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Watchdog blasts ‘excessive’ policing at G20 Toronto summit

OTTAWA — Canadian police used “excessive force,” ignored civil rights and made “unlawful” mass arrests in cracking down on unruly protests at a G20 summit in Toronto two years ago, a watchdog said Wednesday. Gerry McNeilly, head of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, in a scathing 300-page…

HIV may afflict almost half Asia-Pacific transgenders: UN

BANGKOK — Nearly half of transgender people in the Asia-Pacific region could have HIV as poor healthcare and high-risk lifestyles push infection rates to “critical levels”, a UN report said Thursday. The region’s estimated 9-9.5 million transgender population is “bearing the brunt of the HIV epidemic”, the UN Development Programme…

Mexicans pay tribute to novelist Carlos Fuentes

MEXICO CITY — Hundreds of Mexicans bade farewell to late novelist Carlos Fuentes on Wednesday, carrying books and flowers as they filed past the casket of one of the Spanish-speaking world’s best-known writers. During a public ceremony at the grand Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, President Felipe Calderon…

Kidnapped journalist found dead in Honduras

A journalist who was kidnapped a week ago has been found shot to death, making him the 20th to be killed in Honduras in the past three years amid rising gang violence, police said Wednesday. Alfredo Villatoro Rivera, 47, who worked for HRN radio, was found late Tuesday wearing an…

Greece schedules new elections in June

Debt-laden Greece is headed for new elections next month following an indecisive vote and on Wednesday named a judge as caretaker premier amid growing fears over the country’s eurozone future. Panagiotis Pikrammenos, the head of Greece’s top administrative court, was tasked with organising the next general election, which the semi-state…

‘Corporate responsibility’ firm lied about presence of indigenous Amazonian tribe while working for oil company in Peru

An environmental consultancy working for an oil company withheld evidence of an “uncontacted tribe” where the company is operating in Peru’s Amazon, a leaked report obtained by the Guardian reveals. The leak is acutely embarrassing for Perenco, based in London and Paris, because it has consistently claimed there is no…

World Bank: Debt ‘still a huge issue’ for developing countries

Years after debt campaigners succeeded in persuading the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and G8 to abolish debts worth billions of dollars owed by developing countries, figures show total external debts are once again on the increase. Data in the World Bank’s global development finance 2012 report (pdf) shows…

Dog, shorts and soccer ball found in Aussie croc

Rangers who shot a saltwater crocodile that was terrorising pets innorthern Australia found a dog, a pair of shorts, a football and a nappy in its stomach, according to a local report. Police had recently notified authorities that a crocodile had eaten at least one dog and was lunging at others on a beach…

Taiwan president fined for Facebook campaigning

Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has been fined Tw$500,000 ($17,000) by electoral authorities for urging his Facebook followers on polling day to vote for him, the Central Election Commission has said., the Central Election Commission has said. Taiwanese election law forbids any form of campaigning on voting day. Elected in 2008, Ma won a comfortable re-election victory on January 14. He is due…

Moody’s to downgrade 21 Spanish banks

Moody’s is set to ‘significantly’ downgrade 21 Spanish banks within a week, following a cut of credit ratings on Italian banks, the Spanish economic daily Expansion said on Wednesday. “Sources in the Spanish financial sector are convinced that the agency will lower in a significant manner the ratings of numerous institutions,” said the daily. “The announcement can…

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