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Syrian forces fire at protests despite Assad pledge

AMMAN (Reuters) – Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad opened fire to disperse protests demanding his removal on Friday despite a pledge that he had ended the crackdown on a five-month uprising in which 2,000 people have been killed, activists said. They said the shooting occurred in the eastern city…

Obama to call on Syria’s Assad to step down

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Thursday will call on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down and slap new sanctions on his government in a toughening of the U.S. stance toward the Syrian leader, a U.S. official said. The White House will shortly issue a “very tough” new…

UN chief visits Japan nuclear disaster zone

UN chief Ban Ki-moon on Monday pledged the world body’s solidarity with Japan after its quake, tsunami and nuclear disasters and encouraged radiation evacuees to “hang in there”. Travelling in the disaster-struck northeast, Ban became one of the most senior foreign leaders to visit the region close to the crippled…

Dozens killed as Assad defends Syria crackdown

DAMASCUS — Syrian forces backed by tanks killed at least 27 people on Sunday, activists said, as President Bashar al-Assad defended what he termed the state’s duty to crack down on “outlaws” despite mounting condemnation. Security forces killed at least 20 civilians in the city of Deir Ezzor, activists said,…

UN chief heads to Japan as nuclear crisis simmers

UN chief Ban Ki-moon arrives in Japan on Sunday, where he plans to visit the Fukushima nuclear disaster zone, as the crippled atomic power plant simmers and a food safety scare deepens. The secretary-general will visit hard-hit Fukushima prefecture on Sunday evening as one of the most senior foreign leaders…

Syria vows ‘free elections’ as pressure grows

Syria vowed to hold “free and transparent” polls later this year but re-arrested a leading dissident, as foreign pressure mounted over its deadly suppression of anti-regime protests. Security forces arrested prominent opposition figure and former political prisoner Walid al-Bunni and his two sons, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami…

Protesters demand that India stop an execution over a coerced confession

On the afternoon of Monday, July 25, approximately 800 protesters from Sikh organizations and human rights groups opposed to the death penalty and torture gathered opposite the United Nations to show solidarity with Sikh Professor Devenderpal S. Bhullar, whose execution by hanging is pending in India. Bhullar’s arrest stemmed from…

UN fears crimes against humanity in Syria

UN officials have said Syrian security forces may have committed crimes against humanity in their crackdown on protesters, as at least eight more civilians were killed in massive protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule. The UN concerns were expressed in a statement late Friday by Francis Deng, special adviser to…

Leaked cables: US helped Israel contain UN Gaza war probe

WASHINGTON — The United States worked behind the scenes to help Israel contain UN probes into possible war crimes committed during the 2008-2009 Gaza war, Foreign Policy reported Tuesday. The online foreign affairs magazine cited exclusive WikiLeaks cables detailing moves by the US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to…

Snipers, cluster bombs panic Libya’s Misrata

MISRATA, Libya (AFP) – Snipers, cluster bombs and intense shelling are spreading panic in Misrata, an AFP reporter said on Monday, as a doctor reported 1,000 people killed in six weeks of fighting in the besieged city. With fears growing that refugees will attempt a chaotic mass escape by sea…

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