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Iraq December death toll down despite wave of unrest

Deadly violence in Iraq dropped to near its lowest levels of 2012 in December, figures compiled by AFP showed on Tuesday, despite a wave of attacks a day earlier which killed 23 people. Overall, 139 people were killed across the country last month, including 40 policemen and 15 soldiers, and…

Pope slams ‘unregulated financial capitalism’ in New Year’s message

Pope Benedict XVI prayed for world peace, condemning the inequality between rich and poor and “unregulated financial capitalism” at a New Year’s mass in St Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday. The pope spoke of “hotbeds of tension and confrontation caused by the growing inequality between rich and poor and the prevalence…

Pakistan suffers ‘record’ child measles deaths

More than 300 Pakistani children died of measles last year, a staggering increase on the previous 12 months and a result of three consecutive years of flooding, officials said Tuesday. The United Nations’ World Health Organization said 306 children died of the highly infectious illness last year, 210 of them…

60 killed in Ivory Coast New Year’s Eve stampede

At least 60 people died and dozens were injured in Abidjan as crowds stampeded overnight during celebratory New Year’s fireworks, Ivory Coast rescue workers said Tuesday. The head of military rescue workers, Lieutenant Colonel Issa Sako, told public television that “60 people” died and 200 were injured based on a…

Egypt investigates satirist over Morsi ‘insult’

Egypt’s state prosecutor ordered on Tuesday an investigation into a claim that popular satirical show host Bassem Yousef insulted President Mohamed Morsi, a judicial source said. On his show Al-Barnameg (The Programme), Youssef, dubbed the Egyptian Jon Stewart, had poked fun at the ruling Islamists and Morsi’s temporary adoption of…

Key West ‘drops a drag queen’ to kick off 2013

Everyone knows that on New Year’s Eve, the ball drops in New York’s Times Square where millions gather to bring in the new year in style. But in Key West, there’s a different tradition entirely. They drop a drag queen, in a giant high heeled shoe no less. The man…

North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un vows ‘radical’ economic shift

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un called Tuesday for a “radical turnabout” in the impoverished country’s economy in a rare New Year’s address that also appeared to offer an olive branch to South Korea. Kim’s speech, broadcast on state television, was the first of its kind for 19 years, since the…

Fiscal cliff: America goes to the brink, but millions already fell into poverty

Whatever the outcome of the political haggling, Congress has failed the 50 million Americans below the bread line The one comfort of government incompetence is that it is never a surprise: it is, if anything, a starting point for the public’s expectations of Washington. Still, even that certainty doesn’t pay…

North Carolina’s Democratic governor pardons ‘Wilmington 10′ civil rights activists

North Carolina’s outgoing governor pardoned on Monday the Wilmington 10, a group of civil rights activists convicted of firebombing a white-owned grocery store in a black neighborhood 40 years ago. Governor Beverly Perdue’s pardons for the Wilmington 10, five days before she leaves office, formally draws a line under what…

David Attenborough first to capture on film newly-discovered Galapagos pink iguana

Veteran British nature broadcaster David Attenborough is to show the first filmed sighting of the rare pink iguana, in a television series on the Galapagos Islands which begins Tuesday. The 86-year-old filmed the rare Conolophus Marthae iguana in June last year for his new series “Galapagos 3D”, which goes out…

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