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Karzai invites Taliban leaders for direct talks

KABUL — Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday invited the Taliban for direct talks with his government, while urging Pakistan to facilitate negotiation efforts towards ending Afghanistan’s decade-long war. “In order to realise the objectives of the peace process, I invite the leadership of the Taliban to engage in direct…

Syria forces ‘kill 58 civilians,’ Red Cross calls for truce

DAMASCUS — Syrian forces killed 58 civilians Tuesday as they blitzed the city of Homs and a village in Idlib province, monitors said, as the Red Cross sought a truce to deliver aid and the UN demanded access for humanitarian workers. The latest killings came as Russia, a key ally…

‘Miss’ officially banned in France

PARIS — “Miss” is officially out in France. The office of French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday the term would be struck from official documents, along with that of “maiden name” or “married name” for women. The prime minister’s office said it would be writing to all ministries and…

Eurozone opts to keep Greece under umbrella

Europe opted on Tuesday to keep Greece in the eurozone, agreeing a huge financial lifeline worth 237 billion euros but demandingAthens meet a long list of conditions first. The decision, reached after a marathon 13 hours of negotiations with private creditors and the International Monetary Fund, should avert a messy bankruptcy, but leaves…

Philippines captures militant wanted for beheadings

An Islamic militant accused of beheading Philippine soldiers and a host of other attacks was arrested on Tuesday after he was taken by surprise in his remote island hideout, authorities said. Security forces captured Abdulpattah Ismael, a member of the Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, in a raid on a village on the strife-torn…

Strauss-Kahn detained over vice ring

French police detained former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahnfor questioning on Tuesday over allegations he took part in orgies in Paris and Washington paid for by a pair of businessmen. The 62-year-old former Socialist minister, who until last year was seen as the frontrunner to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France, had been due to…

Afghan protests erupt over rumor of NATO troops burning the Koran

Afghan protesters firing slingshots and petrol bombs besieged the largest US-run military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, furious over reports that NATO troops had set fire to copies of the Koran. Guards at Bagram airbase, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Kabul, responded by firing rubber bullets from a…

Riot police beat students in Spain protest: witnesses

VALENCIA, Spain — Baton-wielding riot police charged, beat and arrested several demonstrators at a student protest against spending cuts in the Spanish city of Valencia on Monday, reporters at the scene said. The clashes broke out in the mid-afternoon after students protesting against education budget cuts, which they say have…

Canada threatens trade war with EU over oil sands

MONTREAL — Canada has threatened to lodge a World Trade Organization complaint against the European Union if the bloc labels oil from Alberta’s tar sands as highly polluting, documents published Monday show. Environmental group Friends of the Earth Europe obtained a copy of a letter sent in December by Canada’s…

Red Cross calls for halt to Syrian violence to deliver humanitarian aid

The Red Cross said Monday it was in talks with the Syrian authorities and rebels to halt the violence so that it can deliver aid, amid calls to allow women and children out of the besieged city of Homs. President Bashar al-Assad, meanwhile, again accused foreigners of funding and arming…

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