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U.S. praises Egypt’s decision to lift state of emergency

WASHINGTON — The United States Tuesday praised Egypt’s decision to lift a decades-old state of emergency and hand power to the parliament as “major steps toward the normalization of political life.” But Washington was still seeking clarification of “a little footnote” to the announcement by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi who…

Gulf states pull observers out of Syria

Gulf states on Tuesday followed Saudi Arabia’s lead in pulling their observers out of Syria, while urging the UN Security Council to pile pressure on Damascus to end its crackdown on dissent. “Gulf Cooperation Council states have decided to follow Saudi Arabia’s decision to pull out its observers from the Arab League mission in Syria,” the…

Hamas chief due in Jordan 12 years after expulsion

Khaled Meshaal, political chief of the Hamas movement that rules Gaza, is due in Jordan on Sunday on his first official visit since he was expelled in 1999, the government spokesman said. “Khaled Meshaal will visit Jordan on Sunday, along with the Crown Prince of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Tamim al-Thani,” Rakan Majali, who is…

French senate bans denial of Armenia genocide

PARIS — French senators have passed a bill outlawing the denial of the Armenian genocide in 1915, with a seething Turkey slamming the move and warning of consequences while Armenia hailed a day “written in gold.” The French Senate on Monday approved, by 127 votes to 86, the measure which…

Thousands to attend anti-capitalist forum in Brazil

BRASILIA — Tens of thousands of anti-capitalist militants, including members of Spain’s “Indignant” movement and the US Occupy Wall Street, are due to attend the World Social Forum, which opens Tuesday in Brazil. The forum is an alliance of social movements opposed to the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering…

U.S. flouts law at Guantanamo, despite Obama vow: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United States is still flouting international law at Guantanamo Bay, despite President Barack Obama’s election pledge to shut the facility, the United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay said on Monday. “It is ten years since the U.S. Government opened the prison at Guantanamo, and now…

Egypt army hands legislative power to new parliament

CAIRO, Egypt — Egypt’s ruling military Monday handed legislative powers to the new Islamist-dominated lower house of parliament, which convened for the first time since a popular uprising ousted Hosni Mubarak. “Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, has announced in a letter…

German city says ‘sex meter’ a success

BERLIN — A German city that introduced a surcharge on street prostitutes via kerb-side meters said Monday the programme had been a success and would continue. The Bonn government said a “sex tax” covering levies on sauna clubs, “erotic centres” and automated pay stations similar to parking meters that were…

Poland aims to boost tourism at Hitler’s WWII lair

Polish authorities said Monday they plan to boost tourism at Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler’s “Wolfsschanze” (Wolf’s Lair), which ended up on their territory after post-war border changes. Artur Kurek, a senior official of the Polish forestry office, told AFP it would invite tenders to run the 250-hectare (618-acre) site…

EU slaps oil embargo on Iran

The EU agreed an embargo on Iran’s oil exports Monday as well as financial sanctions as the West ramped up pressure on Tehran’s suspect nuclear drive to press it to return to the negotiating table. “This is an important decision. It will be a major strengthening of the sanctions applied on Iran,”…

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