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Japan PM under Pressure After Party Falters in Local Polls
TOKYO – Unpopular Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan faces fresh pressure to quit after his ruling party's losses in local elections on Sunday, weakening his clout as he struggles to contain a nuclear crisis and find ways to finance post-quake rebuilding.
Kan is unlikely to step down easily, but the outcome of the polls will make it harder to get opposition ...
S.Sudan Clashes Kill 165 in A Week: Army
JUBA, Sudan – At least 165 people have been killed in the past week in fighting between south Sudan's army and militia, the army said Monday, part of a wave of violence in the territory ahead of its independence in July.
Forces loyal to two renegade army commanders fought the southern army (SPLA) in Jonglei and Unity states, killing soldiers, rebels, northern tribesman and...
Elbaradei Suggests War Crimes Probe of Bush Team
NEW YORK — Former chief UN nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei suggests in a new memoir that Bush administration officials should face international criminal investigation for the “shame of a needless war” in Iraq.
Freer to speak now than he was as an international civil servant, the Nobel-winning Egyptian accuses U.S. leaders of “grotesque...
China, Japan, S. Korea Urge Further Efforts for Trilateral Investment Framework
TOKYO - Trade ministers from China, Japan and South Korea agreed on Sunday to make further efforts to reach a substantive agreement in the Trilateral Investment Agreement negotiation at an early date, according to joint statement.
The document of the 8th Economic and Trade Ministers' Meeting among the three countries in Tokyo also called for accelerating a joint ...
Thousands Call for Assad Overthrow at Syria Funeral
AMMAN – Thousands of Syrians called for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad Sunday at a funeral for protesters killed by security forces in the southern town of Nawa, a witness said.
"Long live Syria. Down with Bashar!" the mourners chanted, their calls audible in a telephone call during the funeral. "Leave, the ...
In Easter Message, Pope Urges Diplomacy in Libya
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI contrasted war and hunger with the joy of Easter Sunday and issued a ringing call for diplomacy to prevail over fighting in Libya, for nations to welcome refugees from conflict and for Middle East leaders to respect their citizens.
Benedict celebrated Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square, packed with...
Opposition Dragging Yemen Into War: Saleh
SANAA/ADEN, Yemen – Yemen's president on Saturday accused the opposition for dragging the country into civil war, as Yemenis boarded up their shops and businesses across the country in protest against his rule.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, in a speech in the capital Sanaa, called on Yemen's youth to form a political party according to the constitution and said the Arab state would not accept any tutelage "whatsoever." "They (the opposition) want to drag the area to civil war and we...
Rebels in Besieged Libyan City Claim A Victory
TRIPOLI, Libya – Government troops retreated to the outskirts of Misrata under rebel fire Saturday and the opposition claimed victory after officials in Tripoli decided to pull back forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi following nearly two months of laying siege to the western city.
The Pentagon, meanwhile, said the U.S. Air Force carried out its first Predator missile strike in Libya on Saturday, but gave no details. Libyan government...
Chile Seeks to Eliminate Extreme Poverty By 2020
SANTIAGO - Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said Friday that extreme poverty in the country should be wiped out by 2020.
Chileans should prepare themselves to live in a developed country without poverty, Pinera said on his Twitter account.
"This is a moral imperative, nothing and nobody will impede us from reaching this great and ambitious goal," Pinera said.
"Having 500,000 Chileans living in extreme poverty and 2.6 million in poverty injures...
Sarkozy Agrees to Visit Benghazi: Report
PARIS - French President Nicolas Sarkozy has agreed to visit Benghazi, the stronghold and administration base of Libyan rebels, an unidentified source of the Elysee Palace was quoted as saying by local media on Friday.
The president has offered "his agreement in principle" to visit Benghazi, the ...
Ban Calls for Immediate End to Violence in Syria
UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the ongoing violence against protesters in Syria, and called for it to stop immediately, a UN statement said Friday.
Large-scale anti-government protests erupted Friday in major Syrian cities, with protesters chanting for change and shouting anti-government...
Medvedev to Discuss Investment Climate Improvement
MOSCOW - President Dmitry Medvedev will chair an economic conference on Friday to discuss the implementation of measures he proposed to improve investment climate to Russia.
It is expected that Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika will report about the implementation of the presidential instruction on enhanced anti-corruption fight and improved state services. The deadline expired on April...
US, China to Hold Human Rights Talks
BEIJING – The United States said it will hold hold human rights talks with China in Beijing next week, amid a Chinese crackdown on government critics that has drawn US condemnation. The “discussions will focus on human rights developments, including the recent negative trend of forced disappearances, extralegal detentions, and arrests and convictions,” the State Department said in a statement on...
Russia, U.N. Reach Consensus on International Affairs
MOSCOW - Russia and the United Nations vowed Friday to continue efforts to ensure international security, after a meeting here between the Russian president and the U.N. chief.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said President Dmitry Medvedev and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had reached consensus on a wide range of international...
Ban Calls for Worldwide Review of Nuclear Safety Standards
KIEV - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday called for a worldwide review of nuclear safety standards during a trip to the Chernobyl exclusion zone. "The standards of nuclear safety should be fully reviewed. The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) must work carefully in this...
