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Anglicans ordain Africa’s first woman bishop

JOHANNESBURG — The Anglican Church of Southern Africa has ordained the first woman bishop on the African continent, officials said Monday, in a historic move that comes as the Church of England in London prepares to vote on whether to allow female bishops. The consecration of Ellinah Wamukoya, originally from…

Oil prices climb $2 on escalating Israel-Gaza violence

NEW YORK — Oil prices leaped Monday as violence intensified in the Israel-Gaza conflict, sparking fresh concern about supplies from the crude-rich Middle East. The market also found support from prospects that top oil consumer the United States will avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” of automatic tax increases and spending…

Hezbollah leader vows support for Hamas despite Syria rift

BEIRUT — Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah pledged the Lebanese Shiite group’s support for the Hamas rulers of Gaza in the face of Israel’s air war Monday, insisting it was unaffected by differences over the conflict in Syria. “Some are saying that Israel is punishing Hamas for they think it abandoned…

Spain considers automatic residency to foreign home buyers

Spain may offer automatic residency to foreigners such as Chinese and Russians who buy homes in the country, aiming to help the ruined housing market, a government official said Monday. “We have proposed to the other ministries that for residents who acquire a home in Spain for more than 160,000…

Stuck beard leaves Santa dangling from mall ceiling for 30 minutes

Officials at Broad Street Mall in Reading, England say that Santa Claus chose to dangle from the ceiling on Saturday for at least 30 minutes instead of disappointing hundreds of children by removing his beard after his whiskers got stuck in a rappelling accident. British Army soldier Steve Chessell had…

Russian woman keeps husband’s dead body for 3 years

A Russian woman kept the dead body of her husband in her apartment for three years, ordering her children to feed and talk to him in the hopes he would be resurrected, investigators said Monday. The deceased man, a missionary for a Pentecostal church, had lived with his wife and…

‘Shadow banking’ industry grew to $67 trillion in 2011: report

The G20′s Financial Stability Board (FSB) said Sunday that the market for debt-based products, which it calls the “shadow banking” industry, was worth an astonishing $67 trillion at the end of 2011. The FSB’s report (PDF) explained that the U.S. had by far the largest shadow banking sector in 2011, worth…

U.S. begins talks on long-term troop presence in Afghanistan beyond 2014

Robert Bales shooting trial puts thorny issue of US troop immunity centre stage, with Hamid Karzai hoping to wring tough concessions Afghanistan and the US have opened talks to keep American troops in the country after most Nato forces go home in 2014, but the thorny question of immunity for American…

Indians arrested for Facebook post on Mumbai shutdown

Indian police said Monday they had arrested a woman for criticising on Facebook the total shutdown of Mumbai after the death of politician Bal Thackeray, as well as a friend who “liked” the comment. The pair were due to appear in court later in the day charged under the Indian…

Space station crew returns to Earth in Russian capsule

Three astronauts touched down early Monday on the snowy steppes of Kazakhstan in a Russian Soyuz capsule after spending over four months aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Russia’s Yuri Malenchenko, Sunita Williams of the US and Akihiko Hoshide of Japan touched down as scheduled just before 0200 GMT, the…

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