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Oil prices diverge before US payrolls data

World oil prices diverged on Friday amid caution before key payrolls data in top crude consumer the United States, and as Greece reached a debt deal with private creditors to avert bankruptcy. New York’s main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) or light sweet crude for delivery in April, added 34…

Deal due on handing US prisons to Afghans

A breakthrough deal on the transfer of the controversial US-run Bagram prison and other detention facilities in Afghanistan to Afghan authorities will be signed Friday, officials said. The handover of the prison — sometimes called Afghanistan’s Guantanamo Bay — has been a key sticking point in talks between the United…

Russia probes ‘arson’ deaths of 7 children

Police opened a murder investigation on Friday after alleged arson killed a couple and seven children during a house fire in a village near the central Russian city of Perm. “According to the preliminary results of an examination of the scene, the cause of the fire was arson,” the Russian…

Director James Cameron to explore Earth’s deepest ocean trench

“Titanic” director James Cameron will try in the coming weeks to dive to the deepest place on Earth, further than any other human has on a solo mission, to return with specimens and images. Cameron would seek to accomplish his feat aboard a submersible “as futuristic as anything in his…

British, Italian hostages killed amid Nigerian rescue bid

A British and an Italian hostage kidnapped in Nigeria nearly a year ago were killed on Thursday as a rescue operation sought to save them, and Nigeria said their Islamist extremist murderers were arrested. The killing of the two men kidnapped in May 2011 brought a shocking end to their…

Mississippi governor endorses Romney

WASHINGTON — Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney picked up the key endorsement of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, days ahead of a primary in the conservative southern state. Bryant said on Thursday he thought Romney had the best chance of beating President Barack Obama in November’s general election and believes…

U.S. military could hit Iran harder than Israel: Panetta

WASHINGTON — A US military attack on Iran would do more damage than a strike carried out by Israeli forces, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday in an interview. The United States and Israel disagree about the imminence of the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, and Panetta’s comments underscored…

13 million people threatened by food crisis: Oxfam

DAKAR — About 13 million people living in west and central Africa face a major food crisis unless immediate action is taken, humanitarian group Oxfam warned Thursday. A dangerous combination of drought, high food prices, reduced harvests, poverty and conflict are driving an emerging crisis across several nations including Chad,…

Senate rejects oil pipeline plans

WASHINGTON — The US Senate voted down Thursday a measure to start building the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and the Gulf Coast of Texas despite President Barack Obama’s opposition. The Senate measure was introduced by minority Republican lawmakers upset at Obama’s decision to delay a decision on…

U.S. court backs 200 Mississippi pardons

WASHINGTON — The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld Thursday over 200 pardons issued by former governor Haley Barbour, including convicted rapists and killers. Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood had challenged the 215 pardons from Barbour, a Republican whose second term ended in January. Hood said Barbour’s pardons did not stand up…

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