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Libyan security chief assassinated in Benghazi

Colonel Farag al-Dersi played key role in curbing militia power in wake of US ambassador Chris Stevens’ murder in September The Libyan security chief who led an anti-militia crackdown in the wake of the killing of the country’s US ambassador has been assassinated in Benghazi, raising questions about the government’s…

Court rules Christian Brothers Catholic order must share sexual abuse compensation costs

A Catholic diocese has successfully forced a Christian Brothers order to share the cost of compensating more than 170 victims of alleged physical and sexual abuse who attended a Yorkshire children’s home. The landmark decision in the supreme court confirms advances in the legal doctrine of “vicarious liability” under which…

Bankrupt California town Mammoth Lakes survives on tourism dollars

The nation’s fiscal cliff nightmare played out in miniature form in the mountain town of Mammoth Lakes. But four months on, residents there say they have settled into acceptance It had endured earthquakes, volcanic gases and droughts, but Mammoth Lakes, a scenic town perched high in the Sierra Nevada, is…

UN chief urges halt to rocket attacks on Israel

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate halt to rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip, after talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday. “I reiterate my call for an immediate cessation of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israeli populated centres. This is unacceptable,” he…

Greenhouse gases rose to record levels in 2011: UN

The volume of greenhouse gases causing global warming rose to a new high last year, the UN World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday, warning it is becoming increasingly unlikely the world can limit rising temperatures to UN-backed targets. Levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) — the single most important man-made contributor to…

Victims of Hurricane Sandy forgotten in Haiti

Hurricane Sandy, the deadly storm that slammed into New York and New Jersey in October, tore through the Caribbean long before reaching America — and in Haiti, many still await help. Flooding from Sandy killed 54 people and left thousands homeless in Haiti, another woe for a country still struggling…

Blind pianist beats odds to become Taiwan movie star

Huang Yu-siang was born with a gift and a devastating disability. He has a huge talent for music, but he is blind. His story has become a movie that has captivated audiences in his native Taiwan. The film, “Touch of the Light”, marks a double triumph for the 25-year-old. First…

Tolkien estate sues Warner Bros over merchandising rights

The estate of author J.R.R Tolkien is suing Warner Bros claiming that the film giant is abusing its right to merchandising linked to “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” Filed in Los Angeles weeks before the release of the first “Hobbit” movie, the lawsuit — a copy of…

Children pay high price for Gaza war

Thirteen-year-old Tasneem al-Nahal lies in the morgue of Gaza City’s Shifa hospital, dressed in the pink-and-blue tracksuit she was wearing when an Israeli air raid killed her. A few hours earlier, she was by the sea, playing with neighbours under a brilliantly blue sky. But when the air strike hit,…

Literary giant Philip Roth content after putting pen down

Philip Roth’s surprise decision to lay down his pen after 31 books has left the acclaimed US novelist more relaxed, he says — and even with time to tackle the newfangled complexities of the iPhone. Roth, who is 79 and one of the surviving giants of a golden age in…

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