New Orleans holding up under Tropical Storm Lee

NEW ORLEANS,  (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Lee moved  slowly across southern Louisiana on Sunday as New Orleans’  flood defenses appeared to pass one of their biggest tests  since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.

Al Pacino honoured in Venice, presents new film

VENICE, Italy, (Reuters) – Hollywood veteran Al  Pacino is honoured by the Venice film festival yesterday with a  special prize and the presentation of his latest directorial  project “Wilde Salome”.

Nearly 40 pct of Europeans suffer mental illness

LONDON, (Reuters) – Europeans are plagued by mental  and neurological illnesses, with almost 165 million people or 38  percent of the population suffering each year from a brain  disorder such as depression, anxiety, insomnia or dementia,  according to a large new study.

CIA, MI6 helped Gaddafi on dissidents -rights group

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Documents found in the abandoned Tripoli office of Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence chief indicate the US and British spy agencies helped the fallen strongman persecute Libyan dissidents, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

Cuban defence minister dead at 75 – government

HAVANA (Reuters) – General Julio Casas Regueiro, Cuba’s defence minister and longtime aide to President Raul Castro, died yesterday of heart failure at the age of 75, the Cuban government said.

Tropical Storm Lee drenches Louisiana coast

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Slow-moving Tropical Storm Lee brought torrential rains to the Louisiana coast yesterday as the heart of the storm neared New Orleans, where flood defences were expected to be put to the test.

Jailed Bahrain doctors go on hunger strike

DUBAI (Reuters) – A group of Bahraini doctors jailed earlier this year during a crackdown on unrest in the Gulf kingdom have gone on hunger strike in protest against their detention, a human rights group said  yesterday.

Libyans pledge democracy as they win Gaddafi billions

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) – Libya’s new leadership  reaffirmed its commitment to democracy yesterday and worked on  its priorities for spending billions of dollars released from  the frozen assets of fugitive strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Kenyan ex-ministers gave rewards for violence – prosecutors

AMSTERDAM, (Reuters) – Two Kenyan politicians offered  people money to attack rivals’ supporters after a disputed  election in 2007 and gave them weapons and maps of where the  targets lived, the International Criminal Court heard yesterday.

Concern rising about Iran military nuclear work—IAEA

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, (Reuters) – A U.S. regulator  sued 17 large banks and financial institutions yesterday over  losses on about $200 billion of subprime bonds, which may  hamper a broader government settlement of the mortgage mess  left over from the housing crisis.

US regulator sues major banks over subprime bonds

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK, (Reuters) – A U.S. regulator  sued 17 large banks and financial institutions yesterday over  losses on about $200 billion of subprime bonds, which may  hamper a broader government settlement of the mortgage mess  left over from the housing crisis.

Venezuela’s Chavez finishes third chemo session

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo  Chavez ended a third round of chemotherapy yesterday, saying he  “couldn’t feel better” as he led a caravan to the presidential  palace cheered on by thousands of supporters.

Oprah to conduct first live chat on Facebook

LOS ANGELES,  (Reuters) – Talk show queen Oprah  Winfrey will be doing her first-ever live chat with social  media website Facebook on Thursday, Sept 8.

Gaddafi vows fight as world backs new leaders

TRIPOLI,  (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi urged his  supporters from hiding to fight on as Libya’s new interim rulers  met world leaders yesterday to discuss reshaping a nation torn  by 42 years of one-man rule and six months of civil war.

Putin says state should not control Internet

MOSCOW, (Reuters) – Modern states should not restrict  Internet freedoms, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said yesterday, apparently trying to dispel concerns the government  might crack down on dissent ahead of elections.

Chinese tycoon says no politics behind Iceland project

BEIJING,  (Reuters) – A Chinese tycoon who plans to  build a resort on an isolated patch of land in Iceland said on  Wednesday that there were no political motives behind the  project, after its strategic location raised security concerns  in the island nation.

