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Mullen: U.S. will not leave Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The top US military officer is vowing long-term commitment to Afghanistan, touting progress in the war against the Taliban and its Al-Qaeda allies ahead of an American drawdown. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on the “Charlie Rose” television interview show…

Syrians hold pro-Assad rally as global outcry grows

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Thousands of supporters of Bashar al-Assad demonstrated on Wednesday on the outskirts of Damascus as the embattled president came under intense world pressure to halt a crackdown on democracy protests. Flag-waving pro-regime demonstrators lined a highway leading to the posh residential suburb of Mezze in western Damascus…

Obama calls for ceasefire in Sudan

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama is calling on Sudan’s warring factions to end the bloody violence threatening a peace agreement as the south gears up for independence due in three weeks. “There is no military solution,” Obama said in an audio message recorded late Tuesday for the publicly-funded VOA…

Group: Hundreds of thousands of Chinese children suffer from lead poisoning

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese children suffering lead poisoning from polluting smelters and factories have been denied testing, effective treatment and even basic information by officials who downplayed health threats, a human rights advocacy group said on Wednesday. The report from Human Rights Watch comes after China’s latest lead pollution outbreak,…

Pakistan arrests five accused of helping U.S. catch Osama bin Laden

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested five CIA informants who fed information to U.S. intelligence before the raid last month which killed Osama bin Laden, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. One of the detainees was reported to be a Pakistani Army major whom officials…

NATO leaders in talks amid fresh Libya strikes

TRIPOLI (AFP) – NATO’s chief will hold talks on Libya with British leaders on Wednesday after the alliance battered Moamer Kadhafi’s forces even as its top brass raised concerns about the 11-week aerial war. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will meet in London with British Prime Minister David Cameron…

Playboy Hugh Hefner’s 25-year-old fiancee changes mind about marriage

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Heartbroken Playboy founder Hugh Hefner said on Tuesday his wedding this weekend was canceled because his 25-year-old fiancee, a Playmate from his magazine, changed her mind. Hefner, 85, and Crystal Harris were due to tie the knot in front of more than 300 guests at the…

Greek anti-austerity protesters surround parliament

ATHENS (AFP) – Thousands of Greek protesters surrounded the parliament building in Athens on Wednesday as a general strike paralysed the country and the prime minister held emergency talks on a controversial reform package. Riot police and barricades blocked approaches to parliament as 20,000 people gathered in the capital, summoned…

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