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Palestinians say investigation of Arafat’s death will continue

The Palestinian authorities will press on with a probe into the death of Yasser Arafat after Russian experts ruled out the possibility he was poisoned, a Palestinian envoy said Thursday. “I can only say that there is already a decision to continue (the investigation),” Faed Mustafa, the Palestinian ambassador to…

China ‘seriously condemns’ Japanese PM’s war shrine visit

China strongly condemned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to the flashpoint Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo Thursday, saying it glorified Japan’s “history of militaristic aggression”. “We strongly protest and seriously condemn the Japanese leader’s acts,” Beijing’s foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement immediately after Abe’s visit to…

Libya hopes last-ditch mediation can end oil crisis

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan expressed hope on Wednesday that last-ditch mediation can end a crisis sparked by the months-long blockade of eastern oil terminals by striking security guards. “Delegations whose tribes have their own initiatives have decided to engage in mediation to find a solution to the crisis,” Zeidan…

Russian Orthodox church wins three-year fight for right to build near Eiffel Tower

French authorities have given permission for a new Russian Orthodox church to be built near the Eiffel Tower, a project that has been blocked since 2010, the Russian embassy said Wednesday. The plan for the church dates back to 2007 when Alexy II, the now deceased patriarch of Moscow, visited…

Federal judge rejects British Petroleum’s challenge to $7.8 billion settlement

A US federal judge has rejected a bid from BP to require companies prove their losses are directly linked to the 2010 massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill before getting a payout. The British energy giant last year reached a $7.8 billion settlement with thousands of people and businesses hit…

Researchers: High diabetes risk in Latin America could be traced back centuries

Scientists on Wednesday said they had found a variant of a gene to explain why Latin Americans are at higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, and pointed to a possible DNA legacy from the Neanderthals. The variant lies on a gene called SLC16A11, which plays a part in breaking down…

Bodies litter liberated South Sudanese town

In the shade of a tree close to the slow waters of the White Nile river, a body killed during the fighting over South Sudan’s town of Bor gathers flies. On the bumpy road towards the heavily fortified compound of the United Nations peacekeepers, another body of man lies beside…

Bangladesh will use military peacekeepers during disputed elections

Tens of thousands of troops were to be deployed across Bangladesh Thursday in a bid to contain deadly political violence ahead of elections which are being boycotted by the opposition. With Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina determined that the January 5 general election goes ahead despite claims that it will be…

War-weary Syrian artists turn to black humor to mark Christmas

Syrian artists have turned to black humour to depict the brutal war devastating their country as they marked on Wednesday the third Christmas since the deadly conflict erupted. Their works posted on the Internet reflect the tragedy that has struck Syria where violence has reportedly killed more than 126,000 people…

Israeli PM Netanyahu lashes out at Abbas over attacks

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed disappointment Wednesday that Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has failed to condemn fresh attacks on Israelis, as a watchdog questioned the legality of Israeli reprisals. An Israeli man was shot dead Tuesday while working on the border fence with the Gaza Strip, and the Israeli…

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