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Morsi’s office denies filing complaint against ‘Egyptian Jon Stewart’

President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday stressed Egypt’s commitment to freedom of expression, insisting his office was not behind a probe against a popular satirist that has raised international concerns. “The presidency reiterates the importance of freedom of expression and fully respects press freedom,” Morsi’s office said in a statement. It…

Australia braces for ‘uncomfortable truths’ in national child sex abuse inquiry

Australia opened a national probe into child sex abuse on Wednesday, with premier Julia Gillard warning of “uncomfortable truths” as institutions including schools and churches come under scrutiny. Gillard ordered the inquiry in November after a decade of growing pressure to investigate widespread allegations of paedophilia, two months after the…

Mandela feeling ‘much better’ after week of pneumonia treatment

Nelson Mandela is “much better” and responding “satisfactorily” to treatment after a week in hospital for pneumonia, the South African presidency said Wednesday. The ailing 94-year-old, who served as South Africa’s first black president, was making a steady improvement and doctors were happy with his progress, President Jacob Zuma’s office…

Fannie Mae posts record $17.2 billion profit in 2012

Fannie Mae earned $17.2 billion in 2012, the biggest annual profit in the US mortgage giant’s history, helped by a record fourth quarter. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/File) The mortgage giant Fannie Mae said it racked up its highest profit ever during…  …

Palestinian anger builds as another prisoner dies on Israel’s watch

Israeli prison guards fired tear gas to quell disturbances by Palestinian inmates on Tuesday after Maysara Abu Hamdeya, serving a life sentence over an attempt to bomb an Israeli…  …

Japan’s whale ‘research’ a flashpoint in global dispute over international ban on commercial whaling

Japan says the work that goes on at the Institute of Cetacean Research is crucial for studying whale populations; critics counter it is a way to get around an international ban on commercial whaling. The institute can be found in a nondescript white-brick office building in Tokyo’s port district. Down…

GM, Ford and Chrysler post best U.S. sales since 2007

General Motors (NYSE: GM – news) , Ford (NYSE: F – news) and Chrysler (Xetra: 710000 – news) reported their best US sales performances since 2007 on Tuesday amid booming overall auto demand following the US industry’s near-collapse five years ago. Total (NYSE: TOT – news) industry sales rose 3.4…

United Nations adopts global treaty on conventional arms trade

The UN General Assembly on Tuesday passed the first treaty regulating the conventional arms trade in an attempt to bring transparency and protection of human rights to the often murky industry. Only Syria, North Korea and Iran — which had blocked the measure last week — voted against, but two…

Hillary Clinton supporters launch website to urge 2016 White House bid

Supporters of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton are laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 White House bid, officially launching a website Tuesday that features photos of the would-be candidate and plenty of praise. The site — www.readyforhillary.com — belongs to the Ready for Hillary super PAC (political action…

North Korea bans South from joint industrial zone

North Korea told South Korea on Wednesday that it was banning access to their Kaesong joint industrial park, but said South Koreans in the complex would be allowed to leave, officials said. The Kaesong industrial complex is a crucial source of hard currency for the regime in Pyongyang and seen…

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