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Afghanistan says needs billions long after troops go

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s international backers must not cut funding to Kabul to the degree that it forces the government to choose between spending less on security or development, the finance minister said on Saturday. A World Bank study released last month said Afghanistan was likely to need around $7…

Rise in Asian women trafficked into China

An increasing number of women from Southeast Asia are being smuggled into China and sold into marriage or forced to work as prostitutes, according to a state media report. “The number of foreign women trafficked to China is definitely rising,” the report in the China Daily quoted Chen Shiqu, director…

Australia’s ruling Labor Party backs gay marriage

Australia’s ruling Labor Party agreed to support gay marriage, but consented to lawmakers voting with their conscience on the issue should a same-sex marriage bill come to parliament. After passionate and emotional speeches from both sides of the debate at the Australian Labor Party conference in Sydney on Saturday, delegates…

U.S. tells Israel it must end its ‘isolation’ in the region

WASHINGTON — US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday that Israel must work to end its increasing “isolation” in the region by repairing diplomatic ties with Egypt and Turkey and renewing peace efforts with the Palestinians. “Unfortunately, over the past year, we’ve seen Israel’s isolation from its traditional security partners…

China death not linked to ‘product quality,’ Coke insists

Coca-Cola said Friday there was no “product quality issue” with its Pulpy Milky drinks, after a boy who had consumed the product died and three others fell ill. Stores around the country pulled bottles of the fruit-flavoured milk drink from their shelves after a boy died and his mother fell into a…

Geithner to visit Europe for debt crisis talks

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will travel to Europenext week for talks with authorities focused on fighting theeurozone debt crisis, the Treasury Department said Friday. Geithner “will travel to Europe December 6-8, 2011, for discussions with his counterparts on their efforts to reinforce the institutions of the euro area,” the department said in…

New Americas summit dominated by criticism of U.S.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez opened a summit Friday for a new Americas bloc that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega called a “death sentence’ to US interference in Latin America. Latin American and Caribbean leaders gathered at a military fort for the two day meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), an alliance of 33 countries that excludes the…

A dozen heads of state to attend UN climate talks

Twelve heads of government and state have said they will participate in UN climate talks in Durban, South Africa, UN climate chief Christiana Figueres said on Friday. About 130 ministers will also descend on the coastal city for negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), she said at a press conference. African leaders from…

Iraq blast was assassination attempt says official

Iraqi Major General Qassim Atta on Friday said an explosion near parliament was a botched attempt to kill the prime minister, after an official termed it an attempt on the parliament speaker’s life. At least one person was killed and two wounded in the blast near theIraqi parliament building on Monday, the…

Iranian diplomats leave Britain after protest violence

Diplomats at the Iranian embassy in London left Britain on Friday after being expelled following the storming of the British embassy in Tehran, the Foreign Office said. “I can confirm that, earlier this afternoon, all diplomatic staff of theIranian embassy in London took off from Heathrow airport,” said a spokesman. “They are returning to Iran in…

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