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Seventy-one Syrian army officers defect to Turkey

ANKARA (Reuters) – Seventy-one officers, including six generals, have defected from the Syrian army to Turkey, a Turkish official said on Saturday, the biggest single mass desertion of senior soldiers from President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces in months. It was not immediately clear why the group had deserted. Just hours…

Threats made to officials at center of IRS controversy: sources

By Patrick Temple-West and Karl Plume WASHINGTON/CINCINNATI (Reuters) – A current and a former top tax official have been physically threatened in recent weeks as the scandal over Internal Revenue Service targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups has gathered steam, people familiar with their situation say. Ousted IRS…

Syria dominates G8 talks as anti-poverty activists gather

Thousands of protesters were due on the streets of Belfast Saturday to urge G8 leaders to act on global poverty at their upcoming summit, expected to be dominated by talks on Syria. Police in the Northern Irish capital expect 5,000 people to join each of two demonstrations organised by trade…

Guatemala reeling after mass cop shooting inside station

Guatemalan authorities expressed concern about the power of organized drug gangs Friday after eight police officers were shot dead inside their station. On Thursday night, gunmen shot eight officers dead and kidnapped the chief of police in Salcaja, about 200 km (125 miles) from Guatemala City. According to national police…

Congressional tax panel heads: IRS needs ‘significant restructuring’

IRS shakeup needed after scandal, chairmen of Congress' tax-writing panels say (via The Christian Science Monitor) The Internal Revenue Service may need to be restructured after the agency was found improperly targeting conservative groups seeking non-profit status, the chairmen of the two congressional tax-writing committees say. “There does need to…

Colorado wildfire subsides after wrecking 400 homes

By Keith Coffman COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) – A deadly wildfire that has ravaged 400 homes, ranking as Colorado’s most destructive ever, subsided on Friday as authorities reported significant headway in containing the blaze on the outskirts of Colorado Springs with help from rain and calmer winds. The fire has…

Ecuador imposes ‘gag order’ on radio and TV stations

Ecuador slashed the private sector’s share of radio and television frequencies Friday and restricted content, the culmination of a battle between the president and media he accuses of undermining him. Leftist President Correa has long had tense relations with private news outlets and has come under fire from international rights…

Officials declare Monsanto-resistant wheat an ‘isolated incident’

U.S. agriculture officials said Friday the discovery of genetically engineered wheat in an Oregon field appears to be an isolated incident. The plants, modified to be resistant to Monsanto herbicide, were discovered last month and led some Asian importers to halt or suspend trade with US wheat growers while an…

New Jersey special election fight heads to high court

NEW YORK (Reuters) – New Jersey’s State Supreme Court said on Friday it would hear a challenge to Governor Chris Christie’s plan to hold a special election in October to fill the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the death of Senator Frank Lautenberg. The state’s highest court said a…

Norway lawmakers vote to extend military conscription to women

Norway will soon become the only country in Europe to extend its military conscription to women in peacetime, after parliament reached agreement on the issue on Friday. All of the parties represented in parliament, with the exception of the small Christian Democrat party, agreed to back a proposal by the…

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