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Defense Secretary Panetta visits Egypt to boost new PM

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Cairo on Tuesday for a lightning visit to the longtime Middle East ally to reaffirm U.S. support for Egypt’s democratic transition, an AFP reporter said. The Pentagon chief is due to meet Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of…

Russia hits anti-Putin blogger with embezzlement charges

Russian investigators on Tuesday charged popular protest leader Alexei Navalny with embezzlement in an old case that may put one of President Vladimir Putin’s most vocal critics in jail for 10 years. The Investigative Committee said in a statement that Navalny would also be barred from leaving Moscow during a…

Israeli draft loophole could force Orthodox Jews into service

A controversial Israeli law which allowed ultra-Orthodox Jews to defer military service, is to expire on Tuesday, leaving a legislative hole which could technically see them called up en masse. When the 2002 Tal Law expires at midnight, conscription will be guided by previous legislation, meaning that all 18-year-old Israelis,…

Street artists take satirical aim at Olympics

An javelin thrower stands poised to make his throw – but in place of a spear, he holds a missile. The striking image, stenciled in black onto a dirty wall, is one of two new works recently unveiled on the website of British satirical street artist Banksy to coincide with…

Online dating becoming big business in China

Revenues from China’s online dating market are forecast to top two billion yuan ($315 million) in 2014 as work-stressed Chinese struggle to find partners, a new report said Tuesday. Tens of millions of single Chinese people now use match-making websites to find partners or meet new friends, said the report…

Yahoo! number two exec quits after losing out on top spot

Yahoo! on Monday announced the departure of Ross Levinsohn, who served as interim chief executive and was seen as a favorite for the top job before the firm named Marissa Meyer to the post. Regulatory documents indicated Levinsohn would leave with an “equity award” including 67,000 restricted stock units and…

State Dept. report blasts China for Buddhist crackdown

The United States warned the world was sliding backwards on religious freedoms, slamming China for cracking down on Tibetan Buddhists and hitting out at Pakistan and Afghanistan. As the State Department unveiled its first report on religious freedoms since the start of the Arab Spring, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton…

Losses send BP into a tailspin

British energy giant BP said Tuesday that it plunged into a second-quarter net loss, hit by lower output, falling oil prices and a near $5.0-billion (4.1-billion-euro) write-down on the value of assets. BP made a loss after tax of $1.39 billion in the three months to June, compared with net…

U.S. risks wasting billions in Afghan reconstruction: watchdog

WASHINGTON — Millions of dollars in US funds have been lost due to poor planning and workmanship in projects to help rebuild Afghanistan and billions more could be at risk, according to a US watchdog. The report by the special inspector general for Afghanistan, John Sopko, warned that handing over…

Colombian authorities seize drug submarine

BOGOTA — A semi-submersible ship, ready to be loaded with six tons of cocaine, was seized by Colombian military near the northern coast of the South American nation, the Navy reported Monday. The watercraft, roughly 66 feet (20 meters) long, was kept in a workshop, part of a four-building complex…

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