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Cuba releases award-winning dissident

Leading Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas told AFP Saturday he had been released after being detained 40 hours earlier, following an argument with agents guarding his home. Farinas said he was released at around 8:15 am, in a telephone interview from his home in the central city of Santa Clara. The…

Venezuela refinery blast kills 24

A massive explosion tore through Venezuela’s largest refinery on Saturday, killing at least 24 people and wounding more than 50 in South America’s largest oil producer, officials said. Vice President Elias Jaua said most of the dead were members of the country’s National Guard who were protecting the refining facility…

Syria media warn of ‘fake email’ saying VP sacked

Syria’s state news agency SANA said on Saturday that a fake email had been sent out in its name claiming that Vice President Faruq al-Shara had been sacked. Speculation has swirled since last week over the fate of Shara, the most high-ranking Sunni Muslim official in President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite-led…

Armstrong was ‘tipped off’ before tests: report

Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life, was regularly tipped off over drugs tests, a leading French anti-doper claimed on Saturday. The American went through his entire career without failing a drugs test, but Michel Rieu, the scientific advisor at…

Joe Biden scraps plan to crash GOP party as Isaac storm takes aim

Joe Biden scraps plan to crash GOP party as Isaac storm takes aim (via The Christian Science Monitor) Tropical Storm Isaac has been a thorn in the side of Republicans for a week as it’s threatened to disrupt the party’s nominating convention in Tampa, which begins on Monday. But as…

Tropical Storm Isaac hits Haiti on way to Florida

Tropical Storm Isaac battered impoverished Haiti early Saturday as a hurricane warning was issued for southern Florida days before the opening of the US Republican convention. With wind gusts of up to 60 miles (95 kilometers) per hour, the storm was expected to sweep over eastern Cuba later Saturday and…

American states back Ecuador over Assange

The Organization of American States declared “solidarity and support” for Ecuador in its dispute with Britain over granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The meeting of the Americas bloc was convened at Ecuador’s request to consider a resolution rejecting any attempt to put at risk the “inviolability” of its…

Egypt blocks 120 tunnels in the Sinai

Egyptian military engineers have blocked 120 tunnels used for smuggling to and from the Gaza Strip since the start of operations in the neighbouring Sinai Pensinsula, security officials said on Saturday. “Tunnel entrances are being demolished every day and the operation will continue until all underground passageways are shut,” one…

Mormons buoyed by Romney run but church ‘neutral’

When Rudolf Hegewald left East Germany to join fellow Mormons in the US state of Utah more than five decades ago, he could only dream that a member of his faith would one day run for president. But with Mitt Romney all but certain to receive the Republican nomination next…

Obama calls for protecting Medicare

US President Barack Obama called Saturday for protecting Medicare — a government-run health insurance program for the senior, drawing a sharp distinction between his plan and that of his Republican opponents. “Here in America, we believe in keeping our promises – especially to our seniors who have put in a…

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