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Iran confident Israel won’t launch ‘stupid’ attack

Iran on Tuesday said it is dismissing Israeli threats of an imminent attack against it, explaining that even some Israeli officials realized such a “stupid” act would provoke “very severe consequences.” “In our calculations, we aren’t taking these claims very seriously because we see them as hollow and baseless,” foreign…

Palestinian inmate becomes a father after smuggling sperm to wife

NABLUS, Palestinian Territories — A baby boy was born by Caesarian section on Monday, the product of a successful smuggling attempt by a Palestinian prisoner who managed to sneak out a sperm sample to his wife. Baby Muhannad was born in a Nablus hospital to Dallal Ziben, a 32-year-old mother-of-two…

Oil spill detected near Exxon operations in Nigeria

EKET, Nigeria — An oil spill has been detected along the coast of southern Nigeria near operations for US giant ExxonMobil, the company said Monday, but the cause and size of the leak remained unclear. Exxon local subsidiary Mobil Producing Nigeria confirmed that oil had been found along the shoreline…

Fidel Castro quietly celebrates 86th birthday

HAVANA — Cuba’s former president, Fidel Castro, celebrated his 86th birthday quietly and out of the public eye Monday, while political allies and Cuban citizens paid tribute from afar. Bolivia President Evo Morales praised Castro as an “example of international solidarity,” in a message to the father of Cuba’s communist…

Clashes erupt in Senegal after youth dies in police custody

KOLDA, Senegal — Police fired teargas at stone-throwing demonstrators in south-eastern Senegal Monday, injuring one person as protests erupted over the death of a deaf-mute youth in police custody, sources said. A security source speaking on condition of anonymity said a man in his thirties had been arrested on Sunday…

Two South African police ‘hacked to death’ during clash at platinum mine

South African workers Monday hacked to death two police officers who came to quell deadly clashes between rival unions that claimed eight lives at a platinum mine run by leading producer Lonmin, police said. “Our police officers were responding to a protest at the mine. They came under attack from…

Mexican drug war claims innocent victims

Cristina Roman didn’t know where to begin. When asked how the epic violence and criminal impunity in her native Ciudad Juarez invaded her own life, she paused, then asked: “How far should I go back?” She decided to begin from May 2010. It was then at the height of the…

Syrian UN envoy defects in Geneva

Syria’s top representative at the UN Human Rights Council said Monday he had defected because he no longer felt able in that position to do anything for the Syrian people. “Basically, when I felt I could not help my people any more I had to move on,” Danny al-Baaj, the first Syrian diplomat…

Grisly YouTube footage of Syrian atrocities triggers outrage

Grisly footage of apparent atrocities in Syria triggered outrage Monday, as regime forces bombarded rebel strongholds around Damascus and launched a mass raid in the historic heart of the capital. The graphic videos posted on YouTube showed what appeared to be rebels callously throwing bodies off a post office building in a city near the northern metropolis…

UN: Gender discrimination costs Asia-Pacific economies tens of billions per year

Discrimination against women hampers progress in alleviating world poverty and costs Asia-Pacific economies tens of billions of dollars a year, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Monday. “Gender discrimination blocks progress. Equality makes it possible to achieve huge breakthroughs,” Ban told an international meeting for young female leaders during a visit to his native South Korea. Women make…

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