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Farmer cycles from China to London for Olympics

A Chinese farmer claims he spent two years riding nearly 40,000 miles (60,000 kilometres) through 16 countries on a rickshaw to reach London in time for the Olympic Games, the BBC reported Thursday. Chen Guanming, 57, said his goal was to “spread the Olympic spirit” on his epic quest through…

Volkswagen net profit surges 36% on strong sales

Volkswagen, Europe’s biggest car maker, said Thursday that bottom-line profits in the first half of the year soared by more than a third, leading it to confirm its upbeat forecast for 2012. The group, which manufactures 10 makes of vehicles, reported a 36-percent rise in net profit to 8.83 billion…

Shell net profit drops by half on lower oil prices

Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said Thursday that second-quarter net profits tumbled 53 percent to $4.063 billion on the back of sliding world oil prices and slack demand. Adjusted net profits, stripping out movements in the value of inventories and other non-operating items, slid almost 13 percent to $5.72 billion…

China prosecutes Bo’s wife for murder

The wife of disgraced Chinese political leader Bo Xilai has been prosecuted for murder, state news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday. Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun, an orderly at Bo’s home, were “recently” prosecuted by a Chinese court, Xinhua said, without giving further details.…

Most wanted Nazi war criminal’s hearing delayed

A hearing due Thursday of 97-year-old Laszlo Csatary, who tops the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s dwindling wanted-list of suspected Nazi war criminals, was deferred to next week, lawyers said. Csatary’s lawyer and prosecutors did not specify a date nor explain the delay. “The hearing will take place in a week,” his…

‘Kabul I love you’ brings Afghan woes to the big screen

KABUL — A decade after the fall of the cinema-hating Taliban, a group of Afghan directors have created a film love letter to their capital, rooted in the grim reality of everyday life in the war-torn city. Forced marriage, people smuggling, illegal land grabs, land mines and ethnic conflict —…

North Koreans angered by Olympic flag blunder

GLASGOW — North Korea’s women’s football team refused to take the field for more than an hour Wednesday in protest at an embarrassing mix-up of their national flag on day one of the London Olympics. The team were incensed after Hampden Park’s giant screen showed images of North Korean players…

Fighter jet scrambled after plane enters Olympic no-fly zone

LONDON — Britain scrambled a Royal Air Force Typhoon jet on Wednesday after a commercial airliner entered restricted airspace put in place for the London Olympics, the Ministry of Defence said. The RAF jet was launched after air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane. But contact was soon re-established…

U.S. slams deteriorating human rights in China

WASHINGTON — US officials and lawmakers took aim at China Wednesday, saying human rights were deteriorating in the communist-run nation as Chinese leaders move to quash even the slightest sign of dissent. “The overall situation of human rights in China continues to deteriorate,” said Michael Posner, assistant secretary of state…

Mexican official: Uprising leader has lung cancer

An upcoming book reveals that the man known as Subcommander Marcos, who entered the international spotlight as the spokesperson for a Mexican indigenous rebel group in 1994, had been suffering from lung cancer as recently as 2010. The Mexican newspaper Milenio reported Wednesday that it had obtained an excerpt from…

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