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US wants UN to free $1.5 billion of Libya aid

UNITED NATIONS — The United States called an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday to press for an easing of Libya sanctions so that it can send $1.5 billion of humanitarian aid. The 15-member council will meet from 3:00 pm (1900 GMT) to discuss a proposed US…

Leaked cable: Vatican sees Latino socialist leaders as ‘dangerous’

Less than a month after disastrous National Assembly elections in 2005, U.S. officials met with the Vatican’s third highest ranking archbishop to discuss the church’s outlook on Venezuela along with the Vatican’s positions on a number of other Latin American leaders, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable published Wednesday by…

Leaked cable: Sen. McCain promised to help Gaddafi obtain U.S. military hardware

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promised to help former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi obtain U.S. military hardware as one of the United States’ partners in the war on terror, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable released Wednesday by anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The meeting, which took place just over a year ago…

Rebels offer amnesty, $1.3 million award for Gaddafi’s capture or killing

There are now 1.3 million more reasons for someone to capture or kill Moammar Gaddafi. Libya’s rebel council have offered amnesty to anyone who captures or kills the dictator. A business man offered an additional two million Libyan dinars ($1.3 million) for catching Gaddafi. “The National Transitional Council announces that…

Nuclear experts warn of Libya “dirty bomb” material

Seeking to mend ties with the West, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafiagreed in 2003 to abandon efforts to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons — a move that brought him in from the cold and helped end decades of Libyan isolation. A six-month popular insurgency has now forced Gaddafi to abandon his stronghold…

Mortgage purchase applications at 15-year low: MBA

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 2.4 percent in the week ended August 19. The seasonally adjusted gauge of loan requests for home purchases tumbled 5.7 percent to its lowest level since December 1996, the MBA…

Planet is home to 8.7 million species: study

Some 8.7 million different species exist on Earth, though a tiny amount of those have actually been discovered and catalogued, researchers said Tuesday. The count, described by the open access journal PLoS Biology in which it is presented as “the most precise calculation ever offered,” replaces previous estimates that swung…

Mexico graves still hold 500 bodies: NGO

Some 500 bodies still remain to be uncovered from hidden graves in the northern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, a non-governmental group told reporters on Tuesday. Isabel Miranda de Wallace said her NGO, which fights Mexico’s rampant kidnapping, had gathered data from a recent visit to San Fernando, a small town…

Under fire, Biden blasts ‘repugnant’ China policies

Under fire from angry Republicans, US Vice President Joe Biden’s office said Tuesday that he firmly opposes “repugnant” Chinese population control practices like “forced abortion and sterilization.” “The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization,” Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told…

Hurricane Irene threatens islands, US East Coast

Hurricane Irene bore down on the southeastern Bahamas Tuesday as the category one storm churned on a track that could see it slam the US mainland later in the week. Forecasters who downgraded Irene, now packing winds of 90 miles (150 kilometers) per hour, said it could still become a…

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