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Italian consul in Libya escapes gun attack

Italy’s consul to Benghazi in eastern Libya escaped unscathed after an attack on his bullet-proof car in the city on Saturday, Italian news agency ANSA and local security sources said. The car in which the consul, Guido De Sanctis, was travelling was shot at when it stopped at a crossroads,…

Belgian PM vows to cut queen’s stipend immediately

Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo said Saturday that elderly Queen Fabiola’s yearly allowance will be cut immediately, after a public uproar over a scheme to avoid death duties. “The reduction of Queen Fabiola’s stipend will be effective right from 2013,” Di Rupo’s spokesman said in a statement, referring to…

Haitian president Martelly talks up recovery in quake memorial

Three years after a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti, President Michel Martelly said Saturday the country was slowly rebuilding, despite the ongoing day-to-day misery of many survivors. An estimated 250,000 people were killed in the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Hundreds of thousands are still living rough in squalid makeshift camps, and…

Cuban president backs Venezuela as Chavez convalesces

Cuban President Raul Castro on Saturday voiced his support for the Venezuelan government, as its cancer-stricken leader Hugo Chavez convalesces in Havana, with no sign of when or if he might return home. Castro made the comments during a meeting with Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who arrived in the…

Vowing revenge, 15,000 rally in Paris over Kurd killings

About 15,000 Kurds from all over Europe vowed revenge as they rallied Saturday in Paris over the killing of three top Kurdish activists from a separatist group banned in Turkey. The march, which began at the city’s Gare de l’Est railway station, was emotionally charged, with demonstrators saying France would…

Israel and Palestinians in face off over protest camp

More than 200 Palestinian activists were refusing on Saturday evening to obey orders to leave a protest camp they set up in a part of the occupied West Bank where Israel wants to build new settler homes. “Members of the Israeli Civil (military) Administration told us this morning that we…

Deaf Belgian twins going blind ‘commit euthanasia’

Deaf Belgian identical twins used a decade-old euthanasia law in a mercy-killing pact after they began to go blind, Flemish media reported Saturday. In what was presented as a unique case, the 45-year-old men from the Antwerp area who shared a bedroom all their lives began to encounter problems with…

Beijing choked by pollution at dangerous levels

Dense smog shrouded Beijing on Saturday, with pollution at hazardous levels for a second day and residents advised to stay indoors, state media said. The municipal environment warning centre issued an alert advising the elderly, children, and those suffering respiratory or cardiovascular illness to avoid going out or doing strenuous…

‘Here Comes the Sun’ flashmob cheers Spanish unemployment office

A flashmob of musicians organised by radio show serenades long queue of people at Madrid office amid harsh winter of austerity A flashmob of musicians has cheered up the long queue in a busy Spanish unemployment office by playing the Beatles’ Here Comes the Sun. During the stunt organised by…

Angry Pakistani Shiites refuse to bury dead

Shiite families refusing to bury their dead after twin bombings in Pakistan’s troubled southwestern city of Quetta vowed to continue their sit-in protest Saturday until the army takes over security. Hundreds of protesters have gathered on the main road near the snooker hall that was the scene of Thursday’s twin…

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