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Sweden’s Transtromer wins 2011 Nobel Literature prize

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s most famous living poet, Tomas Transtromer, won the Nobel prize for literature on Thursday, the first time in more than 30 years the award has gone to a native of the Nordic country. The Swedish Academy, which awards the prize of 10 million crowns ($1.45 million),…

Harvard toppled from top of worldwide rankings

LONDON — US and British institutions once again dominate an annual worldwide league table of universities published Thursday, but there is a fresh name at the top, unseating long-time leader Harvard. California Institute of Technology (Caltech) knocked the famous Massachusetts institution from the summit of the Times Higher Education (THE)…

U.S. vows to keep up pressure on Syria

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration vowed Wednesday to keep up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime’s, a day after China and Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution against it. “The US will continue to work with as many countries as we can to increase the pressure on…

20,000 demonstrate in Greece against austerity

More than 20,000 public sector workers demonstrated in Athens Wednesday in a strike against deeper austerity cuts that shut down courts, schools and transport, including air traffic. Police used tear gas to clear some of the protesters, who included a 500-strong anarchist group, from central Syntagma Square opposite parliament, an…

Palestine state quest wins first victory in UNESCO vote

Palestine won a first diplomatic victory in its quest for statehood on Wednesday when the UNESCO executive committee backed its bid to become a member of the cultural body with the rights of a state. Palestine’s Arab allies braved intense US and French diplomatic pressure to bring the motion before…

Merkel tells Europe to prop up its banks

Germany urged Europe Wednesday to recapitalise its banks where necessary to prevent the eurozone debt crisis from spreading as the IMF warned the EU to get its act together and head off recession. As Greek police tear-gassed protesters in the latest strike over ever-deeper austerity measures, Chancellor Angela Merkel said…

British minister criticizes Blair over role in mideast

British Defence Secretary Liam Fox has questioned the qualifications of Middle East envoy Tony Blair, who is already facing criticism from the Palestinians over his peace role. Fox spoke at a fringe event at the governing Conservative party conference late Tuesday, ahead of a meeting of the members of the…

Eurozone economy ‘goes into reverse’

The eurozone economy flipped into reverse in September, falling to its worst level in more than two years, a closely-watched survey showed on Wednesday. Ahead of new growth figures expected to show the debt-laden currency area slipping towards recession, the final Eurozone Composite Output Index compiled by London-based researchers Markit…

Israel a nuclear threat to the Middle East: Turkish PM

Israel is a “threat” to its region because it owns nuclear weapons, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday. “I right now see Israel as a threat for its region, because it has the atomic bomb,” Erdogan said in a foreign policy speech during an official visit to…

China’s top newspaper slams U.S. currency bill

China’s top newspaper on Wednesday accused US lawmakers of “passing the buck” over America’s economic problems with a bill to punish Beijing for alleged currency manipulation. A commentary in the People’s Daily — viewed as the Communist Party mouthpiece – said the bill was an attempt by lawmakers to cover up their…

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