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Philippines, Singapore off U.S. trafficking list

The United States has removed the Philippines and Singapore from a human trafficking watchlist that had drawn concerns from the close allies, but it reported record abuses around the world. The State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report has become increasingly sensitive for Southeast Asian governments, which face a cutoff…

Japan’s TEPCO meets wrath of shareholders

Angry TEPCO shareholders on Tuesday slammed the company for its handling of the nation’s worst ever atomic accident after the March quake-tsunami, amid calls for the firm to abandon nuclear power. About 100 police officers were deployed around the Prince Park Tower Hotel where Tokyo Electric Power Co. held its…

Papandreou urges vote to ‘keep Greece on its feet’

Prime Minister George Papandreou begged the Greek parliament Monday to pass drastic austerity measures and keep the bankruptcy-threatened country “on its feet”, as protesters launch a 48-hour general strike. Facing “empty coffers” within days, Papandreou used a 15-minute intervention during an emergency debate to try and keep intact his slim,…

Israel arrests 4 Hamas MPs in northern West Bank

Israeli troops on Tuesday arrested four Hamas MPs in the northern West Bank, Palestinian security sources and officials from the Islamist group said. Three of them were arrested in the early hours in the northern city of Nablus, while a fourth was picked up in Salfit, a town some 15…

Worst drought in 60 years hits 10 million in east Africa

Ten million people in the Horn of Africa have been hit by the worst drought in 60 years, with the situation deteriorating to the point of famine in some areas, the UN said Tuesday. “Over ten million people are affected by the drought in one way or other,” said Elisabeth…

S. Korea dog meat festival bites the dust

A South Korean dog meat festival has been cancelled following growls of protest from animal rights activists, one of the would-be organisers said Tuesday. The Korea Dog Farmers’ Association had scheduled for Friday a festival aimed at promoting traditional dog meat consumption, said Ann Yong-Geun, an adviser to the association.…

Libya bombing campaign enters 100th day

NATO operations in Libya entered a 100th day on Monday with airstrikes having eased the siege of key rebel cities but with Moamer Kadhafi still in power and fears of an open war lingering. Three months after French jets flew their first missions over eastern Libya, NATO is still pounding…

Hamas prisoners stage hunger strike in Israeli jails

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — Hamas prisoners being held in Israeli jails on Monday began a hunger strike to protest after seven of their number were put in solitary confinement, a minister told AFP. Issa Qaraqa, the Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs, confirmed a 24-hour hunger strike had begun during the…

At least 28 killed as Bolivia bus plunges into ravine

LA PAZ — A public bus careened off a winding road and plunged some 100 meters (330 feet) into a ravine early Monday in southern Bolivia, near the Argentine border, killing at least 28 people, and leaving 10 injured, officials said. An investigation has been launched into the crash, said…

Greek protestors put up giant banner at Acropolis

ATHENS — Greek protestors put up a giant banner early Monday at Athens’ iconic Acropolis urging a “counter-attack” against an austerity package imposed by foreign creditors to avoid default. The protest by the communist trade union Pame came just ahead of a parliamentary debate on the austerity package, which the…

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