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Far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélenchon calls for a ‘civic insurrection’ in France

Leader of Leftist Front makes gains in French presidential race but François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy still likely to top polls. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the charismatic far-left firebrand whose anti-capitalist stance has seen him rise sharply in the French presidential polls, on Sunday told a vast Paris street rally that France…

India called major factor in 25% growth in global arms trade

The global arms trade has grown by nearly a quarter over the last four years, with new growth mainly in poorer countries and India now officially the world’s biggest importer of arms, research has revealed. Statistics published on Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute show that demand from…

East German rights activist Gauck elected president

BERLIN — Activist pastor Joachim Gauck became German president by an overwhelming majority Sunday, marking the first time a candidate from the former communist east will serve as head of state. Gauck claimed 991 votes out of 1,232 from a special assembly of MPs and other dignitaries, parliamentary speaker Norbert…

Tens of thousands march for leftist French candidate

PARIS — Tens of thousands marched in Paris on Sunday to support firebrand leftist presidential candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has shaken up France’s election campaign with a surprise jump in the polls. Melenchon of the Left Front, who represents a coalition of leftist parties including the Communists, has emerged as…

Iran ‘will not give up nuclear advances’

TEHRAN — Iran will make absolutely no concessions on its nuclear programme, a key lawmaker declared on Sunday amid high geopolitical tensions and ahead of mooted talks with world powers. “The parliament will never allow the government to go back even one step in its nuclear policy,” Aladin Borujerdi, the…

Anti-Putin protest swarms iconic Moscow TV tower

MOSCOW — Riot police detained dozens of protesters on Sunday who picketed Moscow’s iconic television tower after footage purporting to show people being paid to rally against Vladimir Putin was aired nationally. An AFP correspondent saw organisers Boris Nemtsov and Sergei Udaltsov being led away with about 30 others sporting…

Tibetan immolation prompts big gathering: groups

BEIJING — A Tibetan father-of-three set himself on fire in China, prompting a large gathering of monks and lay people, rights groups said, as tensions in Tibetan-inhabited areas show no signs of abating. Sonam Dargye, 43, died after setting himself on fire Saturday in Tongren in the northwestern province of…

Israeli troops wound boy in Gaza

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Israeli troops wounded a six-year-old Palestinian boy on Sunday when they opened fire east of the town of Rafah, in southern Gaza, Palestinian medical sources said. “A six-year-old Palestinian child was wounded by Israeli army gunfire near the Kerem Shalom crossing, east of Rafah, in…

IMF chief cautiously upbeat on global economy

IMF chief Christine Lagarde said measures taken to fight financial woes in Europe and the United States were starting to pay off, in a cautiously upbeat assessment of the global economy. Lagarde was in Beijing for a two-day trip to attend a forum on China’s development and hold meetings with…

Mossad ‘agrees with U.S.’ on Iran nuclear goals

Israel’s intelligence service Mossad agrees with US assessments there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb, even though Israeli leaders have talked about Tehran’s plans to acquire nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported. “Their people ask very hard questions, but Mossad does not…

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