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FARC rebel chief confirms Colombia peace talks

BOGOTA — The leader of Colombia’s leftist FARC rebels confirmed Monday they were ready to sit down at the peace negotiating table in a bid to end Latin America’s last armed conflict, now nearly 50 years old. “We come to the table for dialogue without rancor, or arrogance,” FARC leader…

Romney passes million follower mark on Twitter

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney has passed one million Twitter followers but still lags far behind the man whose job he wants, Democratic President Barack Obama. “1 million active followers – thanks everyone for your support. Help us keep the momentum going,” tweeted the candidate,…

African Americans fear lingering racism if Obama loses

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — Liz Wills remembers the unbelievable feeling when Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2009. Now she looks fearfully at the specter of his defeat by a Republican candidate she sees as gripped by the racist right. “I’m old enough to have seen the ‘black’…

Obama tells Americans to ‘punt’ Romney’s economic plan

TOLEDO, Ohio — President Barack Obama told Americans on Monday to punt away Mitt Romney’s economic game plan, in a new swipe at his Republican rival on the road to this week’s Democratic National Convention. New polling data meanwhile suggested that Romney failed to score a significant “bounce” from his…

Western readers get a narrow view of Chinese literature

A potent mix of state censorship, conservative publishing choices and scant translation means international readers are given a narrow view of contemporary China, industry critics say. There are the occasional books by Chinese authors that hit the international bestseller lists such as the blockbuster “Wild Swans” by Jung Chang, which has sold millions worldwide,…

Britain wants to resume Assange talks with Ecuador

Britain wants to resume talks with Ecuador and find a diplomatic solution to the standoff over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as soon as possible, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday. Addressing parliament, Hague also said Assange could not be extradited from Sweden to a third country without Britain’s consent, which would not be given if there was a prospect of…

‘Smoker’s paradise’ Lebanon enacts smoking ban

A smoking ban in all closed public spaces, including coffee shops, restaurants and bars, went into force in Lebanon on Monday under new legislation that promises hefty fines for lawbreakers. In a country considered a “smokers’ paradise,” the law took effect a year ago in airports, hospitals and schools, but took hold on a wider…

Swedish official websites hit by cyberattacks

Several Swedish official websites were knocked offline Monday, although no one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. “I can confirm that the government site had problems today, but for security reasons, I cannot say more,” Anna Dahlen, a government spokeswoman, told AFP adding that she did not know when the site would be…

Outgoing Mexico president says the U.S. shares blame for drug violence

MEXICO CITY — Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon blamed loose US gun laws and American addicts for fueling his country’s drug violence as he defended his controversial anti-cartel offensive on Monday. Presenting the final annual report of his presidency, Calderon insisted that his 2006 decision to deploy thousands of troops…

Hillary Clinton condemns suicide attack against U.S. consulate employees in Pakistan

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday denounced the “cowardly” attack against US consulate personnel in Pakistan and praised local authorities’ response to the scene. Clinton, on a visit to Jakarta shortly after the bombing in Peshawar, said that she wanted to “very clearly condemn the attack on our consulate…

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