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Chinese dragon stamp ‘too fierce’ say web users

A Chinese postage stamp depicting a dragon with its fangs and claws bared has drawn sharp criticism on the nation’s microblogs, with many saying it puts too frightening a face on their rising country. The commemorative stamp went on sale Thursday ahead of the new Chinese year of the dragon,…

Rockets hit Green Zone as Iraq marks Army Day

Rockets were fired against Baghdad’s Green Zone as Iraq’s military marked its anniversary with a parade Friday, a day after the country suffered its worst attacks since August and weeks after US troops left. Further violence against Shiite pilgrims, who were the targets of Thursday’s bombings, killed two people, the…

Vienna taxi drivers under surveillance

VIENNA — In “The Third Man”, the 1949 film classic, a taxi hurtles hero Holly Martins through the bombed-out streets of Vienna, the surly driver screeching around corners with no regard for his passenger. Fast-forward to 2012 and the World War II bomb damage may be gone from the Austrian…

Canada to deport man linked to Rwanda genocide

MONTREAL — Canada has ordered a Rwandan refugee accused of inciting genocide to be deported next week, but his lawyer vowed on Thursday to continue a 17-year legal battle to quash his expulsion. Leon Mugesera, now in his late 50s, was informed last month by Canadian authorities that he must…

BlackBerry messages help crack Canada mafia murder

MONTREAL — Canadian police used the BlackBerry messages of suspects in the assassination of a New York mafia boss to crack the case, a Montreal-based newspaper reported Thursday, citing “several sources.” Five suspects in the killing of mobster Salvatore Montagna, who was gunned down in November and had criminal links…

Egypt prosecutor demands death sentence for Mubarak

CAIRO — The prosecution in Hosni Mubarak’s trial delivered an emotional appeal to the court on Thursday to sentence the fallen Egyptian dictator to hang for the killings of protesters during the revolt that overthrew him. Wrapping up their closing arguments, prosecutors said Mubarak, who lay on a stretcher in…

U.S. urges ‘responsible’ handover of Afghan prison

WASHINGTON — The United States said Thursday the transfer of a US military prison to Afghan control should be handled in a “responsible” way, after Afghan President Hamid Karzai ordered that the handover take place in a month. “We have been working… for some time with the Afghan government on…

Next Israel-Palestinian talks on Monday

WASHINGTON — The next direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians will take place in Jordan on Monday, the US State Department said. “The next meeting is now on Monday the 9th,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Thursday, confirming they will take place in the Jordanian capital Amman,…

Leak reveals U.S. threat moved Spain to implement anti-piracy law

Much as U.S. officials leaned on France to pass an Internet disconnection law for repeated copyright offenders, so too was Spain threatened with repercussions if their lawmakers did not pass a strict new anti-piracy law, according to a leaked U.S. diplomat’s letter obtained by Spanish newspaper El Pais. Dated Dec.…

Fistfight in Somali parliament over speaker election

Fistfights erupted in Somalia’s parliament late Wednesday as lawmakers elected a new speaker in a move condemned by the troubled nation’s president as “null and void”. Several supporters of Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan — sacked as speaker in a controversial move last month by 280 MPs — were injured in…

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