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UN chief urges halt to rocket attacks on Israel

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate halt to rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip, after talks with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday. “I reiterate my call for an immediate cessation of indiscriminate rocket attacks by Palestinian militants targeting Israeli populated centres. This is unacceptable,” he…

Victims of Hurricane Sandy forgotten in Haiti

Hurricane Sandy, the deadly storm that slammed into New York and New Jersey in October, tore through the Caribbean long before reaching America — and in Haiti, many still await help. Flooding from Sandy killed 54 people and left thousands homeless in Haiti, another woe for a country still struggling…

Turmoil after Church of England votes against women bishops

Church of England bishops were to host an emergency session on Wednesday after the church narrowly rejected the appointment of women bishops, triggering turmoil and setting back efforts to modernise the mother church of millions of Anglicans worldwide. Bishops were to consider the vote’s consequences, with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan…

Children pay high price for Gaza war

Thirteen-year-old Tasneem al-Nahal lies in the morgue of Gaza City’s Shifa hospital, dressed in the pink-and-blue tracksuit she was wearing when an Israeli air raid killed her. A few hours earlier, she was by the sea, playing with neighbours under a brilliantly blue sky. But when the air strike hit,…

Tel Aviv bus blast ‘injures 10′

Seventeen people were injured in an explosion on a bus near the defence ministry in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Israel’s emergency services said, in what an official said was a “terrorist attack.” The blast took place as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Israel for talks with Prime…

‘Lord of the Rings’ volcano erupts in New Zealand

A New Zealand volcano used as a backdrop to “The Lord of the Rings” films erupted on Wednesday, spewing a column of ash three kilometres (1.9 miles) above the North Island, scientists said. Vulcanologists said Mount Tongariro rumbled to life at 1:25 pm (0025 GMT), in a five-minute burst that…

Britain recognizes Syria opposition as fighting rages

DAMASCUS — Britain formally recognised a newly formed opposition bloc as the sole representative of the Syrian people on Tuesday, as UN head Ban Ki-moon said he feared Syria could become a “regional battleground.” Britain’s recognition of the opposition National Coalition came as fighting raged across Syrian flashpoints, including in…

Clinton: U.S. commitment to Israeli security ‘rock solid’

JERUSALEM — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Jerusalem on Tuesday during Israel’s conflict in Gaza that Washington’s commitment to the Jewish state’s security remains “rock solid.” But the top US diplomat also stressed that Washington expected a quick de-escalation to a seven-day conflict that has shaken the…

Mexico ‘risks corn damage’ if GM maize is planted

MEXICO CITY — Environmentalists are warning that Mexico, the cradle of corn, risks damaging its staple if the government gives US firms the green light to plant genetically-modified maize in huge swaths of land. The agriculture ministry is examining the possibility of allowing Monsanto, DuPont and Dow to plant GMO…

Toronto faces lawsuits over plastic shopping bag ban

OTTAWA — The Canada Plastic Bag Association on Tuesday joined a growing number of groups suing Toronto, Canada’s largest city, to stop a proposed ban on plastic shopping bags. The association said its members “have a substantial economic interest in the manufacture, supply, distribution and sale of plastic bags in…

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