Islamists to rule Tunisia; clashes in cradle of revolt

TUNIS, (Reuters) – The leader of the Islamist party  which won Tunisia’s first free election appealed for calm in the  town where the “Arab Spring” began, accusing forces linked to  the ousted president of fanning violence there.

Haiti looks to Asia, own diaspora, for investment

PORT-AU-PRINCE,  (Reuters) – Haiti is wooing Asian  manufacturers, and its own diaspora, to inject investments and  funds into the economy and create jobs to drive a recovery from  last year’s earthquake, the foreign minister said on Thursday.

Secrecy undermines U.N. anti-graft talks-activists

MARRAKESH, Morocco, (TrustLaw) – Campaigners yesterday accused governments at a major U.N. conference on  corruption of excluding civil society from fully participating  in reviewing how states are doing in  enforcing the world’s biggest anti-graft convention.

U.S. role in arming Mexico’s drug war exaggerated-study

GENEVA, (Reuters) – Mexico’s hardline fight against  drug gangs has driven violence to levels higher in than many war  zones but the role the United States plays in arming these  brutal cartels appears exaggerated, independent arms researchers  said on Thursday.

Arrests mark US prescription drug abuse crackdown

TAMPA, Fla., (Reuters) – U.S. authorities arrested  22 people in Florida yesterday, including pharmacists and  doctors, in a crackdown against prescription drug abuse that  officials say is the nation’s fastest growing drug problem.

Arab League sends ‘urgent message’ to Assad to end violence

CAIRO, (Reuters) – Arab ministers said yesterday they  had sent an urgent message to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad,  calling on him to end seven months of violence against civilians  following the killing of 40 pro-democracy demonstrators by  Syrian forces.

Avon under fire from SEC and Wall Street

(Reuters) – U.S. regulators are formally  investigating whether Avon broke bribery and disclosure laws,  in a further blow to the cosmetics company which is again  reassessing its strategy after quarterly profit fell far short  of expectations.

Euro deal leaves much to do on rescue fund, Greek debt

BRUSSELS, (Reuters) – Euro zone leaders struck a  last-minute deal yesterday to contain the currency bloc’s  two-year-old debt crisis but are now under pressure to finalise  the details of their plan to slash Greece’s debt burden and  strengthen their rescue fund.

Pope expresses shame for Christian violence in history

ASSISI, Italy, (Reuters) – Pope Benedict, leading a  global inter-religious meeting,  acknowledged yesterday “with  great shame” that Christianity had used force in its long  history as he joined other religious leaders in condemning  violence and terrorism in God’s name.

U.S. railroad workers charged in $1 billion fraud

NEW YORK,  (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors charged 11  people yesterday in connection with an alleged $1 billion  fraud involving hundreds of railroad workers filing false  disability claims.

Gaddafi son seeking flight to Hague court – NTC

DUBAI, (Reuters) – Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, fearing for  his life if captured in Libya, has tried to arrange for an  aircraft to fly him out of his desert refuge and into the  custody of The Hague war crimes court, a senior Libyan official  said yesterday.

Defections test Assad’s ability to sustain crackdown

AMMAN, (Reuters) – Cracks in Syria’s military are  widening along sectarian lines, say analysts, fuelling an armed  mutiny that may pose an even greater threat to President Bashar  al-Assad than the street protests which have rocked the country  for months.

Promising biodiesel crop needs time to prove itself

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Several new companies are betting  on the little-known pongamia pinnata tree as a biodiesel  feedstock that does not hurt food production, but a decade or  more of research and development is still needed to determine  its value as a commercial crop.

Commonwealth ministers stumble over human rights

PERTH, Australia, (Reuters) – Common-wealth foreign  ministers meeting yesterday were split over how tough to get  on human rights abuses in member countries, an issue which one  official said their leaders were unlikely to resolve at a summit  later in the week.

Life sentence for Argentine ‘Blond Angel of Death’

BUENOS AIRES, (Reuters) – Alfredo Astiz, Argentina’s  infamous “Blond Angel of Death,” and 11 other death squad  members from the 1970s were jailed for life on Wednesday in one  of the country’s biggest human rights cases.

Uruguay Congress leaves door open for rights trials

MONTEVIDEO, (Reuters) – Uruguay’s Congress passed  legislation  yesterday that allows fresh investigations into  human rights abuses committed by the military during a  1973-1985 dictatorship despite a controversial amnesty law.

Aspirin slashes hereditary cancer risk in UK study

LONDON, (Reuters) – Taking two aspirin a day for two  years reduces the long-term risk of bowel cancer in people with  a family history of the disease by around 60 percent, according  to a British study published yesterday.

Ex-Goldman director Gupta charged in insider case

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Rajat Gupta, who sat on the boards of some of America’s most prestigious companies, was arrested and charged yesterday with being the “illegal eyes and ears” for his friend Raj Rajaratnam, the central figure in a broad US crackdown on insider trading at hedge funds.

Turkey struggles to shelter thousands after quake

ERCIS Turkey (Reuters) – Turkey struggled to provide shelter yesterday to tens of thousands left homeless by an earthquake that killed nearly 500, and rescue teams began taking painful decisions to call off searches for those buried alive.

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.