News In Brief
Japan secretly hangs killers
Japan hanged two men yesterday, bringing to eight the number of prisoners executed since the conservative government of Shinzo Abe came to power a year ago.
Apart from the United States, Japan is the only major industrialised democracy to use capital punishment. Surveys have showed the death penalty has overwhelming public support despite repeated protests from European governments and human rights groups.
Nasa reports coolant loop problem at ISS
Nasa scaled back operations on the International Space Station on Wednesday after discovering a problem with a cooling system.A pump on one of the station's two external cooling loops shut down after hitting a temperature limit, Nasa said.
The station and six crew aboard were never in any danger, Nasa added.
India imposes polio bar for Pak travelers
Pakistanis travelling to India will require mandatory polio vaccination, the Indian embassy said, tightening cross-border travel rules with a new policy which also affects other nations impacted by the crippling disease.
Pakistan, one of only three countries where polio remains endemic, has struggled to combat the disease after the Pakistani Taliban banned polio immunisation following a fake CIA vaccination programme meant to help track al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden.
Gaddafi son Seif appears in court
Seif al-Islam, the son of slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, yesterday appeared in a court in the western city of Zintan on charges of threatening national security, his lawyer said.
The trial hearing lasted only five minutes and was adjourned to February 27 "due to the absence of the other accused," said Mohammed Busema, the court-appointed legal representative.
Court orders review of Pussy Riot verdicts
The Russian Supreme Court has ordered a review of the guilty verdicts handed to two members of punk band Pussy Riot, three months before the pair are due to be released from prison, it said yesterday.
Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are serving two-year sentences in Russian penal colonies after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for performing an anti-Kremlin protest stunt in Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
Australia's top court bans gay marriage
Australia's top court yesterday struck down gay marriage in the nation's capital, ruling that parliament must decide on same-sex unions -- to the anguish of dozens who have wed under a landmark law.
In a unanimous judgment scotching the Australian Capital Territory's new same-sex marriage law, the High Court ruled that only parliament -- not state and territory authorities -- had the power to decide who could wed.