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Israel apologizes for calling Brazil ‘diplomatic dwarf’

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin apologized to his Brazilian counterpart for a remark by a foreign ministry spokesman calling the Latin American powerhouse a “diplomatic dwarf.” The comment in July was made by spokesman Yigal Palmor after Brazil criticized Israel’s military campaign in Gaza as excessive and recalled its envoy in…

Liberian-American patient branded a ‘madman’ as Nigeria confirms new Ebola case

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday branded a Liberian-American a “madman” for bringing Ebola into Nigeria, as the country announced its 10th confirmed case of the deadly virus. Patrick Sawyer died in a Lagos hospital on July 25 in Nigeria’s first case of Ebola, which has claimed the lives of nearly…

Iraqi Yazidis tormented by fears for women and girls kidnapped by Islamic State jihadists

For the past week, Khandhar Kaliph’s hands have trembled whenever his phone has rung. He nervously greeted his daughter, who had been kidnapped when the Islamic State (Isis) overran the Yazidi city of Sinjar. There was a minute of silence, before he broke down sobbing. “She said she is going…

Australians shocked by ISIS fighter’s photo of son standing with a soldier’s severed head

The grandfather of a boy pictured holding a severed head in Syria said the shocking image brought him to tears, with the growing problem of jihadists fighting overseas to be a focus of U.S.-Australia talks Tuesday. The image of the Sydney-raised boy posing with the rotting head of a soldier,…

Mexican President Peña Nieto signs bills ending nationalization of country’s oil industry

Mexico City (AFP) – Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a package of landmark energy reform bills, ending the 76-year-old state monopoly on oil drilling and reopening the sector to foreign companies. “This represents a historic change that will accelerate the economic growth and development of Mexico in the coming…

Obama applauds nomination of new Iraqi prime minister as ‘step forward’

By Jeff Mason CHILMARK Mass. (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Monday Iraq had taken “a promising step forward” in designating a new prime minister, vowing to step up support for a new Iraqi government in a widening conflict that his administration had hoped to avoid. Speaking to…

Toronto police investigate bomb threat against Mayor Rob Ford

Ottawa (AFP) – Toronto police said Monday they are investigating an alleged email threat to bomb city hall if crack-smoking Mayor Rob Ford does not immediately resign. Constable David Hopkinson told AFP officers were at the scene investigating the threat, after being alerted by City Hall security. Ford meanwhile read…

Ukrainian prisoner taken back to jail by his mother after escaping during mortar attack

Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) – Just hours after he bust out of a high-security prison as it was rocked by mortar blasts in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine, Natalya Nikitenko drove her son right back to jail. “He himself said that he had to return so it wouldn’t count as escaping. We are…

Dictator-befriending ‘alien abductee’ Kirsan Ilyumzhinov remains head of World Chess Federation

Chess legend Garry Kasparov failed in his attempt to dethrone the eccentric head of the World Chess Federation, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and self-professed “alien abductee”, in a chaotic and highly politicised vote on Monday. Seen as one of the sport’s greatest-ever players, former world champion Kasparov…

No basics for life: Gaza homes ‘uninhabitable’ as tens of thousands come back to rubble

Tens of thousands of people across Gaza have returned to their homes as a tenuous ceasefire held and hopes rose of an end to the month-long conflict between Israel and Hamas. Local officials and humanitarian workers began to inspect the damage the war had caused in the overcrowded enclave, with…

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