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Meet the heroes of India’s quest to wipe out polio

Later this month, India will be removed from a dwindling list of countries where polio is considered endemic, a huge achievement made possible by people like Madara, a 76-year-old street hawker. At a temporary immunisation camp in a slum in the northern district of Ghaziabad, 23 kilometres (14 miles) from…

Africa losing out on billions in trade: World Bank

Africa is losing out on billions of dollars in potential earnings every year because of high trade barriers on the continent, the World Bank said Tuesday. “It is easier for Africa to trade with the rest of the world than with itself,” the World Bank said in releasing a new…

Drug gang warnings ahead of pope visit to Mexico

A drug gang warned its rivals to keep the peace during a papal visit to Mexico next month in banners hung around the central state of Guanajuato which Pope Benedict XVI is due to visit. The warnings, signed by the the Knights Templar gang, were quickly removed Tuesday and came…

U.S. to downsize Iraq embassy

The United States said Tuesday that it planned to downsize its embassy in Iraq, the largest US diplomatic mission in the world, in hopes of saving money after the end of the war. The New York Times, quoting unnamed officials, said the United States would slash the 16,000-strong staff by…

Uganda bill punishes homosexuality with life in prison

A Ugandan member of parliament has reintroduced a bill that increases criminal penalties for some homosexual acts, but dropped a provision that allows homosexuals to be executed by the state. Parliamentarian David Bahati on Tuesday reintroduced the so-called “kill the gays” bill that he had first introduced in 2009. It…

Gay pageant sparks breakthrough, backlash in Namibia

When Wendelinus Hamutenya told his father that he was gay, the then 18-year-old was packed off to the psychiatric ward of theWindhoek Central Hospital. Seven years later, he’s the country’s most visible gay man, after winning the inaugural “Mr Gay Namibia” pageant — which will make him the first black African to…

Orangutan ‘exterminators’ on trial in Indonesia

Three Indonesians and a Malaysian went on trial Tuesday for killing endangered orangutans and other protected primates as a means of pest control at a palm oil plantation on Borneo island. Prosecutors said the plantation manager, Malaysian national Phuah Chuan Hun, and his employee Widiantoro paid two men between 2009 and 2010…

‘God help us’: appeal from Syria’s Homs

BEIRUT — Residents of Homs on Monday described scenes of panic and carnage in the city of central Syria undergoing a fierce assault by government troops, urging outside powers to intervene to halt the bloodshed. “What is happening is indescribable,” said Wael, a resident reached by telephone. “Security forces have…

Romania prime minister resigns, spy chief takes over

BUCHAREST — Romania’s spy chief was appointed prime minister on Monday after the centre-right government resigned following wide protests over austerity cuts. “The ruling coalition agreed to appoint Mihai Razvan Ungureanu as prime minister designate”, president Traian Basescu Basescu said in a public address. Ungureanu now has 10 days to…

U.S. says Palestinian deal ‘internal’ matter

WASHINGTON — The United States Monday remained on the sidelines over a deal signed between Hamas and Fatah to end a long-running discord between rival Palestinian movements, saying it was an internal affair. “As we’ve said many times, questions of Palestinian reconciliation are an internal matter for Palestinians,” said US…

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