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Bin Laden successor making limited impact, say analysts

Four months after succeeding Osama bin Laden at the head of Al Qaeda, Ayman Al Zawahiri is spreading jihadist propaganda over the Internet but must mainly be preoccupied with his own survival, experts say. On June 16, six weeks after Al Qaeda founder bin Laden was killed in a US raid, 59-year-old Egyptian Zawahiri was…

Syrian death toll tops 3,500: UN rights office

More than 3,500 people have been killed in the Syrian regime’sbrutal crackdown on dissent, the UN human rights office said Tuesday, deploring the slaughter that went on despite a peace plan. “The brutal crackdown on the dissent in Syria has so far claimed the lives of more than 3,500 Syrians,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the UN…

Botswana pushes to legalize prostitution

For 15 years Thato Serite has made her living as a prostitute alongBotswana’s busiest highway, hired by truckers plying the main route to South Africa. The 35-year-old is an expert at dodging police patrols, but Botswana’s former president Festus Mogae wants to put an end to their cat-and-mouse game by legalising prostitution in hopes of bringing…

Heavy police presence for London student protest

LONDON — Police will deploy in large numbers for a march in London on Wednesday against changes to higher education funding, a year after students kicked off a series of protests with a violent demonstration. Commander Simon Pountain, of London’s Metropolitan Police, said around 4,000 officers will be on duty…

Ai Weiwei supporters raise 1/3 of China tax bill

Thousands of people have donated 5.29 million yuan ($830,000) to help Ai Weiwei pay a huge tax fine, with some throwing money wrapped in paper planes into his garden, the Chinese artist said Monday. The drive to donate to Ai, who disappeared into secret police custody for 81 days this year and has…

Israel general strike ends after four hours

Israel was hit by a brief general strike on Monday that affected hospitals, banks, ports and the country’s main international airport, but which ended after just four hours. The strike shut down all government offices, universities, ports, post offices and the Tel Aviv stock exchange for most of the morning following a dispute over…

Obama used Bush program to send DEA commandos abroad

The US Drug Enforcement Agency has five commando-style squads it has been quietly deploying for the past several years to various countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, the New York Times reported Monday. The countries where the commando teams have been deployed include Haiti, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala…

Vietnam war vets seize back hijacked ship

Taiwan hailed on Monday the bravery of five Vietnamese war vets who launched a surprise assault on six armed pirates and successfully took back their vessel after it had been hijacked off East Africa. The former Vietnam war fighters had been recruited by Taiwan to be part of a 28-man crew on the “Chin Yi…

Italian PM Berlusconi denies resignation reports

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Monday denied reports he was about to resign. “Rumors of my resignation are baseless,” he said on his Facebook page. Two journalists close to the prime minister reported earlier on Monday that he would resign within hours. (Reporting By Paolo Biondi,…

Nigeria on alert as U.S. warns of new attacks

Nigeria was on high alert Monday after the United States warned of fresh attacks following a wave of deadly blasts claimed by Islamists killed 150 people in the northeast of the country. Friday’s attacks in the city of Damaturu were among the deadliest ever carried out by Boko Haram, an Islamist sect…

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