World Briefs
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World Briefs

Nearly 3,000 march in Brussels

Some 2,900 supporters of independence for the Spanish region of Catalonia marched through Brussels yesterday to draw international attention to their cause, police said.

While most of the marchers were from the northeastern Spanish region, the demonstration also drew supporters of independence movements elsewhere in Europe such as Spain's Basque region, Venice, Corsica and Scotland.

Some marchers bore signs saying 'Catalonia, the next state in Europe' or 'Catalonia is not Spain', while one said: 'Freedom cannot be stopped: 1944 Iceland, 1990 Lithuania, 2006 Montenegro, 2008 Kosovo, 2014 Catalonia'. (AFP)

Iraqi women suffer in silence

Women in Iraq are trapped in a "silent emergency", victims of poverty and insecurity, an aid agency said today.

Oxfam released the report to highlight what it called the desperation of daily hardships women face after years of conflict and the 2003 US-led invasion.

"Iraqi women are suffering a 'silent emergency', trapped in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation and personal insecurity despite an overall decrease in violence in the country," Oxfam said.

The British-based group urged the Iraqi government to begin a "surge" of investment to revive social services. (AFP)

Debt-ridden Olympic Airlines to go private

After several failed attempts, Greece's debt-ridden national air carrier Olympic Airlines is heading back into private control under a deal with Marfin Investment Group announced yesterday.

Three decades after it bought the company from legendary Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, the Greek state is selling it for a combined €177.2 million, Development Minister Costas Hatzidakis said. (AFP)

Iran expels Italian journalist

Iran has expelled an Italian journalist who was reporting from the Islamic republic without a valid press visa, the semi-official Fars news agency reported yesterday.

Mohsen Moghadaszadeh, director of foreign press at the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance which monitors foreign journalists in the country, said Stenio Solinas came to Iran on a "tourist visa and wrote biased articles".

Solinas works for the Italian daily Il Giornale, he said, adding that "he could have applied for a press visa and legally worked here". (AFP)

Bangladesh detains 42 troops

Bangladesh security forces have detained 42 troops suspected of involvement in a mutiny which killed at least 57 army officers at the Dhaka headquarters of a paramilitary unit last month, police said yesterday.

The detainees included a suspected leader and his four close associates, who were arrested last Tuesday, in the Bangladesh army's 'operation rebel hunt'. (Reuters)

Goody and two sons christened

Terminally-ill reality television star Jade Goody was christened with her two young sons yesterday in a service at the London hospital where she is being treated, her publicist said.

Max Clifford said Goody, who has cancer, attended the ceremony in a wheelchair at London's Royal Marsden Hospital.

"It was a very moving and emotional 20-minute service and there was about, I imagine, 30 people in the chapel - just very close relatives and friends," Clifford told the BBC.

He said Goody, who is weak and looked very thin and pale, was finding it difficult to stay awake but was conscious throughout the ceremony. (Reuters)

Principles jobs to go; stock to be bought

About 2,000 jobs at fashion chain Principles are under threat after department stores group Debenhams agreed to buy most of the brand's stock, but none of its stores.

Deloitte, Principles administrator, said yesterday there would be "significant redundancies" and that 110 head office staff had already lost their jobs.

It said Debenhams would buy most of Principles' shop stock, including that in the 121 concessions within its stores, and it would also have a temporary non-exclusive licence to continue operating the Principles brand.

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