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In brief: Cosmic irony for remote village

Residents of the remote Russian village of Vagaitsevo were surprised when debris from a satellite that had failed to launch properly crashed in their community, hitting a house on Cosmonaut Street.

Fragments of the satellite came down after it failed to reach orbit last Friday. The owner of the house it hit said he heard a huge noise as the debris hit the roof. The street was named after the heroes of Russia's space programme. But the crash caps a poor year for that programme, with five other satellites breaking up or veering off course in 2011.

Eleven die after boat capsizes

Zimbabwean state radio says 11 people died, most of them children, in a Christmas Day boating accident on a lake outside the capital.

The station said yesterday that a pleasure boat capsized at Lake Chivero on Christmas Day, drowning 11 of 19 people on board. The children were on a holiday outing at the lake 20 miles (30km) west of Harare and were aged between five and 14, it said.

Student killed in motiveless attack

An Indian university student studying in Britain was shot dead in an apparently motiveless attack during a Christmas visit with friends to Manchester.

The 23-year-old victim, Anuj Bidve, was gunned down at close range following a 'very short' conversation with two men in Salford, Greater Manchester.

Attempted coup in Guinea-Bissau

An army official in Guinea-Bissau says there has been a failed coup attempt while the leader of the West African country is believed to be undergoing medical treatment abroad.

Army chief Antonio Indjai said yesterday that "the situation is under the control of the army and government". He says Navy chief Natchuto Bubo was arrested in connection with the incident. President Malam Bacai Sanha had been undergoing medical treatment in Paris.

Veteran protester jailed in China

China continued its Christmas jailings of democracy activists yesterday by jailing another veteran of the Tiananmen Square protests. Chen Xi (45) was sentenced to 10 years after being found guilty of "inciting subversion" with a series of internet articles criticising the government.

He was also "deprived of his political rights" for three years during the two-and-a-half hour court hearing in the capital of Guizhou province in south-west China.

Irish Independent