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More than 1,700 Taliban fighters join Afghan reintegration program

WASHINGTON — More than 1,700 former Taliban combatants have turned in their weapons to join a reintegration program started by the Afghan government nearly a year ago, the NATO general in charge of the program said Thursday. “So far we’ve got about 1,740 former fighters who have formally joined the…

Bomb attacks against Iraqi police kill 29, wound 90

KIRKUK, Iraq – A spate of bomb attacks against police in Iraq’s disputed oil-rich city of Kirkuk on Thursday killed at least 29 people, the worst violence to hit the country in nearly two months. A further 90 people were wounded in the three attacks, which drew condemnation from the…

IMF chief Strauss-Kahn released on bail

NEW YORK – Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was indicted Thursday on sexual assault charges but ordered released on bail by a New York judge after agreeing to house arrest and to post $1 million in cash. He also had to put up a $5 million bond, surrender all travel documents…

Obama: Arab revolutions show that repression no longer works

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama said Thursday that the uprisings sweeping the Arab world show that a policy of repression will no longer work as people seek to win their freedom and human rights. He also warned in a speech at the State Department that Al-Qaeda’s agenda of…

Gore: Murdoch banned Current TV in Italy because we hired Olbermann

An Italian cable provider owned by billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch has kicked the Current TV network off the air following the channel’s announcement that former MSNBC liberal news host Keith Olbermann would be joining their lineup. Current TV founder Al Gore, the former vice president of the United States,…

British lawmaker slammed for suggesting date rape not ‘serious’

LONDON — Justice Secretary Ken Clarke on Thursday rejected calls to resign over controversial remarks he made about rape, but said he would choose his words more carefully in the future. The veteran Conservative politician refused to apologise after widespread condemnation of his apparent suggestion that date rape was not…

Ahmadinejad says West to blame for drought in Iran

TEHRAN — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday accused Western countries of devising plans to “cause drought” in the Islamic republic, as he inaugurated a dam in a central province. “Western countries have designed plans to cause drought in certain areas of the world, including Iran,” the official IRNA news…

Czechs deny using penis tests for gay asylum seekers

The Czech Republic is no longer using penis blood pressure tests to determine if asylum seekers are gay, the Czech Interior Ministry said Wednesday. The EU’s leading human rights agency first criticized the Czech government last year for using “phallometric tests.” The test gauges the subject’s level of sexual arousal…

Mexico tourism booms despite drug violence

LAS VEGAS — The gruesome headlines from Mexico’s drug war may be the stuff of nightmares, but there is little sign the millions of foreign tourists who visit the country each year are losing much sleep over it. Not only has international tourism not suffered in Mexico because of the…

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