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Pope’s butler risks 6 years in prison for stealing classified documents

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI’s butler risks up to six years in prison if convicted on a charge of aggravated theft for stealing classified documents from the papal chambers, a Vatican judge said Tuesday. Paolo Gabriele, a staunch Catholic who is seen as the layperson with the most access…

Sweeping arrests over Afghan schoolgirl ‘attacks’

KABUL — Sweeping arrests have been made by desperate Afghan authorities trying to end the alleged serial poisoning of schoolgirls, but some doctors now suspect psychological stress could be behind the “attacks”, officials said Tuesday. Sixteen suspects have been detained in the past four days over the mysterious illnesses —…

Veteran Palestinian hunger striker freed, family says

HEBRON, Palestinian Territories — Palestinian hunger striker Thaer Halahla, who fasted for 76 days in protest at Israeli prison conditions, was released on Tuesday evening, relatives told AFP. Family members in the West Bank city of Hebron said that Halahla, who along with fellow inmate Bilal Diab set a record…

U.S. confident in killing top Al-Qaeda leader with drone strike

The United States said Tuesday it was certain a CIA drone strike killed Al-Qaeda number two Abu Yahya al-Libi, claiming its top scalp from the terror group since eliminating Osama bin Laden. A US official told AFP that Washington had a “high degree of confidence” that Libi was killed in…

U.S. asks India to take ‘more active role’ in Afghanistan

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta encouraged India to play a “more active role” in Afghanistan during talks Tuesday in New Delhi, US officials said. Washington has previously worried about India antagonising its arch-foe Pakistan and preferred New Delhi retain a modest profile in the Afghan conflict, restricted to troop training…

Turkey accepts new wave of Syrian refugees

The flow of refugees from strife-torn Syria to neighbouring Turkey has resumed in earnest after the failure of an April peace plan, with more than 2,000 arrivals in the past three days, officials said Tuesday. The number of Syrian refugees in camps set up in southeastern Turkey reached 26,747 on…

‘Canadian Psycho’ won’t fight extradition from Germany

A porn actor dubbed the “Canadian Psycho” for allegedly killing and chopping up another man told a Berlin judge Tuesday he would not challenge his extradition from Germany. “He has been before the judge, who has confirmed the arrest,” a spokesman for the Berlin public prosecutor’s office told AFP, the…

Egypt readies for mass demo against Mubarak verdicts

Egyptians in their hundreds began gathering Tuesday in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square ahead of a mass demonstration to protest against verdicts handed down in ex-president Hosni Mubarak’s murder trial. Hawkers selling tea, cakes or flags took up positions at the square in downtown Cairo, which was closed to traffic for the 1500 GMT…

Mystery virus sought ‘designs from Iran’

A mystery computer virus discovered last month and deployed in a massive cyberattack chiefly against Iran sought to steal designs and PDF files from its victims, a Russian firm said. Kaspersky Lab, one of the world’s biggest producers of anti-virus software, announced last month the discovery of the Flame virus, which it described as…

Liberal blogger stabbed in the Maldives

An outspoken Maldivian blogger known for his liberal views on religion is in intensive care after being stabbed by an attacker outside his home in the capital Male, police said Tuesday. Ismail Rasheed, who is better known as “Hilath,” had his blog blocked late last year by the Maldivian telecommunications authorities who…

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