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Australian speaker steps down over sexual harassment allegations

Australian parliamentary Speaker Peter Slipper officially stood aside Tuesday amid sex harassment and travel fraud claims, while proclaiming his innocence and slamming a “trial by media”. Slipper, who is 62 and married, has been accused of harassing former aide James Ashby, 33, with explicit text messages, unwanted advances and inappropriate…

Huffington Post expands Canada operations

The AOL-owned Huffington Post news website said Tuesday it would expand its Canadian operations with regionally focused editions for Alberta and British Columbia. The move comes nearly a year after the launch of the Huffington Post Canada in May, 2011, and follows a February launch of the French-language site Le…

White House says no change in policy after surprise coalition change in Israel

A surprise coalition in Israel between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the center-right Kadima group will not make Washington change its “approach” to its close Mideast ally, the White House said Tuesday. “A new coalition in Israel will certainly not affect our policy approach. We continue to have…

‘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…

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