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US gives Egypt $150 mln to help with transition

WASHINGTON — The United States gave Egypt $150 million in crucial economic assistance on Thursday to help the key US ally transition towards democracy following the overthrow of longtime president Hosni Mubarak. “I am pleased to announce today that we will be reprogramming $150 million for Egypt to put ourselves…

Six die in Libya ‘Day of Anger’

NICOSIA (AFP) – Six people were killed in the Libyan city of Benghazi on Thursday, as Moamer Kadhafi’s regime sought to overshadow an opposition “Day of Anger” with its own rally in the capital Tripoli. Meanwhile, clashes broke out in the city of Zentan, southwest of the capital, in which…

Special report: China flexed its muscles using US Treasuries

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Confidential diplomatic cables from the U.S. embassies in Beijing and Hong Kong lay bare China’s growing influence as America’s largest creditor. As the U.S. Federal Reserve grappled with the aftershocks of financial crisis, the Chinese, like many others, suffered huge losses from their investments in American…

Swine flu kills 12 in Hong Kong in under a month

HONG KONG — At least 12 people have died from swine flu in Hong Kong in less than a month, the territory’s health authority said on Thursday, after the latest death from the disease. A spokeswoman for the health authority said one elderly person had died of confirmed swine flu,…

Conflicting reports as Egypt denies barring Iran ships

CAIRO — Iran was pushing Egypt on Thursday to allow two of its warships to pass through the Suez Canal, amid conflicting reports from Cairo about the Egyptian response and despite warnings from Israel. Iranian warships have not entered the Mediterranean through the canal since 1979, and Israel says any…

Belgium celebrates 249 days without government

BRUSSELS — Belgium on Thursday snatched Iraq’s dubious record as the country boasting the world’s longest political crisis of recent times, an event to be cheekily marked by a “chips revolution” honouring a favourite national dish. The nation of 11 million people, home to both the European Union and NATO,…

Baghdad wants U.S. to pay $1 billion for damage to city

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s capital wants the United States to apologize and pay $1 billion for the damage done to the city not by bombs but by blast walls and Humvees since the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. The city’s government issued its demands in a statement on Wednesday…

In dramatic turnaround, US to censure Israel in Security Council

WASHINGTON – In a dramatic departure from longstanding policy, the United States intends to support a United Nations Security Council resolutions censuring Israel for building settlements in Palestinian territory. The Obama administration told Arab governments Tuesday it will back a draft resolution saying the Security Council “does not accept the…

Four killed in violent Bahrain crackdown: opposition

MANAMA — Riot police stormed through a Manama square in the dark early Thursday firing rubber bullets and tear gas in a harsh crackdown on anti-regime protesters that left four dead, witnesses and opposition said. Up to 95 protesters were wounded when police launched the operation in the iconic Pearl…

Bahrain forces break up protesters’ camp, 2 killed

MANAMA – Two people were killed and at least 50 injured overnight Wednesday as Bahrain’s security forces moved in to clear protesters camped out in a central Manama square, a Shiite opposition spokesman told AFP. “Two people have been killed and at least 50 others injured, at least 10 of…

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