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Syria’s Assad decrees multi-party system

President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday issued a decree authorising a multi-party political system in Syria, the official SANA news agency reported. “Assad on Thursday proclaimed a presidential decree on the law of the parties,” SANA reported. The decree allows political parties to be established and to function alongside the Baath party, in power since 1963…

India’s Sonia Gandhi to undergo surgery in U.S.

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Sonia Gandhi, India’s ruling Congress party chief and the country’s most powerful politician, will undergo surgery abroad, possibly in the United States, for an undisclosed medical condition and could be out for two to three weeks. The absence of the 64-year-old figurehead of India’s most prominent…

Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will replace three senior bureaucrats in charge of nuclear power policy, the minister overseeing energy policy said on Thursday, five months after the world’s worst atomic crisis in 25 years erupted at Fukushima. The move comes as Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls for enhanced nuclear safety…

Police hunt for Australian ‘neck bomb’ attacker

A manhunt was under way Thursday for an attacker who attached what turned out to be a fake bomb to a terrified Sydney teenager in a drama described as “like something out of a Hollywood movie script”. Madeleine Pulver, 18, a member of one of Sydney’s wealthiest families, endured a…

U.K. lawmakers seek to question Piers Morgan on hacking

LONDON (Reuters) – British lawmakers on Thursday called for U.S. talk show host Piers Morgan to return to Britain to answer questions about phone-hacking after allegations made by the ex-wife of former Beatle Paul McCartney. Heather Mills’ claims that a journalist had listened to voicemail messages on her mobile phone…

Police to take tougher line with Norway attacker

OSLO — Police on Wednesday vowed to get tougher in their questioning of the self-confessed perpetrator of last month’s devastating attacks in Norway, in particular over whether he had any accomplices. Questioning will happen this week, police prosecutor Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby told reporters. “We can say that what will be…

CIA veteran: Cold War gives way to Code War

LAS VEGAS — A US counterterrorism expert warned Wednesday that the Cold War has given way to a “Code War” in which cyber weapons can be unleashed with devastating consequences. Nations will launch online attacks and extremist groups will add cyber attacks to their tactics, according to Cofer Black, who…

Israel ‘uprising’ activists enraged by housing bill

JERUSALEM — Activists from Israel’s social protest movement reacted furiously on Wednesday after parliament passed a housing bill that they say will favour the rich and endanger the environment. Police said that hundreds of demonstrators blocked intersections in cities across the country, ranging from the southern desert city of Beersheva…

German official accuses Facebook of breaking privacy laws

BERLIN — A leading German privacy official on Wednesday accused Facebook of using face recognition software in a manner that violates German and European law. Johannes Caspar, a data protection expert with the city of Hamburg, called on the US-based social networking company to delete from its site the individual…

Huckabee cartoon attempts woeful retelling of 9/11 attacks

In a new “history” cartoon aimed at children, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, now a Fox News personality, spins an animated, less-than-nuanced retelling of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., with a distinctly pro-Bush, pro-torture spin. In his “Learn Our History,” the former Republican presidential…

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