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U.S., Bill Gates call on rich nations to back poor farmers

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Microsoft billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates joined a top US official Tuesday in urging rich nations to invest in the world’s poor farmers to help end hunger — a move he said would also help improve food security. “Looking at the food prices we’ve got — at…

Obama and British PM Cameron in talks about Arab Spring protests

LONDON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday, grappling with the turmoil across the Arab world and the NATO effort to dislodge Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi. Obama, on the third day of a European tour, swapped the glitter of a royal state…

Pope shuts down famous ‘party monastery’ with ‘prancing nuns’

ROME – Pope Benedict XVI has shut down a famous community in Rome that organised dances by a former nightclub dancer nun and hosted VIPs like Madonna, earning the disfavour of the Vatican. The closure of the monastery of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which holds some of the Church’s most…

Leaks trigger clampdown in Strauss-Kahn sex crime case

NEW YORK (AFP) – New York police and prosecutors Tuesday imposed a news blackout amid a series of leaks over the evidence collected in the sex scandal surrounding fallen IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Police Tuesday denied being the source of reports Monday that traces of Strauss-Kahn’s semen had been found…

1,500 still unaccounted for after deadly Missouri tornado

JOPLIN, Missouri – Rescuers combed through overturned cars and flattened buildings Tuesday hunting for survivors after this Missouri town was struck by one of the strongest US tornadoes ever recorded. A massive mile-wide funnel-cloud, with winds of up to 200 miles (320 kilometers) an hour, tore through the town of…

Google invests $55 million in California wind energy

SAN FRANCISCO — Google on Tuesday said it is investing $55 million into a California wind energy farm, raising to $400 million the amount of money the technology giant has pumped into clean energy projects. “The Mojave Desert might be best known for its scorching sun and scary sidewinders,” said…

‘Duke Nukem Forever’ to be released in June after 15-year wait

SAN FRANCISCO — The 15-year wait for the return of videogame tough guy “Duke Nukem” will end in June, 2K Games promised on Tuesday. First-person shooter game “Duke Nukem Forever” has been a work in progress since 1997, missing a slew of release dates before 2K put it in the…

New York bill arms hotel maids with a ‘panic button’

NEW YORK — Hotel maids should be given panic buttons to guard against the kind of sexual assault former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn allegedly made on a woman cleaning his room, a New York lawmaker said Tuesday. Assemblyman Rory Lancman, in the New York state legislature, told AFP that his…

Rep. David Camp to vote against his own bill to raise debt ceiling

WASHINGTON — Republican US congressman Dave Camp introduced legislation Tuesday to raise the US debt ceiling but he plans to vote against it because he also wants the bill to include drastic budget cuts. “Let me be clear: I do not support and will not vote for a debt limit…

Former Egypt dictator and sons to be tried over killings, corruption

CAIRO (AFP) – Egypt’s ex-president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons were on Tuesday referred to a criminal court on charges of ordering the killings of anti-regime protesters and graft, the public prosecutor’s office said. The prosecutor’s office said that Mubarak and his sons Alaa and Gamal have been charged…

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