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North Korea prepares huge send-off for late leader

North Korea was Tuesday preparing a massive ceremonial farewell to late leader Kim Jong-Il as it strove to strengthen a new personality cult around his youthful son and successor Jong-Un. The secretive state has so far given no details of Wednesday’s funeral for its “Dear Leader” of the past 17…

Japan eases self-imposed arms export ban

Tokyo on Tuesday eased a decades-old self-imposed ban on arms exports, paving the way for Japanese firms to participate in multinational weapons projects. In a move intended to bolster the domestic arms industry and reduce national defence spending, officially pacifist Japan will for the first time in decades routinely allow…

Swedish journalists jailed for 11 years in Ethiopia

An Ethiopian court on Tuesday sentenced two Swedish journalists to 11 years in jail for supporting terrorism and entering the country illegally, after a trial criticised by rights groups. “The sentence should be punishment of 11 years imprisonment,” Judge Shemsu Sirgaga told the court in the Amharic language through a…

Drug kingpin’s bodyguard nabbed in Mexico

Mexican authorities on Monday said they had nabbed an alleged lieutenant and bodyguard of Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, the billionaire boss of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Authorities said the arrest of Felipe Cabrera, a man with a reputation for violence who is known by the nicknames “College Grad” and “Lord of the Mountain Range,”…

Electricity sparks new life into Indonesia’s corals

PEMUTERAN, Indonesia — Cyanide fishing and rising water temperatures had decimated corals off Bali until a diver inspired by a German scientist’s pioneering work on organic architecture helped develop a project now replicated worldwide. Based on “Biorock” technology (http://www.globalcoral.org), it is implemented in 20 countries, mainly in Southeast Asia, the…

Japan ‘was unprepared’ for nuclear disaster

TOKYO — The operators of the tsunami-stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant and government regulators were woefully unprepared for disaster, the first official probe into the March 11 catastrophe said Monday. An independent panel set up to investigate the events around the world’s worst nuclear accident in a generation said Tokyo…

Man tried to take 247 animals on plane

BUENOS AIRES — A Czech national was nabbed in Argentina for trying to board a transatlantic flight with 247 live animals including poisonous snakes and endangered reptiles packed in a bulging suitcase, reports said Monday. The man identified as Karel Abelovsky, 51, was caught while trying to board a flight…

Afghanistan clears oil deal with China’s CNPC

KABUL — Afghanistan has agreed to sign a deal with China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) for oil exploration and extraction, the president’s office said in a statement Monday. The state-owned Chinese oil giant will develop three oil fields, along with Afghan company Watan Group, located in the Amu river zone…

Chinese activist jailed for 10 years: rights group

BEIJING — A Chinese court said Monday it had jailed veteran activist Chen Xi for 10 years for subversion, one of the longest sentences yet to be handed down in this year’s crackdown on dissent. The court in the southwestern province of Guizhou convicted Chen, who was involved in the…

Indian student shot dead in Britain: police

LONDON — An Indian student was shot dead Monday in Manchester by a white man, police said, announcing an investigation. Anuj Bidve, 23, was murdered in the early hours as he walked with friends from his hotel in Salford, an area to the west of Manchester, towards the city centre.…

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