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Venezuela refinery blast kills 24

A massive explosion tore through Venezuela’s largest refinery on Saturday, killing at least 24 people and wounding more than 50 in South America’s largest oil producer, officials said. Vice President Elias Jaua said most of the dead were members of the country’s National Guard who were protecting the refining facility…

Syria media warn of ‘fake email’ saying VP sacked

Syria’s state news agency SANA said on Saturday that a fake email had been sent out in its name claiming that Vice President Faruq al-Shara had been sacked. Speculation has swirled since last week over the fate of Shara, the most high-ranking Sunni Muslim official in President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite-led…

Tropical Storm Isaac hits Haiti on way to Florida

Tropical Storm Isaac battered impoverished Haiti early Saturday as a hurricane warning was issued for southern Florida days before the opening of the US Republican convention. With wind gusts of up to 60 miles (95 kilometers) per hour, the storm was expected to sweep over eastern Cuba later Saturday and…

American states back Ecuador over Assange

The Organization of American States declared “solidarity and support” for Ecuador in its dispute with Britain over granting asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The meeting of the Americas bloc was convened at Ecuador’s request to consider a resolution rejecting any attempt to put at risk the “inviolability” of its…

Egypt blocks 120 tunnels in the Sinai

Egyptian military engineers have blocked 120 tunnels used for smuggling to and from the Gaza Strip since the start of operations in the neighbouring Sinai Pensinsula, security officials said on Saturday. “Tunnel entrances are being demolished every day and the operation will continue until all underground passageways are shut,” one…

Guantanamo 9/11 hearings delayed to mid-October

Preliminary hearings for the trial of five alleged 9/11 plotters were canceled this week over Tropical Storm Isaac are now set for mid-October, the US military said Friday. The hearings, at which confessed September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is due to appear, are now due to take place from…

Photo accidentally reveals UK determination to give Assange no way out

It is the “restricted” official document that sums up the Metropolitan police’s tactics towards Julian Assange. “Action required: Assange to be arrested under all circumstances,” says the handwritten note that was photographed under a policeman’s arm on Friday detailing a “summary of the current position” on Assange’s exile inside the…

Russian court acquits Garry Kasparov of illegal protest

Chess king turned Kremlin foe Garry Kasparov was acquitted on Friday of holding an unsanctioned protest, although he still risks jail for allegedly biting a policeman during the Pussy Riot trial. In a surprise verdict, a magistrate acquitted Kasparov, saying his guilt had not been proven by police witnesses, the…

Sierra Leone passes law that carries heavy sentences for sexual abuse offenders

Sierra Leone lawmakers on Friday passed a sexual offences law introducing stiff minimum sentences for offenders that has been hailed as a victory in a nation where sexual abuse is rife. Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs Stephen Gaojia said the new bill was “a victory for Sierra Leoneans as it protects women, children and…

Two U.S. embassy employees shot and wounded in Mexico City

Two US embassy employees were shot and wounded when their car came under fire south ofMexico City on Friday, an official from the attorney general’s office told AFP. “The two are from the US embassy,” the official said on condition of anonymity, adding that the shooting took place on a highway leading from Mexico City…

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