• Flooding in Thailand kills 21
    BANGKOK, March 30 (Reuters): Severe flooding and mudslides in southern Thailand have killed 21 people, stranded thousands of tourists and threatened to delay shipments of rubber in the world's largest rubber-producing country, authorities said on Wednesday.Trains to the region have been canceled and three airports have been shut, including one on the popular island of Koh Samui. As well as Koh Samui, foreign tourists have also been stuck at resorts in Krabi and Koh Phangan. The Thai na
  • I am the most accused man in universe & in history: Berlo
    MILAN, March 29 (AP): Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi made a rare appearance on Monday at a court hearing in Milan for a tax fraud case that he dismissed as groundless and ridiculous.Berlusconi waved to a crowd of reporters and supporters from inside a black sedan as he entered the courthouse for the closed-door hearing. Prosecutors allege fraud in the sale of film rights by his Mediaset company.The Italian leader has a history of legal woes but has rarely showed up in court. He has
  • Libyan rebels pushed back from Gadhafi hometown
    Libyan rebels retread from the frontline outside of Ras Lanouf, 250 km east of Sirte, central Libya on Tuesday, March 29. International leaders plotted out an endgame Tuesday for Moammar Gadhafi’s tottering regime, as British Prime Minister David Cameron accused the Libyan leader of shooting and starving his opponents into submission. (AP Photo) BIN JAWWAD, Libya, March 29 (AP): Libyan government tanks and rockets blunted a rebel assault on Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirt
  • Two Koreas in talks on potential volcano threat
    SEOUL, March 29 (AFP): North and South Korea began talks Tuesday about a potential volcanic threat from the peninsula's highest mountain, in a rare moment of cooperation after months of confrontation.The meeting at the South Korean border town of Munsan follows heightened concern about natural disasters, after an earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan and crippled an atomic power plant there.The North's chief delegate Yun Yong-Gun expressed concern at radioactive leakage
  • For $1,000, celebs can tell their side of story online
    New York, March 29 (NYT): Imagine you are a well-known person aggrieved by how you are portrayed on the internet: the slapdash Wikipedia entry; the unflattering gossip item; the endlessly repeated story about how you cheated on your spouse when in point of fact you were blamelessly resuscitating a platonic friend who was choking on an olive.Suing is too stressful and quixotic. Besides, it's the internet: how can anyone erase the inerasable? But courtesy of a new web site called ICorrec
  • Japan finds plutonium in soil at stricken nuclear plant
    Evacuees hang out by a kerosene stove at an evacuation center in Fukushima, northeastern Japan on Tuesday, March 29. (AP Photo) TOKYO, March 29 (Reuters): Plutonium found in soil at the Fukushima nuclear complex heightened alarm on Tuesday over Japan's battle to contain the world's worst atomic crisis in 25 years, as pressure mounted on the prime minister to widen an evacuation zone around the plant.Some opposition lawmakers blasted Naoto Kan in parliament for his handling of the
  • Berlusconi in court for Italy fraud trial
    MILAN, March 28 (Reuters): Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was set to appear in court for the first time in almost eight years on Monday, in a trial over alleged fraud during the acquisition of television broadcasting rights.The constitutional court lifted Berlusconi's immunity from trial earlier this year, exposing him to three corruption and fraud cases linked to his Mediaset broadcasting empire and a separate trial in which he is accused of having sex with an underage prost
  • Libyan rebel advance halted, Sirte blasted by NATO jets
    A Libyan rebel has the rebel flag painted on his fingers as he flashes the vicory sign on the front line outside of Bin Jawaad, 150 km east of Sirte, central Libya on Monday, March 28. (AP Photo) BIN JAWAD, Libya, March 28 (AFP): Loyalist troops Monday halted a rebel advance on Moamer Kadhafi's home town Sirte, which was pounded overnight by coalition jets after NATO took command of military operations in Libya.An AFP reporter said rebels who for the past two days have raced westw
  • Frustration grows as Japan’s nuclear evacuees wait and hope
    FUKUSHIMA CITY, March 28 (Reuters): With all the stoicism of a character out of Hemingway -- one of his favorite writers -- Mitsuharu Watanobe sits on a gymnasium floor in the city of Fukushima, and waits.The retired school teacher was unlucky enough to be living just 25 km (15 miles) from the nuclear power plant that was smashed up by Japan's March 11 earthquake and tsunami, triggering the world's most dangerous atomic crisis in 25 years. Like thousands of others fearing that the crip
  • Party defends Merkel against critics after election
    BERLIN, March 28 (Reuters): German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party said on Monday it stood united behind its leader after some members blamed her for a humiliating loss in a state vote in Baden-Wuerttemberg. A coalition of the Greens and Social Democrats is expected to take power in the prosperous southwestern region after an election on Sunday pushed out Merkel's conservatives from a stronghold they had ruled for six decades.The loss came after Merkel surprised many of h
