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U.S. backs euro ahead of crunch summit

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner voiced confidence on Wednesday that the European Union will find a way out of its debt crisis when he met eurozone leaders ahead of a crucial EU summit inBrussels. “I assessed how important it is for the US and countries around the world that Europe succeed,” Geithner…

Afghan attacks raise fears of sectarian violence

Deadly blasts at Afghan shrines that left 59 people dead on Shiite Muslims’ holiest day have raised fears the war-weary nation now faces the prospect of an eruption of Iraq-style sectarian violence. The Afghan Taliban has denied responsibility for the blasts in Kabuland the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, and leading Shiites inAfghanistan have pointed the finger…

Pakistan president suffers minor heart attack

Pakistan’s embattled President Asif Ali Zardari will remain in hospital in Dubai until further notice after suffering a minor heart attack and undergoing an operation, officials said on Wednesday. The unpopular 56-year-old head of state flew to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday after falling ill in the midst of a major scandal over…

Syria’s Assad denies orders to kill

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied ordering the killing of thousands of protesters and said “only a crazy person” would target his own people, in a rare US interview released Wednesday. Speaking to ABC News, Assad brushed off widening international sanctions and questioned the UN death toll of more than 4,000 since the eruption of…

Rome takes down unpopular Christmas tree

ROME — Rome city council took down a giant white papier-mache Christmas tree Tuesday, just one day after putting it up on a main square, following a storm of protests, officials said. “I don’t like it,” mayor Gianni Alemanno said of the conical structure more reminiscent of the Egyptian obelisks…

U.S. opens ‘virtual embassy’ to enter Iran

WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday opened a virtual online embassy to reach out to Iranians despite the absence of official ties, vowing to break through the Islamic regime’s “electronic curtain.” Iranian authorities have already voiced anger over the virtual embassy, accusing the United States of seeking to interfere…

Up to 40,000 children mine gold in Mali: rights group

BAMAKO — Between 20,000 and 40,000 children work in artisanal gold mines in Mali, Africa’s third-largest producer of the precious metal, Human Rights Watch said in a report Tuesday. In a statement, HRW said that “children as young as six dig mining shafts, work underground, pull up heavy weights of…

U.S. unveils new international gay rights strategy

WASHINGTON — The United States put the fight against gay and lesbian discrimination at the heart of its foreign policy Tuesday, but stopped short of warning transgressor nations they could be stripped of US aid. President Barack Obama on Tuesday ordered all government agencies that play an active foreign policy…

Police rip clothes off female ‘Occupy Melbourne’ protester

A female protester has officially complained after police in Melbourne forcibly removed the tent dress she was wearing, leaving her nearly naked on the gound. The woman, named Sarah, was one of several Occupy “tent monsters” who decided to wear their tents as a creative way to keep police from…

Archbishop warns of risk of more riots by young

(Reuters) - BP Plc accused Halliburton Co of destroying evidence that the oilfield services company did inadequate cement work on the Gulf of Mexico oil well that blew out last year, and asked a federal judge to punish Halliburton. The accusation, in a BP court filing, raises the stakes ahead of a trial, expected in late February, to…

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