U.S. House approves ‘clean’ debt limit after Republicans drop demands

(Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved a one-year extension of federal borrowing authority on Tuesday after Republicans caved into President Barack Obama’s demands to allow a debt limit increase without any conditions. The 221-201 vote, carried mainly by Democrats, marked a dramatic shift from the confrontational fiscal tactics House Republicans have used over the past three years, culminating in last October’s 16-day government shutdown. It came after House Republicans repudiated House Speaker […]

Algerian military plane crashes into mountain, 77 killed

By Lamine Chikhi OULED GACEM, Algeria Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:17pm EST (Reuters) – A military transport plane carrying members of the Algerian armed forces and their relatives crashed into a mountain on Tuesday, killing 77 people, the worst air disaster in the North African country in a decade. State television showed footage of the wreckage of the plane near the village of Ouled Gacem in eastern Algeria, smoke rising from the site and emergency […]

China, Taiwan agree to open offices after historic talks

(Reuters) – China and Taiwan, at odds for more than six decades, agreed at historic talks on Tuesday to set up representative offices as early as possible, though sensitive political issues like a formal peace treaty were not up for discussion. The talks between Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Minister Wang Yu-chi and China’s Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun, who heads the Taiwan Affairs Office, were the first since the 1949 creation of the People’s Republic of […]

Italy, U.S. police crack big mafia drug ring

(Reuters) – Police in Italy and New York broke up a major trans-Atlantic mafia ring on Tuesday, arresting 24 people accused of plotting to move hundreds of millions of dollars in drugs between South America, Italy and the United States. The sting operation involving undercover agents and wire taps offered more evidence the Calabria-based ‘Ndrangheta had overtaken its Sicilian cousin, the Cosa Nostra, and was trying to make inroads in the United States by forging ties with […]

Shirley Temple, former Hollywood child star, dies at 85

(Reuters) – Shirley Temple Black, who lifted America’s spirits as a bright-eyed, dimpled child movie star during the Great Depression and later became a U.S. diplomat, died late on Monday evening at the age of 85, her family said in a statement. Temple Black, who lured millions to the movies in the 1930s, “peacefully passed away” at her Woodside, Calif., home from natural causes at 10:57 p.m. local time (0157 ET), surrounded by her family […]

Military plane crashes in eastern Algeria, 103 dead: TV

(Reuters) – A military transport plane carrying relatives of members of the armed forces crashed in eastern Algeria on Tuesday, killing 103 people, the private Ennahar TV station reported, citing “informed sources”. The plane crashed in a mountainous area in the Oum El Bouaghi province, about 500 km (300 miles) from the capital Algiers, the report said. A senior military official told the official APS news agency that 99 passengers and four crew members had […]

Oscar-Winner Danish Film Director Gabriel Axel Dies at age 95

DANISH film director Gabriel Axel, the first Dane to win an Oscar for best foreign film “Babette’s Feast”, died Sunday, February 9, at the age of 95. News about his death was announced by his daughter, Karin Moerch,  in a statement.   She said her father died “quietly and peacefully after a long and eventful life.” She did not say where he died or give the cause of death. Born April 18, 1918, in Denmark’s second […]

Roadside bomb explodes near Iraqi parliament speaker’s convoy

BAGHDAD Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:22pm EST (Reuters) – The speaker of Iraq’s parliament narrowly escaped death on Monday when a roadside bomb exploded near his convoy close to the northern city of Mosul, his office said. Usama al-Nujaifi, one of Iraq’s most senior Sunni Muslim politicians, was visiting al-Salam area south of Mosul when the bomb exploded, badly damaging a vehicle carrying his bodyguards, who were wounded, it said. No group immediately claimed responsibility […]

Brazil cameraman pronounced brain dead after protest injury

By Paulo Prada RIO DE JANEIRO Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:06pm EST (Reuters) – A Brazilian television cameraman was pronounced brain dead by surgeons at a Rio de Janeiro hospital Monday, four days after a firework lit by a protester struck him in the head. His death, the first in Brazil this year due to protests that threaten to disrupt the World Cup soccer tournament beginning in June, underscores the unruliness and violence that have […]

Unpaid rice farmers protest as Thai government’s problems mount

(Reuters) – Hundreds of farmers rallied outside Thailand’s justice ministry on Monday to protest against the state’s failure to pay them for rice bought under a controversial subsidy scheme that the caretaker administration in Bangkok is struggling to fund. The rice program was a signature policy of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was swept to power in 2011 with the help of millions of rural votes, but has become one of the biggest threats to […]

Convicted Australian drug trafficker Schappelle Corby released on parole

Indonesia released on parole convicted Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby on Monday (February 10) from a prison on the resort island of Bali despite calls from some legislators for the high-profile prisoner to serve out her full term. Corby, 36, was among nearly 1,300 convicts approved for parole, the Justice Ministry said in a statement, because she “fulfilled substantive and administrative requirements as laid out by the law”. Corby was sentenced to 20 years in […]

Eleven dead in Japan after worst snowfall in decades hits capital

(Reuters) – Eleven people died, more than a thousand were injured and tens of thousands lost power when the worst snowstorm in decades hit Tokyo and areas around the Japanese capital before heading north to blanket the tsunami-hit Pacific coast. Flights were still backed up at Tokyo’s Haneda international airport on Monday and the lobby was packed with anxious travelers, with some flights overbooked. As much as 27 cm (10.6 inches) of snow fell on […]