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N. Korea acclaims new supreme leader at huge parade

North Korea on Thursday staged a massive memorial service for Kim Jong-Il to end 13 days of official mourning, and formally declared his untested young son Jong-Un as the new supreme leader. Addressing tens of thousands of troops and civilians packing a wintry Pyongyang square, ceremonial head of state Kim…

Spanish king’s son-in-law faces corruption case

Spanish King Juan Carlos’ son-in-law, Inaki Urdangarin, will appear in court February 6 accused of corruption in a growing royal scandal, the judge said Thursday. The announcement by the judge in Palma de Mallorca took the ballooning case to a new level, formally tying the 43-year-old ex-Olympic handball player into…

Venezuela’s Chavez: did U.S. give Latin American leaders cancer?

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez speculated on Wednesday that the United States might have developed a way to give Latin American leaders cancer, after Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez joined the list of presidents diagnosed with the disease. It was a typically controversial statement by Venezuela’s socialist leader, who underwent…

Swiss acknowledge those who helped Jews flee Nazis

Switzerland said it had finally finished the process of rehabilitating more than a hundred people punished during WWII for having helped Jews escape Nazi persecution. But only one of the 137 people vindicated by the report actually lived to see their name cleared. “All these people are today dead,” Alexandre…

Japan’s tsunami refugees brace for harsh winter

ISHINOMAKI, Japan — As the mercury plunges in Japan’s disaster-hit northeast, thousands of people in temporary homes are digging in for what could be a long, hard and very cold winter. Snow and driving winds will add to the misery of tsunami survivors in a region where the temperature frequently…

Police kill 7 hostage-takers in China’s Xinjiang

BEIJING — China said Thursday police killed seven “terrorists” who took hostages in the nation’s restive Xinjiang region during a rescue operation that left one police officer dead. A “violent terrorist group” kidnapped two people in the northwestern region’s Pishan county late Wednesday night, prompting a stand-off with police, the…

Madrid to New York: The year of Western protest

NEW YORK — From Spain’s “indignados” protesters to Occupy Wall Street, 2011 was the year when people power, fueled by frustration at a deepening financial crisis, confronted the Western world’s elites. Initially it was the drama in North Africa that gripped the world, starting with Tunisians ousting president-for-life Zine El…

Rockets hit Iran dissident camp in Iraq: officials

BAQUBA, Iraq — Multiple rockets over the past 24 hours hit a camp in Iraq housing Iranian exiles, officials and the group based there said on Wednesday, after Iraq and the UN signed a pact to resettle residents. The latest strikes, the third in four days, occurred at about 8:15…

Bosnia ends 14 months of political deadlock

SARAJEVO — Bosnia’s main Muslim, Croat and Serb parties agreed Wednesday to form a central government, ending a 14-month political crisis that paralysed the state and blocked further EU integration. “We have reached an agreement on the composition of the government,” Sulejman Tihic, leader of the SDA Muslim party, told…

Oil plunges on strong dollar, profit taking

World oil prices sank in volatile year-end deals on Wednesday, as traders took profits and eyed the strong dollar, new concerns over the eurozone debt crisis and fresh equity falls on Wall Street. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), sank $1.98 to $99.36 a barrel. Brent North…

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