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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…

Alleged Colombian cocaine kingpin surrenders to U.S.

A Colombian wanted for allegedly smuggling tons of cocaine bound for the United States into Mexico has surrendered to US officials and may help track down other traffickers, Colombian police said Monday. The United States had offered a five million dollar reward for the capture of Javier Calle Serna, a…

Shell springs new oil pipeline leaks in Nigeria

Oil giant Shell on Monday said two new leaks had occurred on one of its pipelines in southern Nigeria after similar incidents in recent days blamed on crude theft. “Two new leaks were reported today on the Trans Niger pipeline at Akpajo and K-Dere in Ogoniland, after a similar number…

Israel Supreme Court rejects hunger striker appeal

Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal by two Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike for 69 days in protest at being held without charge, their lawyer told AFP. “The Supreme Court refused both appeals,” Jamil Khatib said of the move by Bilal Diab, 27, and Thaer…

French and German stocks rise after Hollande elected

Leading European stock markets closed higher on Monday despite the prospects for political and financial turmoil in Greece following general elections a day earlier. London markets were closed, but in Paris the CAC 40 index jumped by 1.65 percent to 3,214.22 points in moderately thin trading, while in Frankfurt the…

South African man suspected of stealing a mobile phone was stoned to death

A South African man suspected of stealing a mobile phone from a woman was stoned to death by a mob Monday in the northern town of Polokwane, police said. “The community rushed to help the screaming woman. The man was caught and beaten with stones,” police spokesman Moatshe Ngoepe told…

Female representation in local Scottish government rises to 25 percent

Standing back from the propaganda battle between the Scottish National party and Labour over which has the most to brag about after Thursday’s council elections, one neutral fact emerges: local government in Scotland is a little less male, pale and stale. An analysis of the final results by Meryl Kenny…

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