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U.S. intelligence: Future shortages will lead to ‘water as a weapon’

The world may see the failure of key states and even regional wars dotting the globe, all over one thing that’s seemingly ubiquitous today in most industrialized societies: water. A report (PDF) by the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, released Thursday but originally prepared for U.S. Secretary of State Hillary…

Sweden’s Bildt warns against ‘blowing up’ talks with Iran

Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, hailing plans to resume talks between global powers and Iran on its suspect nuclear drive, warned Friday against a “blow up” of the negotiations. “We’re looking foward to a resumption of the dialogue,” Bildt said when asked for comment on a recent agreement to restart…

AIDS orphanage revives Swazi ghost town

Lost in the mountains of Swaziland, Bulembu became a ghost town when the local mine closed, cutting off its lifeblood. Now the town is coming back, centred on an orphanage taking in children whose parents have often died of AIDS. “The babies are abandoned, maybe put in a plastic bag…

UK’s Cameron to bring in minimum price for alcohol

UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced that the government will introduce a minimum price per unit of alcohol in England and Wales to tackle binge-drinking. Cameron said a minimum price of around 40 pence ($0.60, 0.50 euros) per unit would help stop the “scourge of violence” caused by rowdy revellers…

Japan prepares defenses against N. Korean rocket

Japan on Friday readied its missile defence systems to shoot down a North Korean rocket if it threatens the country, as the UN chief warned that next month’s launch could jeopardise food aid. “I have ordered officials to prepare to deploy the PAC-3 and Aegis warships,” Japan’s Defence Minister Naoki…

New Zealand police seize marijuana vending machine

WELLINGTON — New Zealand police said Friday that they seized a marijuana vending machine during a raid on a “cannabis club” in Auckland which campaigns for the drug’s legalisation. The vending machine at The Daktory in suburban New Lynn had been set up to dispense one gram (0.035 ounce) bags…

Nuclear watchdog chief accused of pro-western bias over Iran

Former senior officials warn of parallels between IAEA approach to Iran and mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog at the heart of the growing Iranian crisis, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-western…

300,000 Quebec students protest tuition hike

MONTREAL — Tens of thousands of students protested Thursday against a 75 percent tuition hike at universities in Canada’s mostly French-speaking Quebec province, bringing downtown Montreal to a standstill. “We want to study, not go into debt,” shouted the demonstrators, who converged on the metropolis from across the province, packing…

Protesting natives shut down Ecuador capital

QUITO — Protesting natives supported by opponents of President Rafael Correa brought Ecuador’s capital to a standstill Thursday, demanding an end to policies they say will open the Amazon rainforest to vast mining projects and ravage the environment. Protests were prompted partly by a recent agreement between Ecuador and China…

UNESCO addresses ‘safety crisis’ of journalists covering war

A crucial discussion will take place in Paris today about how best to protect journalists from being murdered. Most importantly, it will touch on the sensitive issue of impunity – the failure of authorities to investigate the killing of journalists, which is seen as an encouragement to murderers. The meeting…

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