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Singapore anti-drugs chief under investigation

SINGAPORE — Singapore has placed the head of its Central Narcotics Bureau under investigation for “serious personal misconduct”, the government said Tuesday. The bureau is the lead agency in the fight against illegal narcotics in Singapore, where drug trafficking is punishable by death. The probe into Ng Boon Gay began…

Ultra-Orthodox Jews attack woman in Israeli town

JERUSALEM — A group of ultra-Orthodox men attacked a woman on Tuesday as she put up posters in an Israeli town that has become a flashpoint for tensions between religious and secular Jews, police said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the incident occurred in Beit Shemesh, which lies 30 kilometres…

JFK saw ‘tough day’ on eve of assassination

NEW YORK — In an unintentionally ominous prediction, John F. Kennedy said ahead of a trip to Dallas, where he would be assassinated, that he was expecting a “tough day,” secret recordings reveal. The John F Kennedy Presidential Library on Tuesday released 45 hours of recordings that Kennedy made of…

France rules out withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2012

PARIS — Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday that France would not give in to “panic” and pull its troops out of Afghanistan this year after four of its soldiers were killed there last week. “When I hear talk of an immediate withdrawal, such as at the end of 2012,…

Davos: World bosses gloomy about year ahead

DAVOS, Switzerland — Business leaders are gloomy about prospects for the world economy, according to a major survey of international chief executives released on the eve of the Davos forum. A survey of 1,258 bosses by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum of the global…

U.S. ‘seriously concerned’ about Tibet violence

WASHINGTON — The United States said Tuesday it was “seriously concerned” by reports of deadly clashes in Tibetan regions of China, where police are accused of opening fire on peaceful protesters. “We urge the Chinese government to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives as…

Iraq hits out at Turkey as ties worsen

BAGHDAD — Baghdad hit out on Tuesday at alleged Turkish provocations after Ankara said it would speak out if sectarian conflict erupted in Iraq, in a dramatic worsening of tensions between the two neighbours. Despite improving ties and increasing trade between the pair in recent years, the rhetoric between Iraqi…

U.S. praises Egypt’s decision to lift state of emergency

WASHINGTON — The United States Tuesday praised Egypt’s decision to lift a decades-old state of emergency and hand power to the parliament as “major steps toward the normalization of political life.” But Washington was still seeking clarification of “a little footnote” to the announcement by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi who…

‘World’s cheapest car’ tag backfires for Nano

When India’s Tata Motors’ Nano went on sale in 2009, the concept of the “world’s cheapest car” in one of the world’s fastest growing auto markets seemed pre-destined for commercial success. Logically, the strategy appeared faultless — offering an affordable solution to millions of aspirational lower-middle class Indian families wanting to make the social…

Gulf states pull observers out of Syria

Gulf states on Tuesday followed Saudi Arabia’s lead in pulling their observers out of Syria, while urging the UN Security Council to pile pressure on Damascus to end its crackdown on dissent. “Gulf Cooperation Council states have decided to follow Saudi Arabia’s decision to pull out its observers from the Arab League mission in Syria,” the…

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