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Kadhafi family tried to escape to Mexico: official

MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities said Wednesday they foiled an audacious bid by one of toppled Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi’s sons to illegally smuggle himself and family into the country as the regime cracked. Government Secretary Alejandro Poire said intelligence officials uncovered an elaborate plan, at the height of pro-democracy…

Ecologists fume as Brazil Senate OKs forestry reform

BRASILIA — The Brazilian Senate has passed a forestry reform bill which is backed by the country’s powerful agribusiness sector but opposed by environmentalists who see it as a threat to preservation of the Amazon. The legislation, which received 59 votes in favor and seven against in an overnight vote,…

UK’s top court to make Assange ruling by Christmas

LONDON — The Supreme Court will decide by December 25 whether to hear an appeal by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange against his extradition to Sweden, a court spokeswoman said Wednesday. On Monday judges at the High Court in London said that his fight against deportation to face rape allegations in…

Clinton: Biological attacks ‘are serious security challenge’

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought on Wednesday to rally international efforts against the threat of a biological attack, saying the warning signs were “too serious to ignore”. Clinton spoke at a meeting on the Biological Weapons Convention, a decades-old ban on bio-weapons currently under review at a three-week conference in…

U.S. backs euro ahead of crunch summit

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner voiced confidence on Wednesday that the European Union will find a way out of its debt crisis when he met eurozone leaders ahead of a crucial EU summit inBrussels. “I assessed how important it is for the US and countries around the world that Europe succeed,” Geithner…

Afghan attacks raise fears of sectarian violence

Deadly blasts at Afghan shrines that left 59 people dead on Shiite Muslims’ holiest day have raised fears the war-weary nation now faces the prospect of an eruption of Iraq-style sectarian violence. The Afghan Taliban has denied responsibility for the blasts in Kabuland the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, and leading Shiites inAfghanistan have pointed the finger…

Pakistan president suffers minor heart attack

Pakistan’s embattled President Asif Ali Zardari will remain in hospital in Dubai until further notice after suffering a minor heart attack and undergoing an operation, officials said on Wednesday. The unpopular 56-year-old head of state flew to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday after falling ill in the midst of a major scandal over…

Syria’s Assad denies orders to kill

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied ordering the killing of thousands of protesters and said “only a crazy person” would target his own people, in a rare US interview released Wednesday. Speaking to ABC News, Assad brushed off widening international sanctions and questioned the UN death toll of more than 4,000 since the eruption of…

Rome takes down unpopular Christmas tree

ROME — Rome city council took down a giant white papier-mache Christmas tree Tuesday, just one day after putting it up on a main square, following a storm of protests, officials said. “I don’t like it,” mayor Gianni Alemanno said of the conical structure more reminiscent of the Egyptian obelisks…

U.S. opens ‘virtual embassy’ to enter Iran

WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday opened a virtual online embassy to reach out to Iranians despite the absence of official ties, vowing to break through the Islamic regime’s “electronic curtain.” Iranian authorities have already voiced anger over the virtual embassy, accusing the United States of seeking to interfere…

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