  • West hits Libya forces as NATO sees 90-day campaign
    In this Thursday, March 24 photo provided by the French Army, a French Navy Rafale jet fighter takes off from deck of Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean sea as part of the Operation Odyssey dawn. NATO’s military staff is drawing up detailed plans to assume full control of the no-fly zone over Libya in coming days, after member nations agreed to take on the operation from a U.S.-led coalition. (AP Photo) TRIPOLI, March 25 (Reuters): Western warplanes hit
  • Japan death toll tops 10,000 as plant smoulders
    SENDAI, March 25 (AFP): The death toll from Japan's worst post-war disaster topped 10,000 Friday as the operator of a radiation-belching nuclear plant warned that work to stabilise it may take another month.Two weeks after a giant 9.0-magnitude quake struck and sent a massive tsunami crashing into the Pacific coast, wiping entire towns off the map, Japan held out little hope of finding alive another 17,500 listed as missing.The focus of Japan's fears remained the Fukushima nuclear plan
  • Strong quake in Myanmar
    Chiang Rai, March 25 (Agencies): At least 75 people were killed in the strong earthquake that struck Myanmar, officials said, while another quake hit northern Thailand on Friday, inflicting limited damage. Thursday's 6.8 magnitude earthquake caused panic in several Southeast Asian countries, but the worst hit was Myanmar, where the death toll was expected to rise slightly.A Myanmar official said 74 people were killed and 110 were injured in five areas close to the epicentre. More than
  • Western air strikes fail to dislodge Gaddafi armor
    A Libyan rebel prays on a checkpoint on the frontline near Zwitina, the outskirts of the city of Ajdabiya, south of Benghazi, eastern Libya on Thursday, March 24. (AP Photo) TRIPOLI, March 24 (Reuters): Western warplanes hit Libya for a fifth night on Thursday, but so far have failed to stop Muammar Gaddafi's tanks shelling rebel-held towns or dislodge his armor from a strategic junction in the east. Gaddafi's tanks rolled back into Misrata under the cover of darkness and began sh
  • Menthol cigarettes no more risky, study suggests
    CHICAGO, March 24 (Reuters): People who smoke menthol cigarettes are no more likely to develop lung cancer than those who smoke non-menthol varieties, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday in a surprise finding that could affect U.S. regulators' efforts to ban menthol-flavored cigarettes. Scientists had assumed that adding menthol to cigarettes would expose people to more toxins and increase their cancer risk, but a large study of older adults in community health centers found the opposit
  • Japan tsunami victims face red-tape and ID worries
    OTSUCHI, Japan, March 24 (Reuters): Shingo Suzuki cannot prove he is Shingo Suzuki and that does not bother him, at least not now. Suzuki, living in an evacuee center, is one of thousands of people who escaped the deadly tsunami that hit Japan nearly two week ago with just the clothes he was wearing. He has no identification, no credit cards and no papers bearing his name."I don't really live in society now, so nothing feels unusual," the self-employed 45-year-old said. At th
  • Air strikes silence Gaddafi guns at besieged city
    Members of the pro-Kremlin movement United Russia Young Guards lay flowers near a wreath outside the Libyan Embassy in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday, March 23. Written on the wreath: Condolences for Deceased. (AP Photo) TRIPOLI, March 23 (Reuters): Western warplanes silenced Muammar Gaddafi's artillery and tanks besieging rebel-held Misrata in western Libya on Wednesday after a U.S. admiral warned his armor was the next target. Breathing defiance, Gaddafi earlier said Western powers
  • New exchange between Gaza and Israel
    JERUSALEM, March 23 (AP): Gaza militants barraged southern Israel with rockets and mortars Wednesday, drawing retaliatory Israeli airstrikes in an escalation of the gravest hostilities in the area since Israel went to war in the Palestinian territory two years ago. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed decisive action against militants and suggested that future operations would not be surgical."No state would tolerate ongoing rocket fire on its cities and its citizens, a
  • Obama pledges $200 million to Central America drug fight
    SAN SALVADOR, March 23 (Reuters): President Barack Obama pledged $200 million on Tuesday to Central America's anti-drug fight on the final leg of a regional tour to bolster U.S. ties with southern neighbors who have often felt neglected by Washington. Obama unveiled the aid plan as aides announced he would cut short his El Salvador visit slightly on Wednesday and head back to Washington, where the political debate over the U.S. military role in air assaults against Libya's Muammar Gadd
  • Japan quake becomes world’s costliest natural disaster
    TOKYO, March 23 (Reuters): The Japanese government on Wednesday estimated the direct damage from a deadly earthquake and tsunami that struck the country's northeast this month at as much as $310 billion, making it the world's costliest natural disaster. The first official damage estimates will serve to map out disaster relief plans and emergency budgets to fund recovery costs. Tokyo said the estimate covered damage to roads, homes, factories and other infrastructure, and eclipses the l