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Britain hopes hosting Olympics will fix its ailing economy

LONDON — Britain will not reduce the London Games to an “austerity Olympics”, but instead try to use the event to kick-start the flagging economy in 2012, the minister responsible said Saturday. Jeremy Hunt, the Olympics secretary, told The Daily Telegraph newspaper that hosting the Games during the global economic…

China reports suspected human bird flu case

The patient, a 39-year-old man living in Shenzhen, developed symptoms on December 21 and was admitted to a hospital on December 25 because of severe pneumonia, the Centre of Health Protection of Hong Kong said in a statement. He is now in critical condition. China’s Ministry of Health said preliminary…

Revealed: Thatcher negotiated with IRA ‘terrorists’

British prime minister Margaret Thatcher secretly approved offering concessions to IRA prisoners if their hunger strikes were called off, files released after 30 years revealed Friday. In public, Thatcher took a firm stance against demands to be recognised as political prisoners made by jailed Irish Republican Army members and other…

Iran to test-fire missles in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday

Tehran said it will test-fire missiles in the Strait of Hormuz on Saturday, a move likely to stoke tensions with Washington already running high over Iran’s threats to close the strategic oil waterway if sanctions are enforced. “Shorter- and longer-range, ground-to-sea, surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles will be tested on Saturday,”…

Putin says South Stream pipeline construction will begin in 2012

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday brought forward to 2012 the date for starting construction of the South Stream pipeline that aims to deliver Russian gas to Western Europe while avoiding Ukraine. Putin’s announcement marks an acceleration of the timetable for building the hugely ambitious pipeline and comes after Moscow…

Huge wildfire rages in Chile national park

A massive forest fire raged out of control Friday in southern Chile, forcing the closure of a famed national park after destroying thousands of hectares of pristine Patagonian steppe. High winds fanned the huge blaze at the Torres del Paine National Park, where Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said 8,500 hectares…

Syria forces use ‘nail bombs’ on protesters

Syrian forces fired nail bombs to disperse tens of thousands of protesters Friday in the Damascus suburb of Douma and the demonstrators retaliated with stones, activists said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 24 protesters were hurt when the security forces fired the “nail bombs to…

Jamaica opposition wins election in landslide

Jamaica’s leading opposition People’s National Party has won a landslide election in a vote driven by concerns about crime, corruption and poverty on the picturesque Caribbean island. Preliminary results late Thursday indicated the left-leaning party had won 41 out of 63 constituencies, giving it a resounding majority and showing the…

Russian nuclear submarine fire put out

Firefighters have put out a blaze on the exterior of a Russian nuclear submarine that broke out during repairs in the northern Murmansk region, a minister said Friday. “The fire has been liquidated. There is no burning,” Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu told a meeting of officials, adding radiation monitoring…

Orthodox Israeli charged with insulting woman soldier

JERUSALEM — An orthodox Jew was charged with sexual harassment on Thursday after a young Israeli woman soldier was verbally abused for refusing to sit at the back of a bus, a judicial source said. Shlomo Fuchs, a 44-year-old father, was charged for allegedly insulting the soldier several times, including…

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