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Ethiopian prime minister has died abroad

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, a regional strongman in power for over two decades, has died in hospital abroad, the government said Tuesday. “Prime Minister Meles Zenawi passed away yesterday evening at around midnight,” Bereket Simon said, adding that the 57-year-old “was abroad” when he died, without giving further details.…

Obama defends tough campaign tactics, jabs Romney

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama warned Mitt Romney Monday he could not just “make stuff up” and defended his assault on his Republican foe’s record and character in a surprise news conference. Obama also demanded Romney release more personal tax returns, in a counter-offensive after Romney earlier bemoaned the…

U.S. says oil firms should respect Baghdad government

WASHINGTON — The United States said Monday that oil companies should not bypass Iraq’s central government after authorities in the autonomous Kurdish north signed dozens of deals with foreign energy firms. “With regard to our own companies, we continue to tell them that signing contracts for oil exploration or production…

Elton John fears son will face homophobia

LONDON — Elton John believes his son Zachary’s childhood is going to be “very difficult”, battling homophobia and the impact of his father’s fame, the pop icon said in an interview published Tuesday. The 65-year-old British star and his Canadian civil partner David Furnish, 49, became parents on December 25,…

Obama dismisses criticism from veterans group

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama said Monday that he was not bothered by an outspoken political attack made on him by a group of former CIA spies and US special forces troops. The group claims to have no partisan affiliation, but last week’s remarks mirrored claims by Republican presidential…

Japanese reporter killed in Syria

TOKYO — A female Japanese reporter has been killed after being caught in gunfire while covering clashes in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, the Japanese foreign ministry said Tuesday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said three other journalists were missing while covering the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime…

Israel arrests teen girls over hate attack on Palestinians

JERUSALEM — Jerusalem police arrested two 15-year-old girls on Monday, bringing to seven the number of Jewish teenagers arrested in connection with a brutal hate attack on young Palestinians last week. “Two 15-year-old girls were arrested today, in addition to the five youngsters already arrested,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told…

Ancient skull discovery pushes back clock on early human migration

CHICAGO — An ancient skull discovered in a cave in Laos has pushed back the clock on human migration to Southeast Asia by as much as 20,000 years, a study published Monday has found. The skull discovered in the Annamite Mountains in northern Laos is the oldest modern human fossil…

Oil prices dip amid Mideast, eurozone worries

NEW YORK — Oil prices eased slightly in cautious trade Monday as investors kept a close eye on Middle East tensions and the eurozone’s economic uncertainties. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) light sweet crude for delivery in September, closed at $95.97 a barrel, dipping four cents from…

Mexico murders almost triple since 2005

MEXICO CITY — The murder rate in drug-violent Mexico has almost tripled since 2005, government figures showed Monday, though officials did not specify how many homicides were linked to the country’s war on drugs. A total of 27,199 people were killed in 2011, or 24 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, compared…

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