Marc Anthony denies affair rumours over J.Lo split

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Singer Marc Anthony yesterday denied rumours that secret affairs with other women  broke apart his marriage to “American Idol” superstar Jennifer  Lopez earlier this year.

Sarkozy’s office denies report of Bettencourt cash

PARIS, (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s  office denied allegations published in the daily Liberation yesterday that he was handed cash by L’Oreal heiress Liliane  Bettencourt for his 2007 election campaign.

Pentagon criticized for lax contractor oversight

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – Ineffective Pentagon  oversight of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan has  wasted up to $60 billion over the past decade, a “troubling”  failure that undermines U.S.

Katia a hurricane; another storm likely in Gulf

MIAMI,  (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Katia strengthened  into a hurricane over the Atlantic yesterday, while another  mass of thunderstorms that could become a named storm this week  triggered evacuations of some oil workers from the Gulf of  Mexico.

Gaddafi sons broadcast confusion as battle looms

TRIPOLI/TAWARGA, Libya, (Reuters) – Muammar  Gaddafi’s sons clashed on the airwaves yesterday, with one  offering peace and another promising a ‘war of attrition’ as a  final battle for control of Libya’s coast loomed.

Brazil slashes interest rates on global worries

BRASILIA,  (Reuters) – Brazil’s central bank slashed  its key interest rate to 12 percent from 12.5 percent yesterday in a shock decision that it said reflects a mounting  global slowdown as well as weaker growth in Latin America’s  largest economy.

Condoleezza Rice fires back at Cheney memoir

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – Former Secretary of State  Condoleezza Rice said yesterday she resented what she viewed  as an attack on her integrity by former Vice President Dick  Cheney in his just-published memoir.

Colombia defence chief quits as rebel attacks rise

BOGOTA,  (Reuters) – Colombia’s Defence Minister  Rodrigo Rivera resigned yesterday as the Andean country’s  security forces face growing criticism for failing to thwart  attacks from weakened Marxist guerrillas.

Malema supporters clash with S.Africa police

JOHANNESBURG,  (Reuters) – South African police used  stun grenades and water cannon yesterday to disperse thousands  of supporters of outspoken ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema  who was facing a party disciplinary hearing that could derail  his political career.

Gaddafi forces hang on in Sirte while he hides

TRIPOLI/BENGHAZI, (Reuters) – Forces loyal to deposed  ruler Muammar Gaddafi held out in a few Libyan towns on Tuesday  even though their leader has gone to ground and most of his  family has fled the country.

US guns agency chief reassigned after botched sting

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. agency  that oversaw a botched attempt to track arms flowing to drug  cartels in Mexico is being reassigned to the Justice Department  headquarters, the Obama administration said on Tuesday.

Eid protests across Syria defy tanks and troops

AMMAN,  (Reuters) – Security forces shot dead four  demonstrators yesterday as people streamed out of mosques after  prayers to mark the end of Ramadan and renewed protests against  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, activists and residents said.

Katia is new Atlantic storm, not clear if threat to US

MIAMI,  (Reuters) – The U.S. East Coast is mopping up  after Hurricane Irene’s weekend battering that killed around 40  people and authorities and residents are looking out anxiously  over the Atlantic and asking: Is another one coming?

Coffee crops trump coca as Colombia conflict ebbs

BOGOTA, (Reuters) – Violent armed groups are still  forcing thousands of Colombian farmers to grow coca, but with  the army regaining control of many rural areas, growers are  increasingly turning to coffee for a living.

Gaddafi family members flee to Algeria – without him

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) – The wife of Muammar Gaddafi and  three of his children took refuge in Algeria yesterday but the  whereabouts of the former strongman himself remained a mystery a  week after rebels drove him from power.

Virginia quake may have exceeded nuclear plant design

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The historic earthquake that  shut Dominion Resources Inc’s North Anna nuclear plant in  Virginia last week may have shaken the facility more than it  was designed to withstand, the U.S.

