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Amazon deforestation increases six-fold

BRASILIA (AFP) – A sharp increase in forest destruction in March and April in the Amazon has led Brazil to announce the creation of an emergency task force to fight against deforestation. The two-month total of 593 square kilometers (368 square miles) deforested represents a six-fold increase compared to the…

Texas Gov. Rick Perry proclaims ‘Days of Prayer for Rain’

Republican Governor Rick Perry has issued an official proclamation urging Texans to pray for rain in the midst of a severe drought that has sparked more than 8,000 wildfires. “These dire conditions have caused agricultural crops to fail, lake and reservoir levels to fall and cattle and livestock to struggle…

End operations in Afghanistan, Karzai tells NATO

ASADABAD, Afghanistan (AFP) – An emotional Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday told international troops to “stop their operations in our land”, his strongest remarks yet over mistaken killings of civilians. Karzai’s comments came after a week in which a relative of his was killed in a raid by foreign…

‘Homeland’ security coming to hotels, malls

WASHINGTON – The United States is stepping up security at “soft targets” like hotels and shopping malls, as well as trains and ports, as it counters the evolving Al-Qaeda threat, a top official said Sunday. A year after a foiled plot to bomb a US-bound passenger plane, Homeland Security Secretary…

Ex-Okla. Land Office auditor admits to embezzling

Former auditor for Commissioners of the Land Office in Oklahoma pleads guilty to embezzlement A former auditor for the Commissioners of the Land Office in Oklahoma has pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $1 million from the agency. Roger Melson pleaded guilty Friday to 174 counts of embezzlement and faces…

North, South Korea exchange artillery fire over north sea border

North Korea fired artillery into the sea Wednesday near its disputed border with South Korea and South Korean forces fired back, Seoul officials said. The North’s artillery batteries on land fired into waters near the border shortly after 9:00 am (0000 GMT), a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff…

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