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Israeli West Bank settlers increase by 4.7 percent in 2012

The number of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank grew by 4.7% in 2012, according to figures obtained by AFP Wednesday from a settler organisation. The settler population stood at 360,000 at beginning of January 2013 compared to 343,000 in January 2012, according to the Yesha Council, the largest…

Muslim clerics seek dialogue with new pope

Senior Muslim clerics in Egypt believe Pope Benedict XVI’s abrupt resignation could reopen the way for dialogue with the Catholic Church, severed after Benedict’s controversial 2006 remarks on the Muslim prophet. But improved ties between the Church and Al-Azhar, the premier seat of Sunni Muslim learning, would depend on the…

U.S. and EU announce global ‘game-changer’ trade agreement

The EU and the United States are to negotiate the biggest free trade agreement ever, a global “game-changer,” boosting growth and providing much-needed jobs, European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso said on Wednesday. An accord between the world’s two largest trading entities would be “ground-breaking … a game-changer,” which will…

UAE court sentences father to death who tortured two daughters

A UAE court on Wednesday sentenced to death an Emirati father for torturing his two daughters, one of them to death, and jailed his mistress for life on the same charges, local media reported. “An Emirati father who mercilessly tortured and killed his eight-year-old daughter Wadeema will be executed,” reported…

Japanese women shower men with V-Day chocolate, while men give nothing in return

Japanese women packed out stores on Wednesday to buy Valentine’s Day chocolates for all the men in their lives — partners, friends and bosses — while the men sat back with nothing expected in return. The traffic in Japan is all one-way on February 14, with men free to sit…

At least 20 prisoners still missing from CIA ‘black sites’

By Cora Currier, ProPublica In one of President Barack Obama first acts in the White House, he ordered the closure of the CIA’s so-called “black-site” prisons, where terror suspects had been held and, sometimes, tortured.  The CIA says it is “out of the detention business,” as John Brennan, Obama’s pick…

Fewer men leads to more babies in poor areas: Study

Women who outnumber men in poor communities are likelier to have babies at a younger age as competition drives them to lower their expectations of the opposite sex, a British study said on Wednesday. The findings are a useful tool for understanding unwanted teen pregnancies, its authors believe. Researchers at…

Six arrested in new ‘News of the World’ hacking probe

Police arrested six current or former journalists on Wednesday in a new probe into alleged phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s now-closed News of the World tabloid, Scotland Yard said. Investigators had identified a “further suspected conspiracy” by staff at the paper in 2005 and 2006 which was separate to the…

British resident is 11th case of SARS-like virus: health agency

A British resident has been diagnosed with a potentially fatal SARS-like virus which they are believed to have caught from a family member, in the 11th confirmed case worldwide, officials said Wednesday. Britain’s Health Protection Agency said the person had no recent travel history, but was a relative of a…

Tough questions in Israel over death of mystery ‘Prisoner X’ who had alleged ‘ties to Mossad’

Israeli MPs and commentators were on Wednesday asking tough questions about the mysterious detention and apparent suicide of “Prisoner X” after a TV report said he was an Australian Jew with ties to Mossad. Twenty-four hours after the emergence of an explosive investigative report by Australia’s ABC news, the Israeli…

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