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News Corp will have to answer questions in Australia

CANBERRA (Reuters) – The Australian arm of News Corp will have to answer “hard questions” in Australia following the growing phone hacking scandal in the United Kingdom, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said on Wednesday. Gillard said Australians had been “disturbed” by events in Britain, where Australian-born Rupert Murdoch and…

Iran says shot down a U.S. spy plane over nuclear site

(Reuters) – Iran has shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane over its Fordu nuclear site, a state-run website reported Wednesday, a day after it confirmed it was installing a new generation of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges. “An unmanned U.S. spy plane flying over the holy city of Qom near…

Humanitarian spending at record high despite financial crisis: report

LONDON (AlertNet) – Global spending on humanitarian aid hit a record $16.7 billion in 2010 despite the financial crisis, but devastating disasters and rising delivery costs meant almost 40 percent of needs still went unmet, new data showed on Wednesday. Governments poured $12.4 billion into emergency relief, up 6 percent…

PM ‘wouldn’t have hired Coulson, with hindsight’

Prime Minister David Cameron admitted on Wednesday that with hindsight, he would not have hired former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his media chief. “People will of course make judgements about it. Of course I regret and I am extremely sorry about the furore it has caused,”…

UN declares famine in southern Somalia

The United Nations said Wednesday that famine has hit two parts of rebel-held Somalia, due to a severe drought affecting more than 10 million people in the Horn of Africa. “The United Nations declared today that famine exists in two regions of southern Somalia: southern Bakool, and Lower Shabelle,” a…

British MPs blast Murdoch over hacking probe

British lawmakers Wednesday criticised attempts by Rupert Murdoch’s News International to “thwart” phone-hacking probes, as Prime Minister David Cameron geared up for a parliamentary showdown over the crisis. A day after Murdoch apologised over the scandal as he was grilled by lawmakers in London, a parliamentary committee released a report…

Serbia arrests last war crimes fugitive Goran Hadzic

Serbia has arrested Goran Hadzic, the one-time Croatian Serb rebel leader who is the last remaining fugitive wanted by the UN war crimes court in The Hague, government sources said Wednesday. Serbian President Boris Tadic is expected to announce the arrest officially at a press conference at 11:00 am (0900…

Gaddafi defiant as Libya rebels consolidate gains

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi vowed to resist both rebels and NATO air strikes, as the insurgents sought to consolidate gains on one front and readied to push forward on another. “Millions of people are on my side,” Kadhafi said in a speech broadcast over loudspeakers to partisans in Al-Aziziya, 50…

IMF urges euro action as Merkel tempers summit expectations

German Chancellor Angel Merkel talked down the chances Tuesday that a eurozone summit will deliver the silver bullet to resolve the debt crisis as the IMF pressed leaders to take urgent action. While senior eurozone finance officials met in Brussels to craft a second Greek bailout for Thursday’s summit, Merkel…

Basketball star Yao Ming retires

Basketball star Yao Ming announced his retirement on Wednesday after a trailblazing career that made him China’s best-known athlete and helped spur the game’s global growth. The towering 2.29m (7ft 6in) star made the announcement, which had been widely expected, during a press conference in his home city of Shanghai…

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