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Tornado kills teenager in Japan

TOKYO — A tornado ripped through eastern Japan on Sunday, killing a teenager, destroying dozens of homes and cutting power to around 20,000 households. “A 14-year-old male died” as a result of the tornado, said a spokesman at the disaster headquarters of Tsukuba city in Ibaraki prefecture, roughly 60 kilometres…

Taiwan electricity supplier’s top executive quits

TAIPEI — The head of Taiwan’s state electricity supplier has resigned after a steep hike in utility rates prompted outrage, officials said. Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) has lost TW$132.2 billion ($4.48 billion) in since 2008, according to the island’s economic ministry, and a 37 percent rise in electricity prices was…

Hollande wins France presidential election

Socialist party candidate Francois Hollande won the French presidential runoff election Sunday evening, defeating incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in a close, contentious campaign. Hollande received 52 percent of the vote to the 48 percent garnered by the conservative Sarkozy, who conceded to his opponent an hour after projected results were in.…

Militants attack Pakistan military convoy

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan — Militants attacked a Pakistani military convoy in the country’s troubled northwest on Sunday, injuring three soldiers, officials said, a day after a US drone strike killed 10 insurgents. The attack triggered a gun battle that raged for more than two hours near Miranshah, the main town in…

Man in Afghan uniform kills NATO soldier

KABUL — A soldier with NATO’s US-led coalition in Afghanistan was killed by a man in Afghan army uniform on Sunday, a spokesman for the mission said, in the latest so-called “green-on-blue” attack. The death takes the number of foreign troops killed by Afghans they were working with to at…

Libya says 330,000 voters register for June poll

TRIPOLI — The chief of Libya’s election commission said on Sunday that 330,000 people have so far registered as voters to elect the nation’s first constituent assembly in June. “The number of voters registered by yesterday (Saturday) evening is 330,000,” Nuri al-Abbar told a news conference in Tripoli. Abbar said…

Pirate Party picks up parliament seat in German regional election

BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition lost power in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, first estimates showed Sunday, after a vote that could presage national elections next year. Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) scored 30.6 percent, according to ARD public television, with her junior partners at the national level, the…

Hugo Chavez reelection bid in doubt

President Hugo Chavez’s repeated trips to Cuba for cancer treatment and the government’s silence about his health are fueling rumors that he will name a successor to run in October presidential elections. So far, the government has fiercely maintained that there is no alternative to Chavez, who still leads in the polls. But several names…

South African traditional leaders oppose gay rights

South Africa’s National House of Traditional Leaders wants parliament to delete a clause in the constitution that guarantees equal rights to homosexuals, a media report said Sunday. The leaders, who advise the government on traditional laws and customs among ethnic groups such as the Zulu and Xhosa, made the request in reply to the…

Revealed: How Britain tried to legitimize Batang Kali massacre

Senior British diplomats introduced an extraordinary “licence to kill” law in an attempt to legalise retrospectively the colonial-era killing of 24 villagers by UK troops in Malaysia, the Observer can reveal. The Batang Kali massacre took place on 12 December 1948, as British troops carried out a counter-insurgency operation against…

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