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Protests won’t alter Russia vote result: Putin aide

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Monday the results of Russia’s contested parliamentary polls will stand despite massive street protests and a probe by the election authorities. “Even if you add up all this so-called evidence, it accounts for just over 0.5 percent of the total number of votes,” Putin’s…

Visitors crowd South Pole for anniversary of conquest

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will join dozens of adventurers at the South Pole this week to mark the 100th anniversary of countryman Roald Amundsen’s groundbreaking expedition to the frozen continent. Often described as “no man’s land”, the pole will be a relative hive of activity for Wednesday’s anniversary. Stoltenberg…

Scientists identify a new species every two days in Mekong region

Scientists identify a new species every two days in the Greater Mekong region, the WWF said Monday, in a report detailing 2010′s more unusual finds such as a leaf warbler and a self-cloning lizard. But the conservation group warned some species could disappear before they are ever recorded because of…

Obama: ‘We can’t have an honest conversation’ about income inequality

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama on Sunday hit back at critics who say he is trying to redistribute wealth, and challenged his Republican opponents to deal with growing income inequality. In an interview with the CBS News program “60 Minutes,” Obama countered rivals who claimed he is moving toward…

Christian Bale denies his Chinese film is propaganda

BEIJING — Oscar winning actor Christian Bale defended Sunday the upcoming Nanjing Massacre film “The Flowers of War,” by China’s most famous director, Zhang Yimou, as more than an anti-Japanese propaganda film. In the film, the Wales-born star plays an American drifter who becomes the unwitting protector of a group…

NATO to halt Iraq mission at year-end

LONDON — NATO will withdraw its Iraq training mission at year-end after Baghdad refused to grant it legal immunity, Iraq’s top security adviser said on Sunday, mirroring the nearly-complete pullout of US forces. The decision, which “surprised” Iraq, means NATO’s troops will depart in the coming weeks for the same…

Durban climate deal leaves difficult road ahead

DURBAN, South Africa — The world’s nations on Sunday set their sights on a new all-encompassing pact on climate change that marks a break with the past and will also be gruelling to achieve. The so-called Durban Package will, for the first time, bring all greenhouse-gas users into a common…

Karzai says foreigners fuel Afghan corruption

KABUL — Foreigners are fuelling the problem of corruption in Afghanistan, a country already ranked as one of the most corrupt in the world, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Sunday. At a major international conference in Germany on the future of Afghanistan last week, Karzai pledged to step up…

Egypt’s economic woes mount

CAIRO — The success of Islamist parties in Egypt’s elections could aggravate an already serious economic crisis in the Arab world’s most populous nation, analysts say. Since an uprising in January and February that toppled the 30-year regime of Hosni Mubarak, attention has mostly focused on the political upheaval in…

U.S. vacates air base in Pakistan to meet deadline

QUETTA, Pakistan — The United States on Sunday vacated a Pakistani airbase following a deadline given by Islamabad in the wake of anger over NATO air strikes last month that killed 24 soldiers, officials said. Pakistan’s military said in a statement that the last flight carrying US personnel and equipment…

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