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Jury to decide on U.S. Afghan ‘kill team’ chief

The ringleader of a rogue US army unit in Afghanistan “betrayed” the American people by killing Afghan civilians for sport, prosecutors said as a court-martial neared its climax. A five-person military panel could give its verdict as early as Thursday in the case of Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs, the alleged…

China “black jails” prompt fears of wider security crackdown

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s campaign to stifle dissenters like artist Ai Weiwei through secret detentions could come cloaked in a thicker veneer of legality if proposed crime law changes go through, a prominent rights advocacy group said on Thursday. China has clamped down hard on dozens of prominent critics…

London students march amid heavy police presence

Thousands of students marched through London against cuts in university funding as a massive police operation prevented a repeat of the violence at similar protests a year ago. Organisers said 10,000 people joined the march on Wednesday through the heart of the financial district in protest against the government’s tripling…

Iran to ‘respond with full force’ to military threat

Iran “will respond with full force” to any attack — or even any threat of military action — the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told students at a Tehran military college on Thursday. “The enemies, especially America and its stooges and the Zionist regime (Israel), should know that it…

Turkey quake kills seven, topples buildings

An earthquake rocked eastern Turkey, killing seven people and toppling buildings less than three weeks after a massive quake killed more than 600 people in the same area. Television footage showed rescue teams searching through the rubble trying to find possible survivors after the 5.6 magnitude quake struck near the…

Blasts hit Egypt gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan

CAIRO — An Egyptian pipeline sending gas to Israel and Jordan was hit by two explosions early Thursday, Egypt’s security services and the official news agency said. A first blast occurred around 1:00 am (2300 GMT Wednesday) 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of the town of al-Arish in the north…

Brazil court refuses to stop work on Amazon dam

BRASILIA — A federal court on Wednesday rejected an appeal for suspending construction of Brazil’s controversial $11 billion Belo Monte hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Amazon until after indigenous people have been consulted. The court, based in Brasilia, upheld a legislative decree that authorized construction, which is opposed…

Online critic of drug violence beheaded in Mexico

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — A man who moderated a website denouncing drug violence on Mexico’s northeast border was found beheaded Wednesday, local police said, in the fourth such apparent revenge attack since September. Police found the decapitated, tortured body in Nuevo Laredo city alongside a message referring to his alleged…

Cheaper broadband coming to low-income families

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Cable companies will offer high-speed Internet service to low-income families in the United States at around a fifth of the national average price, the top communications regulator said on Wednesday. Families who qualify for free school lunches will be able to sign up for $9.95 a month high-speed Internet…

European stocks, euro tumble after Berlusconi resignation

European stocks closed sharply lower Wednesday as any early optimism that the resignation of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi would calm the markets disappeared in a wave of near panic. Dealers said investors first thought Berlusconi’s decision would clear the decks but as it became clearer that Italy faces possibly months of political uncertainty,…

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