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Hungary toxic levels ‘lower than expected’ after spill

A year after Hungary’s worst chemicals spill released vast amounts of poisonous red mud, levels of toxic substances are lower than feared but still above average, Greenpeace said on Wednesday. “All in all the levels of toxic contamination, particularly in maize and in the soil, are lower than feared,” said Herwig Schuster from the environmental pressure…

Bahrain upholds life terms for opposition leaders

A Bahraini special court has upheld life jail sentences served on seven Shiite opposition leaders convicted of plotting to overthrow the regime in the Gulf kingdom, BNA official news agency said. Jail sentences against seven other activists, ranging between two to 15 years and including Sunni opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif, were also upheld…

Greece to face inspectors as Germany hints bailout

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s lenders are sending a team to Athensto inspect a government austerity plan they want implemented in exchange for aid, while Germany suggested a new bailout may have to be renegotiated. Facing a wave of strikes and protests, Greece’s Socialist governmentis accelerating its debt strategy to meet the terms of an International…

Education fever sparks divorce in S. Korea

A housewife who abused her son for his poor test scores was Wednesday ordered to pay her husband 10 million won ($8,500) in a divorce case which highlights South Korea’s obsession with education. The ruling by the Seoul Family Court, which did not name the family, was reported by Yonhap news agency. It said the couple married…

Tens of thousands at risk in Somalia

The humanitarian situation in Somalia remains “highly critical,” as the war-torn nation struggles from drought and famine, theInternational Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned Wednesday. “The situation in Somalia remains highly critical. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are still displaced from their homes in search of security and food,” the ICRC said…

Ex-NOTW reporter claims unfair dismissal

The News of the World’s ex-chief reporter, who was arrested over the phone-hacking row, is taking Rupert Murdoch’s News International to a tribunal claiming unfair dismissal, officials said on Wednesday. News International, the British newspaper arm of Murdoch’s US-based News Corporation empire, said it would “vigorously” contest Neville Thurlbeck’s claim that he was sacked…

Toyota auto output up for first time in 12 months

Japan’s Toyota Motor on Wednesday said domestic production rose for the first time in 12 months in August as it recovers from the impact of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. Total domestic production of cars, trucks and buses produced byToyota and its two affiliates – Daihatsu Motor and Hino Motors – rose 12.0 percent from…

French budget targets deficit but growth uncertain

The French government on Wednesday presented a 2012 austerity budget, promising to balance strained public finances but warning that eurozone debt “turbulence” could yet derail timid growth. France’s public deficit will reach 5.7 percent of gross domestic product this year, before dropping to 4.5 percent in 2012 and then to the European Union limit of 3.0…

Man Group loses $6 billion from asset base

Hedge fund manager Man Group said Wednesday it had lost $6.0 billion (4.4 billion euros) from its asset base since June due to financial markets chaos, sparking a 21-percent plunge in its shares. Man Group said in a trading update that its total funds under management currently stood at about $65 billion.…

U.S.-Taiwan arms deal to affect exchanges: China

Beijing said on Wednesday Washington’s decision to upgradeTaiwan’s F-16 fighters would damage military ties between the United States and China, impacting military exchanges and high-level visits. China has repeatedly condemned the $5.85 billion US deal to upgrade Taiwan’s fleet of F-16 fighter jets, summoning the US ambassador and warning the move would undermine warmingmilitary…

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