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63-year-old engineer is Japan’s ‘Last Ninja’

A 63-year-old former engineer may not fit the typical image of a dark-clad assassin with deadly weapons who can disappear into a cloud of smoke. But Jinichi Kawakami is reputedly Japan’s last ninja. As the 21st head of the Ban clan, a line of ninjas that can trace its history…

U.S., Afghan officials concerned over ‘insider attacks’

Pentagon chief Leon Panetta urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday to crack down on a rise in attacks by Afghan security personnel on their Western colleagues, officials said. U.S. concern is mounting over the unprecedented number of such “green-on-blue” attacks, which have now killed 39 international troops in 29…

Report: Masked gunmen wound eight in Russian mosque attack

Masked gunmen burst into a mosque in the troubled Russian Caucasus region of Dagestan, wounding eight, the regional interior ministry said in a statement Saturday. “The number of wounded in the shooting at the mosque in the town of Khasavyurt has risen to eight,” the interior ministry said after two…

Dutch pot advocates aiming to smoke out new voters

Opponents of a Dutch cannabis law that restricts sales of the drug to foreigners on Saturday launched a campaign aimed at getting citizens to vote for pro-pot parties in elections next month. Organisers said they would travel the nation in an old American school bus, painted silver to convince people…

China warns Japan as activists descend on contested islands

A flotilla carrying Japanese nationalists and lawmakers arrived Sunday at islands at the heart of a territorial row with China, with activists declaring their intention to land. Around 150 people, including eight parliamentarians, got to the archipelago around dawn (2030 GMT Saturday) just days after Japan deported pro-China activists who…

South Africa seeks answers after mine shootings

Families of workers missing from a mine where 34 people were shot dead in the worst police violence since apartheid on Saturday struggled to discover the fate of their loved ones as the nation sought answers. Armored cars and police trucks patrolled the area around London-listed Lonmin’s Marikana platinum mine…

Syria denies vice president has defected

Syria denied opposition claims on Saturday that top regime official Vice President Faruq al-Shara had defected as its armed forces pounded rebels in several key flashpoints across the country. The United Nations, meanwhile, won support from the West as well as Russia and China for its new envoy for Syria,…

Hands matching severed head, foot found in Canada

Canadian police on Friday discovered a pair of severed hands, after earlier this week finding a head and foot from what is believed to be a woman’s dismembered body in a Toronto area river. “We believe they all belong to the same person,” a police spokesman told AFP, adding the…

Libor inquiry chairman slams ex-Barclays boss

The head of the select committee inquiry into the Libor rate-rigging scandal has attacked ex-Barclays boss Bob Diamond for giving “highly selective” evidence, as its report was published Saturday. “Select committees are entitled to expect candour and frankness from witnesses before them,” said Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative MP who chaired…

After Ramadan fast, Indonesians ‘eat with a vengeance’

As Indonesia shifts from a month of fasting during Ramadan to a week-long eating binge for the Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday, doctors are braced for an annual spike in complaints of rapid weight gain. Millions in the world’s most populous Muslim nation typically mark the end of the Ramadan fasting…

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