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Europe hit by blizzards, air traffic havoc, deaths

Extreme winter weather swept across western Europe Saturday, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at London’s main international airport and claiming several lives in Spain, Portugal and France, including those of three Mali-bound soldiers. The frigid temperatures also caused delays and cancellations on major railway lines including the Eurostar train service,…

Spain ‘stolen baby’ finds mother 50 years on: police

A Spanish woman was reunited with her mother nearly 50 years after being abducted as a newborn, one of numerous alleged cases of “stolen babies” from the Franco era, police said Saturday. Francisco Franco’s regime allowed children to be taken away at birth if the parents were left-wing opponents or…

Well-known Sikh priest injured in shooting improves after sons’ vigil

The sons of a well-known Sikh priest, who was shot in the head during an August attack on a temple in Wisconsin, have been sitting vigil by his side 24 hours a day, reported the Associated Press. During their shifts, the men recited the word “waheguru,” a Punjabi words that…

State Dept. orders departure of Mali embassy dependents

The US State Department has ordered all family members of embassy employees to leave Mali, amid the country’s escalating conflict with Islamist militants who control the vast arid north. The order late Friday follows a tumultuous week in which gunmen across the border in Algeria staged a deadly raid on…

West Point study on ‘violent far right’ shows ‘dramatic rise’ in attacks

A report published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point Military Academy on Jan. 15 discusses the potential dangers of “violent far-right” organizations, which has angered some conservatives that believe the military should focus on international threats. The executive summary of the paper, “Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s…

Avigdor Lieberman: ‘Dobermann’ of the Israeli right

Israel’s outspoken former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman, who resigned last month after being charged with corruption offences, is a firebrand hardliner with a burning ambition to lead the right. Known for his anti-Arab stance, he has been dogged by corruption allegations for years but denies the charges against him, saying…

Obama kicks off inauguration weekend with volunteering

Americans kicked off Barack Obama’s inauguration weekend Saturday with a day of service, with the president and his family volunteering their efforts in Washington. The president will participate in a local project around 11:30 am local time (1630 GMT). Meanwhile, vice president Joe Biden and his family were at the…

Paper pulls controversial handgun permit info from website

The newspaper that stirred up controversy after publishing the names and addresses of gun permit owners in two New York counties has taken down the information from its website, reported the Associated Press. The move came just a few days after New York passed new gun control laws that also…

Maddow: Obama’s stance on debt ceiling shows ‘evolution’ in strategy

Rachel Maddow said on her Friday night show that Obama’s first term taught the president some tough lessons on partisanship and pushing his agenda. The book Do Not Ask What Good We Do, by Robert Draper, and a new PBS documentary about the GOP’s plans to obstruct Obama’s agenda, illustrate…

Seven hostages killed in Algeria desert ‘final assault’

Seven foreign hostages and 11 Islamist gunmen were killed on Saturday, an Algerian security source said, when a Sahara desert stand-off ended in a bloodbath. The heavily armed gunmen from a group known as “Signatories in Blood” had been holed up in the In Amenas gas complex since they took…

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