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Italians ‘turned their backs’ on Berlusconi

ROME (AFP) – A trouncing in referendums that have wiped out Italy’s plans to return to nuclear power after a shock local election defeat mean Silvio Berlusconi has lost his magic, Italian newspapers said on Tuesday. “The magic flute is broken. After 20 years, Italians have stopped following Berlusconi’s music,”…

Japan poll finds 74% support nuclear phase-out

TOKYO (AFP) – Almost three-quarters of Japanese respondents to a newspaper poll published Tuesday favour a gradual phase-out of nuclear energy in the wake of the Fukushima atomic accident. The Asahi Shimbun daily said in its weekend opinion poll that only 14 percent were against such a gradual reduction. The…

U.S. Congress votes against Libya funding

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US House of Representatives voted to prohibit the use of funds for American military operations in Libya. Lawmakers adopted the amendment to a military appropriations bill by a vote of 248 to 163. A number of members of Congress have recently expressed their dissatisfaction at President…

Teacher jailed for sexually abusing pupils

LONDON — A primary school teacher who filmed himself sexually abusing girls during one-on-one reading sessions was jailed on Tuesday. Nigel Leat was given an indeterminate sentence and told he would serve at least eight-and-a-half years for sexually abusing five girls over the course of five years at Hillside First…

Japan city to give radiation counters to children

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s Fukushima city said on Tuesday it would hand radiation dosimeters to 34,000 children to gauge their exposure from the crippled nuclear power plant about 60 kilometres (40 miles) away. The city will hand the measuring devices to all children aged between four and 15 for three…

U.S. ‘strongly’ condemns Syria crackdown

WASHINGTON — The United States on Monday stepped up its condemnation of Syria’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests and again called on its president to allow for a political transition or step aside. “We have called on President Bashar al-Assad to cease the violence. We strongly condemn, in the strongest possible…

Venezuela tries to trim energy consumption by 10 percent

CARACAS — Venezuela, one of the world’s leading oil producers, is trying to limit its power consumption as the country’s decrepit power utilities struggle to keep up with the demand. The government on Monday said the biggest electricity consumers — shopping malls, factories, office buildings and even some homes —…

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…

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