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Russia ‘to train army to play badminton’

Russia will train its army to play badminton to improve its battle prowess after the racket sport won a surprise personal endorsement from President Dmitry Medvedev, a newspaper said Monday. Izvestia newspaper said the Russian defense ministry next year would purchase some 10,000 badminton rackets and tens of thousands of shuttlecocks, and snipers will be…

Leveson inquiry into press ethics opens

The Leveson inquiry into the ethics of the British press opened on Monday with the judge vowing to find out “who guards the guardians” in the wake of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. Some four months after a flood of hacking allegations shocked the nation and prompted the closure of…

Israel hails Iranian munitions explosion, hopes for more

JERUSALEM — Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Sunday hailed the deadly munitions blast at a base of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards and hoped for more such incidents. “I don’t know the extent of the explosion,” he told military radio, asked about the incident. “But it would be desirable if…

Hawaiian singer surprises Obama summit with ‘Occupy’ song

HONOLULU, Hawaii — A popular Hawaiian recording artist turned a top-security dinner of Pacific Rim leaders hosted by President Barack Obama into a subtle protest with a song in support of the “Occupy” movement. Makana, who goes by one name, was enlisted to play a luau, or Hawaiian feast, Saturday…

Iraq army chief on Iran visit seeks stronger ties

TEHRAN — Iraq’s top general made an official visit to Iran on Sunday and called for the boosting of ties between Tehran and Baghdad, which fought a 1980-1988 war, an military website quoted him as saying. The armed forces chief of staff, General Babak Zebari, made the remarks during a…

Shell reports new spill in southern Nigeria

YENAGOA, Nigeria — Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell on Sunday reported a fresh spill from a key delivery pipeline in southern Nigeria, but said it has contained the leak. “SPDC (Shell Petroleum Development Company) contained a spill in Adibawa delivery line which was reported yesterday (Saturday),” Shell’s Nigerian joint venture said…

Violence flares after Arab League suspends Syria

DAMASCUS — Syrian forces were accused of pressing their deadly crackdown on protests Sunday even as thousands of regime supporters vented their anger a day after the Arab League suspended the country. The governments of France, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey issued strong condemnations of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime after…

Blair warns of ‘catastrophe’ if euro collapses

LONDON — Former prime minister Tony Blair warned on Sunday that the collapse of the euro would be “catastrophic” and urged Europe to move fast to support the currency. Blair said European leaders faced “very difficult and painful” choices and a “long-term framework of credibility” was needed to see off…

Spain’s right storming towards election win: polls

MADRID — Spain’s right-leaning opposition will thrash the ruling Socialists in November 20 elections, polls showed Sunday, as anger over an economic crisis spilled into the streets. The conservative Popular Party, led by 56-year-old Mariano Rajoy, is set for a record parliamentary majority, surveys said. The Socialists, whose standard bearer…

U.K. business secretary has sympathy for ‘Occupy London’

LONDON — U.K. Business Secretary Vince Cable said Sunday he sympathised with the feelings of anti-capitalism protesters camped outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London. Cable said the camp reflected the feeling that a small number of people had done “extraordinarily well” in the economic crisis, while many more were suffering…

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