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Top Hollywood editor for News of the World arrested in hacking probe

The News Corp. hacking scandals may have just come to U.S. shores. James Desborough, the former Los Angeles editor for News of the World who’d previously won awards for his show business coverage in London, has been arrested by authorities investigating allegations of criminal hacking and rampant corruption. Desborough is…

Obama to call on Syria’s Assad to step down

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday will call on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and slap new sanctions on his government in a toughening of the U.S. stance toward the Syrian leader, a U.S. official said. The White House will shortly issue a “very tough” new…

‘Underwear bomber’ suspect declared fit to stand trial

A US judge ruled Wednesday that a young Nigerian man is fit to stand trial over allegations he tried to blow up a packed transatlantic airliner using explosives hidden in his underpants. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 24-year-old Nigerian student known popularly as the “Underwear bomber”, fired his lawyers last year…

Israeli ambulance service says six dead in new attack in south

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – At least six people were killed when gunmen attacked a number of vehicles traveling in southern Israel on Thursday, a spokesman for the Magen David Adom ambulance service said. Israel’s military added in a statement: “Terrorists fired at a bus on its way to (the city of)…

New Chinese stealth jet raises question of Russian aid

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Similarities between a new Chinese fighter jet and a prototype Russian plane have brought suggestions that Moscow may be quietly helping Beijing compete with the world’s military powers. Experts say the fifth-generation J-20 fighter, which made its maiden flight in January during a visit of the U.S.…

U.S. urges China to free jailed rights lawyer

The United States on Wednesday renewed an appeal to China to free prominent rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has not heard from since last year, as Vice President Joe Biden began a visit to Beijing. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Biden would bring up human rights during his visit…

Biden tells China cooperation is key in global economy

BEIJING (Reuters) – China and the United States share a responsibility for boosting global market confidence and the American economy remains fundamentally sound, the Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping told U.S. Vice President Joe Biden who is on a trust-building visit. Vice President Xi (pronounced “Shee”), expected to succeed Hu…

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon up 15 percent

BRASILIA — Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon increased by 15 percent during the past 12 months, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said. From July 2010 to July 2011 the vast South American rainforest lost 2,654 square kilometers (1,649 square miles) of vegetation in the states of Mato Grosso and…

World population will reach 7 billion this year: study

PARIS — The world population will reach seven billion later this year, with increases in the number of people in Africa off-setting birth rate drops elsewhere, according to a new French study published Thursday. Looking much further ahead, the National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) predicts a continuing rise in…

Iraq’s Sadr warns of ‘war’ if U.S. presence extended

NAJAF, Iraq — A radical anti-US Shiite cleric warned of “war” if US forces stayed in Iraq beyond a year-end deadline for their withdrawal, in a brief statement viewed on Wednesday. Moqtada al-Sadr did not give any further details in the written reply to a follower’s question, released by his…

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