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Venezuela denies Chavez in critical condition

CARACAS (AFP) – The Venezuelan government rejected reports Sunday that President Hugo Chavez is in critical condition following emergency surgery in Cuba, insisting the firebrand leftist leader was “recovering well.” Chavez’s government said he had an operation for a pelvic abscess on June 10 and continues to mend. “He is…

Israel threatens to punish journalists who cover Gaza flotilla

Israeli officials have threatened to punish activists who plan to set sail from Greece to Gaza, with the aim of breaking the Israeli embargo on the Palestinian territory. Journalists, the Israeli officials say, will also be punished if they choose to cover the activists’ mission, the Christian Science Monitor reported.…

Gaddafi to stay out of Libya peace talks: AU panel

PRETORIA (AFP) – African leaders Sunday welcomed Moamer Kadhafi’s decision to stay out of talks to end Libya’s conflict, entering its fifth month, as fighting raged between his troops and rebels near Tripoli. Multiple rocket and heavy machine-gunfire was heard on the plains below the rebel enclave in the Nafusa…

25 killed in attacks in northern Nigeria: security sources

KANO, Nigeria (AFP) – At least 25 people were killed Sunday when suspected Islamists threw a bomb and fired on a beer garden in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, security officers and witnesses said. Two attackers on motorcycles, suspected of being members of the radical Islamist sect Boko Haram,…

‘Rebel’ Greek lawmakers may block austerity plan

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s deputy prime minister warned on Sunday that rebel lawmakers may block some reforms sought by international lenders, though parliament will probably back an overall austerity package this week to avert national bankruptcy. Adding to Socialist Prime Minister George Papandreou’s dire problems, the conservative opposition rejected appeals…

Japan hopes to convince public of nuclear reactor safety

TOKYO — Japan began a campaign Sunday to convince communities hosting nuclear reactors to let operations resume, with several local governments blocking nuclear power generation after the atomic crisis in Fukushima. Central government officials held a briefing in Saga prefecture, where two reactors at the Genkai power plant are among…

Palestinians going ahead with UN statehood bid

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Sunday that with no renewal of peace talks on the horizon, the Palestinians would pursue their unilateral bid for recognition in September. “I say that if negotiations have failed we will go to the United Nations for membership,” Abbas told…

Gaddafi renews offer to hold elections to end Libyan unrest

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – The Libyan government on Sunday renewed its offer to hold a vote on whether Muammar Gaddafi should stay in power, a proposal unlikely to interest Gaddafi’s opponents but which could widen differences inside NATO. Pressure is growing from some quarters within the alliance to find a political…

Clashes erupt outside Egyptian court trying ex-minister

CAIRO — Hundreds of Egyptians angry with the delays in the trial of ex-interior minister Habib Adly clashed on Sunday with anti-riot police outside the courtroom, an AFP reporter witnessed. Adly, once one of ousted leader Hosni Mubarak’s most trusted ministers, and six other defendants are accused of ordering the…

Wheelchair suicide bomber kills two in Iraq

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber in a wheelchair attacked a police station north of Baghdad on Sunday, killing two people and wounding 17, nine of them policemen, officials said. “A suicide bomber detonated his explosives vest at the entrance to a police station, killing two civilians and wounding 17 people,…

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