World news: Britain won’t arm rebels says William Hague

BRITAIN has no plans to arm Syrian rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad, the Foreign Secretary has said.

William Hague insisted the UK had no intention of getting involved in the conflict inside Syria, where Mr Assad’s opponents are facing violent reprisals from the regime.

He refused to guarantee that Britain would not become involved in military action, but stressed: “We are clearly not planning military intervention.”

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He spoke after up to 100 people were killed yesterday in the rebel city of Homs.

Police in carnival strike threat

Police are threatening a strike that could prompt violence during Rio de Janeiro’s popular carnival bash in spite of government approval of a 39 per cent pay raise.

Union leader Helio Oliveira said officers’ salaries have been devaluing for decades, and 56,000 officers and guards are willing to walk out in protest if their demands are not addressed.

‘Anti-gay’ bill is played down

Uganda’s government does not support a politician’s decision to reintroduce a bill that originally proposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts, the government said in response to human rights activists’ protests..

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The bill is not part of the government’s legislative agenda but debate on it must go on, read a government statement.

Eurozone ministers demand more Greek cuts

Just hours after Greece gave in to painful new job and spending cuts, European ministers declared that Athens did not go far enough and demanded more within a week in exchange for a ¤130 billion bailout to stave off bankruptcy.

The finance ministers gave the debt-ridden country until the middle of next week to find an extra ¤325 million in savings, pass the cuts through a divided parliament, and get written guarantees that they will be implemented even after the elections of a new government in April.

Argentina goes to UN over Falklands

Argentina’s foreign minister will arrive at the United Nations today to officially protest about Britain’s “militarisation” of the seas around the disputed Falkland Islands.

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Hector Timerman is expected to make a formal complaint to the presidents of the Security Council and General Assembly when he arrives at the UN’s headquarters in New York.

Algerian president reveals election date

Algeria’s president has announced on state television that elections will be held on May 10.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika broke with tradition by making the announcement directly to Algerians instead of convening the electoral college to set the date. He said the elections would pave the way to rebuilding the Algerian state to one characterised by good governance and social justice.