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Indonesian atheist jailed after posting ‘God doesn’t exist’ on Facebook page

When Alex Aan picked up a copy of Karen Armstrong’s Holy War from his local library in west Sumatra in 2005, he had little inkling of his own religious battle to come. But after posting “God doesn’t exist” on Facebook, the soft-spoken civil servant, 30, faces up to 11 years…

New N. Korea sanctions sets stage for nuclear showdown

The UN Security Council on Wednesday put three top North Korean state firms on a sanctions black list over the country’s failedrocket launch. But the assets freeze against three enterprises said to have financed and organized the North’s missile and nuclear programs could soon be followed by a new UN sanctions battle if…

Baghdad hit by attacks as VP death squad trial opens

Gun and bomb attacks struck the Baghdad area where Iraq’s fugitiveVice President Tareq al-Hashemi was to go on trial in absentia Thursday on charges he says are politically motivated. Hashemi, the country’s top Sunni official, stands accused along with several of his bodyguards of running a death squad but the vice president…

China sends more ships to disputed shoal: Philippines

The Philippine military on Thursday accused China of sending more ships to a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, describing the move as an insult that would further inflame tensions. Four Chinese surveillance ships and 10 fishing boats have anchored off the disputed Scarborough Shoal, with the fishermen taking giant clams and corals that are…

Campaigning on hold after 20 dead in Cairo clash

Campaigning for Egypt’s first post-uprising presidential poll was temporarily on hold after thugs attacked an anti-military protest near the defence ministry in Cairo, leaving 20 people dead. Four presidential candidates announced they were temporarily suspending their campaigns over the killings. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi told reporters he decided to stop campaigning for 48…

Nigerian market attack kills at least 34

Gunmen armed with explosives killed at least 34 people in northeastern Nigeria when they attacked acattle market and burned it to the ground, residents and officials said Thursday. The attack Wednesday night in the city of Potiskum was said to be in reprisal for an incident earlier in the day, when a gang sought to rob the…

Munch’s ‘Scream’ beats auction record at $119.9 million

NEW YORK — The only privately owned version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” — one of the most recognizable paintings in history — set a world record when it sold for $119.9 million at Sotheby’s in New York. Heated competition between seven bidders took the price to the highest for…

Bolivia nationalization hurts investment climate: U.S.

WASHINGTON — The United States voiced concern Wednesday after Bolivia nationalized Spanish firm Red Electrica’s local grid, saying it will damage the country’s investment climate. Bolivian President Evo Morales’s seizure of the Red Electrica subsidiary came just 15 days after Argentina’s much larger expropriation of Spanish oil giant Repsol’s YPF…

Twelve dead in clash between Mexico soldiers, outlaws

CULIACAN, Mexico — A fresh clash between soldiers and suspected criminals in northwest Mexico left 12 dead, including two soldiers, a state official said Wednesday. At least 22 others have been killed in similar clashes in Sinaloa state, home to the eponymous drug cartel, since Saturday. In the latest clash,…

WWF calls for investigation into Indonesian elephant death

Environmental organisation WWF called on the government Wednesday to investigate the death of a critically endangered Sumatran elephant allegedly poisoned at an Indonesian oil palm plantation. A ranger at the plantation in Aceh Jaya on Sumatra island said he found the 18-year-old female elephant dying on Monday and that locals…

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