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Israeli intellectuals endorse Palestinian state

TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Barely audible above the chants of “traitor,” an Israeli actress who lost a leg in a Palestinian attack read out on Thursday a declaration by Israeli intellectuals endorsing the creation of a Palestinian state. The event, attended by dozens of left-wing artists and academics, was held…

Asylum-Seekers riot in Australia, burn buildings

SYDNEY — Asylum seekers torched a number of buildings at a Sydney detention centre in a night of wild riots, with police still trying to talk down a handful of protesters from the rooftops on Thursday. The riots kicked off late Wednesday at the Villawood Detention Centre with an estimated…

US farm companies charged with human trafficking

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US authorities on Wednesday filed charges against two companies on charges they exploited hundreds of Indian and Thai workers who earned a pittance and were forced to stay in decrepit conditions. In what it called its largest ever human trafficking case in the farm sector, the US…

Are insects the answer to global malnutrition?

VIENTIANE — Serge Verniau is a man with a mission: to persuade the world to swap the chicken wings and steaks on their plates for crickets, palm weevils and other insects rich in protein and vitamins. Verniau, the Laos representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), is only…

Japan PM declares no-go zone around nuclear plant

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan on Thursday banned people from going within 20 kilometres (12 miles) of the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant, which has been leaking radiation for nearly six weeks. The ban, which gives legal weight to an existing exclusion zone, comes after police found more than 60 families living…

UN condemns ‘cluster bomb use’ by Libyan regime

GENEVA — The UN human rights chief on Wednesday slammed the Libyan regime for the alleged use of cluster bombs in Misrata, saying such attacks on densely populated urban areas could be international crimes. In a statement, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay “condemned the reported repeated use…

Award-winning Vanity Fair journalist killed in Libya

MISRATA, Libya — Award-winning news photographer Tim Hetherington of US magazine Vanity Fair was killed by mortar fire on Wednesday in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata, and three colleagues wounded, an AFP journalist learned at the local hospital. Vanity Fair, a politics and fashion magazine, confirmed the death of…

Gold tops $1,500 an ounce for first time

LONDON (AFP) – The price of gold topped $1,500 for the first time on Wednesday as a weaker dollar plus fears over high inflation and debt attracted investors into the traditional safe-haven precious metal. Gold reached $1,505.65 an ounce at 0945 GMT on the London Bullion Market. It later traded…

US to move WikiLeaks suspect Manning to newer prison

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Bradley Manning, a US soldier held for allegedly passing classified documents to WikiLeaks, is being transferred to a new prison facility after intense criticism of the conditions of his detention. The Pentagon on Tuesday announced his imminent transfer to a Kansas military facility it said was better-suited…

Leaked cables: US helped Israel contain UN Gaza war probe

WASHINGTON — The United States worked behind the scenes to help Israel contain UN probes into possible war crimes committed during the 2008-2009 Gaza war, Foreign Policy reported Tuesday. The online foreign affairs magazine cited exclusive WikiLeaks cables detailing moves by the US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to…

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