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Top Colombian drug trafficker arrested: authorities

BOGOTA — The leader of a major drug trafficking organization known as the “Oficina de Envigado” was arrested Wednesday in the northeastern city of Medellin, Colombian authorities said. Calling the arrest of Erikson Vargas a “death blow” to the crime group, President Juan Manuel Santos said at a news conference…

India monitors BlackBerry emails without encryption codes

India has found a way to monitor BlackBerry corporate emails without asking developer Research in Motion (RIM) to hand over encryption codes a report said Wednesday, which could help end a standoff with the Canadian company. RIM and the Indian government are at loggerheads over access to Blackberry’s secure corporate email service, with New Delhi…

American weapons blamed for health problems at hospital in Fallujah

In an Iraqi city where US military offensives levelled entire neighbourhoods in 2004, a hospital has turned to American doctors to treat children with heart problems that residents blame on fallout from the fighting. The decision was not easy for Fallujah, which lies just west ofBaghdad and still views the United States with bitterness and extreme…

U.S. calls for ‘flexibility’ on climate change

The United States ran into crossfire on Wednesday after it called for “flexibility” in climate talks, even if this approach could not guarantee meeting the UN’s target on global warming. Europe demanded that the two-degree-Celsius (3.6-degree-Fahrenheit) objective set at the Copenhagen summit in 2009 be honoured while small island states accused Washington of…

Red Cross worried about civilians in ‘increasingly ethnic’ Congo conflict

An intensification in fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo has left increasing numbers of civilians at risk of attacks, the Red Cross said on Wednesday. “The abuse of the civilian population we have been seeing in recent months is extremely worrying and contrary to all basic humanitarian principles,” said Franz…

Welsh call center profits off lowly paid prisoners in call center

A business in Wales is bussing in inmates from an open prison 21 miles away and paying them just £3 a day to man its call centre, the Guardian can reveal. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed that dozens of prisoners from Prescoed prison in Monmouthshire, south Wales, had done…

Hitman in Swedish honeymoon murder gets 25 years

One of the South African men accused of killing Swedish honeymooner Anni Dewani pleaded guilty Wednesday and was sentenced to 25 years in prison in a plea deal, the prosecution said. Mziwamadoda Qwabe pleaded guilty to murder, kidnapping, robbery, and illegal possession of a firearm, prosecutor Eric Ntbazalila told AFP.…

Egypt helicopter gunships kill 20 militants

Egyptian helicopter gunships killed 20 militants in Sinai on Wednesday, state media and the army said, days after 16 soldiers were killed in an attack attributed to Islamist extremists. The military’s strikes on Tumah village – its first in the peninsula for decades – were carried out as security forces…

China braces for shocking political murder trial

The son of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai has told CNN the “facts will speak for themselves” in the case of his mother, who goes on trial Thursday over the murder of a British businessman. Bo’s wife Gu Kailai, herself a celebrated lawyer, stands accused of murdering British business associate…

Iran says ‘retired’ Guards among Syria hostages

“Retired” members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and army are among 48 Iranians taken hostage in Syria by rebels on the weekend, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Wednesday, the ISNA news agency reported. But he denied the rebels’ allegation that the Iranians had been on a military mission,…

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