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Rumsfeld urges Taiwan to clarify defense needs

TAIPEI — Former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld insisted on Tuesday that further United States arms sales to Taiwan were needed as China continued with its ambitious military modernisation plans. Rumsfeld, who considers himself “a longtime friend of Taiwan”, urged the island to keep seeking weapons from the US, and…

Nazi-looted painting found in Swiss museum

GENEVA — A painting looted from a Berlin Jewish family by Nazis has been found by US authorities at the Kunsthaus museum in Zurich, museum officials said Tuesday. Confirming a report by local media, the museum said that the painting was an 1887 portrait called Madame La Suire by Swiss…

Egypt’s deputy premier quits over deadly clashes

Egypt’s deputy prime minister resigned on Tuesday over clashes that killed 25 people, mainly Coptic Christians, amid mounting anger at the ruling military and calls for the premier to quit. Hazem al-Beblawi announced his resignation, saying that despite having no direct involvement in the clashes, the government ultimately bore responsibility…

OPEC cuts forecasts on weak global economy

The OPEC oil cartel cut its world demand forecasts for 2011 and 2012 for the third time in a row Tuesday, citing uncertainty in theglobal economy and weaker demand from China and India. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries reduced its 2011 estimate to 87.81 million barrels per day (bpd), although…

EU says eurozone needs ‘permanent’ austerity

The EU warned Tuesday that the eurozone requires permanent tough austerity measures if it is to cope with public debt set to crash through the 100-percent-of-GDP barrier and keep rising for many years. With an ageing population piling up social security and pension costs, the European Commission says a radical long-term correction is required to put public debt throughout the…

Israel ‘to legalize outposts on private Palestinian land’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking ways to legalise unauthorised settlement outposts built on privatePalestinian land, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Tuesday. According to the paper, Netanyahu told ministers from his rightwing Likud party on Sunday that he would order Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to set up a task force to…

Iranian president criticizes student’s flogging

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke out Tuesday against the weekend flogging of a student convicted of insulting him, saying other, more powerful people criticised him with impunity, the presidency website said. “Since influential people can freely defame us, I disapprove of flogging a young man for insulting the president,” Ahmadinejad said…

Afghanistan opium production set to rise 61%: UN

Opium production in Afghanistan is set to rise by nearly two-thirds this year, with farmers’ revenues from the crop set to soar compared to last year’s disease-hit harvest, the UN said Tuesday. Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world’s illegal opiates from its mammoth crop that continues despite…

Mexico on high alert for Hurricane Jova

Mexican authorities have placed four southern coastal states on high alert ahead of Tuesday’s expected arrival of Jova, a major hurricane barreling in from the Pacific. The Miami-based US National Hurricane Center said in a 0300 GMT bulletin that Jova was packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers (120 miles)…

Fungus could wipe out Philippine bananas

A disease that has ravaged banana plantations across Southeast Asia could wipe out the Philippine industry in three years unless the government finds a cure, a growers’ group warned Monday. The disease, called Fusarium wilt, is caused by a fast-spreading fungus that kills the plant, said Stephen Antig, executive director…

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