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U.K.’s Cameron denies parenting classes are sign of ‘nanny state’

David Cameron said free parenting classes are not a “nanny state” policy as he defended a raft of new initiatives targeting families on Friday. The Prime Minister said it was ludicrous that people had to train before they were allowed to drive a car, but could bring up a baby…

Oil prices slide to multi-month lows

World oil prices slid to new multi-month lows on Friday as the market was rattled once again by concern about the outlook for demand linked to the eurozone debt crisis, analysts said. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in July struck $106.40 per barrel, which was the lowest point since…

Tensions over regal jubilee lunch of Queen Elizabeth II

A glittering lunch for the world’s sovereigns to be held on Friday to celebrate the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II has been marked by a withdrawal and protests over the guest list. Spain’s Queen Sophia has pulled out of the event at Windsor Castle, west of London, amid tensions…

Greek euro exit looms as G8 gathers

World leaders will huddle at Camp David Friday with the focus on Greece as it stumbles toward a possible eurozone exit that would hold wildly uncertain repercussions for the global economy. Leaders from the Group of Eight industrialised nations will gather at the history-imbued US presidential retreat near Washington for…

Baghdad pet market bombs kill five: officials

Three near-simultaneous bomb blasts at a pet market in east Baghdad killed five people on Friday, officials said, just hours after an attack in the city’s southeast left five dead. The explosions, which occurred at around 7:00 am (0400 GMT) in the Maamal area, also wounded at least 31 other…

Egyptian Brotherhood flexes muscle in election stunt

CAIRO — Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood organised on Thursday a kilometres-long rally to support its candidate in next week’s presidential election, displaying the potent network of activists it counts on to win. Islamist activists stood side by side for kilometres through Cairo and north of the capital holding posters of Mohammed…

Sri Lanka faces impatience in U.S.

WASHINGTON — Sri Lanka is looking to ease growing friction with the United States, but it faces exasperation from policymakers who see little progress on concerns three years after a bloody civil war ended. Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris meets Friday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after a week…

U.S. group to send 22 observers to Egypt’s election

WASHINGTON — The Atlanta-based Carter Center has the green light to send 22 observers to monitor Egypt’s presidential election next week, the US State Department said Thursday. “The Carter Center has received accreditation as one of the organizations that will witness the election by Egypt’s Supreme Presidential Election Commission,” State…

World’s oldest surviving Chinese sailing vessel returns to Taiwan

The world’s oldest surviving Chinese junk returned home to Taiwan on Thursday, nearly 60 years after it set sail on a historic voyage to the United States, organisers said. The Free China arrived in the northern port of Keelung aboard a cargo ship from San Francisco. It will be restored…

Japan bank freezes Iran accounts after court order

A Japanese bank has halted transactions by the Iranian government after a US court ordered a $2.6 billion asset freeze over the 1983 bombing of US barracks in Beirut, a bank spokesman said on Thursday. “We have received the order from the US court,” to freeze $2.6 billion of assets,…

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