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Bosnia ends 14 months of political deadlock

SARAJEVO — Bosnia’s main Muslim, Croat and Serb parties agreed Wednesday to form a central government, ending a 14-month political crisis that paralysed the state and blocked further EU integration. “We have reached an agreement on the composition of the government,” Sulejman Tihic, leader of the SDA Muslim party, told…

Oil plunges on strong dollar, profit taking

World oil prices sank in volatile year-end deals on Wednesday, as traders took profits and eyed the strong dollar, new concerns over the eurozone debt crisis and fresh equity falls on Wall Street. New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for February delivery, known as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), sank $1.98 to $99.36 a barrel. Brent North…

U.S. warns Iran not to block Strait of Hormuz

The United States warned Iran on Wednesday against any attempt to disrupt shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, after Tehran issued threats over the vital oil route. “Interference with the transit… of vessels through the Strait of Hormuz will not be tolerated,” said Pentagon press secretary George Little. Iran’s Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi has…

Bomb kills three NATO troops in Afghanistan

A roadside bomb attack killed three NATO troops in easternAfghanistan, one of the deadliest flashpoints in the 10-year war against Taliban insurgents, according to the military. NATO’s US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) did not release the nationalities of the troops or give further details of the incident, which happened on Tuesday. The deaths take to…

China vows currency moves after U.S. criticism

China on Wednesday pledged to make its exchange rate more “flexible”, a day after the United States said the yuan was undervalued, though it declined to name Beijing a currency manipulator. “China will continue to increase the flexibility of the renminbi (yuan) exchange rate,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing in…

Afghanistan signs ‘$7 bn’ oil deal with China

Afghanistan on Wednesday signed an oil deal with China which could earn the war-torn country $7 billion over 25 years. Afghanistan’s first major oil exploration contract will see state-owned China National Petroleum Corporation develop three oil fields in the relatively peaceful north of the country along the Amu Darya river. Under the deal, signed in Kabul by Afghan mining…

Oil on Nigerian coast after major Shell spill: NGO

An environmental group said Tuesday that an oil slick had approached Nigeria’s coastline after a major Shell spill last week, but the company insisted that its spill had been largely dispersed. Nigerian group Environmental Rights Action, which closely monitors oil spills in the country, said oil was reported along the…

Floods derail iron-ore train in Australia

Heavy flooding following a tropical cyclone in northern Australia swept a 20-carriage freight train off a bridge Tuesday, injuring the driver, as the storm system threatened to intensify. The iron-ore train derailed following torrential rain in the Northern Territory caused by Grant, a tropical cyclone that triggered heavy flooding in…

Chunk of rock drops off Italy’s Colosseum

The Colosseum lost another piece on Tuesday as Rome’s most famous monument deteriorates further ahead of a long-delayed restoration funded by an Italian billionaire now scheduled to start in March. The chunk of volcanic tuff fell from one of the iconic arches of the nearly 2,000-year-old structure — just two days…

U.S. urges Ukraine to free Tymoshenko

The United States on Tuesday urged Ukraine to free former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko after she lost an appeal against her seven-year jail sentence on charges of abuse of power. The US State Department said it was “disappointed” by the Ukrainian court’s ruling, adding that Tymoshenko and other formergovernment officials who are in detention should be…

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