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President Hamid Karzai said U.S. forces had bombed a home in southern Afghanistan, killing a small child and wounding two women, and condemned the attack as a sign of disregard for civilian lives, his spokesman said on Thursday. The strike could not have come at a worse time, as Karzai is engaged in a stand-off with the U.S. government over a bilateral security agreement that will decide whether U.S. troop stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. "It shows that U.S. forces have no respect for the decisions of the Loya Jirga and life of civilians in Afghanistan," said Karzai's spokesman, Aimal Faizi. "If such operations continue, there will be no agreement." The United States has threatened to pull its troops out of Afghanistan after 2014 - an outcome known as the "zero option", as it did in Iraq two years ago - unless a deal is clinched by the end of this year, Karzai, however, has so far refused to sign, despite getting approval from the Loya Jirga last week.
A Brazilian stadium will not be removed from the World Cup roster despite a deadly construction accident but its completion will be delayed, officials said Thursday. The Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo is slated to host the opener of the football extravaganza in June. I very much deplore the deaths, but I am absolutely convinced that the Cup will open" in Sao Paulo on June 12, said Jose Maria Marin, president of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and the Cup's Local Organizing Committee (COL). Ricardo Trade, COL's director general, echoed those remarks, telling the daily Estado de Sao Paulo that the Arena Corinthians "will not be excluded from the Cup."
SAO PAULO (AP) — World soccer governing body FIFA said it was assessing the extent of damage to the stadium hosting the 2014 World Cup opener as officials inspected the grounds Thursday to determine what may have caused the deadly accident, just weeks before all stadiums for one of the biggest events in world sports were scheduled to be completed.
The World Trade Organisation said Thursday that negotiators have made a breakthrough in talks towards a major trade deal, just two days after the agency's chief signaled a stalemate. It is one of the elements making up an overall trade package to be examined during the December 3-6 ministerial meeting at the Indonesian island of Bali. But the WTO's 159 member states had until now been unable to bridge their differences on the subject, including over the delay developing countries would get to fall in line, and the support they would get from donors to do so. On Thursday however, the WTO said there had been a "breakthrough on a key section of the Bali package", with the world's poorest countries to be given extra flexibility to implement the new rules under discussion.
CAIRO (AP) — The three women are among Egypt's most active democracy campaigners, the faces of its revolution. Through a string of rulers the past three years— autocrat Hosni Mubarak, the military, the Islamists — they have been at the forefront of protests, chronicled police abuses and struggled to limit the power of the military.
CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian security forces used tear gas and water cannons Thursday to disperse students and supporters of the country's ousted Islamist president as they rallied outside a Cairo university, sparking clashes that killed one person. Meanwhile, the country's top security chief vowed to "confront with all decisiveness" those violating a new law criminalizing protests not prior approved by police.
Vienna's new baby panda will be named Fu Bao, or Happy Leopard in Mandarin, the city's Schoenbrunn Zoo announced on Thursday, three months after he was born. Schoenbrun is the only zoo in Europe where pandas -- notoriously picky partners -- have reproduced naturally, without artificial insemination. Mother Yang Yang and father Long Hui had a first cub in 2007, later named Fu Long, or Happy Dragon in Chinese. His brother Fu Hu -- Happy Tiger -- followed exactly three years later on August 23, 2010.
Two men alleged to be members of an illegal betting syndicate based in Singapore were charged with conspiracy to defraud on Thursday as part of a match-fixing investigation into English lower league football. The National Crime Agency (NCA) named the men as Chann Sankaran, a 33-year-old Singapore national, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, a 43-year-old with dual UK and Singapore nationality. "The Crown Prosecution's Organised Crime Division found sufficient evidence and was satisfied it was in the public interest to authorise charges of conspiracy to defraud." The pair were among six people arrested earlier this week on suspicion of match-fixing. The Daily Telegraph reported that the focus was on the lower leagues, with the arrests said to include three current footballers and one former Premier League player who is now an agent but still featuring in a league lower than the fifth-tier Football Conference.
By Natalia Zinets and Adrian Croft VILNIUS (Reuters) - The European Union told Ukraine it was risking its economic future by rejecting a free-trade deal in favor of closer ties with Russia, hours before a likely frosty encounter on Thursday evening between EU leaders and President Viktor Yanukovich. Yanukovich flew into the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in time for a dinner in honor of the Eastern Partnership, the EU's four-year-old outreach program for former Soviet republics, including Ukraine. He had been expected to sign a far-reaching free-trade and political association deal with the EU at the Vilnius summit, the result of years of negotiation. But last week, following intense pressure from Moscow and growing concerns about Ukraine's dire economic situation, Yanukovich announced he was not ready to sign the EU deal yet and would instead focus on reviving economic dialogue with Russia.
By Tim Hepher, Parisa Hafezi and Praveen Menon (Reuters) - While foreign ministers raced to Geneva for a crucial phase of talks over Iran's nuclear activities earlier this month, passengers with the country's national airline faced a little-noticed drama on the other side of the world. As a 37-year-old Boeing 747 climbed out of Beijing bound for Tehran, the Iranian crew received a cockpit alert that one of the jumbo jet's four Pratt & Whitney engines was on fire. The Iran Air pilots shut the engine down, activated a fire suppression system and flew back to the Chinese capital. Both the November 8 incident and the actions taken to remedy it, as reported by accident database Aviation Herald, highlight the juggling act needed to keep Iran's fleet in the air after years of sanctions and challenges in procuring parts.