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Peace envoy calls Syria death toll ‘staggering’

UNITED NATIONS — New UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said Tuesday the death toll in Syria was “staggering” and destruction from its war “catastrophic” in his first comments to the UN General Assembly. Brahimi said he would go to Damascus “in a few days” and that a united international stance…

Spain and Morocco deport illegal migrants from islet

Spanish and Moroccan security forces launched a night operation lasting into the early hours on Tuesday to evict 73 illegal migrantsfrom a tiny islet just off Morocco, officials said. Spain’s Guardia Civil police acted after scores of African migrantslanded in the past week on the bare, rocky surface of Isla de Tierra, Spanish sovereign territory…

Ahmadinejad admits Iran has ‘problems’ selling oil

Iran has “problems” exporting its oil, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted on Tuesday, but he said his government was determined to overcome that and other challenges posed by Western economic sanctions. “There are some problems in selling oil and we are trying to manage it,” he said in an interview broadcast live on state television.…

Mexico captures head of notorious drug-trafficking Gulf Cartel

Mexican marines have captured Mario Cardenas Guillen, a leader of the Gulf Cartel, one of Mexico’s notorious drug trafficking organizations, the navy said Tuesday. Known as “El Gordo” (“The Fat One”), Cardenas Guillen was detained on Monday in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, said navy spokesman Jose Luis Vergara.…

Egypt’s ex-culture minister to face corruption charges

Egypt’s Mubarak-era culture minister, Faruk Hosni, was on Tuesday referred to a criminal court on charges of corruption,Deputy Justice Minister for illicit gains Assem al-Gohari said. Hosni, who served under ousted president Hosni Mubarak for more than two decades, is accused of having illegally acquired 18 million Egyptian pounds (nearly $3 million), which he is now being asked…

Vietnam police seize four tiger cubs and more than 100 endangered pangolins

Vietnamese police on Tuesday seized four tiger cubs and more than 100 endangered pangolins from suspected wildlife smugglers, the authorities said. The animals were discovered in a car in central Ha Tinh province. Two men were arrested on suspicion of illegally importing them from Laos for sale. “The tiger cubs and the 118 pangolins…

McDonald’s to open first vegetarian restaurant in India

US fast food giant McDonald’s, famed for its beef-based Big Mac burgers, on Tuesday said it will open its first ever vegetarian-only restaurant in the world in India next year. The world’s second-biggest restaurant chain after Subway already tailors its menus to suit local tastes — which in India means no beef…

Bangladesh busts courier service DHL heroin racket

Bangladesh police said Tuesday they had busted a gang of suspected heroin smugglers who had been using international courier service DHL to ship drugs from Pakistan to London via Dhaka. Five men are accused of using the method at least 60 times since 2008, sending drugs via the post to London using Bangladesh as a transit point, assistant police commissioner Touhidul Islam told…

UN urges action to stave off global food crisis

The United Nations warned Tuesday of a possible repeat of the 2007-2008 food crisis and called on world leaders to act quickly to prevent a catastrophe which would affect tens of millions of people. “The current situation in world food markets, characterized by sharp increases in maize, wheat and soybean prices, has raised fears of a…

Moon’s death threatens Unification Church stability

The death of Sun Myung Moon robs his Unification Church of the glue that sustained its global following as a cohesive religious and financial force even as membership dwindled from its 1980s peak, analysts say. A messianic movement built on the rubble of the Korean War and exported to countries such as the United States where it found…

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