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Republican candidates’ tax plans may fall flat

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A proposed overhaul of the tax system is catching fire among some Republican presidential candidates who see its potential to win over voters with its sheer simplicity, but there is skepticism among experts that a flat tax will prove a winning strategy. Texas Governor Rick Perry, running…

U.S. demands swift Pakistan action on militants

The United States called on Pakistan on Friday to take action within “days and weeks” on dismantling Afghan militant havens and encouraging the Taliban into peace talks in order to end 10 years of war. Crucially Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared to extract recognition from Pakistan that it could…

Chinese hit-and-run toddler dies

A Chinese toddler who was ignored by at least 18 passers-by as she lay bleeding and unconscious in the street, has died, the hospital treating her said Friday, in an incident that has shocked the nation. The plight of the two-year-old girl, nicknamed Yue Yue, captured the public imagination after…

Ex-Wall St. banker identified as key figure in Olympus scandal

TOKYO/LONDON/BOCA RATON (Reuters) – A former Wall Street banker of Japanese descent has emerged as a key figure in the scandal engulfing Japanese blue-chip firm Olympus Corp, according to documents provided by the firm’s ex-CEO. The veteran banker, Hajime ‘Jim’ Sagawa, owned an obscure U.S. financial firm which was hired…

Questions linger about Gaddafi’s death

SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) – Disturbing images of a blood-stained and shaken Muammar Gaddafi being dragged around by angry fighters quickly circulated around the world after the Libyan dictator’s dramatic death near his home town of Sirte. The exact circumstances of his demise are still unclear with conflicting accounts of his…

Turkey keeps up bombing of rebel bases in Iraq

Turkish jets kept up bombing raids on Kurdish rebel bases in northern Iraq overnight, as the rebels confirmed that some Turkish troops crossed into Iraq, officials and media reports said on Friday. Turkish war planes continued to take off from Diyarbakir, the regional capital of the mainly Kurdish southeast, to…

Gaddafi’s killing fuels Syria’s Friday protests

AMMAN (Reuters) – The killing of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi fueled demonstrations across Syria after Friday prayers that called for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, braving a heavier than normal security presence, activists and residents said. “Gaddafi is finished. It is your turn now Bashar!” shouted demonstrators in the town…

Senate confirms new commerce secretary

WASHINGTON — The US Senate confirmed businessman John Bryson as commerce secretary, replacing Gary Locke, who left the post to become the US ambassador to China. Lawmakers voted 74-26 to approve Bryson one week after the US Congress approved long-stalled free trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea. President…

Murdoch faces stormy AGM after hacking scandal

LOS ANGELES — Rupert Murdoch faces a firestorm Friday at his News Corporation’s annual shareholders’ meeting, amid calls for him and his sons to be ousted after the phone hacking scandal in Britain. But given that his family control about 40 percent of the shares, and that Murdoch-backing billionaire Saudi…

Egypt, Israel close to swap of alleged spy for prisoners

CAIRO — The Egyptian foreign ministry has been charged with overseeing the exchange of an Israeli-American alleged spy being held in Egypt for Egyptian prisoners in Israel, the official Mena news agency reported late Thursday. The foreign ministry will be responsible “for overseeing the exchange of spy Ilan Grapel for…

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