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Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in China: groups

BEIJING — A teenage monk set himself on fire to protest China’s rule in the nation’s southwest, exile groups said Tuesday, as police in Washington arrested Tibet activists during a visit by China’s vice president. The 19-year-old Tibetan Buddhist monk, identified as Lobsang Gyatso, set himself ablaze on Monday in…

China defence budget to double over 5 years

SINGAPORE — China’s defence budget will double between 2011 and 2015 and outstrip the combined spending of all other key defence markets in the Asia-Pacific region, global research group IHS said on Tuesday. China’s defence budget stood at $119.8 billion last year and will rise to $238.2 billion in 2015,…

Nigerian Islamists threaten attack on telecom firms

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — A purported spokesman for Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists late Monday threatened the group would soon launch attacks on mobile telephone firms for their alleged complicity with security agents. In a phone conference with reporters in the northeastern city of Maiduguri, a man who claimed to be Boko…

Foreign tourists shrug off Mexico drug violence

Ignoring gruesome news stories of ongoing drug violence, Mexico for the third consecutive year saw an increase in foreign visitors, government tourism figures out Monday showed. Some 22.6 million foreigners visited Mexico in 2011, just slightly less than the record 23 million in 2008, the office of Tourism Secretary Gloria…

Senegal youth movement to occupy protest square

Senegal’s rapper-led youth movement “Fed Up” said Monday it has called for a permanent sit-in at Obelisk Square in Dakar against President Abdoulaye Wade’s highly disputed third term candidacy. “We have decided to continue our struggle against Wade’s candidacy. From Tuesday evening we will spend the night at Obelisk Square…

Google confirms Iran choked off Internet access ahead of elections

Search giant Google, Inc. confirmed Monday morning that its Gmail, YouTube and encrypted search services have been unavailable to Iranians since Feb. 10, the day that rumors began to circulate that the whole country had been taken offline. Shortly after Google’s confirmation Monday morning, The Associated Press began receiving reports…

NATO says found Afghan children dead after air strike

KABUL (Reuters) – NATO-led forces in Afghanistan said on Monday they found the bodies of dead children after a coalition air strikethat has enraged the Afghan government, and said their deaths may have been linked to an anti-insurgent operation in the area. The air strike took place last Wednesday near the village of…

UAE Islamic love guru urges women to enjoy sex

Emirati love guru Widad Lootah is not your typical marriage counsellor. She is an ultra-conservative Muslim who wears the full veil and talks a lot about sex, often quoting the Muslim holy book the Koran. On the eve of Valentine’s day, Lootah is calling on Muslim and Arab women everywhere to “embrace love and…

Syria resumes shelling after rejecting peace force

Regime forces resumed their assault on the Syrian protest city of Homs on Monday, activists said, after Damascus rejected an Arab plan to send a peacekeeping force to the unrest-hit country. Shortly before sunrise, the army launched mortars into Baba Amr, a rebel stronghold in the central city, as forces…

A year on, only brief home visits for Japan nuclear evacuees

OKUMA, Japan (Reuters) – Back home for just three hours, a tearful Miyoko Takeda sorted through her belongings. She left behind the kimonos she once wore as a traditional dancer, fearful they might be contaminated by radiation. Nearly a year has passed since a massive 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan,…

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