Venezuela scraps summit due to Chavez health

CARACAS, (Reuters) – Venezuela called off a  regional summit due to Hugo Chavez’s unexpectedly longer  recovery from surgery in Cuba, hours after releasing video on  Wednesday of the socialist leader chatting with Fidel Castro.

Greece backs first austerity package, violence worsens

ATHENS,  (Reuters) – Greece approved the first of two  austerity measures yesterday despite worsening street  violence, in a vote vital to winning fresh international aid so  it can pay its debts on time and stave off bankruptcy.

Obama call for stimulus may complicate debt talks

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama  called yesterday for new steps to spur job growth and tax  hikes on the rich, hardening a stance that will likely  complicate deficit reduction talks with Republicans.

Syria tank assault kills 11 near Turkey border

AMMAN, (Reuters) – Syrian troops shot dead 11  villagers yesterday, residents said, as authorities pressed  on with a tank-led assault that has driven thousands of refugees  across the northwest border with Turkey.

Venezuela’s Chavez shown walking with Cuba’s Castro

CARACAS, (Reuters) – Venezuela and Cuba released  new photographs and video footage of President Hugo Chavez yesterday in an effort to stop speculation the socialist leader  was seriously ill after undergoing surgery in Havana.

Lagarde wins IMF top job, presses Greece on crisis

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – French Finance Minister  Christine Lagarde yesterday clinched the top job at the IMF,  keeping the international lender in the hands of a European at  a time of growing concern over a possible Greek debt default.

“Game over” for Gaddafi in months – prosecutor

TRIPOLI/AMSTERDAM,  (Reuters) – Libya’s Muammar  Gaddafi could fall within two to three months, the International  Criminal Court’s prosecutor said yesterday, as rebels sought to  build on a gradual advance towards Tripoli.

More security spending hasn’t made Mexico safer -study

MEXICO CITY,  (Reuters) – Mexico has increased  security spending six-fold in the past five years but  carjackings, kidnappings and other violent crime are rising  steadily, an independent study showed yesterday.

Indian women world’s most stressed — Nielsen

TOKYO, (Reuters Life!) – Women around the world feel  stressed and pressed for time, but women in emerging markets are  more stressed than their sisters in developed nations — and  Indian women say they are the most stressed of all, according to  a survey published yesterday.

International court orders Gaddafi’s arrest

THE HAGUE/TRIPOLI (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant yesterday for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, and rebels trying to oust him said their forces had advanced to within 80 km (50 miles) of the capital.

Syria activists meet, call for change to avert crisis

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Some of Syria’s leading intellectuals called yesterday for sweeping political change that could end 41 years of Assad family rule, at a rare conference allowed by the authorities under pressure from a three-month uprising.

US drones kill 21 militants in NW Pakistan

WANA, Pakistan (Reuters) – Missile strikes from two US drones killed at least 21 suspected militants in Pakistan’s South Waziristan yesterday, Pakistani officials said, part of an intensified US assault in the tribal belt this month.

US man charged with sexually abusing Haitian boys

MIAMI (Reuters) – An American man who ran a home for impoverished boys in Haiti has been arrested on charges that he forced them to perform sex acts in exchange for food, shelter and schooling, US prosecutors said on Friday.

Former Illinois governor convicted of corruption

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A jury convicted former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich yesterday of corruption for trying to trade the US senate seat once held by President Barack Obama for financial and political gain.

Near-Earth asteroid passes over Atlantic Ocean

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An asteroid with an estimated girth as large as a garbage truck soared within 7,500 miles (12,070 km) of the Earth yesterday as it passed harmlessly over the Atlantic Ocean, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Venezuela tells foes stop dreaming of Chavez death

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Senior allies of Venezuela’s  socialist President Hugo Chavez have dismissed reports he is  sicker than the government has admitted, telling his enemies to  “stop dreaming” of his death.

Afghan MPs ask for help over poll court ruling, UN urges caution

KABUL, (Reuters) – The United Nations urged the  Afghan parliament yesterday not to take any action that might  provoke unrest after election officials rejected a ruling by a  specially appointed court that threw out a quarter of lawmakers  elected last year.

Bombs kill 25 at Nigerian drinking spot – sources

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria,  (Reuters) – Suspected members of  a radical Islamist sect threw bombs at a drinking spot in  Nigeria’s northeastern town of Maiduguri yesterday, killing  around 25 people, witnesses and military sources said.

Rival groups march over king’s reforms in Morocco

CASABLANCA, Morocco,  (Reuters) – Thousands of rival  demonstrators marched through cities in Morocco yesterday over  constitutional reforms proposed by King Mohammed after unrest  inspired by “Arab Spring” uprisings in the Arab world.

Afghan MPs hit back on court ruling, crisis deepens

KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan’s political crisis worsened yesterday with lawmakers voting to sack the five most senior judicial officials and international consternation growing after a presidential tribunal threw out a quarter of parliament.

Ex-Ukraine PM to go on trial for abuse of power

KIEV (Reuters) – Former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko must stand trial next Wednesday on a charge of abuse of power, a judge ruled in a pre-trial hearing late yesterday.

France bans UK garden firm’s seeds in E.coli scare

PARIS (Reuters) – At least two people suffering from E.coli in the French city of Bordeaux have the strain that caused scores of deaths in Germany, French authorities said, and they halted sales of vegetable seeds from a British gardening firm.

Prominent Chinese dissident Hu Jia released from jail

- wife

BEIJING (Reuters) – One of China’s most prominent dissidents, Hu Jia, was reunited with his family in the early hours today after serving three and a half-years in jail on subversion charges, his wife said.

