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Al-Qaeda offshoot seizes key arms dump in Mali’s north

An Al-Qaeda offshoot this week seized a key underground arms depot in the strategic town of Gao in Mali’s rebel-controlled north, security sources said on Sunday. The Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) “have taken our underground weapons and ammunition depot in Gao. It’s one of the main depots of the Malian army,” a security source told AFP. The…

Women on the rise in Mexican drug cartels

The high mortality rate in Mexico’s drug war has seen women progress quickly in the shadowy underworld of the cartels and they are increasingly taking on key management roles, a new book says. “Female Bosses of Narco-Traffic,” by Arturo Santamaria, a researcher at the Autonomous University of the State of Sinaloa, traces the…

Tens of thousands protest against Morocco government

Tens of thousands of Moroccans took to the streets of Casablancaon Sunday in the largest opposition protest since an Islamist-ledgovernment took office, reflecting mounting tensions over unemployment and other social woes. The protest was organised by trade unions which accuse Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane of failing to deliver on the pledges ofsocial justice that brought…

IMF chief angers Greeks as crisis election looms

Political leaders in Athens rounded on IMF chief Christine Lagardeon Sunday for branding Greeks tax-dodgers as parties went on the campaign trail for next month’s elections. Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos accused Lagarde of trying to “humiliate” the debt-stricken country, which is facing its second election in six weeks seen as crucial to…

Afghan officials: NATO air strike kills six children

A NATO air strike killed a family of eight, including six children, when it hit their home in eastern Afghanistan, local officials said on Sunday. Saturday night’s incident in Paktia province threatens to further sour already shaky ties between President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers and will likely enrage Afghan civilians weary of years…

Bodies of 10 illegal miners recovered in S. Africa

Rescuers have recovered the bodies of 10 illegal diamond minerswho were killed in a disused mine tunnel earlier in the week in theNorthern Cape province, officials said. “By Saturday night 10 deceased diggers had been recovered from the collapsed tunnels,” said a statement issued late on Saturday by the DeBeers company which…

Ex-Mubarak aide sentenced to 7 years for corruption

A Cairo criminal court on Sunday sentenced ousted Egyptianpresident Hosni Mubarak’s former chief of staff to seven years in jail on corruption charges, a judicial source told AFP. Zakaria Azmi was also ordered to pay a fine of 38 million Egyptian pounds (around $6.2 million), the source said. Azmi was jailed last year and…

Vatican leaks rumble Pope Benedict as butler is arrested

The Vatican is hunting for the masterminds of leaks that have enraged the Holy See, with few believing the pope’s arrested butler was behind the scandal, Italian media reported on Sunday. Vatican officials confirmed Saturday that Pope Benedict XVI’s personal butler Paolo Gabriele was arrested on suspicion of leaking confidential documents from the pontiff’s private study…

‘No reason’ to cede on 20% enriched uranium: Iran

Tehran has “no reason” to suspend its enrichment of uranium to 20 percent — one of the key demands of world powers engaging Iran in talks — the head of its Atomic Energy Organisation said. “We have no reason to cede on 20 percent, because we produce only as much…

Carter: Egypt polls ‘encouraging’ despite constraints

CAIRO — Former US President Jimmy Carter, who is leading a delegation monitoring Egypt’s first post-revolt presidential election, said on Saturday the process was “encouraging” despite unprecedented constraints. “I would say that these (elections) have been encouraging to me,” he told a news conference in Cairo, but added that his…

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