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U.S. returns looted artifacts to Italy

WASHINGTON — The United States returned seven stolen and looted artifacts to Italy on Thursday, including a rare Renaissance oil-on-copper painting and three pages ripped out of antique choir books. Homeland Security Janet Napolitano formally signed over the items — which also included a pair of 2,000-year-old ceramic vessels and…

Bin Laden family about to leave Pakistan: officials

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Osama bin Laden’s family will be deported from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia early Friday, government officials said, nearly a year after the Al-Qaeda leader was killed in a US raid. The 9/11 mastermind’s three widows and their children were detained by the Pakistani authorities after the Saudi…

One new ‘illicit’ drug popping up in European Union each week

New illicit drugs are appearing on the European Union market at a rate of nearly one a week, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) said on Thursday. In 2011, a record 49 new drugs were identified, up from 41 reported in 2010, the largest number of…

Liberian ex-leader Charles Taylor guilty of Sierra Leone war crimes

Liberian ex-leader Charles Taylor was convicted Thursday of arming rebels who killed and mutilated thousands in Sierra Leone, in a historic verdict for international justice. Taylor, 64, was found guilty on all counts including acts of terrorism, murder and rape committed by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels, who paid…

Expert warns world needs to move ‘rapidly’ toward ‘population shrinkage’

The world’s most renowned population analyst has called for a massive reduction in the number of humans and for natural resources to be redistributed from the rich to the poor. Paul Ehrlich, Bing professor of population studies at Stanford University in California and author of the best-selling Population Bomb book…

Israel’s Peres dismisses Holocaust, Iran comparison

President Shimon Peres on Thursday distanced himself from the Israeli premier’s comparison between the Holocaust and the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear programme. “It’s not the same thing,” Peres told the Ynet website of Yediot Aharonot newspaper in an interview for Israel’s independence day. “Holocaust is one thing and Iran is another. The comparison is out of place. But…

Charles Taylor’s blood diamond trial opens

An international court opened on Thursday its judgement hearing for Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor, accused of arming Sierra Leone’s rebels who paid him in “blood diamonds”. Dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and red tie, Taylor listened attentively and made notes as judge Richard Lussick started reading a summary of the verdict…

Thousands of Norwegians to sing song Breivik hates

Thousands of Norwegians were to gather in Oslo on Thursday to protest against mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik by singing a folk song he hates and which he considers a Marxist indoctrination method. After an Internet campaign, more than 5,000 people have said they plan to meet at a square…

Young men in Mexico say the U.S. no longer offers them a better future

In a typical year, the young men in this agricultural region of western Mexico would have made the journey north to America. But not this year or for this generation: a better future across the border is a promise they no longer trust. “For years, we dreamed of America, but…

Dalai Lama says ‘Middle Way’ still best for Tibet

CHICAGO — The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, said Wednesday he would not alter his non-violent quest for greater Tibetan autonomy, even after Beijing blamed him for inciting a wave of unrest. A total of 34 Tibetans, many of them Buddhist monks and nuns, are reported to have attempted…

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