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Kim Jong-Il’s last ‘loving’ gift to the people — fish

Kim Jong-Il’s “loving care” for the North Korean people lingers even beyond his death, with residents in the capital enjoying a special treat of fresh fish, official media reported Saturday. The late leader took steps on the eve of his demise to supply the rare luxury, and his son and…

Kim Jong-Il’s son hailed as ‘supreme commander’

North Korea’s ruling party Saturday hailed the son of late leader Kim Jong-Il as “supreme commander” of the military, in the latest sign that the untested successor is tightening his grip on power. Experts said the move indicated that Pyongyang would maintain its Songun (military-first) policy, blamed for the deaths…

Queen visits Prince Philip after his heart surgery

Prince Philip received bedside visits from the Queen and Prince Charles on Saturday as he recovered from heart surgery in hospital. Buckingham Palace said 90-year-old Philip spent a “good night” at Papworth hospital in Cambridge, eastern England after he was rushed there from the Sandringham estate where the royals are…

Activists send winter socks to North Korea

Activists in South Korea on Saturday sent winter socks carried by gas-filled balloons across the border to the impoverished North, where they can easily be exchanged for food. One pair of socks is thought to fetch about 22 pounds (10 kilos) of corn — enough to sustain a person for…

Cuba to pardon nearly 3,000 prisoners

Cuban President Raul Castro has unveiled plans to pardon some 3,000 prisoners for “humanitarian reasons,” a group amnesty of unprecedented size, and “gradually” reform onerous laws restricting foreign travel. The pardons include 86 foreign nationals from 25 countries, and will take place “in the coming days,” Castro said in a…

Tens of thousands challenge Putin in Russia protest

Tens of thousands of people on Saturday filled an avenue in Moscow to protest against the alleged rigging of parliamentary polls in a new challenge to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s authority. Clutching white balloons and banners with the slogan “For Free Elections”, the protesters thronged Sakharov Avenue in Moscow, symbolically…

Duke of Edinburgh undergoes heart surgery

LONDON — The Duke of Edinburgh, the 90-year-old husband of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, underwent successful heart surgery Friday after suffering a blocked artery, Buckingham Palace said. The duke underwent an “invasive procedure of coronary stenting” after being taken to hospital with chest pains, the palace confirmed. Copyright © 2011…

US pledges commitment to working out tensions with Pakistan

WASHINGTON — The United States said Friday that it was committed to working with Pakistan and pledged support for democracy, amid friction between the war partners and a political showdown in Islamabad. “The issues that we face — the challenges we face — are too important,” State Department spokesman Mark…

Judge tells Occupy London no eviction for now

LONDON — Anti-capitalist protesters camped outside London’s St Paul’s Cathedral will spend Christmas under canvas after a judge hearing the case for their removal said he would not reach a verdict until next year. The City of London Corporation — the local authority in London’s financial district — urged judge…

S. America weighs next moves over breast implants

South American health authorities weighed their next moves Friday after France recommended that 30,000 women with implants from troubled French firm PIP have them removed. Tens of thousands of women in over 65 countries around the world have the same implants, made from industrial rather than medical quality silicone. Most of them…

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