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Acclaimed Turkish pianist Fazil Say tried for blasphemy

World-renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say went on trial Thursday before an Istanbul court on charges of insulting Islam and offending Muslims in comments he made on Twitter. Some 100 human rights activists, including artists and journalists, gathered outside the courthouse in support of the artist who has played with the…

Video shows Afghan defense contractors injecting Ketamine

WASHINGTON — A private security company working for the US government in Afghanistan is in hot water after a video surfaced allegedly showing several of its employees drunk and on drugs, US broadcaster ABC reported Wednesday. The video posted on the website of ABC purportedly taken at an operations center…

Israeli airforce strikes in Gaza following rocket attack

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — The Israeli airforce carried out a sortie in the Gaza Strip early Thursday morning, sources on both sides said, hours after rockets from the enclave hit southern Israel. Palestinian medics and security sources said the strike targeted a Hamas security site south of Gaza City.…

UN demands inquiry after Darfur peacekeeper killed

UNITED NATIONS — UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded an investigation after one peacekeeper was killed and three others wounded on Wednesday in an ambush in Sudan’s North Darfur state. According to Ban’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, all the victims, from the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), had South…

Dinosaur ‘thief’ arrested in Florida

NEW YORK — A US man accused of smuggling 70 million year old dinosaur skeletons into the United States, including a toothy relative of the bigger Tyrannosaurus rex, was arrested on Wednesday in Florida, officials said. Eric Prokopi, 38, was charged with conspiracy to smuggle illegal goods, smuggling into the…

Russian protest leader placed under house arrest

MOSCOW — Russia placed a leader of mass protest rallies against President Vladimir Putin under house arrest on Wednesday after questioning him in a criminal probe into allegations he was plotting a violent uprising. The country’s Investigative Committee said Sergei Udaltsov, 35, had been “placed under the obligation not to…

U.S. to hand over emails in WikiLeaks soldier case

FORT MEADE, Maryland — A US judge ordered prosecutors Wednesday to hand over hundreds of emails by officers overseeing the detention of WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning, who has alleged he suffered mistreatment at a Marine Corps brig. Lawyers for Manning, a US Army private accused of passing a trove of…

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”…

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