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‘Job creators’ in Spain offer land to cannabis growers

A Spanish village plans to rent out its fields for growing cannabis in an urgent bid to create jobs and money to pay off its debts, officials said. The Catalonian village of Rasquera, population 900, voted late Wednesday in favour of a plan to rent land to an association that…

China says manufacturing activity expands in Feb

China’s manufacturing activity expanded for the third straight month in February as export orders improved, official data showed Thursday, raising hopes the Asian giant was heading for a soft landing. The official purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 51 in February from 50.5 in January, with most sectors showing signs…

Syrian rebels ‘in tactical pull out of Baba Amr’

Syrian rebels “tactically” pulled out of the Homs neighbourhood of Baba Amr Thursday after nearly two days of an all-out assault by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, the head of the Free Syrian Army said. Rebels “have pulled out tactically in order to protect the remaining civilians,” Colonel Riyadh…

New Litvinenko suspect wanted in Britain

Britain has issued an international arrest warrant for a second Russian man suspected over the murder of ex-agent turned dissident Alexander Litvinenko in London, the suspect and security sources said Thursday. Britain has already demanded the extradition from Russia of former agent Andrei Lugovoi on suspicion of murdering Litvinenko in…

China backs US-N. Korea nuclear freeze deal

China Thursday welcomed North Korea’s agreement to freeze nuclear activities in return for massive US food aid, a deal that raised cautious hopes of eased tensions under Pyongyang’s new young leader. South Korea and Japan also hailed Pyongyang’s commitment to suspend its uranium enrichment programme along with nuclear and long-range…

Stricken Italian liner docks in Seychelles

Passengers on the crippled Italian liner Costa Allegra Thursday said they thought they would have to get into lifeboats and abandon ship in pirate-infested waters when it was disabled by fire. “When it all happened we were ready to get into the lifeboats. We thought the worst had happened,” said…

China welcomes North Korea nuclear moratorium

BEIJING — North Korea’s key ally China on Thursday welcomed Pyongyang’s announcement that it will suspend its nuclear tests and uranium enrichment programme in return for US food aid. The deal — which came less than three months after the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il — follows talks…

Number of poor people in developing countries dropped to record low levels: study

The number of poor people in developing countries dropped to record low levels between 2005 and 2008, the World Bank said in a report out Wednesday. “This across-the-board reduction… marks a first since the bank began monitoring extreme poverty,” the global institution said. The study, based on some 850 household…

Egypt to lift travel ban on Americans

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt has decided to lift a travel ban preventing American pro-democracy activists from leaving the country, judicial sources said on Wednesday, a move that is likely to defuse a standoff that has plunged U.S.-Egyptian ties into a crisis. It was not immediately clear when any of the…

N. Korea agrees to nuclear program halt

The United States said Wednesday that North Korea has agreed to halt its nuclear program and allow back UN inspectors, in a surprise breakthrough soon after the communist state’s veteran leader died. Welcoming the progress, President Barack Obama’s administration said it would move ahead on a long-mulled plan to deliver 240,000 metric tons of food aid to…

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