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30,000 swimmers celebrate sea goddess in Taiwan

TAIPEI — About 30,000 people swam a 3.3-kilometre (2.2-mile) route across a scenic lake in central Taiwan on Sunday in celebration of a Taoist sea goddess. An idol of the goddess Matsu was placed on a one-tonne wooden vessel painted in gold which then sailed across Sun Moon Lake, pushed…

Asian territory disputes could trigger war: Panetta

TOKYO — China and other Asian countries could end up at war over territorial disputes if governments keep up their “provocative behaviour”, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Sunday. Speaking to reporters before arriving in Tokyo on a trip to Asia, Panetta appealed for restraint amid mounting tensions over territorial…

Afghan women ‘killed in NATO air strike’

KABUL — NATO was accused of killing eight women Sunday in an air strike, capping a black weekend in which six soldiers were shot dead by presumed Afghan colleagues and a Taliban assault caused unprecedented losses on one of the biggest military bases in the country. The US-led International Security…

Mass anti-austerity rallies in Spain, Portugal

Mass protests in Spain and Portugal, against ever tougher austerity measures, have ramped up the pressure on Iberian governments struggling to avoid international bailouts. Tens of thousands of chanting protesters from across Spain packed the centre of Madrid on Saturday, including policemen in blue T-shirts, firemen with their red helmets,…

‘Shark helped save me’ from 177-day drift at sea says rescued Kiribati fisherman

A day after watching a film about being lost at sea, Toakai Teitoi was trapped in his own nightmare, drifting in a wooden boat for 15 weeks — before a shark helped to rescue him. The 41-year-old Kiribati policeman and father-of-six relived his harrowing voyage in the central Pacific when…

Anti-Japan protests erupt across China

Thousands of anti-Japanese demonstrators mounted protests in cities across China on Sunday over disputed islands in the East China Sea, a day after an attempt to storm Tokyo’s embassy in the capital. Beijing was infuriated last week when Japan announced it had bought the rocky outcrops and while Chinese authorities…

Four NATO troops killed by ‘Afghan police’

Four NATO soldiers were killed Sunday in the second suspected attack by Afghan police in two days, as officials detailed unprecedented damage from a Taliban assault on the base where Britain’s Prince Harry is deployed. Afghan authorities said the shooting took place in Zabul province, part of the restive south…

Italian townspeople ponder existential questions in new civic focus

Socrates, Plato and Aristotle are the new unlikely heroes of a remote Italian town where local authorities are promoting philosophical thinking for a better way of life. A philosophy trail leads past a sofa that pronounces deep thoughts when you sit on it, a park with no lights to encourage…

FARC ready for peace, top Colombia rebel says

Leftist FARC rebels are determined to reach a deal when they meet with Colombian officials in Norway next month to negotiate an end their decades-long insurgency, a senior commander said. Ricardo Tellez, often described as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s “minister of foreign affairs,” is one of five rebel…

Al-Qaeda calls for fresh attacks, U.S. pulls some embassy staff

Al-Qaeda called for fresh attacks against US targets in the Arab world and the West, as Washington said it was pulling non-essential embassy staff out of Sudan and Tunisia. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) also called for more violence against US diplomatic missions in the Middle East and Africa,…

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