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Cabbie returns $900,000 to Thai couple

A Singaporean taxi driver has been heralded as a hero after he returned Sg$1.1 million ($900,000) in cash to a vacationing Thai couple who left the money in his cab. Sia Ka Tian, 70, was shocked to find the money in a black paper bag on the back seat on…

Israel’s Peres accuses Iran of instigating Gaza violence

WASHINGTON — Israel’s President Shimon Peres accused Iran of encouraging the Palestinians to continue rocket attacks on Israel rather than negotiating a ceasefire, saying “they are out of their mind.” At the same time, Peres praised Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi for the constructive role he has played in the intensifying…

UN calls for tougher prosecution of pirates

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations on Monday called for stronger prosecutions of pirates and more action by shipping companies to deter bandits at sea. At a UN Security Council debate on maritime piracy, UN deputy secretary general Jan Eliasson said that while attacks had been reduced off the coast…

Gazans search desperately for safe place under fire

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Every time six-year-old Mohammed hears the sound of Israeli missiles landing near his home in Gaza City, he turns to his mother and asks: “When are we going to die?” Traumatised by the bombardment, and terrified for their children, his family has decided to leave…

U.S. still not ready to fully embrace Syrian opposition

WASHINGTON — The United States said Monday it is closely monitoring the progress of a new Syrian opposition alliance as it weighs whether to recognize the body as the sole representative of the Syrian people. “We’re obviously looking at this day by day, week by week. We’re getting to know…

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…

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