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Blackwater looking to return to Iraq

Four years after Blackwater’s license to operate in Iraq was revoked over the killing of 17 Iraqis, Xe Services LLC — the company formerly known as Blackwater — wants to return to the country. In an interview published Thursday, Xe President and Chief Executive Ted Wright told The Wall Street…

Death of hacking whistleblower probed

The death of Sean Hoare, a former News of the World journalist and whistleblower on the escalating phone-hacking scandal, was “not suspicious” and involved no third party, police said a post-mortem showed Tuesday. The post-mortem carried out on 47-year-old Hoare, who was found dead at his home on Monday, revealed…

U.S. forces ‘still attacking Iraq Shiite insurgents’

US forces are carrying out operations against Shiite insurgents, almost a year after the military announced a formal end to its combat operations in Iraq, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday. “We have to unilaterally be able to go after those threats. We’re doing that,” Panetta told reporters,…

Britain to pull 500 troops from Afghanistan

Britain will withdraw a further 500 troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2012, bringing its contingent there to 9,000, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Wednesday. Cameron said he had taken the decision because Afghanistan’s fledgling army and police had showed significant progress ahead of the deadline for the…

Obama will ‘likely’ pull 10,000 troops from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama will “likely” withdraw about 10,000 US troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year, with half coming out this summer and the remainder leaving later in 2011, a senior US defense official said Tuesday. Another 20,000 troops, which formed part of a troop…

Refugees on rise and poor countries bear brunt: UNHCR

GENEVA (Reuters) – The number of people forced to flee their homes to escape war or abuse has risen to its highest for 15 years, with four out of five refugees in developing countries, the United Nations said on Monday. In all, there were 43.7 million displaced people worldwide at…

U.S. extends National Guard stay on Mexico border

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The 1,200 National Guard soldiers deployed to the US border with Mexico last year will remain on their jobs until late September, a US official said Friday. The administration has now “extended the temporary deployment of National Guard personnel… through September 30, 2011,” Department of Homeland Security…

Gates says no hasty U.S. troop cut in Afghanistan

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday there would be no hasty U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and Washington expected the same from its allies. Gates, speaking ahead of the start of President Barack Obama’s planned troop cuts in Afghanistan next month, said a “rush to the…

Singapore to overtake Vegas this year: US gaming head

MACAU (AFP) – Singapore is set to overtake Las Vegas as the world’s second-largest gambling hub this year, a US gaming industry head said Tuesday, as Asia cements its place as a major betting market. Singapore has emerged as Asia’s hottest new gambling destination with a revamped cityscape and billions…

Spanish protesters cheer for ‘world revolution’ as ban on demonstration takes effect

MADRID — Thousands of protesters in Madrid furious over soaring unemployment staged a silent protest and then erupted in cheers of joy as a 48-hour ban on their demonstration took effect on Saturday. “Now we are all illegal” and “the people united will never be defeated,” were among the chants…

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