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Cuban convict executed in Florida

MIAMI — A 61-year-old Cuban man convicted of the 1978 murder of a US cop was executed in Florida by lethal injection Wednesday, after the Supreme Court rejected his petitions for a stay, prison authorities said. The execution of Manuel Valle came just one week after the highly controversial high-profile…

Israel says newly approved homes ‘not settlement’

Israel on Wednesday rejected an international outcry over its plans to build 1,100 new homes in Gilo in annexed east Jerusalem, insisting the neighbourhood was “not a settlement.” “Gilo is not a settlement, nor is it an outpost,” Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told AFP. “Gilo is a neighbourhood in the…

Afghan war violence up nearly 40 percent: UN

Violent incidents in the Afghan war have increased by nearly 40 percent over last year, according to UN figures released Wednesday. But in an unusual step, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force issued a statement in response saying it found the figures “inconsistent with the data that we have collected”. ISAF is…

Global warming: New study challenges carbon benchmark

The ability of forests, plants and soil to suck carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air has been under-estimated, according to a study on Wednesday that challenges a benchmark for calculating the greenhouse-gas problem. Like the sea, the land is a carbon “sink”, or sponge, helping to absorb heat-trapping CO2 disgorged by the…

Hungary toxic levels ‘lower than expected’ after spill

A year after Hungary’s worst chemicals spill released vast amounts of poisonous red mud, levels of toxic substances are lower than feared but still above average, Greenpeace said on Wednesday. “All in all the levels of toxic contamination, particularly in maize and in the soil, are lower than feared,” said Herwig Schuster from the environmental pressure…

Bahrain upholds life terms for opposition leaders

A Bahraini special court has upheld life jail sentences served on seven Shiite opposition leaders convicted of plotting to overthrow the regime in the Gulf kingdom, BNA official news agency said. Jail sentences against seven other activists, ranging between two to 15 years and including Sunni opposition leader Ibrahim Sharif, were also upheld…

Greece to face inspectors as Germany hints bailout

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s lenders are sending a team to Athensto inspect a government austerity plan they want implemented in exchange for aid, while Germany suggested a new bailout may have to be renegotiated. Facing a wave of strikes and protests, Greece’s Socialist governmentis accelerating its debt strategy to meet the terms of an International…

BP and oligarchs face off as $4.9 billion claim looms

BP prompted the spat with AAR, the consortium of Russian and Russia-connected oligarchs who own half of oil company TNK-BP, by agreeing a share swap and Arctic exploration deal with Russian-state-controlledRosneft <ROSN.MM>. AAR secured a court injunction that blocked the deal, which finally collapsed in May when the quartet of billionaire shareholders…

Education fever sparks divorce in S. Korea

A housewife who abused her son for his poor test scores was Wednesday ordered to pay her husband 10 million won ($8,500) in a divorce case which highlights South Korea’s obsession with education. The ruling by the Seoul Family Court, which did not name the family, was reported by Yonhap news agency. It said the couple married…

Tens of thousands at risk in Somalia

The humanitarian situation in Somalia remains “highly critical,” as the war-torn nation struggles from drought and famine, theInternational Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned Wednesday. “The situation in Somalia remains highly critical. Hundreds of thousands of Somalis are still displaced from their homes in search of security and food,” the ICRC said…

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