishu to help the 18,000 AU troops with planning and communications.

Slight slip

Japanese women no longer have the longest life expectancy on earth. In 2011, they slipped to 85.9 years from 85.3 in 2010. The Japanese report found Hong Kong women’s figure grew to 86.7. Japanese women had topped the report for 30 years.

Bailout bid

Greek PM Antonis Samaras met with the country’s creditors Friday to renegotiate its $38 billion bailout. He wants an extension on a deadline by which he was to have achieved budget cuts. He plans to cut benefits and privatise state companies.

‘Serious escalation’

Deadly violence has taken hold in Syria’s once peaceful biggest city, Aleppo. There have skirmishes in recent weeks. The US state department fears an impending massacre saying the deployment of tanks and military aircraft is a “serious escalation”.

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