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Singapore anti-drugs chief under investigation

SINGAPORE — Singapore has placed the head of its Central Narcotics Bureau under investigation for “serious personal misconduct”, the government said Tuesday. The bureau is the lead agency in the fight against illegal narcotics in Singapore, where drug trafficking is punishable by death. The probe into Ng Boon Gay began…

Ultra-Orthodox Jews attack woman in Israeli town

JERUSALEM — A group of ultra-Orthodox men attacked a woman on Tuesday as she put up posters in an Israeli town that has become a flashpoint for tensions between religious and secular Jews, police said. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the incident occurred in Beit Shemesh, which lies 30 kilometres…

France rules out withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2012

PARIS — Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday that France would not give in to “panic” and pull its troops out of Afghanistan this year after four of its soldiers were killed there last week. “When I hear talk of an immediate withdrawal, such as at the end of 2012,…

Davos: World bosses gloomy about year ahead

DAVOS, Switzerland — Business leaders are gloomy about prospects for the world economy, according to a major survey of international chief executives released on the eve of the Davos forum. A survey of 1,258 bosses by accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, timed to coincide with the World Economic Forum of the global…

U.S. ‘seriously concerned’ about Tibet violence

WASHINGTON — The United States said Tuesday it was “seriously concerned” by reports of deadly clashes in Tibetan regions of China, where police are accused of opening fire on peaceful protesters. “We urge the Chinese government to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives as…

Iraq hits out at Turkey as ties worsen

BAGHDAD — Baghdad hit out on Tuesday at alleged Turkish provocations after Ankara said it would speak out if sectarian conflict erupted in Iraq, in a dramatic worsening of tensions between the two neighbours. Despite improving ties and increasing trade between the pair in recent years, the rhetoric between Iraqi…

U.S. praises Egypt’s decision to lift state of emergency

WASHINGTON — The United States Tuesday praised Egypt’s decision to lift a decades-old state of emergency and hand power to the parliament as “major steps toward the normalization of political life.” But Washington was still seeking clarification of “a little footnote” to the announcement by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi who…

Gulf states pull observers out of Syria

Gulf states on Tuesday followed Saudi Arabia’s lead in pulling their observers out of Syria, while urging the UN Security Council to pile pressure on Damascus to end its crackdown on dissent. “Gulf Cooperation Council states have decided to follow Saudi Arabia’s decision to pull out its observers from the Arab League mission in Syria,” the…

Hamas chief due in Jordan 12 years after expulsion

Khaled Meshaal, political chief of the Hamas movement that rules Gaza, is due in Jordan on Sunday on his first official visit since he was expelled in 1999, the government spokesman said. “Khaled Meshaal will visit Jordan on Sunday, along with the Crown Prince of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Tamim al-Thani,” Rakan Majali, who is…

French senate bans denial of Armenia genocide

PARIS — French senators have passed a bill outlawing the denial of the Armenian genocide in 1915, with a seething Turkey slamming the move and warning of consequences while Armenia hailed a day “written in gold.” The French Senate on Monday approved, by 127 votes to 86, the measure which…

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