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U.S. hikers await judge’s signature to be free: lawyer

The lawyer of two American hikers convicted of spying in Iran told AFP on Saturday that everything was ready for their release, except for the signature of a judge to post bail. “Everything is in place to post bail (for Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer) and to have them released,…

Somalia bans foreign aid workers from rebel areas

MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Somalia has banned foreign aid workers and journalists from entering areas controlled by al Shabaab insurgents after members of a Turkish charity took food to famine victims in an area under the Islamist group. Nearly all aid agencies have already barred their expatriate workers from operating in…

NATO air strikes kill 354 civilians: Gaddafi spokesman

TUNIS (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi’s spokesman told Reuters on Saturday that NATO air strikes on Sirte overnight had hit a residential building and a hotel, killing 354 people. His claim could not immediately be verified as Sirte, Gaddafi’s hometown, has been largely cut off from communication since the fall of…

Palestinians vow UN membership amid diplomatic tussle

President Mahmud Abbas has promised Palestinians he will seek UN membership before the Security Council next week, amid mounting opposition from Israel and the United States. With Washington calling the move “counterproductive,” Abbas told Palestinians in a televised address on Friday: “It is our legitimate right to demand the full…

U.S. defends anti-terror strikes on al Qaeda targets

A top US anti-terror advisor said America’s anti-terror campaign must go beyond “hot” battlefields in Afghanistan but legal curbs could constrain its action. John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top advisor for counterterrorism and homeland security, also criticized Friday attempts by some lawmakers to ensure that military, rather than civilian courts…

Global protests held in Troy Davis execution case

Some 300 protest rallies were held worldwide Friday ahead of a last-ditch parole board hearing for death row inmate Troy Davis, whose planned execution sparked an international movement. Davis is set to be executed September 21 for the 1989 shooting death of a police officer in Savannah, Georgia, but his…

Palestinian statehood bid to go before U.N.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas vowed Friday to lodge a bid for UN membership before the Security Council in one week, despite mounting Israeli and US opposition. “When I have finished delivering my speech (to the General Assembly), I will submit the request for membership to the Secretary General to be…

Libya fighters surge into two Kadhafi bastions

Fighters loyal to Libya’s new leaders on Friday thrust deep into the city of Sirte and into desert oasis Bani Walid, two of fugitive Moamer Kadhafi’s few remaining bastions, AFP reporters said. On the political front, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was in Tripoli, boosting international support for the…

Praying outlawed on streets of Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – A French ban on praying in the street came into force on Friday, driving thousands of Muslim worshippers in northern Paris into a makeshift prayer site in a disused fire brigade barracks, angering a small but vocal minority. The street-prayer ban has highlighted France’s problems assimilating its…

Paul McCartney posts wedding notice in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Former Beatle Paul McCartney posted wedding banns this week at Westminster Register Office in Marylebone, central London. The banns allow McCartney to marry New York business woman Nancy Shevell any time 16 days after the Sept 14 posting at the Register offices. It will be McCartney’s third…

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