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Adm. Mullen: Libya moving to ‘stalemate’

MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) – The top U.S. military officer said air strikes had hobbled Libyan forces but the conflict was moving into “stalemate” as Muammar Gaddafi’s troops pressed on with their punishing siege of rebel Misrata. Rebels welcomed U.S. plans to deploy unmanned aircraft, typically operated remotely from the United…

Blast kills 16 as Pakistan vows to defeat terror

KARACHI — At least 16 people were killed and more than 30 wounded in a blast at a gambling den in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi late Thursday, senior police and government officials said. The explosion ripped through the city’s biggest gambling complex, known as the Rummy Club, senior…

Confucius statue move prompts online stir in China

BEIJING — A statue of Chinese thinker Confucius has been moved from a prime spot near Tiananmen Square to a less visible location, triggering online speculation Thursday on whether politics was behind the move. The statue was unveiled in January at an entrance to China’s National Museum, which lies across…

Syrian president lifts emergency rule

DAMASCUS — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday issued decrees ending nearly five decades of emergency law, abolishing state security courts and allowing citizens to protest peacefully, state television reported. The announcements made successively in news flashes on state television said Assad was ending the emergency law imposed when the…

U.S. begins using armed drones in Libya: Gates

(Reuters) – The United States is starting to use armed Predator drones in Libya to target Muammar Gaddafi’s forces after President Barack Obama approved their use, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday. The unmanned aircraft, already used to target militants along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, will allow for more precise…

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…

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