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France’s socialist president set to unveil unprecedented austerity plan

PARIS — France’s Socialist President Francois Hollande was due to announce on Sunday unprecedented belt-tightening measures of billions of euros amid mounting discontent over the flagging economy and job cuts. Hollande, whoe popularity ratings have taken a dive less than four months after he took power, is looking vulnerable as…

Palestinians eye changes to key accord with Israel

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — The Palestinian Authority has formally asked Israel for talks on changing the Paris Protocol governing economic ties between the two sides, a minister told AFP on Sunday. “I made a request to the Israeli government through the defence ministry… that the Palestinian Authority officially requests the…

Jews, Muslims stage circumcision march in Germany

BERLIN — Around 500 mainly Jewish but some Christian and Muslim protesters gathered in Berlin on Sunday to demand the right to circumcision after a disputed court ruling in Germany outlawing the rite. Some protesters were draped in Israeli flags, others wore orthodox Jewish dress for the peaceful demonstration on…

Germany keeps up austerity drive with Central Bank help

Germany’s finance minister warned Sunday that debt-laden eurozone states must stick to promised reforms and cuts despite last week’s offer of help from the European Central Bank that calmed markets. In a wide-ranging interview with the Bild am Sonntag weekly, Wolfgang Schaeuble also expressed confidence that Germany’s top court would…

Mass protest in Japan against U.S. hybrid aircraft

Tens of thousands of people rallied on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa Sunday against the deployment of US Osprey military aircraft after a series of accidents elsewhere involving the planes. Protesters demanded the United States and Japan immediately scrap plans to deploy 12 MV-22 Ospreys at the Futenma US base…

Poor hit hard by China earthquakes

Poor farm worker Mu Xianchun escaped unhurt when the twin earthquakes hit her village in a remote area of southwest China but she faces a bleak future after what little she had was destroyed. Like many of China’s impoverished rural workers, 46-year-old Mu had few possessions of value but even…

Cocaine-hub Peru emerges as massive U.S. dollar counterfeiting capital

Peru, one of Latin America’s fast-growing economies and a hub of the global cocaine trade, has emerged as a producer of counterfeit US dollars being used both abroad and at home. Counterfeiting has grown large and fast enough that US authorities call Peru one of Latin America’s worst offenders when…

Nicaragua eruption forces 3,000 to evacuate

The San Cristobal volcano in Nicaragua rumbled to life Saturday with three explosions, forcing the evacuation of 3,000 residents, authorities said. Television footage showed a column of smoke and ash rising from the cone of the volcano, Nicaragua’s tallest at 1,745 meters (5,725 feet), in the northeast. The civil defense…

Pope’s trip to Lebanon ‘act of courage, hope,’ says spokesman

Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Lebanon next week is “considered an act of great courage and hope worldwide” as a civil war rages in neighbouring Syria, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Saturday. Lebanon, which has a significant Catholic community, was selected for the September 14-16 trip “before the situation in…

Why Che’s daughter fights to preserve his image as idealistic revolutionary

Forty-five years after Che Guevara’s death, his daughter, Aleida, talks about growing up in the shadow of a world-famed leader She has the eyes of her father, a gaze that became an emblem for the 20th century. She also has his deep sense of social injustice, but Dr Aleida Guevara…

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