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U.S. to open military ties soon with Myanmar: official

The United States is poised to take “nascent steps” to open up military ties with Myanmar as a way of bolstering political reforms undertaken by the former pariah state, a senior US defense official said Wednesday. The Pentagon said the cooperation likely would take the form of “non-lethal” training for…

Canada probes scheme to exploit U.S. energy program

A train carrying biodiesel crisscrossed the Canada-US border repeatedly without unloading its cargo, exploiting a loophole in a US green energy program, Canada’s public broadcaster reported Wednesday. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, citing sources who knew of the scheme, said authorities here are investigating Toronto-based Bioversel Trading Inc. which allegedly organized…

Letters stolen from World War II Nazi postbox delivered after 71 years

Letters written by German soldiers stationed on the Channel Island of Jersey have finally been delivered, 71 years after they were stolen in an act of resistance against the Nazi occupation. The 90 letters and cards were taken just before Christmas 1941 by a group of young men who ‘liberated’…

Signed checks worth half a billion found in Jerusalem’s Western Wall

Moolah from heaven or a devilish scam? That is a question Jerusalem police are asking on Wednesday after signed cheques worth around half a billion dollars were found at the Western Wall. The 507 cheques were discovered in an envelope at the Jewish holy site in the Old City of…

Mother of 3-year-old named Jihad faces French court for putting ‘I am a bomb’ shirt on her son

The mother and uncle of a three-year old named Jihad, who was born on September 11, were due in a French court Wednesday for sending him to school in a top with “I am a bomb” written on it. The sweatshirt also had the words “Jihad, born on September 11″…

Fancy foods garner thousands at charity auction in Paris

Truffles, oysters, an aged side of beef or a three-star dinner by a top French chef: a mouthwatering line-up of festive delicacies were the star lots of an offbeat charity auction in Paris. Dubbed “Fine Food”, and held for the second year running by the auctioneer Artcurial for the benefit…

Greek civil servants stage 24-hour strike over austerity measures

Hundreds of civil servants protested in Athens against new austerity measures as part of a a 24-hour strike called Wednesday by unions that paralysed public services and disrupted transport. Wednesday’s action grounded flights for six hours, left trains operating on emergency schedules and halted the Athens metro during morning rush…

Britain to withdraw 3,800 troops from Afghanistan in 2013

Britain will withdraw 3,800 of its 9,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday. “We’ll be able to see troops come home in two relatively even steps in 2013, 2014, leaving probably around 5,200 troops after the end of 2013 compared with…

Norovirus outbreak strikes nearly a million UK residents

Almost a million people are estimated to have contracted the highly infectious vomiting bug norovirus this winter in the UK, according to official figures. Health officials believe that around 900,000 people, almost twice the figure reported for this time last year, have caught the virus, which causes severe vomiting for…

Obama tells Rwanda to end DRC rebel support

US President Barack Obama called on Rwandan President Paul Kagame to end all support for rebels in the conflict-wracked Democratic Republic of Congo, the White House said. The White House issued the strongly worded statement about the leaders’ call after Washington imposed sanctions on two top leaders of the M23…

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