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Oil prices climb on persistent Middle East tensions

NEW YORK — Global oil prices climbed Thursday on the back of geopolitical jitters surrounding Syria, but a rise in US inventories moderated the price gains in US trade. In New York, the main contract, WTI light sweet crude for delivery in November, rose to $92.07 a barrel, up 82…

Hezbollah says it sent Iranian-built drone over Israel

BEIRUT — The head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah boasted Thursday that his Shiite militant group sent a sophisticated unmanned drone over Israel last week, saying the device was built by the Jewish state’s archfoe Iran. Hassan Nasrallah’s acknowledgement of the drone which Israel shot down on October 6 came shortly after…

Canada warns against letting Mali go the way of Afghanistan

PARIS — Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on Thursday warned against letting the situation in Mali, sliced in two since a coup and partly controlled by Islamist radicals, go the way of Afghanistan. “Terrorism is the great struggle of our generation,” said Baird after holding talks with French counterpart Laurent…

Egypt’s Brotherhood head urges jihad for Jerusalem

CAIRO — The supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi emanated, called on Thursday for a jihad (holy war) to liberate Jerusalem from Israeli rule. “Jerusalem is Islamic … and nobody is entitled to make concessions” on the Holy City, said Sheikh Mohammed Badie in…

U.S. names new Libyan ambassador after death in September 11 attack

The United States on Thursday named a new charge d’affaires to Libya following the murder of ambassador Chris Stevens in last month’s militant attack on the US consulate in Benghazi. Veteran diplomat and Arabic speaker Laurence Pope has arrived in Tripoli already, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a…

Released Pussy Riot member says authorities are playing ‘strange game’ of ‘calculated harassment’

A member of the anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot freed unexpectedly from prison said there was no split within the group, accusing the authorities of playing a “strange game” against the women. A Russian appeals court on Wednesday unexpectedly ordered the release of Yekaterina Samutsevich, but upheld the two-year prison…

South African miners reject new pay offer

South Africa’s gold miners have rejected a new pay offer secured by their unions and aimed at ending months of industrial unrest that has curbed production of the precious metal. “We gave the offer to the striking mine workers and they said ‘no’,” Kenneth Buda, coordinator of the National Union…

Pope urges Catholics to come back to their faith

The Vatican celebrated the 50th anniversary on Thursday of a Council that changed the face of Catholicism, as it tries to rekindle the religious fervour of the time amid rising secularism. Hundreds of bishops from around the world held a solemn procession through St Peter’s Square, after which Pope Benedict…

EBooks pick up steam in Europe after slow start

Electronic books, which have sparked excited chatter for several years in the publishing world, are now gaining momentum among European readers, despite a late start compared to the US, industry insiders say. The digital share of the book market in European countries still lags behind the United States but publishers…

Spot where Julius Caesar was killed will be open for tourism in 2013

The area among Rome’s ancient ruins where general Julius Caesar was assassinated will be open to tourists starting in 2013 following long-running excavation work, local officials told AFP on Thursday. “Next year we will complete the excavation work and give the area back to visitors,” said Umberto Broccoli, the head…

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