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Lunar eclipse turns moon blood red

SYDNEY (AFP) – The longest lunar eclipse in more than a decade turned the moon blood red on Thursday, yielding a rare visual treat for stargazers across a large swathe of the planet from Australia to Europe. The first eclipse of the year — when the Earth casts its shadow…

Al-Qaeda names Zawahiri to succeed bin Laden

DUBAI (AFP) – Al-Qaeda on Thursday named its second in command Ayman al-Zawahiri to succeed slain chief Osama bin Laden and vowed to relentlessly pursue its “jihad’ against the United States and Israel. “The general command of Al-Qaeda announces, after consultations, the appointment of Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri as head of…

WikiLeaks auctioning off a lunch with Julian Assange and Slavoj Zizek

LONDON — WikiLeaks is auctioning off a chance to dine with Julian Assange to raise funds for its whistle-blowing activities — although it will have to be lunch because he is under a court-imposed curfew. The website is offering eight lucky bidders the chance to have a meal with its…

Soccer player sues Murdoch’s UK newspaper over hacking scandal

LONDON — Manchester United great Ryan Giggs became the latest celebrity to take legal action against the News of the World over allegedly hacking into his mobile phone, his lawyer announced on Wednesday. The 37-year-old – who it was revealed last month by a British lawmaker was the married footballer…

Greek PM offers power-sharing deal to push austerity cuts

ATHENS (AFP) – Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday invited the main opposition into government to deal with the debt crisis, as thousands ringed parliament against new austerity cuts. Papandreou sounded out opposition conservative leader Antonis Samaras on a unity government to secure backing for new controversial reforms required…

U.S. drones kill eight militants in Pakistan: officials

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) – US missiles killed eight militants in separate strikes Wednesday on Pakistan’s lawless tribal district, an insurgent stronghold along the Afghan border, security officials said. Washington has called Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwest tribal region the most dangerous place on Earth and the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda, where Taliban…

Japan finds radiation traces in whales

TOKYO (AFP) – Japanese whale hunters have found traces of radioactive caesium in two of the ocean giants recently harpooned off its shores in the Pacific Ocean, a fisheries agency official said Wednesday. Two minke whales culled off the northern island of Hokkaido showed readings of 31 becquerels and 24.3…

Illegal spread of GM rice alarms Chinese officials

Genetically modified rice has been spreading illegally for years in China, officials have admitted, triggering a debate on a sensitive aspect of the food security plan in the world’s most populous nation. Two strains of GM rice were approved for open-field experiments but not commercial sale in 2009. In January,…

Mullen: U.S. will not leave Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The top US military officer is vowing long-term commitment to Afghanistan, touting progress in the war against the Taliban and its Al-Qaeda allies ahead of an American drawdown. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on the “Charlie Rose” television interview show…

Syrians hold pro-Assad rally as global outcry grows

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Thousands of supporters of Bashar al-Assad demonstrated on Wednesday on the outskirts of Damascus as the embattled president came under intense world pressure to halt a crackdown on democracy protests. Flag-waving pro-regime demonstrators lined a highway leading to the posh residential suburb of Mezze in western Damascus…

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