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U.S. ramps up pressure on Iran to avoid war

US President Barack Obama’s administration is undertaking “a range of steps short of war” that it hopes will prevent an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The New York Times reported Monday. The measures are designed to force Tehran to negotiate more seriously over its nuclear programand offer Israeli officials a credible alternative to…

India lower house passes sexual harassment bill

India’s parliament, which has been deadlocked for days due toopposition protests, on Monday used a brief break in the uproar to pass legislation protecting women from sexual harassment at work. The lower house passed the bill before business was again abandoned for the day as lawmakers from the main oppositionBharatiya Janata Party (BJP)…

Pakistan imam held in ‘blasphemy girl’ case

A Pakistani cleric who accused a young Christian girl of blasphemy in a case that sparked international concern was remanded in custody Sunday on suspicion of evidence-tampering and desecrating the Koran. The girl, Rimsha, has been held in prison since being arrested in the poor Islamabad suburb of Mehrabad more…

30 dead as Kurdish rebels clash with Turkish forces

Kurdish rebels wielding rocket launchers and machine-guns attacked a security base in southeast Turkey, triggering a firefight that left 30 people dead, local officials said Monday. Ten soldiers were killed and seven wounded in the attack in the province of Sirnak, the local government said, while other sources said about…

Prince Andrew abseils down Europe’s tallest building

Britain’s Prince Andrew abseiled down Europe’s tallest skyscraper on Monday, confessing afterwards that he would “never do it again.” Andrew, third child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, took half an hour to descend from the 87th to the 20th floor of the brand new Shard skyscraper in London…

New Afghan spy chief accused of corruption and torture

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has nominated a cabinet minister to head the country’s spy agency who has been accused of involvement in torture, drug-trafficking and corruption. Asadullah Khalid, the minister for borders and a one-time governor of the Taliban-troubled province of Kandahar, must be approved by a parliamentary vote before…

South Africa to start releasing arrested miners

A South African court was due to start releasing 270 miners Monday who were arrested after police gunned down 34 of their colleagues, following a decision by prosecutors to withdraw murder charges against them. Prosecutors provisionally dropped the charges Sunday amid a public furor after officers opened fire on strikers…

Pakistani imam arrested for planting evidence of Koran-burning

A Pakistani cleric who accused a young Christian girl of blasphemy in a case that sparked international concern was remanded in custody Sunday on suspicion of evidence-tampering and desecrating the Koran. The girl, Rimsha, has been held in prison since being arrested in the poor Islamabad suburb of Mehrabad more…

Nine dead in Madagascar in clashes with armed zebu rustlers

ANTANANARIVO — Nine people were killed as police and gendarmes intervened after a gang of armed cattle thieves seized a thousand cattle in southern Madagascar, the gendarmerie said Sunday. Six rustlers, two gendarmes and a police officer died in the fighting, after around 130 armed men seized the zebu, a…

Reverend Sun Myung Moon dies at age of 92

SEOUL — Sun Myung Moon, a self-proclaimed messiah who founded the controversial Unification Church and turned it into a multi-billion dollar business empire, died in South Korea early Monday at the age of 92. Moon, who was hospitalised with complications from pneumonia more than two weeks ago, passed away just…

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