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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…

Roadside bomb kills Afghan police chief

A roadside bomb ripped through a police vehicle in southernAfghanistan, killing a district police chief and two of his bodyguards, authorities said on Monday. The blast happened late Sunday as the group drove from Lashkar Gah, the capital of troubled Helmand province, to Garmser district. “Mohammad Saifullah, the police chief of Garmser district in Helmand province,…

Stranded Mount Everest trekkers criticize Nepal officials

Foreign tourists trapped by heavy fog for six days in the foothills ofMount Everest told Monday of their ordeal as they waited to be rescued. Authorities were forced on Wednesday last week to close the only airstrip in Lukla, the gateway for climbers heading to Everest and surrounding mountains, grounding all flights in…

Four-hour general strike begins in Israel

A general strike got under way in Israel on Monday, shutting down hospitals, banks and the country’s main international airport, but was to last only four hours, Israel’s army radio reported. The decision to let the strike go ahead on a limited basis from 6:00 am (0400 GMT) was taken…

Sex zone plan leaves Taiwanese cold

Taiwan has legalised the creation of red light districts in a bid to regulate the sex industry, but prostitutes themselves say the new law could actually worsen their plight. Under the law passed by parliament Friday, local governments are allowed to set up special penalty-free sex trade zones, but outside…

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