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Rupert Murdoch quits boards of UK papers

LONDON: News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch has stepped down as a director from a string of boards overseeing the Sun, Times and Sunday Times newspapers in Britain, the company said in an internal memo yesterday. The resignations follow the announcement in June that News Corp would be split into two separate companies: a smaller publishing division and a much larger entertainment and TV group. “I wanted to let you know that Rupert Murdoch has resigned as director of a number of companies, including NI Group Limited, known to most of you as News International, and Times Newspapers Holdings...
Published On: 2012-07-22

Norway tries to forget massacre

OSLO: Norwegians by the thousands gathered today at sombre memorials to the 77 people killed a year ago by far-right gunman Anders Behring Breivik to show his bloody rampage had done nothing to change their dedication to an open society. “The bomb and the shots were intended to change Norway. People responded by embracing our values. He failed, the people won,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told the crowds, carrying red and white roses at the memorial in central Oslo. Breivik, who said his mostly teenage victims were traitors because they supported multiculturalism and Muslim...
Published On: 2012-07-22

Afghanistan under barrage of shells‚ rockets

KABUL: Afghan officials said today that hundreds of shells and rockets have been fired into Afghanistan from neighbouring Pakistan, hitting homes and killing four civilians along frontier areas from which insurgents have in the past staged cross-border attacks. The Afghan government has not yet openly blamed the Pakistani military for the artillery barrage, which reportedly hit districts in the eastern provinces of Nuristan and Kunar. Both are considered insurgent hotbeds, and militants allied with both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban regularly cross the mountainous border in both directions...
Published On: 2012-07-22

Ex-China spin doctor dies

BEIJING: Ding Guangen, a former chief of propaganda for the ruling Communist Party who oversaw party control of media and the arts in the 1990s, has died at age 83. Ding, who retired in 2002 after a decade as propaganda chief, died today of an unspecified illness in Beijing, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Born in 1929, Ding spent the early decades of his career in government maritime and railway agencies. He became minister of railways in the 1980s but resigned in 1988 after a series of train crashes that killed scores of people. He later was head of the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affai...
Published On: 2012-07-22

Beijing sees heaviest rains in 60 years

BEIJING: The heaviest rain storm in six decades to hit the Chinese capital killed at least 10 people and caused widespread chaos, flooding streets and stranding 80,000 people at the city’s main airport, state media reported today. The storm, which started yesterday afternoon and continued late into the night, flooded major roads and sent torrents of water tumbling down steps into underpasses. In the Beijing suburb of Tongzhou, two people died in a roof collapse and another person killed was struck by lightning, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Other deaths were caused by elec...
Published On: 2012-07-22

Afghan social media war steps up with new campaign

KABUL: Afghanistan’s intensifying war by social media has stepped up a notch with free speech activists launching a campaign using Twitter and Facebook to fight wide confusion over competing NATO and Taliban claims, as well as looming government media curbs. Foreign troops and insurgents have for years sparred on Twitter over the extent of victories against one another, while Afghan journalists are locked in a row with their government over press freedoms and new media laws. “Social media is a free tool to use to transfer information without the influences of the government, warlo...
Published On: 2012-07-22

China to garrison disputed sea

BEIJING: China’s powerful Central Military Commission has approved the formal establishment of a military garrison for the disputed South China Sea, state media said today, in a move which could further boost tensions in already fractious region. China has a substantial military presence in the South China Sea and the move is essentially a further assertion of its sovereignty claims after it last month upped the administrative status of the seas to the level of a city, which it calls Sansha. The official Xinhua news agency said the Sansha garrison would be responsible for “nation...
Published On: 2012-07-22

Norway remembers victims of bomb‚ shooting attacks

OSLO: Norway on Sunday paused to commemorate the 77 victims of a bomb and gun massacre that shocked the peaceful nation one year ago, a tragedy that the prime minister said had brought Norwegians together in defense of democracy and tolerance. Anders Behring Breivik, a 33-year-old far-right fanatic, has admitted to the July 22, 2011, attacks: a bombing of the government district in Oslo, killing eight, and a shooting rampage that left 69 dead at the left-wing Labor Party's youth camp on Utoya island. In a wreath-laying ceremony at the bomb site, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Breivik h...
Published On: 2012-07-22

Russia flood probe leads to arrest of three officials

MOSCOW: Russia has detained three officials from the Black Sea region of Krymsk in an investigation into their handling of a flood that killed 171 people there in early July, the country's main federal investigating body said on Sunday. Moscow, eager to deflect any criticism away from Russian President Vladimir Putin, has accused district officials of failing to issue public warnings about the flood wave on time, which survivors say could have saved lives. The Russian Investigative Committee said the former head of the Krymsk district Vasily Krutko, sacked after the fatal wave swept the regi...
Published On: 2012-07-22

Afghans: Artillery from Pakistan kills 4 civilians

KABUL: Afghan officials said Sunday that hundreds of shells and rockets have been fired into Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan, hitting homes and killing four civilians along frontier areas from which insurgents have in the past staged cross-border attacks. The Afghan government has not yet openly blamed the Pakistani military for the artillery barrage, which reportedly hit districts in the eastern provinces of Nuristan and Kunar. Both are considered insurgent hotbeds, and militants allied with both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban regularly cross the mountainous border in both directions...
Published On: 2012-07-22