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China shuts political websites in crackdown

Two Chinese political websites said Friday they had been ordered by authorities to shut for a month for criticising state leaders, the latest move in a broad government crackdown on the Internet. Officials told the Mao Flag website, named after late leader Mao Zedong, and the Utopia website, also known…

Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh details U.S. training of Iranian terrorist group

Although the dissident Iranian group known as the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) has been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department since 1997, there have been long-standing rumors that it was also being used by the United States as part of its efforts to destabilize the Iranian government. Investigative…

Egypt’s former spy chief to run for president

Former spy chief Omar Suleiman, a pillar of the ousted regime, decided on Friday to run in next month’s presidential vote, in a surprise twist to a contest to elect Hosni Mubarak’s successor. His change of mind came after hundreds of demonstrators gathered in a Cairo district to urge Suleiman,…

Suicide bomber kills Afghan peace envoy and his son

A suicide bomber assassinated an Afghan peace envoy and former mujahedeen commander on Friday, in the latest blow to stuttering reconciliation efforts in the violence-wracked country. Maulavi Mohammad Hashem Munib, the head of the government’s High Peace Council in Kunar province, was killed along with his son and a bodyguard,…

Pirates hijack Chinese cargo ship near Iranian port

A Chinese cargo ship was hijacked by pirates on Friday in the Gulf of Oman, not far off the south of Iran, state media said, citing China’s embassy in Tehran. The vessel was attacked on Friday morning near the Iranian port of Chabahar, according to the Xinhua news agency. The…

Women’s rights activist poised to become Malawi’s new president

Joyce Banda, who rose to prominence in Malawi as a relentless advocate for women’s rights, now appears set to become only the second female African head of state in modern times. She become Malawi’s first woman vice president in 2009 as the running mate of President Bingu wa Mutharika, who…

Mexico cartel leader given life sentence in U.S.

A US court sentenced the leader of Mexico’s Juarez cartel, who allegedly admitted a role in over 1,500 murders, to life in prison Thursday on drug trafficking and racketeering charges. Jose Antonio Acosta-Hernandez, 34 — alias “Diego,” “Dienton,” “Diez” and “Bablazo” — was extradited to the United States from Mexico…

Coast Guard sinks Japan tsunami ‘ghost ship’

The US Coast Guard sunk a Japanese “ghost ship” with bursts of heavy gunfire when it drifted into Alaskan waters more than a year after being set adrift by a devastating tsunami. The deserted trawler, seen as a shipping hazard, was first spotted off the coast of Canada on March…

Philippines stages bloody Easter crucifixions

Roman Catholic fanatics in the Philippines had themselves nailed to the cross Friday in a bloody display of religious frenzy as the Christian world marked the day Jesus was crucified. The gruesome real-life re-enactments of the crucifixion, which are held every Good Friday in the Philippines, are frowned upon by…

China paper tells soldiers to ignore Internet rumors

China’s main military newspaper told soldiers Friday to ignore Internet gossip and close ranks around the government, in the latest sign of official unease ahead of a leadership transition this year. The Liberation Army Daily warned that the 10-yearly handover of power, which begins later this year when President Hu…

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