Russia Must Be Strong to Resist Threats: Putin
MOSCOW – Prime Minister Vladimir Putin insisted Wednesday that Russia must be strong to fend off foreign threats and lauded a long list of his own achievements, a show of muscle seen as a signal that the powerful leader intends to reclaim the country's presidency next ...
Japan Mulls A Stricter Evacuation Zone Near Plant
TOKYO – Japanese authorities may for the first time strictly enforce their evacuation zone around a crippled nuclear plant, citing concerns Wednesday over radiation risks for residents returning to check on their homes.
About 70,000-80,000 people were living in the 10 towns and villages within 12 miles (20 kilometers) of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami wrecked its power and cooling systems, setting...
Turkey-EU Negotiations at Bottleneck: Turkish FM
ANKARA - There are serious problems between the general positions of Turkey and the European Union, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his visiting Romanian counterpart Teodor Baconschi in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Davutoglu said the problems were discussed transparently in Tuesday's EU-Turkey Association ...
Urgent UN Rights Meeting on M.E Unrest Planned
GENEVA – Several members of the U.N.'s top human rights body are pressing for an emergency meeting to examine the government crackdowns against popular protests that have swept the Middle East and North Africa, Western diplomats said Wednesday. The countries, from Latin America, Europe, North America and Asia, are trying to collect 16 signatures necessary to force a special session of the U.N. Human Right...
Ban Urges “Global Re-Think” on Nuclear Safety
KIEV – The nuclear disasters at Chernobyl and Japan's Fukushima have shown the need for a "global re-think" on nuclear energy, U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday.
Ban said the 1986 disaster in Ukraine and the threat to the Fukushima nuclear plant following an earthquake and tsunami this year demonstrated...
Syria Lifts Emergency Laws But Warns Protesters
BEIRUT – Syria's government approved lifting the country's nearly 50-year-old state of emergency Tuesday to meet a key demand of anti-government protesters, but opposition leaders dismissed it as an attempt by President Bashar Assad to claim reforms but maintain his hard-line rule.
The blunt response suggested the month-old uprising could be entering
At Least 846 Killed in Protests: Egypt
CAIRO – At least 846 Egyptians died in the nearly three-week-long popular uprising that toppled long-serving President Hosni Mubarak, electrifying the region, a government fact-finding mission announced Tuesday. In their report, the panel of judges described police forces shooting protesters in the head and chest with live ammunition and presented a death toll more than twice that of previous
Japan Nuke Plant Starts Pumping Radioactive Water
TOKYO – The operator of Japan's crippled nuclear plant began pumping highly radioactive water from the basement of one of its buildings to a makeshift storage area Tuesday in a crucial step toward easing the nuclear crisis. Removing the 25,000 metric tons (about 6.6 million gallons) of contaminated water...
Russia, NATO to Approve Blueprint on AMD Cooperation
MOSCOW - Russia and NATO may approve a document for bilateral cooperation on anti-missile defense (AMD) system in June, a senior official said Monday. In a video press conference, Russia's envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said the next defense ministers' meeting of the Russia-NATO Council was slated for June 9, when the political principles of the cooperation would be discussed.
Gulf Troops to Stay as Counter to Iran: Bahrain
pen the way for greater influence by Shiite powerhouse Iran.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Gulf troops will stay indefinitely in Bahrain as a counter to perceived threats from Iran, which the island kingdom has used as a reason for their harsh crackdown on the country's Shiite opposition. Bahrain's king ...
Iran Calls for Regional Unity, Hits out at Saudi Arabia
TEHRAN – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for unity in the Middle East on Monday, a conciliatory message that contrasted starkly with another senior figure who accused Saudi Arabia of "heresy and deception."
Relations between the two major Gulf powers have been strained by anti-government demonstrations in...
Russia Makes Little Progress against Drugs: Medvedev
IRKUTSK, Russia – Russia has failed to make progress in fighting a growing drug epidemic that cuts economic growth by up to three percent every year, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.
Russia has the world's third-largest heroin abuse rate and accounts for a third of all heroin deaths worldwide, feeding into a demographic disaster that experts...
Putin Warns of Election ‘Fuss’
MOSCOW – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he did not rule out running for president in 2012 polls, a day after President Dmitry Medvedev said he would soon announce if he will stand. "Neither myself nor Dmitry Anatoliyevich (Medvedev) exclude that each of us could stand for election," Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. "We will take
France Violate Religious Freedom: Turkish PM
STRASBOURG – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused France of violating the freedom of religion on Wednesday after Paris began enforcing a law barring Muslim women from wearing full face veils in public. Erdogan told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that Turkey was
Japan Nuclear Plant Evacuees Demand Compensation
TOKYO – Small business owners and laborers forced to leave their homes and jobs because of radiation leaking from Japan's tsunami-flooded nuclear plant rode a bus all the way to Tokyo on Wednesday to demand compensation from the plant's operator. People are increasingly growing frustrated with Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s handling of the nuclear crisis,
Gaddafi Must Go: Western, Arab Nations
DOHA/TRIPOLI – International powers meeting on Libya's future called for the first time on Wednesday for Muammar Gaddafi to step aside, but NATO countries squabbled publicly over stepping up air strikes to help topple him.
In a victory for Britain and France, which are leading the air campaign and pushed for an unequivocal call for regime change, the "contact group" of some 16