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Italian cruise captain refused orders to reboard ship

The captain of the cruise ship that ran aground and sank off the Italian coast refused to reboard the doomed vessel after he abandoned it, audio recordings revealed. The Costa Concordia hit rocks and capsized on late Friday, leaving at least 11 dead. Capt. Francesco Schettino allegedly abandoned the ship…

Obama decries Syria violence

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama on Tuesday decried continued and “unacceptable” levels of violence in Syria and pledged to redouble international efforts to force President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Obama also thanked King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Oval Office for being the first Arab leader to…

Ancient Greek sites could soon be available for rent

ATHENS — Available for rent: The Acropolis. In a move bound to leave many Greeks and scholars aghast, Greece’s culture ministry said Tuesday it will open up some of the debt-stricken country’s most-cherished archaeological sites to advertising firms and other ventures. The ministry says the move is a common-sense way…

Italy captain denies abandoning ship as toll rises to 11

The captain of the doomed Italian cruise liner denied Tuesday he had abandoned ship, as rescue divers found another five bodies in the wreckage, bringing the death toll to 11. A dramatic coastguard recording of ship-to-shore communications as the disaster unfolded showed that captain Francesco Schettinoignored an order to return to…

Italy cruise ship: 29 missing, captain questioned

Hopes began to fade for 29 people still unaccounted for from the wreck of a luxury liner off the coast of Italy on Tuesday as a judge questioned the captain over his role in the disaster. A black box transcript showed Francesco Schettino – reported to have sailed so close to the…

Charge dropped for Aussie who ‘mooned’ queen

A man who allegedly flashed his buttocks at Queen Elizabeth IIduring her visit to Australia last year had a charge of wilful exposure against him dropped. Sydney man Liam Warriner, 22, was arrested in October and charged with exposing himself as the British monarch, who is also head of state in Australia, passed by…

Heavy snow, avalanches kill 16 in Afghanistan

Heavy snow and avalanches have killed at least 16 people in mountainous northeastern Afghanistan, leaving dozens more trapped in their homes, according to an official. A week of heavy snowfall cut off main roads in remote Badakhshan province, making it difficult for rescue workers to reach affected villages. “So far 16 people have been killed…

Radical cleric Abu Qatada wins extradition appeal

The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday blocked the extradition by Britain of Jordanian national Abu Qatada, who is alleged to have been Osama Bin Laden’s right-hand-man in Europe. The court in its judgement said there was a “real risk” that evidence against Abu Qatada, a radical British-based Muslim cleric, had been “obtained by torture…

Charge dropped for Aussie who ‘mooned’ queen

BRISBANE, Australia — A man who allegedly flashed his buttocks at Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Australia last year had a charge of wilful exposure against him dropped. Sydney man Liam Warriner, 22, was arrested in October and charged with exposing himself as the British monarch, who is…

Rwandan genocide suspect denied bail in Canada

OTTAWA — A Rwandan accused of helping to incite the 1994 genocide was denied bail Monday while Canada considered a request to stay his deportation so the UN can probe a claim that he faces persecution at home. Leon Mugesera — who made an infamous speech in 1992 that is…

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