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Daughter of Iranian ex-president on trial for anti-regime ‘propaganda’

TEHRAN — The daughter of Iranian former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is standing trial on charges of making anti-regime propaganda, her lawyer was quoted as saying on Sunday after a closed hearing. “After the court told her about her accusation of propaganda against the regime, she and I gave our…

Power failures disrupt Uganda grasshopper harvest

KAMPALA — Standing in the glare of a 250 watt light bulb in the yard of his uncle’s house, Hilary Turyamugumya peers hopefully into the night sky in search of grasshoppers. “Every evening I first pray for there to be power — and then I pray that the grasshoppers will…

Egypt to free activist blogger from prison

CAIRO — Egypt’s judiciary decided on Sunday to free blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who has spent the past two months in custody, a judicial source and his sister said. Mona Abdel Fattah told AFP a court ordered Alaa, who was remanded into custody on October 30, released, and…

Anti-whaling activists’ drone tracks Japan fleet

Anti-whaling activists intercepted Japan’s harpoon fleet far north of Antarctic waters on Sunday, they said, with the help of a military-style drone. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society spokesman Paul Watson said the unmanned long-range drone, launched from the anti-whaling ship the Steve Irwin, had located the Japanese fleet and relayed the…

Thousands attend funerals of Damascus blast victims

Thousands of people on Saturday attended prayers in memory of the 44 people killed by suicide bombers in Syria’s capital as charge and counter-charge swirled over who was behind the attacks. The funeral prayers, at Damascus’s central Omayyad Mosque, came as an Arab League delegation met Foreign Minister Walid Muallem…

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…

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