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Israel PM heads to Berlin as settlement dispute grows

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due in Berlin on Wednesday for talks likely to focus on the growing crisis over settlement plans that could torpedo the viability of a Palestinian state. Ahead of his departure on a trip that will take him briefly to Prague and then on to…

World’s oldest person dies at 116

WASHINGTON — The world’s oldest person has died in the United States at the age of 116, CNN reported. Besse Cooper passed away on Tuesday in Monroe, Georgia, her son Sidney told the television network. Cooper “had a long, good life. She went very easy,” he said. Guinness World Records…

China Nobel winner expected to avoid politics

China’s Nobel literature winner Mo Yan heads to Sweden Wednesday to collect his award, but he walks a delicate line with the authorities and is likely to avoid mentioning in his speech jailed fellow laureate Liu Xiaobo. Mo Yan has been hailed as a national hero since the prize announcement…

Japan eyes reduced emission cut target

Japan may backpedal on its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter, an official said Wednesday, dealing a further blow to already deadlocked global warming talks in Doha. Tokyo in 2009 promised it would slash its planet-warming emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by the start of…

N. Korea completes installing rocket: report

SEOUL — North Korea has completed installing a long-range rocket on its launch pad, ahead of its planned launch this month in defiance of widespread international condemnation, a report said Wednesday. All three stages of the Unha-3 rocket have been placed on the pad at the North’s Sohae satellite launch…

Senate approves $631 billion defense budget

The US Senate unanimously passed the Pentagon’s 2013 budget, despite a political impasse over debt reduction that could see huge cuts to military spending next year. After months of negotiations, lawmakers voted 98-0 to approve the $631 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, which began on October…

Julian Lennon launches photo exhibit in Miami

Julian Lennon — the oldest son of the voice of the Beatles — will exhibit a new collection of his melancholy photographs, called “Alone,” at a prestigious art show to raise money for his charity. In his second visit to Miami to promote his photography, Lennon is selling about a…

‘Deal reached’ to end major US port strike

LOS ANGELES — Negotiators have reached a tentative agreement to end a week-long strike crippling the key US ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. The announcement, made on the mayor’s official Twitter account late Tuesday, came after a federal mediator was called in…

Sun rises over Egypt protesters after palace siege

Hundreds of protesters woke up Wednesday in front of the presidential palace, the new focus of protests against President Mohamed Morsi, as an already-polarised Egypt slipped deeper into crisis. “The final warning, the presidency under siege,” read the headline of daily al-Shuruk as the independent Al-Watan declared “Revolution at the…

Japan woman arrested for keeping 160 ‘scrawny’ dogs

TOKYO — A woman who kept 160 starving dogs in her house among tonnes of their own waste has been arrested by Japanese police, an official said on Wednesday. Ten tonnes of animal waste and other rubbish were removed from Noriko Ishii’s house after the dogs were taken away, he…

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