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EU concerned about latest Gaza violence

The European Union on Saturday expressed concern at the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in three years which left 14 Palestinians dead, calling on both sides to restore calm. A statement from EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the bloc “is following with concern the recent escalation of violence in Gaza…

Shimon Peres wants to be your Facebook friend …’for peace’

Jews are the people of the Book but also the “people of the Facebook,” Israeli President Shimon Peres joked about his flashy new page — complete with electro-pop video — on the site. “You have to speak the language of the young people,” the 88-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner laughed,…

Protests as Strauss-Kahn speaks at Cambridge University

Scuffles broke out Friday at Cambridge University as about 200 protesters demonstrated against a speech by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief accused of sexual assault. Angry students shouted “DSK, go away” and “shame on you” outside the debating society building where he made an address on the global economy,…

Japanese cabinet was warned of Fukishima meltown

Top Japanese cabinet ministers were warned of possible nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima hours after the tsunami hit last March, government papers have revealed, despite repeatedly denying the risk in public. A summary of a government meeting held about four hours after a giant earthquake sent huge waves crashing into the…

Syria pounds protest city hours before Kofi Annan visit

Syrian troops heavily shelled the northwestern protest city of Idlib early Saturday, in an apparent prelude to a ground assault just hours before the scheduled arrival of international peace envoy Kofi Annan, a watchdog and an activist said. “It’s the heaviest bombardment since troop reinforcements were sent to Idlib earlier…

Moody’s declares Greece to be in default on its debt

WASHINGTON — Moody’s declared Greece in default on its debt Friday after Athens carved out a deal with private creditors for a bond exchange that will write off 107 billion euros ($140 billion) of its debt. Moody’s pointed out that even as 85.8 percent of the holders of Greek-law bonds…

‘Years’ for Japan communities to rebuild: Red Cross

Communities in Japan destroyed by the tsunami are years away from being righted, the Red Cross warned Friday, with many of the displaced stuck in temporary housing for a long time to come. “What has been achieved in a year is extraordinary,” Patrick Fuller, communications manager for the International Federation…

Saudi police break up protest at women’s campus: report

Saudi authorities have ordered a probe after more than 50 women students were hurt when security forces dispersed a campus protest this week, media and a local official said on Friday. On Wednesday members of the religious police and law enforcement officers used water cannons to break up a sit-in…

Russia opposes ‘unbalanced’ new UN draft on Syria

Russia said Friday it opposed an “unbalanced” UN draft resolution on the Syria crisis because it did not contain a call for a simultaneous halt in violence by the government and rebels. “We cannot agree with the draft resolution in the form it is being presented in today. The text…

China’s rights record worsened in 2011: group

China’s human rights record worsened in 2011, making it the most repressive year in a decade, after Beijing launched a crackdown following protests across the Arab world, a group said Friday. Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders said in its annual report on rights activists in China that 2011 was…

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