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Last U.S. ‘surge’ troops leave Afghanistan

The last of the 33,000 US soldiers that President Barack Obama sent to Afghanistan nearly three years ago as part of a military surge have left the country, US defense officials said. The withdrawal, which began in July, follows an unprecedented number of NATO soldiers being shot dead by their…

Obama: Immigration reform ‘my biggest failure so far’

MIAMI — US President Barack Obama faced a grilling before Hispanic voters Thursday on his failure to honor his promise to pass a bill to bring 11 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows. Obama, at a forum hosted by the Univision Spanish language television network, admitted that he had…

James Murdoch to oversee Fox Networks Group: report

LONDON — News Corp is planning to give James Murdoch responsibility for its US television businesses, the Fox Networks Group, the Financial Times reported in its Friday edition. Murdoch, who is already deputy chief operating officer of News Corp, will oversee the group which includes the national Fox network and…

Australians first to get hands on new iPhone

SYDNEY — Gadget lovers in Australia were the first to get their hands on the new generation iPhone 5 Friday, with the queues snaking around Apple’s store in Sydney suggesting another huge hit for the company. Some had been camped out since Tuesday to be the first to test the…

Club for Growth president: Mitt Romney is ‘a mixed bag’

Club for Growth president: Mitt Romney is 'a mixed bag' Chris Chocola, president of the influential free-enterprise and anti-tax group the Club for Growth, called GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney “a mixed bag” in a sign of the remaining challenges the party standard-bearer faces in energizing conservative Republicans. Mr. Chocola,…

Obama denies gun-running probe a ‘whitewash’

MIAMI — President Barack Obama on Thursday denied an official report into a disastrous US-government gun trafficking sting on the Mexican border, which cleared Attorney General Eric Holder, was a “whitewash.” A report published Wednesday by the Justice Department’s inspector general detailed “serious failures” by officials in the Bureau of…

Egyptian ‘tortured to death’ by police: NGO

CAIRO — An Egyptian was “tortured” to death and another shot dead by police north of Cairo, a human rights group said Thursday, urging authorities to act over what it said was an extremely dangerous development. The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a leading NGO in the country, said several…

Russian Orthodox activists protest Pussy Riot art show

MOSCOW — Backers of the Russian Orthodox Church disrupted the opening Thursday night of an art exhibit in Moscow devoted to the punk rock band Pussy Riot. Access to the show “Spiritual Battle” at the Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art was briefly blocked after a group of roughly 20 protesters…

Amish sect found guilty of hate crimes in beard cutting

CLEVELAND, Ohio — An Amish bishop and 15 followers were convicted of hate crime charges in Ohio Thursday for a series of beard-cutting attacks against those they deemed had strayed from the faith. Federal prosecutors argued that Samuel Mullet — who considered himself a god above the law — unleashed…

Tymoshenko: Ukraine vote ‘rigged’ before it has even begun

WASHINGTON — Ukraine’s upcoming elections have been rigged before they have even begun and the West must act to prevent the demise of its democracy, a jailed opposition leader claimed Thursday. Yulia Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year sentence for abuse of power over a gas deal with Russia she signed…

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