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Retired general assumes presidency in Guatemala

Retired general Otto Perez was sworn in Saturday as president of Guatemala, assuming power in a country awash in drug-related violence that he has promised to tackle with the military’s help. A veteran of a bloody war against leftist insurgents, Perez, 61, is the first military man to rule Guatemala…

Japan flight turns back after seat fire: reports

A Japan Airlines flight bound for Sydney was forced to turn back after takeoff when a business class passenger seat caught fire, according to reports. The small fire was apparently caused by a cigarette lighter — although the airline said it has not yet identified who it belonged to, according…

Iran warns Gulf states not to make up oil shortfall

Iran has warned its Gulf neighbours to not make up for any shortfall in its oil exports under new Western sanctions, its OPEC representative said in comments published on Sunday. “We would not consider these actions to be friendly,” Mohammad Ali Khatibi was quoted as saying by the Sharq newspaper.…

Iraq suicide bomber kills 53 at pilgrimage climax

A suicide bomber killed 53 people in an apparent sectarian attack in southern Iraq on Saturday, casting a pall over the conclusion of a Shiite Muslim pilgrimage that draws millions. The attack on devotees on the outskirts of the port city of Basra, which left 137 wounded, came with Iraq…

Qatar emir says he favors Arab force in Syria

Qatar favours sending Arab forces into Syria to stop the deadly 10-month crackdown on dissent as the Arab League said Saturday it will reassess its heavily criticised observer mission there. The emir of Qatar, in an interview with US network CBS to air Sunday, says he favours dispatching Arab troops to Syria to “stop the…

Iran says it has evidence U.S. behind scientist’s killing

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iranian state television said on Saturday Tehran had evidence Washington was behind the latest assassination of one of its nuclear scientists. In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, a magnetic bomb was attached to the door of 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan’s car during the Wednesday…

ElBaradei will not run for Egypt’s presidency

The ex-head of the UN nuclear watchdog and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei said on Saturday he would not run for the Egyptian presidency, saying there is still no real democracy in the country. “My conscience does not allow me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless…

Iran says not storing oil in Gulf due to sanctions

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has not stored oil on tankers in the Gulf, and its crude exports have not been disrupted due to mounting international pressure over its disputed nuclear program, an oil official told the semi-official Mehr news agency on Saturday. On Tuesday shipping sources told Reuters the volume…

North Korea denies punishment of ‘insincere mourners’

North Korea angrily hit back at allegations citizens who failed to appear sincere in the mourning of leader Kim Jong-Il were being rounded up and sentenced to hard labour. Some media outlets in the South have claimed North Koreans who did not participate in organised public mourning, failed to cry,…

Syria’s First Lady falling from grace

Not so long ago, she was the darling of the international press, described as a “rose in the desert” and “a ray of light in a country full of shadow zones.” But today, Syria’s First Lady is being likened to a modern-day Marie-Antoinette, drawing criticism for staying mum on a…

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