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Devastating ‘mini-tornado’ hits Australian city

A devastating “mini-tornado” tore through the city of Townsville on Tuesday, ripping roofs off houses, bringing down power lines and injuring nine people as wild weather pounded northern Australia. The Queensland State Emergency Service said it had received dozens of calls for help, with nine people needing treatment, mostly for…

French election campaign on hold after school shooting

PARIS — France effectively put its election campaign on hold Monday after a gunman killed three children and a teacher at a Jewish school and candidates set politics aside to condemn the shocking attack. President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Socialist frontrunner in the presidential race, Francois Hollande, cancelled campaign events…

Palestinian prisoner hospitalized amid hunger strike

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — A Palestinian woman prisoner who has been on hunger strike for 33 days was taken to hospital briefly on Monday over health concerns, Palestinian and Israeli officials said. “Hanaa al-Shalabi was transferred this evening to Israel’s Meir hospital after her state of health deteriorated,” Palestinian prisoner…

Retired police officer said he was personally followed by News of the World surveillance team

Lisa O’Carroll, guardian.co.uk The News of the World “jeopardised” the hunt for the Ipswich serial killer in 2006 after it hired former special forces soldiers to follow a police surveillance team tracking suspects, the Leveson inquiry has heard. Dave Harrison, a retired officer with the Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca),…

Asia is world’s top weapons importer

Asia leads the world when it comes to weapon imports, according to a study released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Globally the volume of international transfers of majorconventional weapons was 24 percent higher in the period 2007-11 compared to the 2002-06 period, the report said. Over the past five…

China firm sacks four over diseased ducks scandal

A leading Chinese poultry company said on Monday it had sacked four employees suspected of being involved in a food safety scandal that saw diseased ducks sold to unsuspecting consumers. The case is the latest in a long list of high-profile food safety problems to hit China that have included pork deliberately laced with chemicals, dyed buns…

NATO must probe, pay for errors in Libya: Amnesty

NATO must investigate the killing of dozens of civilians during its air campaign in Libya last year and provide reparations to the people affected, Amnesty International said on Monday. “Adequate investigations must be carried out and full reparation provided to victims and their families,” said the rights group in a statement released one year after the first…

Gunman kills four at French Jewish school

A gunman burst into a Jewish school in France on Monday, shooting dead three children and a teacher in the third deadly gun attack in a week by a man who made his escape on a motorbike. The children, aged three, six and 10, and a 30-year-old religious education teacher were mowed down…

China ‘in for bumpy ride’ as new generation prepares to take power

The ousting of leadership contender Bo Xilai may be a sign of trouble ahead as once-a-decade power transition approaches. It was the greatest political upheaval in years, but it may not be the last. China’s dramatic ousting of the leadership contender Bo Xilai on Friday may have been an anomaly…

North Korea seeking to develop nuclear missile, Seoul says

South Korea accused North Korea on Monday of trying to develop a nuclear-armed missile through a satellite launch next month, after Pyongyang dismissed international calls to abandon the exercise. “Our government defines North Korea’s so-called working satellite launch plan as a grave provocation to develop a long-distance delivery means for…

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