In brief: Kiwi soldiers to stay in Kabul

NEW Zealand is to keep a small military team in Afghanistan to help coalition forces after it formally withdraws in April.

The group of 27, including three elite special forces troops, will be primarily based in Kabul carrying out planning and intelligence duties. Most will operate under an initial one-year commitment until April 2014.

Prime minister John Key said the country remained committed to efforts to improve the security and prosperity of Afghanistan.

Dramas as Armenia votes

THE campaign for Armenia's presidential election lasted only a month, but packed drama into the short time that included the shooting of one candidate and another contender going on hunger strike.

But incumbent Serge Sarkisian is widely expected to cruise through, probably getting the 50pc plus one vote necessary to avoid a second round.

Israeli PM cuts ice cream bill

ISRAEL'S prime minister has frozen his ice cream budget, following a newspaper scoop.

Benjamin Netanyahu's office said once he was made aware of the state-financed contract issued to buy ice cream from his favourite Jerusalem parlour, he halted it immediately.

Israelis flocked to the Metudela ice cream shop to check out his alleged favourite flavours – pistachio and vanilla – after Calcalist magazine published a list of items on Mr Netanyahu's annual expenses budget, including €2,340 for ice cream.