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Syria places ‘severe’ constraints on diplomats: US

The United States has urged US citizens to depart Syria “immediately,” and noted that the Damascus government has placed “severe” constraints on the travel of US diplomats in the country. The travel warning, an update to an April 25 order for US embassy staff’s family members and some non-emergency personnel…

Gaza smugglers thriving after Mubarak

The swarm of tunnel activity on the Gaza border raises clouds of fine dust, a sure sign of the boom in underground trafficking since the fall of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. While the ousted president appeared in court this week on a stretcher, smugglers from the Palestinian territories — under an…

Murdoch attacker has jail sentence cut

A stand-up comedian jailed for six weeks for throwing shaving foam at media mogul Rupert Murdoch had his sentence cut to four weeks by a British court on Friday. Jonathan May-Bowles, a 26-year-old who calls himself Jonnie Marbles, was seeking to overturn the sentence he received this week for the…

China paper scoffs at suggestion Beijing is hacking villain

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s top official newspaper on Friday dismissed as irresponsible suggestions Beijing was the “state actor” behind massive Internet hacking of governments and companies that security company McAfee this week said it had discovered. The report in the People’s Daily, the main mouthpiece of China’s ruling Communist Party,…

Somali rebels stopping men fleeing drought

Somali rebels are blocking men fleeing harsh drought and forcibly recruiting them, while women and children who escape alone risk attack and rape in crowded camps, witnesses and officials said. “They captured me and beat me,” said Nor Ibrahim, who was attacked three times before he finally escaped into neighbouring…

Mexico’s narcocorridos turn drug violence to music

Mexico’s popular songs glorifying its drug traffickers, known as narcocorridos, have attracted a growing following in recent years, from Mexico City to Los Angeles. But authorities in northwestern Sinaloa for the first time banned the ballads in May, surprising many in the home state of Mexico’s oldest drug cartel, the…

More than 500 detained in Chile student protests

More than 500 people were arrested and 14 wounded in cities across Chile Thursday when police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse student protesters calling for education reforms. Hundreds of students later occupied a Chilean TV station until producers agreed to air their message. In the evening thousands…

Spokesman denies Gaddafi’s son killed in NATO raid

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – A Libyan government spokesman on Friday denied reports that Muammar Gaddafi’s youngest son, brigade commander Khamis Gaddafi, had been killed in a NATO air strike. “It’s false news. They invented the news about Mr Khamis Gaddafi in Zlitan to cover up their killing,” Moussa Ibrahim told Reuters…

NATO planes bomb Tripoli, rebels attack pipeline

NATO warplanes bombed the Libyan capital early Friday, state television said, as Moamer Kadhafi’s regime accused rebels of sabotaging a key pipeline feeding the country’s sole functioning refinery. About 10 loud explosions rocked the city around 1:30 am (2330 GMT), an AFP journalist said. Shortly afterwards, Libyan television said “civilian…

Climbers flock to South Africa’s “rock farms”

CLANWILLIAM, South Africa (Reuters Life!) – They carry mattresses on their backs, and in bars they are the ones gesticulating like crazed semaphore operators. They are initiates of the sport of bouldering, and they have invaded the sleepy town of Clanwilliam in South Africa’s remote Cederberg mountains in their hundreds,…

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