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Chilean volcano spews ash along border with Argentina

Southern Chile’s Copahue Volcano belched plumes of ash skyward Saturday, prompting authorities there and in neighboring Argentina to issue a low-level alert. While the 2,965-meter (9,700 foot) volcano straddles the two countries’ border, its crater, where most of the activity was under way, leans toward the Argentine side, experts told…

Thousands protest in Bahrain seeking PM’s ouster

Thousands of Shiite protesters in Bahrain Saturday demanded a transition government and the removal of Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, who has been premier since 1974, witnesses said. They said the demonstrators marched in the village of Diya near the capital Manama, chanting “Resign, Khalifa!” and waving Bahraini…

Ex-premier Pahor sworn in as Slovenia’s new president

Slovenia’s former prime minister Borut Pahor was sworn in as president on Saturday and promised to bridge the deep gap between the ruling coalition and the centre-left opposition. “Starting the first day of my mandate, I will dedicate my efforts in reaching a deal between the government and the opposition…

Ahmadinejad: Iran fighting ‘smart economic war’

Iran is engaged in a “smart economic war” with Western powers whose sanctions against its nuclear programme are hurting some Iranians, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday. “Targeted sanctions, which the enemies say are supposed to be crippling, have led to a drop in our oil” sales, Ahmadinejad said in…

Hugo Chavez’s daughter decries ‘lies’ about his health

One of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s daughters took to social media to demand a halt to “lies” about her father’s health after rumors circulated the cancer-embattled leader had died. “Respect for the family and especially fully respect for my people. Enough of the lies! We are next to papa. LIVING,…

Hungary bars foreigners from buying farmland

Hungary has amended its constitution to bar foreigners from buying farmland, a move the government called “historic,” but one that could cause friction with the European Union. Foreigners are already blocked from buying farmland under a temporary measure that formed part of Hungary’s EU accession agreement in 2003. But that…

Mexico nominates NAFTA negotiator to lead World Trade Organization

Mexico has nominated a former minister who led the country’s negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement to take over the helm of the World Trade Organization, the WTO said Saturday. Herminio Blanco Mendoza is a 62-year-old economist who served as Mexico’s chief NAFTA negotiator from 1990-93, and as…

Tajikistan orders Twitter ban

Tajikistan has ordered local Internet providers to block Twitter, one of more than 100 sites including popular Russian-language social networks starting next week, an industry representative told AFP Saturday. “The (government) communications service has sent Internet companies a huge list of 131 sites that must be blocked in the country…

New UN AIDS deputy hails Brazil progress

The newly appointed deputy chief of the United Nations HIV-fighting program, Brazilian Luiz Loures, hailed his own country’s achievements in the fight against the deadly global epidemic in an interview published Saturday. “We are beginning to talk of the end of the epidemic. Scientific progress makes it possible,” Loures told…

William and Kate snub queen for Middletons’ Christmas

Prince William and his pregnant wife Catherine will spend Christmas Day at her parents’ family house, instead of with Queen Elizabeth II, British royal officials said Saturday. The second-in-line to the throne and the former Kate Middleton will be at the Middleton residence in Bucklebury, a village west of London,…

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