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Colombia confirms ‘exploratory’ talks with FARC

BOGOTA — Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos confirmed that his government had begun “exploratory discussions” with leftist FARC rebels to lay the groundwork for a full-fledged peace process. “Since the day my government took office, I have respected my constitutional obligation to seek peace, and we have undertaken exploratory talks…

Israeli airstrike targets Hamas camps in Gaza

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Israeli aircraft attacked three Hamas training camps in the Gaza Strip early Tuesday, causing no injuries, eyewitnesses in the enclave said. An Israeli helicopter fired six missiles at two different sites northwest of Gaza city, both training camps for Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam…

Mexico police held over U.S. embassy car shooting

MEXICO CITY — A Mexican judge ordered 12 federal police officers held for 40 days on Monday as prosecutors mull charges against them for shooting at a US embassy car and wounding two US government employees. The officers are being treated as suspects over Friday’s incident, when a sport-utility vehicle…

Britain ‘appalled’ by Afghanistan beheadings

LONDON — Britain on Monday condemned “in the strongest terms” reports that Taliban Islamist insurgents had beheaded 17 civilians at a party in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said he was “appalled” at the killings and also at an attack on a checkpoint in the province which…

Pakistani Muslim leaders support Christian girl accused of blasphemy

Unprecedented move comes after 11-year-old thought to have Down’s syndrome charged with desecrating the Qur’an Islamic leaders in Pakistan on Monday came out in support of a Christian girl with learning difficulties who is being held in prison, in an unprecedented public denunciation of the blasphemy law by hard-line mullahs.…

Pussy Riot team appeals ‘punk prayer’ jailing

Pussy Riot lawyers on Monday appealed the jailing of three of the Russian band members for their “punk prayer” call for Vladimir Putin’s ouster ahead of his election to a new presidential term. The decision to contest this month’s controversial ruling came as news emerged that two other singers in…

Greenpeace members scale Russian Arctic rig in second raid attempt

Greenpeace activists in an inflatable speedboat said Monday they had attached themselves to the anchor of a Russian ship taking workers to the country’s first Arctic oil production base. The second raid against the Gazprom rig in three days comes as Russia takes the lead from other Arctic powers in…

Chavez dodges blame as Venezuela refinery fire continues

Venezuelan firefighters battled Monday to extinguish a devastating fire at the country’s main oil refinery as President Hugo Chavez slammed reports that poor maintenance was to blame. The Venezuelan leader promised an investigation into Saturday’s tragedy that left 41 people dead – a gas leak is the suspected cause –…

Iraqi general among three dead in new attacks

Gunmen shot dead an Iraqi border forces brigadier general on Monday, among three people killed and six wounded in nationwide violence, security and medical officials said. Brigadier General Abdul Hussein Mohsen was gunned down by several armed men while he was in the town of Taji, just north of Baghdad,…

Strong earthquake shakes El Salvador

A strong 7.3 earthquake shook an area in the Pacific Ocean off El Salvador early Monday, prompting a brief tsunami warning for the region that was later lifted, US officials said. The epicenter of the tremor, which occurred at 0437 GMT, was located 111 kilometers (69 miles) south of the…

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