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New Afghan spy chief accused of corruption and torture

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has nominated a cabinet minister to head the country’s spy agency who has been accused of involvement in torture, drug-trafficking and corruption. Asadullah Khalid, the minister for borders and a one-time governor of the Taliban-troubled province of Kandahar, must be approved by a parliamentary vote before…

South Africa to start releasing arrested miners

A South African court was due to start releasing 270 miners Monday who were arrested after police gunned down 34 of their colleagues, following a decision by prosecutors to withdraw murder charges against them. Prosecutors provisionally dropped the charges Sunday amid a public furor after officers opened fire on strikers…

Pakistani imam arrested for planting evidence of Koran-burning

A Pakistani cleric who accused a young Christian girl of blasphemy in a case that sparked international concern was remanded in custody Sunday on suspicion of evidence-tampering and desecrating the Koran. The girl, Rimsha, has been held in prison since being arrested in the poor Islamabad suburb of Mehrabad more…

Nine dead in Madagascar in clashes with armed zebu rustlers

ANTANANARIVO — Nine people were killed as police and gendarmes intervened after a gang of armed cattle thieves seized a thousand cattle in southern Madagascar, the gendarmerie said Sunday. Six rustlers, two gendarmes and a police officer died in the fighting, after around 130 armed men seized the zebu, a…

Reverend Sun Myung Moon dies at age of 92

SEOUL — Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah who founded the controversial Unification Church and turned it into a multi-billion dollar business empire, died in South Korea early Monday at the age of 92. Moon, who was hospitalised with complications from pneumonia more than two weeks ago, passed away just…

Jailed Pussy Riot leader: ‘I love Russia but I hate Putin’

BERLIN — One of the three members of punk band Pussy Riot jailed last month for a protest in a Russian cathedral launched a fierce new attack on Russian President Vladimir Putin in a magazine interview. “I love Russia but I hate Putin,” Nadezhda Tolokonnikova told the German news weekly…

Iran plans major air defense exercise

TEHRAN — Iran plans to start a major military exercise later this month to test its air defence systems, a top Revolutionary Guards commander said in comments published on Sunday. The exercise was announced by Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, who heads the elite force’s air defence command, amid rising speculation…

Rebels in Syrian ghost town hunted from above

TAFTANAZ, Syria — The noise is unmistakable and strikes fear into those on the ground: then it appears, the sinister silhouette of an Mi-24 gunship, scanning for targets so it can unleash its terrible firepower. The helicopters circle out of range of the rebels’ inferior weapons, before swooping to bombard…

10 dead in Quebec Legionnaire’s disease outbreak

A Legionnaire’s disease outbreak in Quebec City has killed 10 people since late July, health authorities in the francophone Canadian city said in an updated toll. A total of 165 people have so far been diagnosed with the disease, which poses a risk for people with weak immune systems but…

Blair, Bush should face trial over Iraq war: Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu called Sunday for former prime minister Tony Blair and former US president George W Bush to face trial in The Hague for their role in the Iraq war. The South African peace icon, writing in The Observer newspaper, accused the pair of lying about weapons of mass…

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