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Damn! Aussies to be fined for swearing

MELBOURNE (AFP) – Australians may have a love of plain speaking but new laws are set to curtail some of their more colourful language with police issuing on-the-spot fines for obnoxious swearing. The country’s second most populous state Victoria is due to approve new legislation this week under which police…

Former Egypt bank head charged with sex assault on NYC hotel maid

NEW YORK (Reuters) – An Egyptian businessman and one-time head of a major Egyptian bank has been charged with sexually assaulting a hotel maid at a luxury New York City hotel, police said. The arrest Monday of Mahmoud Abdel-Salam Omar came two weeks after former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique…

Japan PM, facing no-confidence vote, says won’t quit

TOKYO (Reuters) – Unpopular Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Tuesday refused to step down in the face of a no-confidence motion in parliament this week, saying he wanted first to resolve the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years. Analysts say Kan would probably survive the vote, which could…

Robert Gates travels to Asia with message of continuity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates heads to Asia for a final time as Pentagon chief on Tuesday, looking to reassure allies the United States is committed to regional security despite tightening defense budgets and his own imminent departure. Gates, who leaves office at the end of June, will…

Court rejects Mladic appeal, extradition cleared

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia’s war crimes court has rejected the appeal of former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, paving the way to his extradition to the war crimes court in The Hague, a court spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday. The Hague court indicted Mladic for genocide in the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the massacre of…

Egypt’s Mubarak unfit for prison move: prosecutor

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s public prosecutor said on Tuesday ousted President Hosni Mubarak was not in a condition to be transferred to a prison hospital and would remain in a hospital in Sharm el-Sheikh for the time being. The prosecutor said in a statement that a medical team had concluded “not to transfer the patient…

Centennial anniversary of Titanic launch marked in Belfast

BELFAST (AFP) – Dignitaries on Tuesday marked the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Titanic from Belfast in Northern Ireland with a religious service and the firing of a flare. The ill-starred ocean liner slid down the slipway of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, then the largest in the…

‘Perfect storm’ looms for world’s food supplies: Oxfam

PARIS (AFP) – Oxfam called on Tuesday for an overhaul of the world’s food system, warning that in a couple of decades, millions more people would be gripped by hunger due to population growth and climate-hit harvests. A “broken food system” means that the price of some staples will more…

Yemeni forces kill 21 protesters at sit-in demonstration

SANAA – Forces loyal to Yemen’s embattled president killed 21 protesters as they crushed a sit-in demonstration in Taez, an organiser said on Monday, as suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen killed six soldiers in the south. Security service agents backed by army and Republican Guards stormed the protest against President Ali Abdullah…

Afghanistan no longer source of terrorism, says Canadian PM Harper

OTTAWA — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Monday said Afghanistan “is no longer a source of global terrorism” during a surprise visit to the war-torn country, but still urged vigilance on the threat. His office announced the one-day trip after his jet was wheels-up. It comes as Canada prepares…

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