Rio cartoonist inspires Arab rebellions from afar

RIO DE JANEIRO, (Reuters) – His cartoons are edgy,  bold, and a thorn in the side of the Arab world’s tottering  authoritarians — a gift to protesters from the unlikely  setting of an apartment in beach-side Rio de Janeiro.

Vermont, New Jersey flooded as Irene spares NYC

FAIRFIELD, N.J./BRATTLEBORO, Vt., (Reuters) – New  Jersey and Vermont struggled with their worst flooding in  decades yesterday, a day after Hurricane Irene slammed an  already soaked region with torrential rain, dragging away homes  and submerging neighborhoods underwater.

US researchers broke rules in Guatemala syphilis study

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. government researchers  must have known they were violating ethical standards by  deliberately infecting Guatemalan prison inmates and mental  patients with syphilis for an experiment in the 1940’s,  according to a U.S.

Graft crisis may hand India “Eureka” moment on reform

NEW DELHI, (Reuters) – If the optimists are to be  believed, India’s huge anti-corruption protests may give impetus  to a beleaguered government to push its reform process and help  ailing economic growth and plummeting business confidence.

Irene floods US northeast, Manhattan spared worst

NEW YORK,  (Reuters) – Hurricane Irene swept through  Manhattan yesterday but reserved the worst of its fury for  towns and suburbs up and down the northeastern United States  where driving rain and flood tides inundated homes and cut  power to millions.

Last throes of Libya war focus on Sirte

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) – Libyan rebel forces were  converging on Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte yesterday,  hoping to deliver the coup de grace of their revolution but  uncertain if the fallen strongman was holed up there.

Battered state vows to solve Mexican security woes

MONTERREY, Mexico,  (Reuters) – Despite suffering one  of the worst attacks on civilians in Mexico for years, the  state of Nuevo Leon is undaunted because it believes a radical  police overhaul will soon start winning the drug war.

Syrian forces storm northern town, fight defectors-residents

AMMAN,  (Reuters) – Syrian forces stormed a town on  the main road leading to Turkey yesterday after troops loyal to  President Bashar al-Assad fought a night-time battle in Damascus  with army defectors who had refused to shoot at a pro-democracy  protest.

India celebrates people’s victory as activist ends fast

NEW DELHI,  (Reuters) – Sipping coconut water and  honey, a self-styled Gandhian anti-corruption reformer ended a  hunger strike on its 13th day yesterday, a protest that had  sparked huge rallies across the country, exposed a weak  government and ushered in a new middle-class political force.

Beyonce appears at MTV awards looking pregnant

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – R&B singer Beyonce let  pictures tell the story of a baby on the way for her and rapper  husband Jay-Z at the MTV Video Music Awards yesterday,  appearing before photographers and outlining a baby bump under  her long gown.

Irene rakes up US East Coast, shuts down New York

MOREHEAD CITY, NC (Reuters) – Hurricane Irene charged up the US East Coast yesterday towards New York, shutting down the city, and millions of Americans sought shelter from a huge storm that halted transport and caused massive power blackouts.

Al Qaeda number two killed in Pakistan this week

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s new second-in-command was killed earlier this week in Pakistan, US officials said yesterday, in a major blow to the group still reeling from the death of Osama bin Laden.

Libyans count deadly cost of battle for Tripoli

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Residents of Tripoli dug makeshift graves to bury the dead as evidence emerged of widespread summary killings during the battle for the Libyan capital.

Libya rebels say “close in” on Gaddafi

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) – Libyan rebels claimed to be  close to capturing Muammar Gaddafi yesterday as their NATO  backers bombed diehard loyalists in his tribal bastion, but  there was no sign of an end to the war, or to international  wrangling over Libya’s riches.

U.S. on high alert as Hurricane Irene closes in

WILMINGTON, N.C.,  (Reuters) – Hurricane Irene closed  in on the U.S. Atlantic coast yesterday, triggering emergency  preparations that included unprecedented evacuations and mass  transit shutdowns in New York City as the menacing storm  approached.