World Briefs: PM’s Twitter is hacked

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MOSCOW — Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s Twitter page was hacked Thursday and peppered with posts, later disavowed by the Russian government’s press service, that claimed he’s resigning in shame and will become a photographer.

The posts began about 10 minutes after the markets opened at 10 a.m. in Moscow. The first read: “I am quitting. Ashamed of the government’s actions. Forgive me,” echoing the Facebook post of Deputy Economy Minister Sergei Belyakov who was fired last week after criticizing the government for holding on to pension savings to pad the budget.

The posts also took swipes at President Vladimir Putin, who plans to impose greater control over the Internet, which the former KGB colonel has called a creation of U.S. spy agencies.

Snowden interview

MOSCOW — Fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden said in a interview with Wired magazine, published Wednesday, that he would gladly return home and face prison for his disclosures on massive private data collection if that would serve to end what he sees as the U.S. intelligence agencies’ surveillance abuses.

Mr. Snowden, the 31-year-old former NSA contractor, also said he deliberately left a trail of “digital bread crumbs” so the NSA would know which secret documents and data files he had taken with him when he fled his contractor job in Hawaii 14 months ago and could take whatever steps were necessary to protect sources and revise operational practices.

Medical pot supported

BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said on Thursday he supported the use of marijuana for medical use as a means to ease the suffering of terminally ill patients and deprive criminals of profits from the illegal trade in the drug.

The battle against drugs has failed because of its high cost in human lives and economic impact for countries like Colombia and Mexico, calling for an alternative expert-led and evidence-based approach, Mr. Santos told a forum on illegal drugs in Bogota.

Aquino touts new term

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Benigno Aquino may seek changes to the country’s 27-year-old constitution to curtail judicial powers and allow him to seek another term.

Mr. Aquino has repeatedly criticized the Supreme Court for partially voiding a 144.4 billion-peso ($3.32 billion) stimulus package that he said spurred economic growth. Mr. Aquino, who has two years left in his term, is barred from running again by the constitution.

Pilot’s false arm falters

LONDON — A pilot lost control of a plane carrying more than 50 passengers and crew after his prosthetic arm became detached during a landing in stormy conditions, according to a British accident report released Thursday.

The Flybe Group turboprop was preparing for touchdown at Belfast City Airport in Northern Ireland on Feb. 12 . Despite the mishap, the Bombardier Dash 8 successfully landed and there were no injuries.

Holiday custom to end

AMSTERDAM — For many Dutch citizens, Black Pete (Zwarte Piet) is a beloved Christmas figure. The character, one of Santa’s “helpers,” is traditionally represented by white actors wearing blackface.

On Thursday, Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan finally responded to growing opposition to what is widely viewed as a racist holdover from the Netherlands’ colonial history. Over the next few years, the city will phase out the use of blackface in the annual Santa Claus parade.

— Compiled from wire reports


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