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Too soon to call Libya attack ‘act of terror’: U.S.

WASHINGTON — A State Department official refused Monday to call an attack on a US mission in Libya in which four Americans were killed “an act of terror,” saying a full investigation had to be completed first. US and Libyan officials have offered widely differing accounts about Tuesday’s assault on…

Pakistan blocks YouTube over anti-Islam film

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan blocked access to YouTube on Monday after the video sharing website failed to take down an anti-Islam film that has sparked furious protests across the Muslim world. Attempts to access YouTube met with a message saying the website had been classed as containing “indecent material” and was…

Chevron fined $17.5 million over Brazil spill

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian authorities said Monday they were slapping a $17.5 million fine on US oil firm Chevron in connection with a major spill off Rio de Janeiro state last year. Magda Chambriard, director general of the National Petroleum Agency (ANP), told a press conference that the new…

Bahrain police face trial over torturing medics

DUBAI — Bahrain’s public prosecution has charged seven police officers over the torture and maltreatment of Shiite medics detained in the aftermath of nationwide protests last year, authorities said on Monday. The two defendants facing the “most serious” charges have been referred to the High Criminal Court over the “use…

Louvre opens new wing to restore ‘full glory to Islam’

PARIS — Paris’s famed Louvre museum this week opens a new wing of Islamic art in a bid to improve knowledge of a religion often viewed with suspicion in the West. Costing nearly 100 million euros ($131 million), it is funded by the French government and supported by handsome endowments…

McDonald’s opens Asian-inspired ‘McNoodles’ in Austria

Fast food chain McDonald’s is branching out: after salads and wraps, the burger restaurant is entering the noodle business. From September 20, the chain will add Asian noodle boxes — “McNoodles” — to its menu, but only in Austria and only for a two- or three-month trial period. “They could…

Royals sue as topless Kate pics spread to Italy

The royal family embarked on a legal battle Monday to try to stop the spread of topless photos of Prince William’s wife Catherine, as an Italian magazine splashed the pictures across a special 38-page edition. “The queen is nude!” read the front-page headline of Chi magazine which reproduced the photos…

Earthworms ‘marry’ in Taiwan ceremony

Seventy “lucky earthworms” have been married off in an elaborate wedding ritual in south Taiwan in a bid to raise awareness about the environment and the problem of soil erosion, organisers said Monday. The worms arrived Sunday at Takang Park in Tainan city inside a traditional wedding sedan draped in…

Cambodians fight malaria with the push of a button

Cambodian villagers armed with a little medical know-how — and their mobile telephones — are the nation’s new foot soldiers in the fight against drug-resistant malaria. In the small village of Phnom Dambang near the Thai border, locals know that early detection and treatment is crucial to containing the virulent…

Japan firms close Chinese plants after protests

Japanese firms including Panasonic suspended operations at plants in China, companies and reports said Monday, after mass anti-Tokyo protests at the weekend over disputed islands in the East China Sea. Speaking in Tokyo, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called for diplomatic efforts to resolve the worsening spat, a day after…

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