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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…

Hacker group Anonymous takes down Vatican website

The hacking group Anonymous took down several Vatican websites on Wednesday, saying it was targeting the “corrupt” Catholic Church, a day after a high-profile bust of the group’s alleged leaders. “Anonymous decided today to besiege your site in response to the doctrine, to the liturgies, to the absurd and anachronistic…

Israel troops carry out Gaza incursion

Israeli troops entered northern Gaza on Wednesday, briefly sealing the Erez border crossing between the Palestinian territory andIsrael, Hamas officials said. “Occupation forces moved into the northern Gaza Strip and began bulldozing work and closed the Erez crossing to travellers,” the interior ministry of the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gazasaid in a statement. Witnesses told AFP that two Israeli…

UN sends aid chief to Syria

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos headed for Syria on Wednesday to urge the regime to allow aid into battered protest cities, as US President Barack Obama insisted military intervention would be a “mistake”. A Chinese envoy sent to discuss ways to end the bloodshed in Syria, meanwhile, was to discuss a six-point peace plan with Foreign Minister…

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