Twenty killed in Syria, Assad meets Arab ministers

AMMAN (Reuters) – At least 20 people died in clashes and strikes paralysed parts of Syria yesterday as President Bashar al-Assad held an inconclusive meeting with Arab ministers seeking to end months of violence.

Tunisia’s secular women fret over rise of Islamism

TUNIS (Reuters) – When hundreds of Tunisians drove through the capital sounding their horns and waving scarves this week to celebrate the election victory of an Islamist party, there was little jubilation in the Ennasr neighbourhood.

Madoff’s wife says couple attempted suicide -CBS

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The wife of financial swindler Bernard Madoff said in an interview to be aired on Sunday that the couple attempted suicide by taking pills on Christmas Eve 2008 after his estimated $65 billion Ponzi scheme was exposed.

Islamists head for win in Tunisia’s Arab Spring vote

TUNIS, (Reuters) – Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party  yesterday claimed a thumping victory in the country’s first  election, sending a message to the region that once-banned  Islamists are challenging for power after the “Arab Spring”.

UN urges end to U.S. Cuba embargo for 20th year

UNITED NATIONS, (Reuters) – The U.N. General  Assembly called yesterday for the 20th straight year on the  United States to lift its trade embargo against Cuba, as the  communist-run island dismissed as fraudulent U.S.

Quake rescuers save baby, Turkey requests aid

ERCIS, Turkey, (Reuters) – Rescuers pulled a  two-week-old baby girl alive from a collapsed apartment block yesterday as they battled to find survivors of an earthquake in  eastern Turkey that killed more than 400 people and made tens of  thousands homeless.

Chavez takeover plan triggers Caribbean island fears

LOS ROQUES, Venezuela, (Reuters) – Luxury yachts  weigh anchor in pristine turquoise bays and small boats carry  wealthy families with deck chairs and picnic baskets through  the waves to the white sands of Francisqui Island.

Hurricane Rina picks up speed en route to Cancun

MEXICO CITY, (Reuters) – Hurricane Rina intensified  in the Caribbean today, moving farther from recently  rain-hit coffee and sugar-growing countries in Central America  as it bears down on the popular Mexican resort Cancun.

Libya gives Gaddafi inglorious secret burial

TRIPOLI, (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi and his son  Mo’tassim were buried in a secret desert location on Tuesday,  five days after the deposed Libyan leader was captured, killed  and put on grisly public display.

Gaddafi begged Italy’s help in letter-Paris Match

PARIS, (Reuters) – Deposed Libyan leader Muammar  Gaddafi wrote to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in  August begging him to halt a NATO-led intervention that was  helping a rebel uprising drive him from power, French weekly  Paris Match reported.

Eight NY policemen charged in gun smuggling ring

NEW YORK, (Reuters) – Eight New York City policemen were charged yesterday with helping run a gun-smuggling ring in a city where Mayor Michael Bloomberg is leading a national campaign against illegal guns.

UK parliament rejects referendum on EU membership

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s parliament rejected a call for a referendum on leaving the European Union yesterday, but a large-scale revolt against Prime Minister David Cameron hurt his authority and cast doubt on the country’s long-term commitment to Europe.

Gaddafi to be buried in secret desert grave – NTC

MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) – Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will be buried today in a secret desert grave, a National Transitional Council official said, ending a wrangle over his rotting corpse that led many to fear for Libya’s governability.

Islamists claim win in Tunisia’s Arab Spring vote

TUNIS (Reuters) – Moderate Islamists claimed victory yesterday in Tunisia’s first democratic election, sending a message to other states in the region that long-sidelined Islamists are challenging for power after the “Arab Spring.” Official results have not been announced, but the Ennahda party said its workers had tallied the results posted at polling stations after Sunday’s vote, the first since the uprisings which began in Tunisia and spread through the region.

