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U.S. drone kills seven militants in Pakistan

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan — A US drone attack Sunday killed at least seven militants in Pakistan, officials said, days before the country’s intelligence chief visits Washington with the contentious raids likely to be discussed. Attacks by unmanned American aircraft are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and…

Pope appeals urgently for end to bloodshed in Syria

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy — Pope Benedict XVI launched an urgent appeal for an end to bloodshed in Syria on Sunday, calling on the international community to do everything to help resolve the conflict. “I continue to follow with alarm that tragic and growing episodes of violence in Syria with the…

Olympic judo champion: I defied parents to win gold metal

LONDON — Olympic judo champion Sarah Menezes revealed Sunday that her parents tried to stop her from taking up the sport which they believed was for men only. The 22-year-old from Brazil became the first woman from her country to win an Olympic judo gold before admitting that she had…

British women out to deliver first Olympic cycling gold

LONDON — Defending Olympic champion Nicole Cooke will be among the British women looking to grab the hosts’ first cycling medal of the Games in the road race Sunday. The highly-fancied British men’s team failed to live up to the expectation of delivering Mark Cavendish into a gold medal-winning position…

North Korea rejects possibility of major reforms

SEOUL — North Korea Sunday warned the South not to expect any major reforms under the leadership of Kim Jong-Un, with a senior official rejecting discussion of potential policy change as a “foolish and silly dream”. Kim, believed to be in his late 20s, took the reins of power in…

Activists hope same sex marriage debate will stir Japan

TOKYO — Koyuki Higashi is slim, articulate and intelligent, things that make a would-be wife attractive to many in Japan. But Higashi knows she will probably never marry because she is a lesbian. Despite the increasing tolerance of gay marriage in much of the developed world, especially in Europe, and…

Global travel industry gears up for Muslim tourist boom

SINGAPORE — From halal spas to prayer rooms at airport terminals, the global tourism industry is gearing up for a projected boom in Muslim travel over the next decade, experts say. Their growing number and affluence means Muslims — especially from the oil-rich Middle East — are travelling like never…

Syrian opposition: try Assad for ‘massacres’

The head of the exiled Syrian opposition said on Saturday that President Bashar al-Assad should be tried for “massacres” insisting that he should not be offered asylum in any future solution. “The Yemeni example can’t be applied in Syria,” Syrian National Council chief Abdel Basset Sayda told reporters in Abu…

Olympics officials confront rash of under-attended events

Olympics organizers were urgently investigating why several venues had swathes of empty seats on Saturday, the first full day of competition at the London Games. Organizers LOCOG were overwhelmed with demand for Olympics tickets when they first went on sale more than a year ago. But there were rows and…

Thousands expected for latest Japanese nuclear protest

Thousands of people are expected to form a “human chain” around Japan’s parliament on Sunday as part of demonstrations aimed at ending nuclear power after last year’s atomic crisis at Fukushima. The protest is the latest in a string in Japan, which has seen a rising tide of anti-nuclear sentiment…

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