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Afghan troops banned from requesting NATO strikes

Afghan forces will be banned from requesting NATO air strikes “under any conditions”, President Hamid Karzai told a Kabul military academy on Saturday. The move comes days after 10 civilians died in a joint NATO-Afghan raid on a Taliban hideout. By News Wires (text) Afghan ground forces will be barred from calling in NATO air strikes after an attack killed ...

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Vatican to speed up election of new Pope

The Vatican said on Saturday that it could speed up the election of a new pope as lobbying for Benedict XVI’s job intensified amid speculation over who had the best chance to…

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Facebook says it was a target of sophisticated hacking

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc said on Friday it had been the target of an unidentified hacker group, but it found no evidence that user data was compromised. “Last month, Facebook security discovered that our systems had been targeted in a sophisticated attack,” the company said in a blog post posted on Friday afternoon, just before the three-day Presidents Day weekend. ...

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Airbus rules out lithium-ion battery in new plane

Airbus said it will revert to traditional battery technology for its new A350 wide-body aircraft instead of the lithium-ion power source that grounded Boeing’s competing 787 Dreamliner after malfunctions. The change is being made to protect the program schedule and avoid certification delays, Airbus said in a statement today. The timeline, with first flight midyear and planned entry into service ...

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Colombia’s FARC frees two policemen

Colombia’s FARC rebels have freed two police patrolmen it seized last month, in an apparent goodwill gesture ahead of the next round of tense peace negotiations with the government. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the biggest armed group in Latin America, released the two uniformed officers on Friday even as the rebel leadership pledged to continue seizing members of ...

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India eases post-execution curfew in Kashmir

A strict curfew across Indian-administered Kashmir that was imposed after the secret execution of a Kashmiri man has been lifted, police say. Police officer Ashok Prasad said on Saturday that authorities had also restored mobile internet and cable television services that were blocked fearing massive protests by Kashmiris. Al Jazeera’s Divya Gopalan, reporting from Srinagar, said that the curfew had ...

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Debt crisis overshadows Cyprus presidential election

Some Cypriots are calling it mission impossible – the task of digging the small Mediterranean island of Cyprus out of debt. However difficult the task is, the new president, who will be elected by the end of this month at the latest, will have to take up the challenge. The first round of voting is on Sunday, with a likely ...

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Financial Crisis Cost Tops $22 Trillion, GAO Says

The 2008 financial crisis cost the U.S. economy more than $22 trillion, a study by the Government Accountability Office published Thursday said. The financial reform law that aims to prevent another crisis, by contrast, will cost a fraction of that. “The 2007-2009 financial crisis, like past financial crises, was associated with not only a steep decline in output but also ...

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India’s Kumbh Mela: Tight security for key festival day

Security has been tightened for another peak day at India’s Kumbh Mela festival, days after a stampede killed 36 pilgrims at a railway station. Millions of Hindu ascetics and pilgrims are taking a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in Allahabad city. At least 10 million pilgrims are due to bathe on Friday, one of ...

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Pro-Morsi protesters rally in Cairo

Thousands have rallied in Cairo to show support for Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi, who has been locked in a deep dispute with the largely secular opposition. Protesters packed a square outside Cairo University on Friday, chanting slogans backing Morsi and denouncing the recent violence allegedly carried out by opposition supporters against state institutions. “The president who came to power through ...

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