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Greenpeace accuses Barbie of being a forest vandal

JAKARTA (AFP) – Greenpeace on Wednesday accused Mattel, the US maker of Barbie dolls, of contributing to the wanton destruction of carbon-rich Indonesian forests and habitats of endangered species like Sumatran tigers. The environmental group said packaging used in Barbie and Ken boxes contained timber products from Asia Pulp and…

Clinton heads to UAE for talks on Libya

SHANNON, Ireland (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew Wednesday to the Gulf to consult with countries backing military action in Libya and looking at more ways to help the Libyan opposition. The talks in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on Thursday come after President Barack Obama said…

Indian guru threatens to form yoga militia

NEW DELHI (AFP) – A television yoga guru who has led protests against corruption in India threatened to form a militia on Thursday as a new demonstration against the government drew thousands in New Delhi. Yoga star Swami Ramdev, who was evicted from the capital along with thousands of followers…

Iran to triple capacity to enrich 20% uranium

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran plans to triple its capacity to purify uranium later this year when it transfers the work from the central city of Natanz to the Fordo site, the country’s nuclear chief said on Wednesday. The announcement brought immediate condemnation from France which termed Iran’s plans a “provocation”,…

Chile volcano ash carpets roads, rivers, runways

ENTRE LAGOS, Chile (AFP) – A vast cloud of ash spewing from a Chilean volcano disrupted air travel Wednesday across much of South America, as heavy rains around the eruption site prompted fears of mudslides. Air traffic was sharply curtailed on the continent as the ash cloud drifted over Argentina,…

Japan’s next gizmo: brainwave-controlled cat ears

TOKYO (AFP) – A team of Japanese inventors have come with a new device that blends the country’s fascination with cuteness and its penchant for experimental high-tech — brainwave-controlled cat ears. The fluffy headwear reads users’ brain activity, meaning the ears perk up when they concentrate and then flop down…

Divided OPEC begins critical oil output meeting

VIENNA (AFP) – OPEC began a tense output meeting here on Wednesday amid uncertainty over the outcome, with clear divisions over whether the cartel should boost production to help revive flagging growth. The grouping of 12 member nations pumping 40 percent of global oil supplies, faces a crucial decision on…

Obama meets crown prince of Bahrain at White House

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama met the crown prince of Bahrain Tuesday, as Washington backed the Sunni royal family’s national dialogue to ease the political crisis in the Shiite majority kingdom. Obama dropped by a meeting between Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa and US National Security Advisor Tom…

Flooding kills 23 in earthquake-ravaged Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Torrential rains lashed Haiti on Tuesday, flooding shanty towns, swamping the squalid camps erected after a 2010 earthquake and killing at least 23 people, officials said. The worst rains to hit the impoverished country this year — at the start of the hurricane season — paralyzed the capital,…

United States ready to give asylum to alleged Libya rape victim

WASHINGTON — The United States is prepared to welcome a Libyan woman who accused soldiers loyal to Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi of raping her as long as she goes through the normal refugee process, a senior US official said Tuesday. The woman, Iman al-Obeidi, is currently at the emergency transit…

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