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U.S. still undecided on no-fly zone for Syria

WASHINGTON — The United States is still mulling ways to stop the fighting in Syria, including a no-fly zone, as the Syrian regime is “ratcheting up the brutality of their tactics,” a US official said Wednesday. “We continue to look at all of the ideas out there for trying to…

Toxic gas leak from oil well sparks Kuwait alert

KUWAIT CITY — Health officials warned Kuwaitis to stay inside and seal doors and windows tightly on Wednesday after toxic gas leaked from an oil well north of Kuwait City. Residents in areas as far as 100 kilometres (60 miles) away reported smelling the rotten-egg odour of potentially poisonous hydrogen…

Obama mocks Romney’s ‘binders full of women’

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa — US President Barack Obama made rival Mitt Romney pay Wednesday for his awkward “binders full of women” comment that took on a life of its own after their feisty second debate. During a heated Tuesday night showdown, Republican nominee Romney recalled consulting “binders full of women”…

Canadians ‘bullying the bullies’ in teenager girl’s suicide

OTTAWA — A backlash over alleged cyberbullying that pushed a Canadian girl to suicide has cost a man his job, and is hampering a federal police investigation, authorities said Wednesday. Meanwhile, the tormenting of the teenager’s grief-stricken family members continues with websites popping up purporting to be raising money for…

South Africa’s children still face apartheid-like inequality

CAPE TOWN — South Africa’s children still face apartheid-like inequalities with a black child 18 times more likely to grow up poor than his or her white counterpart, a report said Wednesday. The 2012 “South African Child Gauge,” which provides an annual snapshot of the state of children in Africa’s…

Stiglitz: Greece and Spain are ‘in depression’

Greece and Spain are in “depression, not recession”, Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said on Wednesday, blaming tough austerity measures for their downward economic spiral. Stiglitz also maintained that the International Monetary Fund was “a little too optimistic” in its forecast last week that the eurozone economy would shrink by…

Hundreds of plants and animals added to ‘threatened’ list

HYDERABAD, India — An island-dwelling cockroach and a tiny snail were declared extinct Wednesday while 400 plants and animals were added to a threatened “Red List” as global environment ministers met in India. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) updated its authoritative study on the state of biodiversity…

Re-insurer: Climate change played a role in natural disaster spike

Climate change played a role in a nearly five-fold jump in weather-related natural disasters in North America over the last 30 years, Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer, said on Wednesday. North America saw the world’s biggest increase in natural catastrophes between 1980 and 2011, ahead of Asia which had…

Uruguay legalizes abortion

Uruguay Wednesday became only the second country in mostly Catholic South America to legalize abortion. The Senate voted to allow women the right, under certain conditions, to end an unwanted pregnancy, and make access to the right part of its health care system. The tally in the 31-seat chamber was…

Asia’s top literary award looking for new sponsor

The organisers of Asia’s most prestigious prize for literature said Thursday they were looking for a new sponsor after the Man Group announced it was ending its funding for the prize after six years. The Man Asian Literary Prize began in 2007 and is given to the best novel by…

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