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G20 ministers to seek trade increase at Mexico meeting

MEXICO CITY — G20 economy and trade ministers will meet next week in Mexico to seek a boost in trade as part of efforts to tackle Europe’s debt crisis, Mexican officials said Thursday. The Group of 20 is “committed to the opening of markets and a multilateral trade system based…

North Korea launches rocket, South Korea says it ‘disintegrated’

PYONGYANG — North Korea on Friday launched a long-range rocket that appears to have disintegrated soon after blastoff and fallen into the ocean, South Korean and Japanese authorities said. South Korea’s defence ministry said the rocket was launched at 07:39 am (2239 GMT Thursday). “It seems that the rocket has…

Iran’s nuclear program: Legal debate stirs over basis for U.S. or Israeli attack

As US and Israeli officials weigh up prospect of military strike on Iran, critics say any attack would go against international law Amid the sabre-rattling and bluster over Iran, a furious if little-noticed debate is boiling over the legal basis for a US or Israeli attack on Tehran’s nuclear programme.…

Global warming scientists foresee Sun-reflecting cities

PARIS — Scientists sketched a vision on Friday of converting the world’s cities into giant sunlight reflectors to help fight global warming but met with scepticism from fellow academics. Gradually replacing traditional urban roofs and roads with white or lighter-coloured materials would yield a cooling benefit that, over 50 years,…

DNA tests uncover hazards in Chinese therapies

WASHINGTON — A host of potential toxins, allergens and traces of endangered animals showed up in DNA sequencing tests on 15 Chinese traditional medicines, researchers said on Thursday. Such therapies have been used in China for more than 3,000 years, but have risen in popularity outside Asia in recent decades…

Law shrouds details of congressional trips abroad

When members of Congress or their staffers travel on a private group’s dime, they are subject to a long list of requirements and restrictions, thanks to the Jack Abramoff scandal and that infamous picture of the grinning super-lobbyist with a congressman at a famous Scottish golf course. Reforms in 2007…

U.S. stocks surge helped by economic data

NEW YORK — US stocks jumped Thursday as traders grew bullish on fresh economic indicators in the United States, Asia and Europe. Gains on all three key indices topped 1.3 percent, with big rises among the Dow blue chips led by a 4.6 percent spike higher by Caterpillar and a…

Republicans again accuse Obama of ‘class warfare’

WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney’s Republicans charged President Barack Obama with “class warfare” Thursday in what is shaping up as a brutal battle for the White House, as both sides race to lasso votes of middle-class Americans. The White House thrust back, accusing Romney of being “out of step with American…

Syrians want ceasefire to hold but fear it will fail

DAMASCUS — Syrians voiced hope that a UN-backed ceasefire that came into force Thursday would last, but expressed fear that the government and the rebels were unlikely to commit for good. “Inshallah (God willing) it will last,” said Wassim, standing in his shop in a Damascus square and speaking of…

Google likely next target in DOJ anti-trust tech suits

Google is likely the next major tech target of US and EU trust-busters after the US Justice Department sued Apple for illegally colluding with publishers in the e-book market, legal experts said. In an industry in which companies can soar to near-monopoly positions in a few years, justice authorities on…

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