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China dismisses reports Jiang has died

China’s official media said Thursday that reports claiming former president Jiang Zemin had died were “pure rumour”, after days of intense speculation about his health. The state-run Xinhua news agency quoted “authoritative sources” in its report denying the rumour, which emerged last Friday after the 84-year-old failed to appear at…

U.N. report: Renewable energy investment soars 540% since 2004

Investment in renewable energy last year amounted to a record 211 billion dollars, a rise of 32 percent over 2009 and 540 percent over 2004, a UN-backed report said on Thursday. China, investing 48.9 billion dollars, up 28 percent, accounted for more than a fifth of the total, marking a…

Murdoch to close News of the World over phone hacking scandal

British tabloid News of the World will print its last issue on Sunday, closing down after an investigation revealed it had participated in the phone hacking of celebrities, British politicians, the families of terrorist attack victims, dead soldiers and others. According to Sky News, the closure was announced on Thursday…

World food prices rise as cost of sugar soars

World food prices rose by one percent in June, the UN’s food agency said on Thursday. “A strong rise in international sugar prices” was behind much of the increase, the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organisation said in a statement. The agency said that its index of food prices rose to…

‘All-out war’ erupts between DSK accuser and DA’s office

The case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been thrown into further disarray as an all-out war has erupted between the district attorney’s office and the former IMF chief’s accuser. Lawyers for the maid who says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her in a Manhattan hotel room demanded a new prosecutor Wednesday, accusing…

Greeks stop third freedom flotilla ship bound for Gaza

ATHENS (Reuters) – The Greek coastguard intercepted a small French boat with Pro-Palestinian activists aboard on Thursday, the third flotilla ship to be prevented from sailing to Gaza to challenge an Israeli blockade. Greece, just over a year after nine people were killed when Israeli marines stormed a pro-Palestinian flotilla,…

Democrats challenge Obama’s Afghan withdrawal plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic lawmakers fed up with the lingering war inAfghanistan launched a new challenge to President Barack Obama’s plan for a measured U.S. troop withdrawal over the next year as they resumed debate on Wednesday on a $649 billion defense spending bill. Democratic members of the House of Representatives proposed a series of…

Banks struggle to agree on Greek aid plan

ROME (Reuters) – International banks, under pressure from European governments to roll over their holdings of Greek debt, tried again to come up with a joint rescue plan on Thursday after talks over a French proposal fell apart. European Central Bank and Greek government officials as well as international and Italian…

Palestinians report dramatic rise in attacks by Jewish settlers

Attacks by Jewish settlers on Palestinian farmland and crops increased “dramatically” in June, a report released by the Palestinian Authority has shown. “Since the beginning of June, the settlers attacks escalated dramatically, especially against the land and the trees. In the first week of June, settlers burnt 350 trees Deir…

Iraq unearths mass grave of 900 bodies

DIWANIYAH, Iraq — Iraqi authorities uncovered a mass grave with 900 corpses near the central city of Diwaniyah on Wednesday, believed to be Kurds killed during the rule of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein, an official said. The corpses were found in the Shanafiya region, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of…

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