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China welcomes North Korea nuclear moratorium

BEIJING — North Korea’s key ally China on Thursday welcomed Pyongyang’s announcement that it will suspend its nuclear tests and uranium enrichment programme in return for US food aid. The deal — which came less than three months after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il — follows talks…

Number of poor people in developing countries dropped to record low levels: study

The number of poor people in developing countries dropped to record low levels between 2005 and 2008, the World Bank said in a report out Wednesday. “This across-the-board reduction… marks a first since the bank began monitoring extreme poverty,” the global institution said. The study, based on some 850 household…

Egypt to lift travel ban on Americans

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt has decided to lift a travel ban preventing American pro-democracy activists from leaving the country, judicial sources said on Wednesday, a move that is likely to defuse a standoff that has plunged U.S.-Egyptian ties into a crisis. It was not immediately clear when any of the…

N. Korea agrees to nuclear program halt

The United States said Wednesday that North Korea has agreed to halt its nuclear program and allow back UN inspectors, in a surprise breakthrough soon after the communist state’s veteran leader died. Welcoming the progress, President Barack Obama’s administration said it would move ahead on a long-mulled plan to deliver 240,000 metric tons of food aid to…

Israel troops ‘raid West Bank TV stations’

Israeli troops raided two Palestinian television stations in the West Bank city of Ramallah overnight, seizing computers and broadcasting equipment, employees told AFP on Wednesday. The Israeli military confirmed the raids, saying the stations targeted had been broadcasting illegally, a charge rejected by the Palestinian telecommunications minister. The two stations…

Nepal calls for help to settle Everest height

Nepal is appealing to international donors to help it finally settle a long-running dispute over the height of Mount Everest, a government official said. The world’s highest peak, which straddles Nepal and China, is usually attributed a height of 8,848 metres (29,029 feet) following an Indian survey in 1954, but…

U.S. drawing up new UN resolution on Syria

The United States is drawing up a new draft UN Security Council resolution on Syria demanding humanitarian access to protest cities where thousands have been killed, diplomats said Tuesday. If put to a vote it would be the third time Western nations have tried to get a Security Council resolution…

UK’s largest union threatens Olympic walk-out

Britain’s largest trade union on Tuesday warned it would consider staging industrial action during this year’s London Olympic Games, threatening travel chaos for visitors. Unite union general secretary Len McCluskey told the Guardian newspaper that the scale of the government’s public spending cuts meant that the showpiece games, which begin…

Central American drug violence surges as cartels move south

Drug-related violence has surged to “alarming and unprecedented” levels in Central America as Mexican drug cartels have shifted their operations, a UN report said Tuesday. The move “has resulted in increased levels of violence, kidnapping, bribery torture and homicide” in Central America, the annual report by the International Narcotics Control…

Top French court strikes down Armenian genocide law

PARIS — France’s top court ruled Tuesday that a law backed by President Nicolas Sarkozy to punish denial of the Armenian genocide was unconstitutional as it infringed on freedom of expression. Turkey welcomed the ruling — but Sarkozy, whose right-wing party had put forward the bill, swiftly vowed to draft…

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