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11 November, 2012


6.2 quake strikes Guatemala

­A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Guatemala on Sunday, days after another strong quake took the lives of more than 50 people. The center of the quake was registered 24 kilometers southwest of the town of Champerico, and 180 kilometers from Guatemala City, according to the US Geological Survey. No tsunami threat has been issued, and there is no word of casualties or destruction. On Wednesday, a 7.4-magnitude quake struck in the same area, killing 52 people.


Russia to join Arafat death inquiry – Abbas

­Russia will join an international inquiry into the cause of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's death, Palestinian officials said on Sunday. “There’s full cooperation these days between us and the French investigators and Swiss experts, and also from the Russian government,” Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on the eighth anniversary of Arafat's death. The Kremlin has not yet commented the statement. French and Swiss investigators will exhume the body of the former Palestinian leader later this month. Upon Arafat's death his wife refused an autopsy, which resulted in speculation about the cause of his death – with radioation poisoning by Israeli or Israeli-backed agents being actively discussed.


US drone spied on Iranian oil - report

­Tehran has reportedly accused Washington of spying on its oil tankers after the Islamic Republic's fighter jets shot at an American drone on November 1. Iran says the Predator was "flying over Kharg island to gather information about economic activity on the island, and the arrival and departure of oil tankers," ISNA news agency quoted General Amir-Ali Hadjizadeh, head of the elite Revolutionary Guards air and space forces, as saying. Iran claims that the drone violated its territory, while Washington insists the Predator was in the international airspace.


Obama administration opposes Palestinian UN bid

The White House has voiced opposition to the upcoming Palestinian non-state membership bid at the United Nations, according to a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Abbas remains determined to seek his nation's recognition at the UN, and has vowed to resist international pressure to drop the bid until after Israeli elections in January. Last year, the Security Council failed to approve recognition of Palestinian statehood and membership in the UN General Assembly.


Soldier in Afghan uniform kills British serviceman

­A shooter in Afghan Army uniform has killed a member of the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan. The incident allegedly took place after an argument between an Afghan soldier and coalition service members, Afghan officials report. Identified as a British soldier from The Royal Scots Borderers, the victim's family has been notified of his killing. At least 60 NATO troops have been killed in about 45 insider attacks this year, where insurgents dressed in the uniforms of the Afghan security forces turn their guns on coalition troops.


Baby-trafficking ring busted in Egypt

­Egyptian police have broken up a human trafficking operation in Cairo responsible for selling at least 300 infants. Five hospital staff were arrested after reportedly selling "unwanted" babies at roughly $600 dollars each to childless couples. Police are still searching for other people involved in the operation. The business was apparently in high demand with both birth mothers and adoptive parents, since abortions are only lawful in Egypt in case of a risk to mother, while adoption only exists in limited form.


Thousand of Kuwaitis rally outside of parliament

Thousands of peaceful demonstrators gathered on Irada Square in front of parliament in Kuwait City on Sunday to protest new election rules in the run up to the parliamentary poll on December 1. The country’s opposition, which is boycotting the elections, has staged several rallies recently to protest changes to the electoral law which they argue will reduce their representation in parliament. Protesters and riot police had clashed at previous demonstrations.


Abbas to go ahead with Palestinian statehood bid before UN

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will move forward with his plan to ask the UN General Assembly to recognize Palestine as an independent state later this month. Israel strongly opposes the move, saying Palestinian statehood can only come through negotiations. The US and Israel had previously opposed efforts to upgrade Palestine to a non-member observer state within the world body.


Baby among nine Afghan civilians killed by landmines

Nine Afghans were killed in two separate incidents in the country’s east and south on Sunday. Three men, two women and a baby died after their vehicle hit a mine while returning from a hospital in the country’s east on Sunday, a local deputy police chief said. Three more civilians were killed in a similar incident while traveling between Helmand and Kandahar provinces in the country’s south.


Iranian MPs to probe blogger’s death

­Iranian deputy parliamentary speaker Mohammad Hasan Abutorabifard said on Sunday that the legislature's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy would investigate the case of blogger Sattar Beheshti's death in police custody. Beheshti, 35, was famous for his writing criticizing the Iranian government. He was detained on October 30 on charges of undermining national security through social networks, including Facebook. The Iranian opposition claimed Beheshti was threatened the day before his arrest, and that the blogger was tortured and killed in prison.


Police make another arrest in Saville BBC sex-abuse scandal

Police have arrested a Cambridgeshire man in his 70s as part of a UK investigation into sexual abuse committed by former TV presenter Jimmy Saville and others. A recent documentary detailed allegations of sexual abuse against Saville. Police investigating the scandal reportedly estimated the number of victims at 300.


Ex-chief of Jordanian intelligence jailed for 13 years

­A Jordanian criminal court has sentenced the kingdom's former intelligence chief to 13 years and three months in prison for embezzlement, money laundering and abuse of power during his tenure as head of the country's spy service from 2005 to 2008. Mohammed al-Dahabi received the harshest sentence handed down to a top official in years. Judge Nashaat Akhras also ordered al-Dahabi to pay 21 million Jordanian dinar ($29.6 million) in fines to the state.


Search for three hikers in Chile yields no results - officials

­Three days of searching for three European tourists who went missing while hiking at Villarica volcano in Chile's central valley have rendered no results, authorities said Saturday. The missing persons are from Russia, France and Italy. "What worries us is that they were unprepared to sleep over in the volcano," the director of the regional emergency office, Janet Medrano, told AP. The search will resume on Sunday.


Iraqi Kurd officials in Iran for talks

­Top officials from Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, including Prime Minister Nechervan Idris Barzani, along with senior members of the Kurdistan Democratic Party arrived in Tehran on Sunday. They are to meet Iranian officials and representatives of local Kurdish organizations, reports Fars news agency. The two-day visit focuses on regional development and economic cooperation.


Apple and HTC settle patent battle

­HTC and Apple have settled all ongoing patent disputes, opting into a ten-year licensing agreement. Under the new terms, both companies will license current and future patents from each other, they said in a brief statement. The patent dispute between the companies started in March 2010, when Apple filed suits in the US and internationally accusing HTC of patent infringement. In return, HTC filed its own lawsuit and the fight escalated.


6.6 magnitude quake shakes Myanmar

A strong earthquake measuring 6.6 struck 56 kilometers northwest of Shwebo, Myanmar, at a depth of 10 kilometers, the US Geological Survey reported. The tremor was felt in neighboring Thailand as well. No immediate reports of casualties were available. Witnesses say the quake made buildings crack in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, some 117 kilometers away. This triggered panic, as residents rushed outside.


Two elderly Americans killed by poison mushrooms

Two seniors have died and four others are hospitalized after eating soup with wild mushrooms at a Northern California assisted living facility. The officials say residents of Gold Age Villa in Loomis California got food poisoning after being given a meal by a caregiver at the facility, who was also poisoned. Authorities have determined the incident to be an accident.