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Japan’s grandmother poet Toyo Shibata dies at 101

Japanese poet Toyo Shibata, who started writing at the age of 92 and whose first anthology sold almost 1.6 million copies, died Sunday aged 101, her son said. Shibata died at a nursing home near her residence in Utsunomiya north of Tokyo, said her eldest son Kenichi Shibata. She had…

Obama ‘guidebook’ for targeted killings to include exemption for CIA drone strikes in Pakistan: report

The administration of President Barack Obama is completing a counterterrorism manual that will establish clear rules for targeted-killing operations, The Washington Post reported. But citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said the guidebook would contain a major exemption for the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan. This exemption will…

Kim Dotcom claims Megaupload successor got ‘massive’ response

New Zealand-based Internet tycoon Kim Dotcom claimed a “massive” response to his new file-sharing service launched Sunday, suggesting it could be the fastest growing start-up in history. The mega.co.nz website, which replaces the outlawed Megaupload, went live at dawn, exactly a year after armed police stormed Dotcom’s Auckland mansion and…

Hundreds rally against spread of Neo-Nazi influence in Greece

Hundreds of people held a rally against racism and fascism in central Athens on Saturday as mourners gathered to pray over the body of a man killed in a suspected racist attack. Nearly 3,000 people, according to state broadcaster NET, joined the peaceful protest that ended with a concert and…

U.S. banking earnings paint a mixed picture

Earnings released in recent days by leading banks and other large financial institutions might be thought of as the good, the bad and the ugly. On one side, banks like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase zoomed ahead with earnings that either set new records, beat expectations or accomplished…

Libyan defense minister survives firefight with former rebels

Libya’s defence minister was unhurt Saturday after being caught in a firefight between his bodyguards and ex-rebels at an airbase in the east of the country, his deputy told AFP. Mohammed al-Barghati was leaving the airport in Tobruk, eastern Libya, when the shooting occurred, said Khaled al-Sherif. “As the minister…

Slovakian steel hub remaking itself as ‘European Capital of Culture’

Known mainly for its steelworks, the gritty industrial hub of Kosice in east Slovakia is hard at work reforging itself as a centre of creativity and the arts as it enters 2013 with the tag “European Capital of Culture”. A two-day gala blastoff featuring fireworks and gigs by international and…

Saudi minister: Economic summit must tackle Arab Spring

A two-day economic summit that opens Monday in Saudi Arabia must break with tradition and tackle people’s aspirations in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings, the Saudi foreign minister said. “Our meeting should not be mired in routine,” Prince Saud al-Faisal said at a meeting Saturday to prepare for…

Obama’s inauguration a boon for businesses

Tucked behind a tidy souvenir shop storefront on the ground floor of an office building one block from the White House, t-shirts, sweatshirts, buttons and a vast assortment of inauguration paraphernalia is staged for an onslaught of purchasing. Over the course of the weekend, which culminates on Monday on the…

U.S. and Israeli leaders locked in tension as threats loom

US President Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu will have to bury past hostilities if the Israeli prime minister is re-elected to jointly face looming threats such as Iran, analysts say. The two men have never warmed to each other, and ties have remained frosty. Obama pointedly failed to make time…

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