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Investigations of Shell’s Nigeria spills a ‘fiasco’: Amnesty

LAGOS — Rights group Amnesty International said Friday investigations into Shell oil spills in Nigeria were a “fiasco,” alleging the company repeatedly blamed sabotage in an effort to avoid responsibility. “No matter what evidence is presented to Shell about oil spills, they constantly hide behind the ‘sabotage’ excuse and dodge…

Putin suggests leniency for Pussy Riot punk band protesters

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he did not favour a tough punishment in the trial of an all-girl punk band which performed a song against his rule in Moscow’s biggest church. “There is nothing good in what they did,” news agencies quoted Putin as saying about the…

British police charge former News of the World editor with hacking

LONDON — British police on Thursday formally charged former tabloid editor Rebekah Brooks with phone hacking in a long-running press scandal which has struck at the heart of the country’s institutions. Police last week charged Prime Minister David Cameron’s ex-media chief Andy Coulson and six other current or former employees…

‘Several hundred’ police patrol Jerusalem gay pride parade

Thousands marched in central Jerusalem on Thursday for a milestone 10th anniversary Gay Pride parade, passing by the spot where an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed three participants in 2005. Some carried rainbow banners and others had signs proclaiming: “A decade of marching in Jerusalem,” and: “Love thy neighbour.” Opposition to such…

Kofi Annan quits Syrian special peace envoy

Kofi Annan is quitting as UN-Arab League envoy for Syria after battling to persuade President Bashar al-Assad to accept a peace plan, the UN said Thursday. UN leader Ban Ki-moon announced “with deep regret,” that Annan had tendered his resignation, as the Syrian civil war spiraled further out of control.…

Hong Kong officials warn residents of toxic air pollution

Hong Kong choked under the worst smog ever recorded in the city Thursday, with residents warned to stay indoors, away from the blanket of toxic haze, officials said. Air pollutant readings broke records going back to 1999, except for levels reached when a natural dust storm hit the southern Chinese…

Video catches Taipei man being killed by sinkhole during typhoon

Cameras in Taipei caught remarkable footage of the moment a deadly sinkhole opened and swallowed a man. The man was walking on a sidewalk outside the Temple of Sansha when the ground suddenly collapsed beneath him, according to CNN. Rescuers tried, but were not able to reach the man in…

Indonesians call for mosques to reign in noisy loudspeakers during Ramadan

For Beringin Kusuma whose living quarters are only a short distance from a mosque, the Muslim month of Ramadan is not only a time for fasting, but also for plugging his ears before bed every night. Year-round, like most urban dwellers in the world’s largest Muslim nation that boasts 800,000…

Putin, Cameron to discuss Syria before Olympic judo

Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister David Cameron will discuss Syria on Thursday when the Russian president makes his first visit to Britain in seven years, before watching the judo at the Olympics. The two leaders will hold talks at Downing Street on the Syrian crisis as well as their rocky…

Spanish police arrest three Al-Qaeda suspects: court source

Spanish police have arrested three suspected members of Al-Qaeda carrying explosives in the southern province of Cadiz, a court official told AFP Thursday. The source could not provide further details but Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, citing police, said the suspects were two Chechens and a Turk, who were carrying…

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