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Ecuador court orders Chevron to pay $19 billion

An Ecuadoran court has ordered US oil firm Chevron to pay some $19 billion — a billion dollars more than an original order — by Monday for environmental damage. Attorney Juan Pablo Saenz said the plaintiffs could organize embargoes if Chevron does not comply with the order from a court…

30 dead in separate suicide attack, drone strike in Yemen

A suicide attack at a town in south Yemen recently recaptured by the army from Al-Qaeda forces killed 20 people Saturday and wounded another 20, the governor of the province said. In a separate incident in the east of the country meanwhile, a suspected US drone strike killed five Al-Qaeda members late Saturday, a…

Gunman kill 2, capture 4 others in attack on oil barge in Nigeria

Gunmen attacked a barge belonging to an oil services company off the coast of Nigeria on Saturday, killing two Nigerian sailors and kidnapping four foreigners, navy officials said. The suspected sea pirates stormed the vessel in the Gulf of Guinea, an area that has seen a sharp spike in the number…

Prank Egypt TV show exposes depth of Israel hostility

A prank Egyptian talk show that infuriates guests by duping them into believing they are on Israeli TV reveals the antipathy many hold for the Jewish state despite a wintry peace treaty between the neighbours. “Judgement after Deliberations,” aired nightly by private Nahar satellite television during the Muslim holy month…

South Africa marks 50 years since Mandela’s arrest

South Africa will unveil its latest monument to Nelson Mandela on Saturday, a new statue along a rural highway to mark the spot where he was arrested 50 years ago for his struggle against white rule. Mandela, now 94, was arrested as a young liberation fighter on August 5, 1962,…

Birds’ heads torn off in Australian zoo rampage

Nine birds, including an endangered swift parrot, had their heads smashed in or ripped off and more than 60 animals were missing on Saturday after vandals went on the rampage at an Australian zoo. Tasmania Zoo owner Dick Warren said he found the mutilated animals when he opened up on…

Kidnapped Syrian TV host ‘executed’

Syrian television presenter Mohammed al-Saeed, kidnapped from his Damascus home in mid-July, has been executed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday. “The television presenter, a well-known figure on state TV, has been executed, and the Al-Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for the killing,” the Observatory’s Rami Abdel…

Double amputee Pistorius makes Olympic history

South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius made history on Saturday when he became the first double amputee to compete in an athletics event at the Olympics. The 25-year-old qualified for the semi-finals of the 400 metres by running a season’s best of 45.44 seconds in finishing second. Pistorius, who had both legs…

Proposed Tunisian legislation would criminalize ‘mockery’ of religion

A bill to criminalise offences against “sacred values,” filed in parliament this week by Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party Ennahda threatens freedom of expression, Human Rights Watch warned on Friday. “The draft bill would provide prison terms and fines for broadly worded offenses such as insulting or mocking the ‘sanctity of…

Belarus expels Swedish ambassador over ‘Teddy Bear Incident’

MINSK — Belarus expelled Sweden’s ambassador Friday saying he tried to “destroy” ties with the ex-Soviet state run by authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, after a pro-democracy stunt by a Swedish firm. The move came after Swedish activists illegally flew a plane into Belarus early last month and dropped hundreds of…

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