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Afghan parliament approves strategic pact with U.S.

Afghanistan’s parliament on Saturday voted by an overwhelming majority to ratify a strategic partnership agreement with the United States signed earlier this month, lawmakers said. “We voted with a majority in favour of the strategic pact,” MP Shukria Essakhil told AFP. “Only five MPs voted against it,” she said, adding…

Top Nazi war criminal dies at 90

A Nazi war criminal who escaped from a Dutch jail after the war and evaded all attempts by the Netherlands to get him back has died at the age of 90 in Germany, a hospital source said Saturday. Klaas Carel Faber, who was second on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s list…

Everest season ends with 150 reaching summit

A near-record number of climbers reached the summit of Everest as the season ended Saturday without a repeat of last week’s deadly accidents, which had raised fears of overcrowding on the world’s highest peak. Around 150 people reached the top of the 8,848-metre (29,029-foot) mountain at the end of the…

UN observers warn of Syria civil war after massacre

The head of a UN mission warned on Saturday of “civil war” in Syria after his observers counted more than 92 bodies, 32 of them children, in the central town of Houla following reports of a massacre there. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined a chorus of international condemnation amid…

Chen Guangcheng’s brother goes missing after fleeing to Beijing

Blind activist’s brother Chen Guangfu disappears after leaving village to seek help for son facing murder charge The brother of the blind activist Chen Guangcheng has gone missing after fleeing his village in north-eastern China to seek help for his son who is facing an attempted murder charge. Chen Guangfu,…

WHO pledges to tackle neglected diseases

Campaigners on Saturday welcomed a World Health Organization pledge to tackle research and funding gaps concerning some of the developing world’s biggest killer diseases. Member countries are expected to hold talks later this year on an expert group’s recommendations that a globally binding convention is needed to address neglected tropical…

North Korea suffering severe drought: state media

North Korea is suffering a prolonged and widespread drought, state media says, raising fears it will worsen already dire food shortages in the impoverished communist country. If the unusually dry weather persists to the end of the month, it will be the driest May in 50 years in western coastal…

Analysts play down higher-grade uranium find in Iran

Analysts have played down the UN atomic agency’s discovery of higher-grade uranium traces in Iran, saying it was likely due to a technical glitch rather than a covert attempt to enrich to arms grade. The agency’s latest report, seen by AFP Friday, did however say that satellite imagery showed “extensive…

Pope’s butler arrested in Vatican leaks scandal

Vatican police arrested Friday a man — reportedly the pope’s butler — on allegations of having leaked confidential documents and letters from the pontiff’s private study to newspapers. The man was caught in possession of secret documents, the Vatican said, but it would not confirm the suspect’s identity, age, or…

Socrates acquitted in ancient trial re-run

Judges narrowly acquitted Socrates, the philosopher whose teachings earned him a death sentence in ancient Athens, in a retrial Friday billed as a lesson for modern times of revolution and crisis. Socrates spoke himself at his trial in the fourth century BC, but this time in his absence, a panel…

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