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US diplomat: Israeli attacks on John Kerry ‘offensive and absurd’

Israeli attacks against US Secretary of State John Kerry accusing him being of a supporter of Islamic militants are “offensive and absurd,” a senior US diplomat said Wednesday. In a sharp exchange with reporters, deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf hit out against a torrent of abuse from “respected voices…

Bolivia declares Israel a terrorist state over attack on Gaza

Bolivia on Wednesday renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel in protest over its offensive in Gaza, and declared it a terrorist state. President Evo Morales announced the move during a talk with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba. It “means, in other words, we are declaring…

Satellite images suggest North Korea may be closer to full ICBM test than thought

Fresh satellite images suggest North Korea might be wrapping up engine trials on an intercontinental ballistic missile, fuelling speculation of a full-scale flight test to come, a US think-tank said Wednesday. Development of a working ICBM would be a game-changing step, bringing the continental United States into range and adding…

Uganda activists launch legal battle to overturn notorious anti-gay law

Ugandan activists launched a petition Wednesday at the constitutional court seeking to overturn tough anti-gay laws that have been condemned by rights groups as draconian. Signed by Uganda’s veteran President Yoweri Museveni in February, the law calls for homosexuals to be jailed for life, outlaws the promotion of homosexuality and…

Libya Islamists seize army special forces headquarters in Benghazi

Islamist groups have seized the army special forces headquarters in Libya’s Benghazi after days of fighting left at least 35 soldiers dead and plunged the country deeper into lawlessness. An Islamist and jihadist alliance announced the capture of the main military base in the eastern city in a statement early…

Deadly shelling hits UN school, killing 16, as Hamas mulls truce

Israeli shells struck a UN school in Gaza early Wednesday, killing 16, as ground troops made a significant push into the territory despite Palestinian efforts to broker a 24-hour truce. It was the second time in a week that a UN school sheltering hundreds of homeless Palestinians had been hit,…

Ireland preparing to lift austerity measures

Ireland is moving closer to a switch away from deep austerity measures as it prepares for a key budget — the first since the eurozone nation emerged from a massive international bailout. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is predicting the Irish economy to do better than expected this year, meaning…

‘Slaves’ in the Gulf: Malagasy women lured to Middle East

Malagasy mother Solange left the island in 2013 eager to work as a domestic servant in Saudi Arabia and earn a better living for her family. Less than a year later she was dead, her body flown home to a husband asking questions about her slave-like work conditions in the…

McDonald’s Japan unveils ‘tofu nuggets’ after China meat scandal

McDonald’s restaurants in Japan are turning to time-honoured Asian soul food — tofu — as the chain scrambles to minimise the damage from an embarrassing tainted meat scandal in China. The fast-food giant’s more than 3,000 restaurants in Japan on Wednesday started selling “Tofu Shinjo” nuggets modelled on a traditional…

Dismantling Germany’s 275,000-tonne nuclear industry, piece by piece

Eyes fixed on a screen, joystick in hand, the operator of a remote-controlled saw painstakingly dismantles metal rods at one of Germany’s mothballed nuclear reactors. Time-consuming and costly, the operation to methodically carve up the core of EnBW’s Obrigheim reactor in the country’s southwest is now more than half way…

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