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2012 February


Feb 28 2012 EU Imposes Tough New Sanctions Against Syria

PARIS - The European Union has slapped new sanctions on Syria, targeting government officials and the country’s central bank. The new measures add to mounting diplomatic and economic pressure against the rule of Bashar al-Assad.
The new European sanctions follow Friday’s international meeting in Tunis that aimed to boost political and humanitarian assistance to Syria’s population, […]


Feb 27 2012 Syrians Vote On New Constitution

DAMASCUS - The Syrian government held a referendum Sunday on a new constitution, as it continued a military offensive that has left scores of people dead across the country.  Witnesses say government forces are attacking a number of places with artillery, rockets, mortars and tanks shells in a bid to crush a growing opposition movement. 
Witnesses […]


Feb 27 2012 US War Games Begin In Korea

SEOUL - South Korea and the United States have begun an annual, routine military exercise involving thousands of personnel. North Korea’s young, untested leader has called for his country’s troops to retaliate, should their territory be infringed during the war games.
The command post drill, named “Key Resolve”, features thousands of personnel. U.S. and South Korean […]


Feb 26 2012 Yemen Swears In New President Amid Violence

CAIRO - Al-Qaida is claiming responsibility for a suicide-bombing Saturday in the southern Yemeni port city of Mukalla, which left at least 26 people dead and at least 20 others wounded. The bombing came just hours after a speech by Yemen’s new President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is originally from the south of the country. 
Witnesses […]


Feb 26 2012 BP Oil Spill Settlement Under Negotiation

WASHINGTON - Negotiators for the U.S. government and victims of the devastating 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico are making a last-minute effort to resolve the massive damage case against the British oil giant.
A trial about who is responsible - and to what degree - for the worst offshore oil spill in […]


Feb 26 2012 NATO Recalls Staff From Afghan Government Ministries

WASHINGTON - NATO has recalled all staff working at Afghan government ministries after two U.S. officers were shot dead at close range inside a secure command center at the Interior Ministry in Kabul.
NATO said the decision to order the recall came “for obvious force protection reasons.”  It said the official account indicated a member of […]


Feb 24 2012 US States Challenge Contraceptives Rule

WASHINGTON - Seven U.S. states have filed a lawsuit challenging a new requirement that religious-affiliated groups offer heath insurance that covers contraceptives and other birth control services.
The lawsuit filed Thursday says the new rule violates the right of religious freedom granted by the U.S. Constitution. It was filed by attorneys general in Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, […]


Feb 23 2012 African American Museum Breaks Ground

WASHINGTON - Americans are getting their first national museum devoted exclusively to African American life, art, history and culture.  When complete it will be the Smithsonian Institution’s 19th museum.
After decades of planning, the Museum of African American History and Culture is being built on the National Mall in Washington.
President Obama, former first lady Laura Bush […]


Feb 23 2012 Greece Suffers Credit Downgrade

ATHENS - The Fitch financial services company is again downgrading the credit rating of Greece, saying that the debt-ridden country is “highly likely” to default on its financial obligations even after securing a new bailout from its European neighbors.
Fitch said Wednesday it has cut Greece two notches (from CCC to C), pushing the credit standing […]


Feb 23 2012 US Holds Talks With North Korea In Beijing

WASHINGTON - Talks between the top nuclear negotiators from the U.S. and North Korea went into “overtime” Thursday after a day of what were described as “substantive and serious” discussions.
U.S. negotiator Glyn Davies told reporters in Beijing the sides were in “mid-negotiations” and had decided to have dinner together and then pick up the talks […]


Feb 22 2012 Israel Builds Sinai Border Fence

JERUSALEM - Israel’s concerns about southern border security heightened last summer when gunmen crossed from Egypt and attacked Israeli civilians. Israel is building a seven-meter-high fence across the desert border.
Israel’s new fence along its border with Egypt has taken on new importance since the popular uprising in Egypt prompted Cairo to withdraw many of its […]


Feb 22 2012 Iran Fails To Cooperate With UN Nuclear Experts

WASHINGTON - The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has blocked U.N. experts from inspecting an Iranian military site and refused to cooperate with them in answering allegations of Iranian efforts to design a nuclear weapon.
In a statement issued early Wednesday, the IAEA says the U.N. delegation led by chief inspector Herman Nackaerts was returning […]


