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Fidel Castro quietly celebrates 86th birthday

HAVANA — Cuba’s former president, Fidel Castro, celebrated his 86th birthday quietly and out of the public eye Monday, while political allies and Cuban citizens paid tribute from afar. Bolivia President Evo Morales praised Castro as an “example of international solidarity,” in a message to the father of Cuba’s communist…

Clashes erupt in Senegal after youth dies in police custody

KOLDA, Senegal — Police fired teargas at stone-throwing demonstrators in south-eastern Senegal Monday, injuring one person as protests erupted over the death of a deaf-mute youth in police custody, sources said. A security source speaking on condition of anonymity said a man in his thirties had been arrested on Sunday…

Two South African police ‘hacked to death’ during clash at platinum mine

South African workers Monday hacked to death two police officers who came to quell deadly clashes between rival unions that claimed eight lives at a platinum mine run by leading producer Lonmin, police said. “Our police officers were responding to a protest at the mine. They came under attack from…

Mexican drug war claims innocent victims

Cristina Roman didn’t know where to begin. When asked how the epic violence and criminal impunity in her native Ciudad Juarez invaded her own life, she paused, then asked: “How far should I go back?” She decided to begin from May 2010. It was then at the height of the…

Syrian UN envoy defects in Geneva

Syria’s top representative at the UN Human Rights Council said Monday he had defected because he no longer felt able in that position to do anything for the Syrian people. “Basically, when I felt I could not help my people any more I had to move on,” Danny al-Baaj, the first Syrian diplomat…

Grisly YouTube footage of Syrian atrocities triggers outrage

Grisly footage of apparent atrocities in Syria triggered outrage Monday, as regime forces bombarded rebel strongholds around Damascus and launched a mass raid in the historic heart of the capital. The graphic videos posted on YouTube showed what appeared to be rebels callously throwing bodies off a post office building in a city near the northern metropolis…

UN: Gender discrimination costs Asia-Pacific economies tens of billions per year

Discrimination against women hampers progress in alleviating world poverty and costs Asia-Pacific economies tens of billions of dollars a year, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday. “Gender discrimination blocks progress. Equality makes it possible to achieve huge breakthroughs,” Ban told an international meeting for young female leaders during a visit to his native South Korea. Women make…

Zimbabwe president warned of violent youth protests over unemployment

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday warned frustration among jobless youths could spark violent protests as the country prepares to vote on a new constitution, five years after deadly elections. “Youth unemployment and under-employment present one of the biggest challenges facing the nation, which if not addressed, is a potential threat to national…

Spanish wildfires displace thousands

Wildfires forced thousands of people to evacuate in Spain’s Canary Islands as flames ravaged a rare nature reserve, while another blaze killed two on the mainland, authorities said Monday. Engulfing the wooded hillsides in bright flames, the blaze on the island of La Gomera reduced trees and land to black dust and spewed grey smoke,…

Egypt president defends army chief’s firing

Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi has denied trying to marginalize the army after he ordered the retirement of his powerful defense minister, saying he was acting in the interests of the country. However, the Egyptian press on Monday described Morsi’s move as “revolutionary”, with some saying it was aimed at…

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