Turkey quake kills at least 279, hundreds missing

ERCIS, Turkey (Reuters) – Rescuers searched the rubble of collapsed buildings yesterday for survivors and victims of a major earthquake that killed at least 279 people and injured more than 1,300 in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey.

More than 100 dead, hundreds missing after Turkey earthquake

AN, Turkey, (Reuters) – More than 100 people were  confirmed killed and hundreds more feared dead yesterday when a  powerful earthquake hit southeast Turkey, flattening buildings  and leaving survivors crying for help from under the rubble.

Tunisia counts votes after first Arab Spring election

TUNIS,  (Reuters) – Tunisian election officials  counted the votes today after the country’s first free  election, 10 months on from the moment Mohamed Bouazizi set  himself on fire in a protest that started the Arab Spring  uprisings.

Weather disturbance threatens Honduras, Nicaragua

MIAMI, (Reuters) – A weather disturbance in the  western Caribbean Sea could develop into a tropical depression  off the Central American coast in the next couple of days, the  U.S.

Saudi Crown Prince Sultan dies, focus on Prince Nayef

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Sultan has died, the royal court said yesterday, and Interior Minister and reputed conservative Prince Nayef was expected to become the new heir to the throne in the world’s biggest oil exporter.

Clues to Gaddafi’s death concealed from public view

MISRATA, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan forces guarding Muammar Gaddafi’s body in a cold storage room let in members of the public to view the deposed leader for a second day yesterday, but the wounds that may hold the clue to how he died were covered up.

Iraq still seeking US trainers, PM Maliki says

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq will continue talks with Washington on how US trainers can work with Iraqi forces after a complete withdrawal of American troops at the end of the year, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said yesterday.

US embassy warns of imminent threat in Kenya

NAIROBI (Reuters) – The US embassy in Kenya warned of a threat to American citizens in the country after Nairobi launched a cross-border operation against Islamist militants in Somalia.

Gaddafi, in meat locker, still divides Libya

MISRATA, Libya, (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi’s body  lay in an old meat store today as arguments over a burial,  and his killing after being captured, dogged efforts by Libya’s  new leaders to make a formal start on a new era of democracy.

US gangs growing, turning to financial crimes – FBI

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – The Federal Bureau of  Investigation on Friday estimated there are some 1.4 million  gang members in the United States and they are turning to white  collar crimes as more lucrative enterprises.

Shock image threshold falls under internet pressure

PARIS, (Reuters) – The threshold for publishing  gruesome images like those of Muammar Gaddafi’s death is falling  as the internet and social media make many of the editorial  decisions that used to be left to a small group of professional  journalists.

Murdoch and sons survive News Corp annual meeting

LOS ANGELES, (Reuters) – Using contentious barbs and  comedic relief, Rupert Murdoch deflected attempts by angry  investors to remove him as chairman of his News Corp empire at  the company’s annual meeting today.

Gaddafi’s death – who pulled the trigger?

SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) – Disturbing images of a blood-stained and shaken Muammar Gaddafi being dragged around by angry fighters quickly circulated around the world, after the Libyan dictator’s dramatic death near his home town of Sirte.

Sarkozy says euro zone talks stuck on bailout fund

PARIS/FRANKFURT, (Reuters) – Plans to tackle the euro  zone debt crisis have stalled with Paris and Berlin at odds over  how to increase the firepower of the region’s bailout fund,  French President Nicolas Sarkozy said yesterday.

UK scraps Longannet carbon project funding

LONDON,  (Reuters) – The British government cancelled  plans to fund a carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration  project at Longannet in Scotland, signalling the technology  remains too costly and undermining Britain’s ambition to become  a clean technology leader.

UN torture sleuth urges end to long solitary terms

UNITED NATIONS,  (Reuters) – The U.N. torture  investigator called on nations yesterday to end lengthy  solitary confinement in prisons, saying it could cause serious  mental and physical damage and amount to torture.

