Briefly World: Syria to hold referendum on new constitution

As the Syrian military besieged rebellious areas,President Bashar Assad ordered a referendum for later this month on a new constitution that would open the way to political parties other than his ruling Baath Party

Written by Agencies | Published:February 16, 2012 1:00 am

Syria to hold referendum on new constitution

BEIRUT: As the Syrian military besieged rebellious areas Wednesday,President Bashar Assad ordered a referendum for later this month on a new constitution that would open the way to political parties other than his ruling Baath Party. The referendum,announced on Syrian state TV,is to take place on February 26.

Italy prosecutors seek 5-yr term for Berlusconi

MILAN: Italian prosecutors Wednesday asked a court to sentence former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to five years in prison on charges of paying British lawyer David Mills a $600,000 bribe to lie about Berlusconi’s business interests.

China holds patriotism classes in Xinjiang

BEIJING: Authorities in a restive region in far western China are holding public lectures in villages and communities to promote patriotism and discourage illegal religious activity. Xinhua cited officials as saying Wednesday that the lectures were be held throughout the year in Xinjiang.

Pak-US cooperation has taken beating: Munter

ISLAMABAD: US-Pakistan military ties have “taken a beating” following a “tough” year,and intelligence cooperation too may change when ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha steps down next month,US Ambassador to Islamabad Cameron Munter said. The “military-military relationship has taken a beating”,Munter said Wednesday.

Ex-US defence official is NATO’s deputy chief

BRUSSELS: NATO says a former US assistant secretary of defence has taken over as the alliance’s deputy secretary-general. Alexander Vershbow replaces Claudio Bisogniero of Italy whose term expired this year.

Anti-gay remarks: French legislator assailed

PARIS: President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party said Wednesday it is kicking out a legislator who said gay people hold too much sway in France and downplayed the persecution of gays during World War II. The comments by lawmaker Christian Vanneste unleashed an outpouring of criticism from left and right.

Media pushing war with Argentina: Sean Penn

Uruguay: Actor Sean Penn accused British media of pushing for war instead of diplomacy to resolve the UK’s dispute with Argentina over the Falkland Islands both countries claim. The actor said journalists had twisted his comments the day before in support of Argentina’s push for a UN-sponsored settlement.

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