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Chinese, Russian arms fuel Darfur abuse: Amnesty

KHARTOUM — Chinese-made bullets and aircraft bought from Russia are used to commit rights violations in Sudan’s Darfur under an ineffective UN arms embargo, Amnesty International said on Thursday. The London-based rights watchdog aired similar concerns five years ago but its latest report comes after “a new wave of fighting”…

Spy chief unveils new Romanian government

BUCHAREST — Romania’s incoming prime minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu rang the changes at the economy and finance ministries Wednesday when he unveiled his new government. Ungureanu told reporters he would call a confidence vote on the new cabinet and its economic programme on Thursday. The 43-year-old was tapped by President…

Canada’s use of torture data sparks outcry

OTTAWA — Human rights groups and opposition leaders in Canada were in uproar after the nation’s public safety minister this week defended the use of information extracted through torture “if Canadian lives are at stake.” According a directive obtained by Canadian media through an access to information request, Ottawa ordered…

Cuban ‘Wikipedia’ includes entry for dissident blogger

HAVANA — Cuba’s EcuRed digital encyclopedia, inspired by Wikipedia and operated by the island’s Communist Youth, has added an entry for award-winning dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez. The unusual turn of events in the Communist country, where information is tightly controlled and dissent is barely tolerated, comes with a price: Sanchez,…

‘Anonymous’ hacks Syrian president’s email with ’12345′ password

Unknown members of the hacker collective “Anonymous” reportedly broke into the private email account of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad this week and learned that the embattled dictator is not one much for electronic security. That’s because he picked the second-weakest password around: “12345,” according to documents published by Israeli news…

Greece faces hour of decision on austerity, rescue

Greece reached the hour of decision on Wednesday over more budget cuts demanded by the EU and IMF and a debt deal to obtain a second rescue and close a key chapter in the eurozone crisis. A finalised plan on new Greek aid that was hammered out with theEuropean Union and International Monetary…

Iraq wants to limit private security contractors

Iraq deeply mistrusts private security companies and wants to limit their operations here, officials say, while the contractors themselves have faced bureaucratic delays and detentions. This mistrust stems from perceived arrogant behaviour by employees of these firms in the past and various incidents of violence involving them. The most infamous incident was…

Ai Weiwei to build London 2012 Olympics pavilion

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei is reuniting with the Swiss architects with whom he created Beijing’s spectacular Bird’s Nest Stadium, to build a pavilion for this year’s London Olympics. Ai, along with the Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron, will join forces again to design a pavilion for the…

British cabinet member complains about ‘anti-business culture’

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has vowed to fight an “anti-business culture” in Britain, warning that a row over executive pay and bonuses threatens the country’s fragile economic recovery. “Let me say something about the row over bonuses and pay,” Osborne said in a speech to the Federation of…

Meet the heroes of India’s quest to wipe out polio

Later this month, India will be removed from a dwindling list of countries where polio is considered endemic, a huge achievement made possible by people like Madara, a 76-year-old street hawker. At a temporary immunisation camp in a slum in the northern district of Ghaziabad, 23 kilometres (14 miles) from…

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