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.