PKK kills 24 Turkish troops, Ankara hits back

DIYARBAKIR, (Reuters) – Turkey launched air  and ground assaults on Kurdish militants in Iraq yesterday,  vowing to take “great revenge” after 24 Turkish soldiers were  killed in one of the deadliest Kurdish attacks in decades.

Freed tigers, lions and bears cause panic in Ohio

ZANESVILLE, Ohio, (Reuters) – Dozens of exotic  animals including tigers, lions and bears were let loose on  Ohio farmland by their owner before he committed suicide,  sparking a shoot-to-kill hunt in which 49 of the wild beasts,  including 18 endangered Bengal tigers, were killed.

World’s first malaria vaccine works in major trial

SEATTLE/LONDON, (Reuters) –An experimental vaccine  from GlaxoSmithKline halved the risk of African children  getting malaria in a major clinical trial, making it likely to  become the world’s first shot against the deadly disease.

Israeli soldier, Palestinians freed in captive swap

GAZA/JERUSALEM,  (Reuters) – Israeli soldier Gilad  Shalit and hundreds of Palestinians crossed Israel’s borders in  opposite directions yesterday as a thousand-for-one prisoner  exchange brought joy to families but did little to ease decades  of conflict.

Chavez rival to run despite Venezuela court ruling

CARACAS, (Reuters) – Venezuelan politician Leopoldo  Lopez said yesterday he will maintain his campaign to win the opposition leadership and challenge leftist President Hugo  Chavez despite a court upholding his ban from office.

US deports record number of immigrants in 2011

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The United States deported  nearly 400,000 illegal immigrants in fiscal 2011 — the highest  number since the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency was  formed eight years ago.

NTC forces celebrate capture of Gaddafi bastion Bani Walid

BANI WALID, Libya (Reuters) – Fighters with Libya’s interim government fired their guns into the air and hoisted the country’s new flag over the centre of Bani Walid yesterday to celebrate their capture of one of the final bastions of Muammar Gaddafi’s loyalists.

Putin hints Medvedev PM job not a done deal

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin laid out the case for his return to the Kremlin yesterday and suggested President Dmitry Medvedev’s role in any future government was not yet a done deal.

Venezuela blocks Chavez rival’s presidential bid

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s Supreme Court blocked high-profile opposition challenger Leopoldo Lopez yesterday from running against President Hugo Chavez in a 2012 vote despite an international ruling in his favour.

Mexican drug cartels recruiting Texas children

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) – Texas law enforcement officials say several Mexican drug cartels are luring American children as young as 11 to work in their smuggling operations.

Madoff daughter-in-law: ‘I’d spit in his face’

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bernard Madoff’s daughter-in-law, whose husband committed suicide in the wake of his father’s exposure in a massive Wall Street fraud, holds Madoff responsible for her spouse’s death and said that if she saw him today, she would spit in his face.

Arab League stops short of suspending Syria, urges dialogue

CAIRO/AMMAN (Reuters) – Arab foreign ministers  stopped short of suspending Syria from their regional  organisation yesterday over its military crackdown on dissent,  instead urging the government and opposition to negotiate an end  to the violence.

Climate change spawns the incredible shrinking ant

HONG KONG,  (Reuters) – Plants and animals are  shrinking because of warmer temperatures and lack of water,  researchers said yesterday, warning it could have profound  implications for food production in years ahead.

Australia pressured to investigate Sri Lanka envoy for war crimes

CANBERRA,  (Reuters) – Australia’s government came  under pressure yesterday from rights groups and lawmakers to  investigate Sri Lanka’s top envoy to the country for war crimes,  risking a diplomatic row ahead of a summit of leaders from 54  Commonwealth nations in Perth.

In charging diocese, US prosecutor takes rare step

(Reuters) – The first indictment of a U.S. bishop  for failing to report child pornography would have been  groundbreaking in itself but legal experts say a second charge  — against the diocese — is almost as rare.