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‘Avengers’ draws anger over India slum scenes

The Avengers might be carrying all before it at the global box office, but in India, its healthy reported opening of INR110m (£1.3m) has been marred by high profile complaints over its portrayal of urban living conditions. Exception has been taken in regard to two brief scenes showing Bruce Banner…

Niger is worst country to be a mother: report

Niger is the worst country on earth in which to be a mother, according to a report by Save the Children. The charity’s annual Mothers’ Index uses statistics covering female and child health and nutrition, as well as prospects for women’s education, economic prosperity and political participation in its assessment…

U.S. ambassador to Pakistan to step down

The US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, is to step down this summer after serving less than two years in the job, a US official said Tuesday. Munter has been Washington’s man on the diplomatic frontline at a time when relations between the two countries have dramatically worsened, especially over the covert raid…

Greek leftists in bid to form anti-austerity coalition

Greece’s radical leftist Syriza party was set Tuesday to start trying to build an anti-austerity cabinet and prevent fresh elections, a day after the conservatives failed to form a coalition government. Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras will be summoned by Greek President Carolos Papoulias at 1100 GMT and given three days to form agovernment, with debt-laden…

Activist says China helping him get passport to leave

Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng said Tuesday officials have told him they will help him get a passport to leave, but friends and US embassy staff are still being blocked from visiting him in hospital. Chen also said he and his wife were unable to leave the hospital where he is being treated…

Woman bites off mugger’s finger in Japan

A mugger who attacked a woman in Japan fled empty-handed — and with one finger missing — after the intended victim chomped off his pinkie. The 59-year-old woman fought back after a man snatched her bag as she arrived at her apartment in the northern city of Sapporo, police said Tuesday. The…

Japan warns France to stick to fiscal reform plans

TOKYO — Japan on Tuesday warned French president-elect Francois Hollande to keep the nation’s fiscal discipline in place amid worries the new leader will overspend in a bid to boost the economy. “Our stance is unchanged,” Finance Minister Jun Azumi told a regular news conference in Tokyo, according to Dow…

Greek vote poses new challenge for IMF rescue

WASHINGTON — The International Monetary Fund’s already fragile rescue for Greece has taken a serious battering, after Greek voters rejected the government that accepted the Fund’s harsh austerity program in exchange for bailout funding. The weekend vote that sent a centrist government packing also sent a message to the IMF…

New Zealand offers contraception to women on welfare

WELLINGTON — New Zealand’s government is to offer women on welfare benefits, and their daughters, free long-term contraception in a move immediately rejected by rights groups Tuesday as insulting to women. The free contraception will be offered to teenagers on benefits as well as all women on benefits, and their…

China’s defense chief visits Pentagon amid diplomatic row

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon hosted China’s Defense Minister Liang Guanglie on Monday in a bid to boost military ties as the United States tried to contain the fallout from a diplomatic dispute over a top Chinese dissident. Liang’s discussions with his US counterpart, Leon Panetta, were expected to focus on…

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