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Island nation of Kiribati plans mass relocation due to climate change

Rising sea levels created by the melting of Earth’s polar ice caps and glaciers pose such a threat to the low-lying Pacific island nation of Kiribati that its leader said this week they were in talks to purchase land in neighboring Fiji for a mass relocation of its citizens. Kiribati…

State Dept. says Afghanistan made progress in fighting drugs

The Afghan government has made progress in the last year in fighting drugs trafficking and cultivation, although the “gains remain fragile,” a US State Department report said Thursday. “The overall counternarcotics effort this year was positive” in Afghanistan, which grows about 90 percent of the world’s opium, according to the…

China backs down on secret detentions

China has abandoned controversial plans to make it legal to “disappear” criminal suspects following a huge public outcry, in a move hailed as a victory for judicial reformers. Proposed changes to China’s criminal law being debated this week by parliament originally included a clause that allowed police to hold people…

Syrian deputy oil minister joins rebel ranks

Syria’s deputy oil minister resigned on Thursday, becoming the most senior official to join the rebel ranks, as Washington revealed it is mulling non-lethal aid to the insurgency. Abdo Hussameddin announced his resignation in a video posted by activists on YouTube, saying he was joining the revolt. “I, the engineer…

Palestinians to submit 20 sites for UNESCO World Heritage listing

The Palestinians are poised to submit the names of 20 sites in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza for addition to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites, an official said on Thursday. “Within the next few days, we will submit a tentative list of 20 sites to be added to…

Iran’s Khamenei hails Obama caution on war

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday welcomed comments by US President Barack Obama damping down talk of war against Tehran over its controversial nuclear drive. “This talk is good talk and shows an exit from illusion,” Khamenei’s website quoted the leader as telling clerics from the Assembly of…

Karzai under fire on Afghan women’s rights

KABUL — President Hamid Karzai’s US-backed government is under fire this International Women’s Day, accused of selling out on Afghan women’s rights as it tries to woo the Taliban into peace talks. Lawmakers, rights organisations and analysts say that the Afghan leader, by endorsing an edict calling women second-class citizens,…

U.S. sees Vatican as potential money laundering hub

WASHINGTON — The US State Department for the first time listed the Vatican as potentially vulnerable to money laundering, along with 67 other countries. The department’s annual International Narcotics Control Strategy report listed the Vatican as a “jurisdiction of concern” along with countries like Albania, the Czech Republic, Egypt, South…

Campaign to arrest Uganda rebel chief Joseph Kony goes viral

WASHINGTON — A campaign to bring accused war criminal Joseph Kony, the fugitive head of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, to justice has gone viral on the Internet. The hashtag “#stopkony” was among top trending topics on Twitter on Wednesday, vying for the top spot with tweets about the new…

Canadian woman claims parking a human right

OTTAWA — A Canadian woman has launched a human rights complaint against the city of Ottawa for refusing to let her to park in front of her home in a historic district, a court spokeswoman said Wednesday. Pamela Howson has alleged discrimination in a case before the Ontario Human Rights…

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