10 in TEN
Most Britons want spending cuts softened
SEVEN out of 10 Britons want the government to soften its spending cuts and do more to stimulate economic growth, according to the ComRes poll in yesterday's Independent newspaper.
The Conservatives and their Liberal Democrat partners have made austerity the cornerstone of economic policy since 2010, when they warned that over-spending by the previous Labour government was pushing Britain towards a sovereign debt crisis. - Reuters
Lawyer says detained BBC presenter freed
A CLASSICAL music presenter for the BBC detained in Zimbabwe for not having a work permit was freed this week after state prosecutors said he had no case to answer, his lawyer said.
Petroc Trelawny, who presents several radio programmes for the British public broadcaster, was arrested last Thursday for taking part in a music festival without a work permit.
Zimbabwean jails are notorious for poor conditions. - Sapa-AFP
Sanctions pressure puts nuclear talks 'at risk'
IRAN'S foreign ministry warned Western countries yesterday that pressuring Iran with sanctions while continuing nuclear talks would jeopardise chances of reaching an agreement, Iranian media reported.
"This approach of pressure [from sanctions] concurrent with negotiations ... will never work. These [Western] countries should not enter negotiations with such illusions and misinterpretations," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said. - Reuters
Old flag back in favour in post-Mutharika era
MALAWI'S parliament has approved a bill to revert to the old independence flag, two years after the late president Bingu wa Mutharika altered it, state radio reported yesterday.
Parliament speaker Henry Phoya argued Mutharika had not conducted adequate consultations before making the change in 2010 and said the black, red and green stripes with a red rising sun were a "sacred symbol" of Malawi's nationhood. - Sapa-AFP
Top judge kicked out in victory for Aquino
THE Philippine Senate voted yesterday to remove the country's top judge, a landmark victory for President Benigno Aquino that should embolden his campaign to root out institutional corruption and could quicken the pace of economic reforms.
Senators voted to oust supreme court chief justice Renato Corona on charges of failing to declare his wealth, making him the first Filipino official to be removed by an impeachment court. -Reuters
New Mexico historic sites at risk in forest fire
FIREFIGHTERS in New Mexico were working to protect several Depression-era landmarks from a blaze burning through the rugged high country of the Gila National Forest, fire officials said.
Vulnerable structures included the Bearwallow Mountain Lookout Cabins and Shed, which was built in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration as a forest fire lookout, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. - Reuters
Moscow rebukes 'undiplomatic' US envoy
RUSSIA slammed the US ambassador for the third time in his five-month tenure after he said Moscow offered Kyrgyzstan a bribe to evict US forces from an air base and had sought backroom "quid pro quo" deals.
The foreign ministry expressed "extreme bewilderment" at remarks Michael McFaul made in a university lecture on Friday as "far beyond the boundaries of diplomatic etiquette and amounted to a deliberate distortion of several aspects of the Russian-US dialogue". - Reuters
Rebels ambush president's convoy, no casualties
SOMALIA'S al-Shabab rebels ambushed an armoured convoy carrying the country's president during a rare overland trip outside the capital yesterday.
President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was unharmed in the attack, which occurred on the outskirts of Elasha town, located between Mogadishu and the former rebel stronghold of Afgoye.
Bullets struck several African Union peacekeeper vehicles but none were damaged. - Reuters
Major university renamed after 'martyr'
NIGERIA has renamed a major university in the commercial capital of Lagos after a political prisoner who died in jail over a decade ago.
President Goodluck Jonathan announced yesterday that the University of Lagos would be renamed MKO Abiola University in honour of the presidential hopeful's "martyrdom".
Abiola was a businessman widely believed to be the winner of a 1993 presidential poll annulled by General Ibrahim Babangida. - Sapa-AP
Blind dissident's escape 'will inspire' Chinese
CHINA'S most famous dissident, the artist Ai Weiwei, said blind activist Chen Guangcheng's dramatic escape from confinement will inspire other Chinese to continue down the path towards democracy and not to live in fear.
Chen's escape last month from 19 months of illegal house imprisonment and temporary refuge in the US embassy in Beijing embarrassed the ruling Communist Party and cast a spotlight on the lack of rule of law in China. - Reuters