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Pope wants to see Fidel Castro on Cuba trip: source

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict wants to see Fidel Castro on his trip to Cuba next month but the meeting will depend on the health of the communist country’s revolutionary leader, a senior Vatican official told Reuters on Saturday. The official, speaking of the sidelines of a ceremony after…

Syria forces fire on funeral, China urges bloodshed end

Security forces shot dead a mourner at a huge funeral on Saturday for demonstrators killed in rare protests in the Syrian capital, as a senior Chinese envoy issued a plea for the bloodshed to end. The Damascus funerals were for four people, two of them teenagers, killed when security forces…

‘Nodding disease’ confounds experts, kills children

Patrick Anywar, 14, lies curled up naked in the dust and midday heat of a Ugandan village, struggling to look up at his younger brother and sister playing in front of the family home. After a minute’s effort to face his siblings, Anywar’s head slumps onto his chest and his…

Strauss-Kahn ‘to be quizzed on prostitution ring’

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is to be quizzed as a suspect about involvement in an alleged illegal prostitution ring, a source familiar with the case said Saturday. He has been summoned for questioning on Tuesday in connection with a police probe into the organisation of sex parties in restaurants…

Saudi official renews call for Taliban to renounce Al-Qaeda

A senior Saudi official on Saturday called on the Taliban to lay down their arms and renounce Al-Qaeda as preconditions for Saudi-mediated peace talks with the Afghan government. “Saudi Arabia’s conditions for mediation … are that the Taliban lay down their weapons, engage in the political process and renounce Al-Qaeda,”…

Rio awash with revelers for Carnival

The Rio Carnival came alive Saturday with hundreds of thousands of revelers in outlandish costumes pouring into the city center for a mammoth, samba-driven Brazilian street fest. Drawing huge crowds a day after legendary King Momo declared the Carnival officially open was the Cordao da Bola Preta, the official name…

Poachers slaughter hundreds of elephants in Cameroon

Poachers have slaughtered some 200 elephants in a national park in northern Cameroon, about a third of the population, and the massacre is still going on, according to a wildlife protection group. The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) said a gang of Sudanese poachers had killed the free roaming…

Pope creates 22 new cardinals

Pope Benedict XVI led a solemn ceremony in Saint Peter’s Basilica on Saturday to induct 22 new cardinals into the prestigious college that will one day elect his successor. The 84-year-old pope, who entered the vast basilica on a rolling platform wearing red and gold vestments, presented the new “princes…

Art exhibit of kinky nuns, tattooed Christ, sparks protests in Spain

Catholics and conservatives have denounced as blasphemous two recent exhibitions in Madrid featuring kinky nuns in lingerie and tattooed and near-naked Christs. Catholic group AES called a demonstration for Friday evening outside the Fresh Gallery in Madrid against its latest exhibition: “Obscenity”, a collection of photographs by Canadian artist Bruce…

Libya marks revolution day as leader issues warning

Libyans celebrated on Friday the first anniversary of the uprising against Moamer Kadhafi with fireworks and slogans, even as their new leader vowed to act firmly against further instability. Hundreds gathered in Tahrir (Liberation) Square in Benghazi, the city which first rose against Kadhafi and his 42-year regime, after traditional…

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