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Gunman kills two inside Afghan defence ministry

KABUL (AFP) – An Afghan army infiltrator opened fire inside the defence ministry in Kabul on Monday, killing two soldiers and wounding seven in an audacious strike on the heart of government claimed by the Taliban. The attack, which the militants said was aimed at France’s visiting defence minister, was…

High-tech weapons sow fears of chip sabotage

WASHINGTON (AFP) – As NATO countries weigh whether to arm Libya’s rebels, military planners may give a thought to adding a remote “kill switch” to some weapons to keep them out of the wrong hands, experts say. Even if allied governments conclude that building in a remote control to disable…

Robots to gauge radiation in Japan’s quake-hit plant

TOKYO (AFP) – The operator of Japan’s stricken nuclear plant said Sunday it will send two remote-controlled robots into a reactor building damaged by a hydrogen explosion to gauge radiation and temperature levels. Emergency workers battling to stabilise the plant after a massive earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems…

Israel becomes CERN nuclear group member

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel’s cabinet on Sunday announced it had approved the country’s membership in the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, becoming the research group’s first non-European delegation. “Israel is joining an exclusive club, which provides unusual visibility, exposure, prestige and international status,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in announcing…

25 years on, Chernobyl fallout still an eco-hazard

CHERNOBYL, Ukraine (AFP) – Fallout from Chernobyl remains a poorly-investigated hazard for the environment a quarter of a century after the disaster, say experts. According to anecdotal evidence, animals such as beavers, deer, wild horses, hawks and eagles have returned in abundance to Chernobyl’s 30-kilometre (18-mile) exclusion zone since humans…

Euro slides against dollar on shock Finnish vote

LONDON (AFP) – The euro slumped against the dollar Monday as shock political gains for Finland’s main nationalist party stoked concerns over the eurozone debt crisis, analysts said. As authorities prepared to discuss Portugal’s financial bailout, fresh worries over indebted eurozone nations helped the price of ‘safe-haven’ gold to reach…

Mexico’s orphans are casualties of drug wars

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AFP) – With a child’s unfettered frankness, six-year old Jorge tells a social worker that he is saving his pesos for the one thing he wants more than anything: an AK-47 automatic rifle. It will take a weapon at least that deadly, the boy reckons, to visit…

Medvedev says 2.5 million Russians are drug addicts

IRKUTSK, Russia (AFP) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday called for drug testing in schools, warning that narcotics abuse was now such a major problem that it was weighing down the economy. Speaking at a government meeting in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, identified by officials as a particular…

Jonathan on course to win Nigerian presidency

ABUJA (AFP) – Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was on course to win the country’s elections on Monday, as official results showed him with a huge lead, but sporadic riots broke out in the north over rigging fears. Millions of voters turned out for Saturday’s election as Africa’s most populous nation…

Clinton vows full support for disaster-stricken Japan

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged full support for quake-hit Japan on Sunday as the operator of its stricken nuclear plant said it expects to achieve “cold shutdown” in six to nine months. Japan’s embattled Tokyo Electric Power Company(TEPCO) offered the timeline more than five weeks after a giant quake…

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