Feb 22 2012 US Looks To Foreign Investors To Boost Job Growth

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is trying to attract more foreign investors to boost the U.S. economy. Washington is encouraging U.S. firms to get out and compete for a larger share of the international market.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the reason behind this push for greater foreign investment is clear: Americans need jobs.
She […]


Feb 21 2012 Red Cross Seeks Humanitarian Cease Fire In Syria

GENEVA - The International Committee of the Red Cross says it is trying to broker a humanitarian cease-fire in Syria, as government tanks and troops mass around the opposition stronghold of Homs after bombarding the city for more than two weeks.
ICRC chief spokeswoman Carla Haddad said Monday the Geneva-based agency has been in talks with […]


Feb 21 2012 Eurozone Ministers Approve Greek Bailout

PARIS - After talks that lasted through the night, eurozone finance ministers finally struck a $172-billion bailout agreement for Greece early Tuesday. The deal averts a debt default by Athens, but also demands Greeks to shoulder more austerity measures.
After 13 hours of negotiations, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker announced success at a news conference early […]


Feb 20 2012 US Celebrates Presidents Day

WASHINGTON - Millions of Americans are getting a day off from work Monday to observe the birthday of the first U.S. president, George Washington.
While the federal holiday officially recognizes Washington, the day is often referred to as Presidents’ Day as a broader celebration of the nation’s leaders.
Most U.S. government offices and buildings are closed, as […]


Feb 20 2012 Greeks Protest Severe Austerity Measures

ATHENS - Thousands of Greeks have taken to the streets of Athens to protest severe austerity measures as eurozone ministers prepare to vote on a new $171 billion bailout for the debt-crippled nation.
As the demonstrators marched, Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos left for Brussels where he was to hold talks with officials ahead of Monday’s […]


Feb 20 2012 Syrian Forces Deployed In Damascus

WASHINGTON - Syrian security forces have deployed heavily in a tense Damascus neighborhood, blocking opposition activists from staging a second day of mass protests, as the government continued a nationwide crackdown on protest hubs.
Activists said Syrian police flooded the Mezze district on Sunday to prevent a funeral for a young protester from turning into a […]


Feb 18 2012 US Senators Warn Latin America Against Iran Ties

WASHINGTON - U.S. senators are warning Latin American nations against deepening financial and military ties with Iran, pledging heightened U.S. vigilance of Iranian activities in the Western Hemisphere. The Senate’s Foreign Relations Subcommittee took a close look Thursday at Tehran’s dealings with Latin America.
Iran’s increasingly isolated regime retains friends in Latin America, most notably Venezuelan […]


Feb 18 2012 Ancient Olympic Artifacts Stolen In Greece

ATHENS - Greek police say armed robbers have stolen about 60 ancient artifacts from a museum in Olympia.
The city’s mayor, Efthimios Kotzas, told reporters that two masked assailants overpowered a museum guard Friday and seized valuable bronze and pottery artifacts from the museum dedicated to the ancient Olympic games.
“Two armed assailants went in during the […]


Feb 18 2012 US Seeks To Undercut Iran Oil Markets

WASHINGTON - The U.S. government is trying to shrink the market for Iranian oil to deprive Tehran of funds for its nuclear program. And Iranian consumers are feeling the effects.
As the world’s third-largest exporter of crude oil, Iran is a major supplier for China, Japan and India, as well as the European Union. The United […]


Feb 17 2012 Underwear Bomber Sentenced To Life

WASHINGTON - The Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a U.S. passenger plane on Christmas Day 2009 has been sentenced to life in prison.
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was sentenced Thursday in the U.S. city of Detroit.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called Abdulmutallab a “remorseless terrorist” who deserved to spend “every day of the rest […]


Feb 16 2012 Israel Seeks Additional Sanctions Against Iran

JERUSALEM - Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak has called for increased sanctions on Iran, a day after the United States said Tehran is feeling the pressure of international measures meant to push it to stop enriching uranium.
Barak said Thursday after meeting his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo that while current sanctions are affecting Iranian officials, more […]


Feb 16 2012 US Dismisses Iran Nuclear Claims

WASHINGTON - The United States has downplayed Iran’s claims of advances in its nuclear program, saying Tehran is feeling the pressure of international sanctions and wants to distract from its growing diplomatic isolation.
Iran said Wednesday it had installed a new generation of centrifuges to enrich uranium, and for the first time loaded domestically produced nuclear […]


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