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Pope ‘shaken’ by talks with sex abuse victims

Pope Benedict XVI met victims of sexual abuse by clergy on the second day of his visit to his German homeland, an encounter that left him “deeply shaken”, Vatican officials said. He also held joint prayers with members of the Protestant faith in Germany, in a bid to build bridges…

Ahmadinejad promotes European separatism

NEW YORK — Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday put himself forward as a champion for European separatists — from Wales to Spain’s Basque region — who he said had been ignored by the United Nations. One day after sparking a walkout at the UN General Assembly over his rebuke…

Bill Gates: Tax financial transactions to help poor nations

By Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A report by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to Group of 20 ministers on Friday proposes raising new funding for poorer countries by taxing financial transactions, tobacco, and shipping and aviation fuels, according to details of a G20 report obtained by Reuters. The Gates Foundation…

U.S. sold bunker-busting bombs to Israel: report

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama secretly authorized the sale of 55 powerful bunker-busting bombs to Israel, Newsweek magazine reported Friday. Israel first asked to buy deep-penetrating GBU-28 bombs in 2005, but were rebuffed by then-president George W. Bush. At the time the Pentagon had frozen joint US-Israeli defense projects, fearful…

Abbas stakes Palestine’s statehood claim at U.N.

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas asked theUnited Nations on Friday to recognize a state for his people, even though Israel still occupies its territory and the United States has vowed to veto the move. Abbas handed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon a letter requesting full U.N. membership, which the Security Council must consider — although this may take some…

Huge crowds pack West Bank cities to back UN bid

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — Huge crowds packed into the main towns and cities of the West Bank on Friday as people turned out to support a Palestinian bid to seek UN membership, AFP correspondents said. The crowds began gathering as Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas handed over a historic request to…

Moody’s hits Greece and Slovenia with downgrades

Moody’s credit rating agency issued two credit downgrades in the crisis-hit eurozone on Friday, marking down leading Greek banks by two notches and Slovenian debt by one notch. The agency downgraded the main Greek banks by two notches, citing increased risks of losses on their holdings of Greek debt. Moody’s…

Israel on high alert as Palestinians petition U.N.

Some 22,000 Israeli police and border police were on high alert across the country on Friday, poised to respond to any unrest resulting from a Palestinian bid to seek UN membership in New York. “We have deployed 22,000 police and border police officers who will be on duty until at…

Hundreds of protesters attack police station in China

Hundreds of protesters attacked a police station in southern China and ransacked vehicles, leaving dozens injured in the latest unrest to hit China’s industrial heartland, authorities said on Friday. It was the latest in a series of protests sparked by perceived social injustices in Guangdong, known as the workshop of…

Amnesty says teen girl is first female to die in Syrian custody

LONDON (Reuters) – A Syrian teenager, whose mutilated body was discovered by chance by her family in a morgue while there to identify her brother’s corpse, was thought to be the first female to die in custody during recent unrest, a rights group said on Friday. Zainab al-Hosni, 18, from…

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