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International energy group raises oil demand estimate

Global thirst for oil will be slightly stronger than expected in the last quarter of 2012 because of demand from China and despite a sharp cutback in Europe recently, the International Energy Agency forecast on Wednesday. The IEA raised its estimate for global demand in the last three months of…

Ex-Russian cop on trial for journalist’s murder

A former Russian police officer was to go on trial Wednesday on charges of involvement in the murder of crusading anti-Kremlin journalist Anna Politkovskaya, with mystery still surrounding who ordered the killing. Dmitry Pavlyuchenkov has been charged with murder for being part of a criminal group that gunned down the…

Thousands take part in mass 12/12/12 weddings

Thousands of couples in Hong Kong, mainland China and Singapore flocked Wednesday to tie the knot on 12/12/12, seeking good fortune for marriages begun on the century’s last repeating date. Authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore respectively said 696 and 540 couples were scheduled to attend marriage registries, continuing a…

North Korea launches long-range rocket despite international pressure

North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket on Wednesday, in defiance of UN sanctions threats over what Pyongyang’s critics have condemned as a disguised ballistic missile test. North Korea said the three-stage rocket, which Pyongyang insists was solely aimed at placing a satellite in orbit, had achieved all its objectives.…

Restoration of Roman tunnels gives a slave’s eye view of Caracalla baths

In the middle of a patch of grass amid the ruins of the Caracalla baths in Rome, there is a staircase that takes visitors deep into the ground to a world resembling the lair of a James Bond villain. “This is our glimpse at maniacal Roman perfection, at incredible hydraulic…

Iraq abuse inquiry was a cover-up, whistleblower tells court

A former investigator into allegations that British troops abused Iraqi prisoners resigned because she did not want to be implicated in “a cover-up”, the high court has heard. Louise Thomas, 45, left the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) in July because she thought it was not a genuine investigation but…

American detained in North Korea

An American citizen has been detained by the communist authorities in North Korea, a country that has no diplomatic ties with the United States, a US official said Tuesday. “We’re obviously aware of these reports that a US citizen has been detained in North Korea. We obviously have no higher…

Canadian police chief sends Christmas cards to gangsters

Gangsters in one of Canada’s most crime-ridden cities can expect a special greeting card this Christmas — from a local police chief dressed as jolly Santa Claus and packing heat. The card is being mailed out this week to “prolific offenders, property offenders and persons known for drug and gang…

Guatemala Nobel winner pissed at profiteering of ‘Mayan doomsday’ hysteria

Rigoberta Menchu, the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner, is unhappy about the commercial hype over the supposed ancient Maya predictions of an end of the world on December 21. The date marks the end of an era that lasted over 5,000 years, according to the Mayan “Long Count” calendar. Some…

U.S. warns Egypt of return to ‘bad old days’ of Mubarak

The United States warned Tuesday there must be no return to the “bad old days” of the Mubarak era in Egypt, as the army there called for talks to resolve a crisis over a constitutional referendum. “We continue to have deep concerns about the situation in Egypt,” State Department spokeswoman…

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