10 in TEN
Opposition takes early lead in polls
THE opposition All Basotho Convention yesterday took an early lead in Lesotho's fiercely fought general elections, winning the first eight constituencies announced.
All eight of the constituencies were in urban areas, the base of support for the party and its leader, Tom Thabane.
But the early returns also showed a close contest, with the ABC taking a majority in only one district, indicating that Lesotho could be headed for its first coalition government.
Lesotho voted on Saturday in a three-way race following a series of splits in the ruling party. Vote counting began immediately after polls closed on Saturday. - Sapa-AFP
Mubarak senior aide jailed for corruption
A CAIRO criminal court yesterday sentenced ousted President Hosni Mubarak's former chief-of-staff to seven years in jail and fined him $6-million on charges of making illegal gains, the state news agency Mena said.
Zakaria Azmi has been held since April 2011 on charges of amassing wealth unlawfully.
He is among several officials in Mubarak's administration detained on corruption and other charges.
Mubarak, 84, is also under investigation for graft, abuse of power and ordering the killing of protesters during the 18-day uprising that ousted him on February 11 last year.
The verdict will be delivered on June 2. - Reuters
PM Gillard shrugs off Rudd revival reports
AUSTRALIAN Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday vowed to take the government to the next election, despite reports that a key Labour figure is canvassing to consolidate support for the return of former leader Kevin Rudd.
Gillard and then foreign minister Rudd faced off in a vote in February. The nation's first woman prime minister crushed her former boss 71votes to 31 and Rudd was sent to the back benches.
But reports yesterday said government whip Joel Fitzgibbon was making the case for a new Rudd challenge, prompting Gillard to claim that she was the best person to lead the party tovictory in the 2013 election. - Sapa-AFP
Teenage girl harnessed to cart and flogged
A GERMAN teenager has been rescued from a Bosnian couple accused of starving and beating her for years and of harnessing her to a cart and making her pull it.
The UK's Daily Mirror newspaper said the girl was in poor physical condtion and had no identity papers.
A prosecution source said Milenko Marinkovic, 52, and his wife Slavojka, 45, had been detained on suspicion of inhuman treatment of the girl.
A neighbour said he had seen Marinkovic whipping her and forcing her to pull a cart carrying him and a friend. He said the girl was covered in bruises and scars.
The girl's German mother had been married to Marinkovic. - Reuters
45 girls ill after poison gas attack on school
ABOUT 45 schoolgirls became ill yesterday when poison gas was released in their school in northern Afghanistan - the second such attack at the school in a week.
An education official said the victims had been hospitalised. He blamed the Taliban for the attack. The Taliban blamed foreign forces and Kabul. - Sapa-dpa
First corpse of 138 avalanche victims found
PAKISTAN search teams have found the first corpse of some 138 soldiers and civilians buried alive last month under an avalanche in the country's northern Himalayan region, an army spokesman said yesterday.
The April 7 avalanche buried a military base in the Gyari sector of Siachen - an area claimed by both Pakistan and India. -Sapa-dpa
Court sentences eight in coup plot trial
A DEFENCE lawyer in Bahrain said yesterday that eight people had been sentenced to prison terms of up to 15 years after being accused of plotting with suspected Iranian agents to topple the Gulf kingdom's rulers.
Yesterday's convictions reflect claims by Gulf Arab states that Iran has links to the Shia-led uprising against Bahrain's Sunni dynasty. Iranian leaders have denied this. Lawyer Mohsin al-Alawi said the court sentenced six people to 15 years in prison. Three were sentenced in absentia, including the son of jailed activist Hassan Mushaima.
Two others got lesser sentences and were freed because they had already spent six months in detention. - Sapa-AP
Ex-city official charged with raping 10 girls
A FORMER city official in China's Henan Province was detained by police yesterday on charges of raping more than 10 young girls, according to local authorities quoted by the Xinhua news agency.
Yongcheng city officials said that Li Xingong had confessed to the rapes during his interrogation by the police.
Local authorities have called for swift justice in the case, which has prompted widespread public outrage on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging service.
Officials did not release the ages of the victims but they have promised that they will release more details as the investigation develops. - Sapa-dpa
Greek sex drive droops amid economic storm
GREECE'S once-thriving sex industry has become the latest victim of the country's debt crisis as Greeks spend less on erotic toys, pornography and titillating underwear.
About 50 people, almost all young men, lined up on Friday as the Athens Erotic Dream - Greece's biggest sex fair - opened its gates in a nondescript building squeezed against a highway on the outskirts of the capital.
The annual show attracted big crowds when it opened in 2008, at the height of Greece's debt-fuelled economic bubble. But interest has wilted alongside the Greek economy, mired in its fifth consecutive year of recession. - Reuters
Stand-in queen Ella has been there, done that
WHEN Queen Elizabeth II marks her diamond jubilee next month, she will be following in the footsteps of an unassuming 69-year-old who has spent 20 years working as her low-key royal stand-in.
A report in the Daily Mirror newspaper said Ella Slack, a retired BBC producer who lives in the Isle of Man, was called on to stand in for the queen as broadcasters and event organisers rehearsed for celebrations to mark the monarch's 60 years on the throne.
Jubilee celebrations will reach a climax on June 3 when a flotilla of boats, including the queen's ceremonial barge carrying the royal family, will sail up the River Thames. - Sapa-AFP