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Greece steps back from prospect of debt default

ATHENS, Greece – Greece appeared to step back from the prospect of a devastating debt default Friday after its prime minister quelled chaotic political infighting and Germany softened a contentious demand that the private sector participate in a European bailout. After two days of dissent inside his Socialist party that threatened to bring down his government, Prime Minister George Papandreou ...

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Japan’s TEPCO suspends cleanup at Fukushima plant

TOKYO: An operation to clean up radioactive water at Japan’s stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant was suspended on Saturday, hours after it got underway, when radiation levels began rising dramatically, the plant’s operator said. Tokyo Electric Power Company had undertaken the operation at the plant, disabled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, to avert spillage into the sea of ...

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King declares Morocco a constitutional monarchy

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Moroccan King Mohammed VI announced a series of constitutional reforms in a speech Friday night that he said will turn the North African country into a constitutional monarchy, though pro-democracy activists remain skeptical. Under the new constitution, the king will remain the supreme commander of the army and a new article formalized him as the highest ...

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UN reinforcements head to Sudan conflict state

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – The United Nations is sending peacekeeper reinforcements to the strife-torn Sudanese state of South Kordofan and has turned its main base there into a safe haven for refugees, UN officials said. More than 120 Bangladeshi troops will lead reinforcements sent to the state's main city, Kadugli, where Khartoum government troops are…

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Strauss-Kahn ‘tried to claim diplomatic immunity’

NEW YORK (AFP) – Ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn initially tried to claim diplomatic immunity when he was arrested over the attempted rape of a hotel maid, according to police transcripts. The transcripts, released by the prosecution on Thursday, showed that after Strauss-Kahn was led away by police from his Air France flight at JFK airport on May 14, some of ...

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Syria crisis: Troops move into towns in north

Syrian troops travelling on tanks, armoured personnel carriers and buses have moved into two northern towns. Security forces were gathering in Khan Sheikhun and Maarat al-Numan, a town of 90,000 between Damascus and Aleppo. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged…

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Lawmakers mock Obama claim on Libya hostilities

WASHINGTON-Republicans and Democrats on Thursday derided President Barack Obama’s claim that U.S. air attacks against Libya do not constitute hostilities and demanded that the commander in chief seek congressional approval for the 3-month-old military operation. In an escalating constitutional fight, House Speaker John Boehner threatened to withhold money for the mission, pitting a Congress eager to exercise its power of ...

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Syria hits back at global outcry over crackdown

JISR AL-SHUGHUR, Syria (AFP) – Syria has launched a media offensive to counter the outcry over its deadly crackdown on dissent, escorting journalists to a hub of the protests and staging a loyalist rally. Near the flashpoint northern town of Jisr al-Shughur, officials Wednesday showed a group of 20 journalists, including an AFP correspondent, a grave containing at least five ...

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