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Israel PM heads to Berlin as settlement dispute grows

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due in Berlin on Wednesday for talks likely to focus on the growing crisis over settlement plans that could torpedo the viability of a Palestinian state. Ahead of his departure on a trip that will take him briefly to Prague and then on to…

China Nobel winner expected to avoid politics

China’s Nobel literature winner Mo Yan heads to Sweden Wednesday to collect his award, but he walks a delicate line with the authorities and is likely to avoid mentioning in his speech jailed fellow laureate Liu Xiaobo. Mo Yan has been hailed as a national hero since the prize announcement…

Japan eyes reduced emission cut target

Japan may backpedal on its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter, an official said Wednesday, dealing a further blow to already deadlocked global warming talks in Doha. Tokyo in 2009 promised it would slash its planet-warming emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by the start of…

N. Korea completes installing rocket: report

SEOUL — North Korea has completed installing a long-range rocket on its launch pad, ahead of its planned launch this month in defiance of widespread international condemnation, a report said Wednesday. All three stages of the Unha-3 rocket have been placed on the pad at the North’s Sohae satellite launch…

Sun rises over Egypt protesters after palace siege

Hundreds of protesters woke up Wednesday in front of the presidential palace, the new focus of protests against President Mohamed Morsi, as an already-polarised Egypt slipped deeper into crisis. “The final warning, the presidency under siege,” read the headline of daily al-Shuruk as the independent Al-Watan declared “Revolution at the…

Japan woman arrested for keeping 160 ‘scrawny’ dogs

TOKYO — A woman who kept 160 starving dogs in her house among tonnes of their own waste has been arrested by Japanese police, an official said on Wednesday. Ten tonnes of animal waste and other rubbish were removed from Noriko Ishii’s house after the dogs were taken away, he…

World’s tallest woman dies in China

A Chinese woman who was certified as the tallest in the world has died, an official from her hometown said. Yao Defen, of eastern China’s Anhui province, was listed as the world’s tallest woman by Guinness World Records in 2010, when she stood 2.33 metres (seven foot eight inches) high,…

Iran tells US to ‘recount’ drones

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are telling the United States to “recount” the drones in its fleet as they insist that — despite US denials — they captured a small US unmanned spy plane over Gulf waters, Iranian media said Wednesday. “Its capture is not an issue the Americans can easily refute,”…

Arab world ‘to bear brunt of climate change’

Global warming will have dire consequences for the Middle East and North Africa, with even hotter and drier conditions devastating everything from agriculture to tourism, a World Bank report said on Wednesday. On current trends, average temperatures in Arab countries are likely to rise by as much as three degrees…

Australian child takes grenade for ‘show and tell’

An Australian school was evacuated Wednesday after a child took a hand grenade into a classroom for a “show and tell” lesson, police said. The grenade resembles a World War II “pineapple” model and was believed to be inert but police said it would not be moved from a teacher’s…

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