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Iran’s morality censor bans ‘The Simpsons’ dolls

Small, plastic figures portraying characters from the long-running Fox sitcom “The Simpsons” are officially verboten in the nation of Iran, after a religious censor this week deemed them to be tools of Western propaganda. “We do not want to promote this cartoon by importing the toys,” an official with Iran’s…

U.S. closes Syria embassy, pulls out all staff

The United States closed its embassy in Syria and pulled out remaining staff on Monday over serious security concerns as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime intensified its bloody crackdown. US President Barack Obama stressed it was important to resolve the ongoing conflict diplomatically, framing it as very different from the situation…

25 killed in Syria as troops pound Homs

Syrian forces on Monday pounded the powderkeg city of Homs with rockets and mortars, killing 25 people and wounding scores amid outrage over a Russia-China veto of a UN resolution to stop the violence. In Homs, upwards of 17 civilians were killed and dozens wounded as security forces renewed their…

Shaken by rallies, Putin says Russian society maturing

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, facing an outburst of protest against his rule, called Monday for an update of Russia’s political system in response to what he said was a maturing civil society. “We need to create a political system where people can and must speak the truth,” Putin said in…

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II marks 60 years on throne

Queen Elizabeth II renewed her vow to serve on Monday as she made a deliberately low-key start to five months of diamond jubilee celebrations marking her 60 years on the throne. Six decades since the sudden death of her father King George VI on February 1952 made the young princess…

Oil may hit $160 amid tension: Kuwait official

Oil prices could soar to as high as $160 a barrel if tension over an Iranian oil embargo persists or in the event of conflict, a top Kuwaiti oil executive said in remarks published on Monday. “If the embargo on Iranian oil persists, or in case of a military move…

China rejects U.S. accusations it protects Syrian regime

China Monday rejected US accusations that Beijing and Moscow were responsible for protecting the Syrian regime, after they vetoed a UN resolution condemning Damascus for its crackdown on protests. “China does not accept the accusations” of the United States on the Syrian veto, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters.…

Panama ex-dictator Noriega suffers possible stroke

Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega was taken from his prison cell to a public hospital for treatment following a possible stroke, officials said. The 77-year-old Noriega was taken to the Hospital Santo Tomas after suffering “hypertension with a possibility of a stroke,” national police said in a statement that did…

Record floods in Australia force mass evacuation

Flood waters rose Monday in parts of Queensland as the Australian state raced to complete the largest evacuation in its history with police boosting their presence to prevent looting. Thousands of Australians have been forced to abandon their homes as a record deluge sweeps through areas still reeling from last…

Obama says U.S. working ‘in lockstep’ with Israel on Iran

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Sunday sought to reassure Americans over the threat posed by Iran, saying the United States was working “in lockstep” with Israel to bring Tehran to heel over its suspect nuclear program. Obama said the Islamic republic was “feeling the pinch” of ever tougher sanctions…

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