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Lebanon gets Hezbollah-led cabinet after 5-month lag

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced Monday a long-delayed government dominated by Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its allies, which is likely to cause alarm among Western powers at a time of regional turmoil. Formed after five months of political stalemate, the new Lebanese leadership was welcomed by President…

Germany recognizes rebels as fighting rages in Libya

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – Germany on Monday gave official recognition to Libya’s rebels, amid a surge in fighting across the country and as the US pressed African states to demand that strongman Moamer Kadhafi step down. German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said after meeting rebel leaders in their capital Benghazi…

Vienna museum told to return Nazi-looted art

VIENNA — An art commission charged with returning Nazi-plundered works has recommended a Vienna museum hand over five drawings by Schiele to the descendants of their Jewish owner, it was reported Monday. The drawings by Austrian painter Egon Schiele (1890-1918) belonged to Viennese man Karl Maylander, who was deported to…

Egypt questions suspected Israeli spy

CAIRO — Egypt’s state security prosecution on Monday began questioning an Israeli man suspected of spying for the Mossad intelligence agency, state television reported. Ilan Grapel was detained on Sunday from a Cairo hotel and ordered to be held for 15 days pending investigation. The US embassy in Cairo confirmed…

Official: Billions missing in Iraq may be ‘largest theft of funds in national history’

Approximately $6.6 billion in cash was likely stolen after being flown to Iraq during the months that followed the U.S.-led invasion, Pentagon officials said recently. Stuart Bowen, the U.S. Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, told The Los Angeles Times that the sum just might be “the largest theft of…

Bill Gates, Britain boost child vaccine funding

LONDON (AFP) – Britain and Bill Gates joined forces on Monday to pledge more than half of the $3.7 billion (2.6 billion euros) sought to vaccinate nearly 250 million children against preventable diseases. Prime Minister David Cameron told a donors’ conference in London that Britain would contribute a further £814…

Syrian forces round up hundreds near northern town

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian troops rounded up hundreds of people in a sweep through villages near Jisr al-Shughour on Monday, fleeing residents said, after President Bashar al-Assad’s army retook the rebellious town. Nearly 7,000 Syrians have already fled the region around Jisr al-Shughour, seeking sanctuary in neighboring Turkey, while thousands…

Farmers must boost sustainable crops to feed world: UN agency

MILAN (Reuters) – The ravages from half a century of intensive farming must give way to a more sustainable approach if farmers are to feed the world in 2050, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said on Monday. Global farm output must increase 70 percent, including a nearly…

Race for Strauss-Kahn successor goes to IMF board

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The IMF’s executive board meets Monday as the campaign to find a replacement for scandal-tainted former chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn reels from the unexpected twist of a dark horse candidacy. Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer publicly announced his bid to become managing director after the close of…

Sudan army planes ‘downed’ amid UN alarm

KHARTOUM (AFP) – Embattled fighters in north Sudan’s flashpoint state of South Kordofan claimed they had shot down two northern army planes, and said the conflict had so far displaced 75,000 people. UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for an end to the conflict in central Sudan, saying in a statement…

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