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Native rats touted as pest control in Australia

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) – In Australia, it may take a rat to control a rat. Scientists have high hopes that introducing native Australian bush rats to the area around Sydney Harbour will help control black rats, a non-native species, that have long been a scourge to flora and fauna. Black…

Syrian forces kill 19, U.S. threatens more sanctions

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian forces killed at least 19 people in raids near the Lebanon border and in the country’s Sunni tribal heartland, activists said, pursuing a military campaign to crush street protests against President Bashar al-Assad. Assad’s forces have intensified assaults on towns and cities across the country since…

Chinese bullet trains pulled over ‘flaws’

SHANGHAI — More than 50 bullet trains on a new fast link between Beijing and Shanghai will be recalled because of “flaws,” their manufacturer said, in a fresh blow for China’s high-speed rail industry. Friday’s move to pull 54 trains from the flagship line came a day after Beijing said…

EU ‘regrets’ new E. Jerusalem settler homes

BRUSSELS — EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Friday expressed her “deep regret” over Israel’s approval of more new settler homes in east Jerusalem. The European Union “has repeatedly called on Israel to end all settlement activity, including natural growth, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001,” Ashton…

Mexico nabs alleged hitman linked to 900 killings

MEXICO CITY — Mexican police have detained an alleged leader of a group of hitmen linked to 900 killings, during an operation in which they mistakenly burst into civilian homes south of Mexico City. Police brutally raided the house of a renowned poet by mistake, as well as two others…

English riots claim fifth life, police defend tactics

LONDON — England’s riots claimed a fifth life Friday with the death of a man who confronted looters during the worst unrest in decades, as a row erupted between police and politicians over the disturbances. A huge police presence and heavy rain prevented fresh violence Thursday, but the death of…

Australia to revive lost indigenous languages

SYDNEY — The New South Wales State Library in Australia has launched a “search and rescue” mission to revive lost indigenous languages, using the letters and diaries of early British settlers. When the British first arrived on the shores of what became Sydney Harbour in 1788, an estimated 250 local…

Elephant kills farmer in Indonesia: official

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — An elephant killed a rubber tapper in Indonesia’s Aceh province, the third such fatal incident there in the past three months, according to an official. Abdul Halim, 52, and his wife were working in their plantation in West Aceh district on Thursday when a Sumatran elephant…

Japan to set up new nuclear watchdog

TOKYO — Japan will set up a new nuclear regulator under the environment ministry in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, in a bid to give the watchdog more teeth, media reported Friday. The existing Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has been criticised following the March 11 disaster for…

Thousands riot in China’s Guizhou province: Xinhua

BEIJING — Thousands of rioters took to the streets in southwestern China, with some smashing and burning vehicles, after a city official injured a female cyclist, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday. The riots broke out late Thursday in Guizhou province and carried on all night, with 10 police…

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