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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.…

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…

Rome prosecutors link Vatican cleric to 29-year mystery of missing girl

The Vatican is under pressure to help resolve one of the strangest of many enigmas lingering in Italy from the cold war years. For four years, prosecutors in Rome have been making a renewed attempt to get at the truth behind the disappearance in 1983 of Emanuela Orlandi, the 15-year-old…

Japanese keepers discontinue hunt for missing penguin

Japanese keepers looking for a penguin on the run in Tokyo have stood down their month-long search but say they hope the bird’s impending adulthood will give it away. Staff at Tokyo Sea Life Park said Thursday they are no longer combing riverbanks every day looking for any sign of the creature, which fled…

Good morning Tehran! Israel beams a message to Iran

From a tiny studio in a rundown district of southern Tel Aviv, a group of Iranian-Israelis beam non-stop music and news in a bid to reach out to their former fellow countrymen. As the war of words between the leaders of the Jewish state and theIslamic Republic heats up over Iran’s contested…

Oil market tension ‘may be easing’

Tension on the oil market may be easing, the IEA said on Thursday in a report offering some hope for the global economy, but sanctions could cause production by Iran to “plummet”. Oil prices have been on a rising trend since late 2009, when the world economy began to recover from the financial crisis, to…

Strong 6.9-magnitude quake strikes off Mexico

A strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off Mexico’s Pacific coast early Thursday, according to the US Geological Survey, with no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The earthquake hit around 12:15 am (0715 GMT) in the Gulf of California, 133 kilometers (82 miles) northeast of the town of Guerrero Negro in…

Britain to boost Syria opposition support if no ceasefire

WASHINGTON — Britain will boost support for Syria’s opposition and seek tougher sanctions if government forces do not adhere to a ceasefire, Foreign Secretary William Hague warned Wednesday. Hague spoke at a meeting of the Group of Eight powers in Washington as Syria said that it would cease operations against…

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