NATO says hit military targets in Libya’s Brega

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – NATO missiles hit a site in Libya used by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces to stockpile military supplies and vehicles, the alliance said yesterday, adding it was unaware of 15 civilian deaths reported by state media.

Boehner faces huge stakes in US debt debate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican John Boehner faces his greatest test yet as the leader of the US House of Representatives, one that may determine his political fate and the country’s fiscal well-being.

Peru protesters shut airport after deadly clash

LIMA (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters opposed to mining and energy projects in southern Peru took over a commercial airport yesterday, officials said, as the government struggled to restore calm a day after five died in a clash with police.

National impact from New York marriage law: experts

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When New York became the sixth and by far the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage, following a grueling overtime session in the state Legislature on Friday, it immediately transformed the national debate over the issue, legal experts said.

Global diabetes epidemic balloons to 350 million

LONDON/SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – The number of adults with diabetes worldwide has more than doubled since 1980 to 347 million, a far larger number than previously thought and one that suggests costs of treating the disease will also balloon.

Israelis sentenced for theft of Auschwitz mementoes

WARSAW (Reuters) – An Israeli couple ha ve been given suspended jail sentences for the theft of historic artefacts from the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz, Poland’s PAP news agency quoted a prosecutor as saying yesterday.

Syrian forces kill 5 civilians in clampdown

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian security forces shot dead five civilians during funerals which turned into protests against President Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Ex-Bolivian anti-drug chief pleads guilty in Miami

MIAMI, (Reuters) – A former top Bolivian anti-drug  official pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of conspiring to  smuggle cocaine into the United States in a case that has  proved a major embarrassment for Bolivia’s President Evo  Morales.

EU green plan backfires, carbon price slumps

LONDON, (Reuters) – A European plan to raise funds  for clean energy has backfired spectacularly, helping trigger a  rout on its carbon trading scheme and so cutting available green  funds and benefiting polluting coal plants.

Phone gives clues to bin Laden’s Pakistan links-NYT

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – A cell phone found in the  raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan contained contacts  to a militant group with ties to Pakistan’s intelligence  agency, The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing senior  U.S.

Reuters World News Highlights

ATHENS/FRANKFURT – Banks and policymakers moved closer to a  deal yesterday to help Athens secure funds ahead of a  parliamentary vote on austerity next week that Greek Prime  Minister George Papandreou must win to avert default.

Woman minister guilty of genocide in Rwanda

DAR ES SALAAM,  (Reuters) – The U.N. war crimes  tribunal for Rwanda sentenced former minister Pauline  Nyiramasuhuko to life in prison on Friday, the first time a  woman has been found guilty of genocide by an international  court.

Venezuela’s Chavez reappears on Twitter from Cuba

CARACAS,  (Reuters) – Venezuelan President Hugo  Chavez, not seen in public for two weeks, ended his unusual  silence with several Twitter messages yesterday, but said  nothing about his health after an operation in Cuba.

‘Columbo’ actor Peter Falk dead at 83

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Peter Falk, star of the  1970s hit TV drama “Columbo,” whose role as the rumpled  detective of the same name earned him four Emmys, has died  after years of battling Alzheimer’s disease.

Mexican ex-presidents lead debate on legalizing drugs

MEXICO CITY, (Reuters) – Once praised lavishly by  the United States for waging a war on drugs, Mexico’s last two  presidents now say legalizing them may be the best way to end  the rising violence the U.S.-backed campaign has unleashed.

Egyptian pleads guilty to abusing Guyanese hotel maid in NY

NEW YORK,  (Reuters) – A former Egyptian banker  pleaded guilty in a New York court yesterday to a criminal  charge that he sexually abused a hotel maid and now faces a  multimillion dollar civil suit in connection with the case.

Mexican president apologizes to drug war victims

MEXICO CITY, (Reuters) – President Felipe Calderon  apologized to victims of Mexico’s war on drugs in an emotional  meeting with bereaved families yesterday that sought to try  and quell rising anger over violence sweeping the nation.

Senegal’s Wade withdraws poll bill as protests rage

DAKAR, (Reuters) – Senegal President Abdoulaye Wade  backed down on a proposed change to the election rules yesterday, completely withdrawing a bill that sparked violent  clashes between riot police and protesters in the capital.

Oslo backs Jakarta’s forest plan, despite hurdles

OSLO,  (Reuters) – Norway backed Indonesia’s drive to  slow deforestation yesterday under a $1 billion deal with Oslo  even though Jakarta said it faced a “maze” of reforms and lacks  maps to pin down exact conservation areas.

US concerned at Syria border moves, fears escalation

AMMAN, (Reuters)  – The United States is concerned by reports  that Syria is massing troops near the border with Turkey, which  could escalate the crisis in the region, and is discussing the  issue with Turkish officials, U.S.

Ex-Bolivian anti-drug chief pleads guilty in Miami

MIAMI, (Reuters) – A former top Bolivian anti-drug  official pleaded guilty yesterday to charges of conspiring to  smuggle cocaine into the United States in a case that has  proved a major embarrassment for Bolivia’s President Evo  Morales.

Bahrain opposition figures given life sentences

MANAMA, (Reuters) – Bahrain sentenced eight  prominent Shi’ite Muslim activists and opposition leaders to  life in prison yesterday on charges of plotting a coup during  protests in the Gulf island kingdom earlier this year.

Country star Glen Campbell says he has Alzheimer’s

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters Life!) – “Rhinestone Cowboy”  singer Glen Campbell says he is in the early stages of  Alzheimer’s disease, and has recorded one last album as a  farewell to his fans.