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Putin warns against ‘truly catastrophic’ attack on Iran

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Russia is concerned about the “growing threat” of an attack on Iran over its nuclear program, warning that the consequences would be “truly catastrophic.” In an article on foreign policy for publication on Monday, six days before a March 4 presidential election…

Colombia’s FARC promises to free all hostages

BOGOTA — Colombia’s FARC rebels pledged Sunday to end decades of kidnapping civilians, a historic shift for Latin America’s longest-fighting leftist guerrillas, who also vowed to release remaining police and military hostages. While dramatic in tone, the FARC promise did not include a potential cessation of hostilities, which the government…

Afghan president calls for calm over Koran-burning

KABUL — Afghan President Hamid Karzai went on television Sunday to appeal for calm after five days of violent anti-US protests across his country over the burning of Korans at a US military base. Karzai “condemned with the strongest words” the treatment of Islam’s holy book and said the perpetrators…

Nigeria suicide attack targets church service

LAGOS — A suicide bomber smashed his explosives-laden car through the gates of a packed church during Sunday service in Jos, central Nigeria, killing three people and injuring dozens, church leaders said. Witnesses said a black car crashed through the gate of a perimeter fence and exploded a few metres…

Anti-Putin human chain protest hits Moscow

MOSCOW — Thousands of Russians linked hands around Moscow on Sunday in a protest against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s expected return to the Kremlin for a third term in elections next weekend. A din of endless honking descended on Moscow’s 16-kilometre (10-mile) Garden Ring Road as drivers expressed support for…

BRICS call for open selection of next World Bank chief

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A meeting of BRICS major emerging countries discussed the selection process of the next head of the World Bank and emphasized it should be open to all countries, rejecting the tradition that the job automatically goes to an American, a senior BRIC official said on Saturday.…

American democracy activists to go on trial in Egypt

CAIRO (Reuters) – Dozens of democracy activists including 16 Americans go on trial in Egypt Sunday in a politically charged case which has set off a crisis in relations between Cairo and Washington and threatened $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid. Forty-three foreign and Egyptian non-profit workers – including…

UK government under fire over ‘slave labor’ job scheme

The government was accused this week of introducing “slave labour” through a scheme that can see unemployed youngsters lose their benefits if they quit a work experience placement. The ten-month-old voluntary programme, part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s welfare reforms, is intended to help the record number of jobless youths…

Panic after powerful quake rocks Taiwan

TAIPEI — A shallow 5.9-magnitude earthquake sent panicked people fleeing onto the streets in Taiwan’s second-largest city of Kaohsiung as rail services were temporarily suspended. The quake struck 57 kilometres (35 miles) east of the city at 10:34 am (0234 GMT) on Sunday, at a depth of just four kilometres,…

ICRC fails to evacuate wounded journalists from Homs

The Red Cross Saturday failed to agree a deal to evacuate wounded Syrians and Western journalists from battered Homs city as regime forces killed dozens more civilians on the eve of a constitutional referendum. President Bashar al-Assad’s forces resumed shelling the Baba Amr district of Homs after an apparent pause…

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