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UK confirms missiles on standby to protect London Olympics

Surface-to-air missile defence systems will be deployed at six sites in London during the Olympics as a “powerful deterrent” against attack, Britain’s Ministry of Defence confirmed Tuesday. The news came despite angry protests from residents at two locations where missiles are being deployed on top of blocks of flats. One…

‘Shift’ in Russia, China positions on Syria: Annan

The “shift” in the positions of Russia and China on Syria should not be underestimated, the spokesman for peace envoy Kofi Annan said on Tuesday after international talks in Geneva. “Many forces have joined hands here on Saturday … don’t underestimate the degree of a shift that happened particularly in…

Leftist candidate rejects Mexico results as ‘fraudulent’

The runner-up in Mexico’s presidential election has rejectedEnrique Pena Nieto’s “fraudulent” victory, raising the specter of protests that rocked Mexico City when he lost six years ago. When Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador lost the 2006 presidential election by less than one percent he claimed fraud and organized mass protests that paralyzed Mexico City for more…

U.S. ‘moves new forces to Gulf’ in sign to Iran

WASHINGTON — The United States has moved new forces into the Gulf to keep strategic waterways open and strike deep within Iran in the event of a regional military escalation, the New York Times reported Tuesday. The Times cited senior officials as saying the quiet build-up was aimed at reassuring…

Syria running ‘torture archipelago’: rights group

Syria is holding tens of thousands of detainees in a “torture archipelago”, a US-based rights group said on Tuesday, after the UN rights chief accused both government and opposition of “serious” violations. As Turkey reported a new mass defection of Syrian troops across the tense border, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he regretted that his country’s defence…

Afghan media freedom threatened: rights group

Hard-won media freedoms in Afghanistan are under serious threat from a draft law that is seen as a concession to Muslim conservatives ahead of NATO’s exit in 2014, a rights group warned Tuesday. Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Afghan government to withdraw the bill, which has been circulated…

Barclays bank chief executive Diamond resigns

Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond has resigned with immediate effect over a rate rigging scandal at the British banking giant, the company said in a shock announcement on Tuesday. Although Diamond had faced growing calls to step down, it was thought that he would ride out the storm due to…

Pope appoints doctrinal watchdog with links to ‘Marxist’ Catholics

Gerhard Ludwig Müller, who has defended liberation theologists and written a book on the poor, will lead key department Pope Benedict on Monday appointed as the Roman Catholic church’s doctrinal watchdog a fellow German with links to liberation theology, the interpretation of Christianity that conservatives have deplored as Marxism with…

China reports bird flu outbreak

BEIJING — Authorities in China’s remote northwestern region of Xinjiang have culled more than 150,000 chickens following an outbreak of bird flu, officials said. The outbreak of the H5N1 strain of avian flu initially killed 1,600 chickens and sickened about 5,500, the agriculture ministry said late Monday. In an effort…

Whaling nations defeat proposed Atlantic sanctuary

PANAMA CITY — Japan and its allies on Monday shot down a Latin American-led proposal to create a sanctuary for whales in the southern Atlantic Ocean, reigniting international tensions over Tokyo’s whaling. The International Whaling Commission, which has long been torn by disputes, fell into familiar divisions just hours after…

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