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Countess of Wemyss winning support to change world’s drug laws

The proud owner of a country estate and an aristocratic title, Amanda Feilding, Countess of Wemyss and March, might seem an unlikely campaigner for the reform of laws criminalising recreational drugs. But no one can say she hasn’t put the hours in. For the past 15 years, as part of…

Hamas arsenal hit during conflict but rocket know-how still intact

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — The distinctive whoosh of a longer-range rocket leaving Gaza set sirens wailing in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem within minutes, as Hamas militants broke new ground in the fight against Israel. And although the Islamists’ firepower was hard hit during its eight-day confrontation with Israel, Hamas…

Mexico’s outgoing president: Drop the ‘United States’

MEXICO CITY — Nothing against the neighbors, really. Mexico’s outgoing President Felipe Calderon has suggested that the United States of Mexico change its name to, well, just plain Mexico. “It is time for us Mexicans to reclaim the beauty and simplicity of our country’s name: Mexico. A name we chant,…

China conducts first landing on aircraft carrier

BEIJING — China has conducted the first landing of a fighter jet on its new aircraft carrier in a move that extends Beijing’s ability to project its growing military might in territorial disputes. The Chinese-made J-15 made the successful landing on the Liaoning, a former Soviet carrier, during recent exercises,…

Garment factory blaze kills 109 in Bangladesh

ASHULIA, Bangladesh — At least 109 people died when fire swept through a factory in the worst-ever blaze to hit Bangladesh’s garment industry, officials said Sunday, as witnesses told of desperate workers jumping from upper floors. Firefighters battled for several hours to contain the blaze, which broke out on the…

Afghan universities close after sectarian clash

KABUL — Afghanistan has closed down three major public universities in the capital Kabul for more than a week after sectarian clashes left one student dead and nearly 30 others wounded, an official said Sunday. The clashes erupted on Saturday after a ritual marking the Shiite Muslim festival of Ashura…

Egypt Islamists call for show of support for embattled president

CAIRO — Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood called nationwide demonstrations Sunday in support of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in his showdown with the judges over the path to a new constitution. The show of strength on the streets by the president’s supporters had the potential for triggering clashes with opponents of…

Guatemala builds artificial reefs to protect fish populations

Guatemala has set up 2,800 artificial reefs along its Pacific coast to see how they can protect marine life and help fisherman. All five departments of the Central American country with coastline now have the man-made barriers, Manuel Cifuentes, who is working on the project, told the newspaper Prensa Libre.…

13 killed as Bangladesh flyover collapses: police

At least 13 people were killed and dozens are feared missing after a flyover under construction collapsed in Bangladesh’s southeastern port city of Chittagong, police said Sunday. “So far 13 dead bodies have been recovered,” sub-inspector Mohammad Alauddin told AFP, adding that military rescue teams had been called in to…

Dueling protests in Tokyo over dolphin and whale hunts

Environmentalists and nationalists held opposing rallies over the issue of Japan’s dolphin and whale hunts in a rare showdown in central Tokyo on Saturday, leading to angry scenes. About 50 anti-whaling activists gathered at a park in the Shibuya shopping district with banners bearing slogans such as “Stop the cruel…

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