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Iran threats
Iran holds anti-air manoeuvres defending nuclear sites according to military sources and threatens to cut oil exports to more EU nations if they remain “hostile,” the deputy oil minister who heads Iran’s state oil company said yesterday, a day after sales were halted to France and Britain. Exports to Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands would be stopped, Ahmad Qalebani said, quoted by Mehr news agency. More on page 13, 17.

US senator in Cairo amid Egypt-US row

Top US Senator John McCain was in Cairo yesterday for talks with Egyptian officials amid an acrid row between the allies over Egypt’s plans to try American and other activists for illicit foreign funding. McCain met with military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the official MENA news agency reported, a week before Egypt is to try 43 suspects, including Americans, in a crackdown on NGOs accused of receiving illegal foreign aid.

Medvedev to meet Russia’s protest leaders
President Dmitry Medvedev was set to meet heads of Russia’s opposition movement in a bid to calm protests that have greeted strongman Vladimir Putin’s likely return as president in March polls. The talks at the president’s suburban Moscow residence are tipped to include such ardent members of anti-Putin protests as the leftist radical Sergei Udaltsov and veteran liberal Boris Nemtsov.

Sarkozy gains on rival after launching campaign: poll - Poll

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was gaining on his Socialist rival after officially announcing his re-election bid last week but still faces a tough challenge, a poll indicated. The OpinionWay poll for newspaper Le Figaro showed Sarkozy with 27 percent of intended votes in the first round, up 1.5 points from the previous poll and within striking distance of Socialist candidate Francois Hollande with 29 percent.

Yemen’s future president calls for urgent aid
Yemen future president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has called for urgent foreign aid to help revive the country’s shattered economy, and pledged to address the concerns of southern separatists and northern rebels. In a televised speech over the weekend, the current vice president outlined his government’s two-year plan, focusing on the need to reunify the army, destroy Al-Qaeda, and carry-out “radical reforms.” More on page 13.

Suu Kyi’s party complains of campaign restrictions

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party said Monday that campaign restrictions threatened the fairness of by-elections seen as a key test of the regime’s reform credentials. The Nobel Peace Prize winner’s National League for Democracy called a news conference to complain that it was being denied the use of sports grounds to hold rallies ahead of the closely watched April 1 vote.

First Sun on Sunday to be printed next weekend
The Sunday version of Rupert Murdoch’s top-selling British tabloid The Sun will hit the shelves for the first time on February 26, News International announced. “Rupert Murdoch said during his visit on Friday that a new Sunday title would be published ‘very soon’ - and that is a week from today,” said an internal memo sent to staff at the company. The media tycoon said he would extend his stay in Britain “to oversee the launch” of the new publication.

Emperor Akihito recovers well after heart surgery
Japan’s Emperor Akihito left intensive care yesterday, just two days after undergoing a successful heart bypass operation, the Imperial Palace said. The 78-year-old emperor left the ICU in a wheelchair and was recovering well, according to the imperial household agency, while Jiji Press said he was reading books and newspapers.

Japan court upholds death penalty

Japan’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for a man who killed a young mother and her baby daughter when he was a juvenile, ending years of campaigning by the victim’s husband. This closes a case that captured the public’s imagination as the distraught father and husband Hiroshi Motomura fought for years to bring the killer to justice. Presiding judge said the death penalty was inevitable. Takayuki Otsuki, now 30, was 18 when he raped and killed 23-year-old Yayoi Motomura before strangling to death her 11-month-old daughter Yuka in 1999 in Yamaguchi.

Kuwait couple gets death for Filipina murder
A court has sentenced a Kuwaiti couple to death for beating and then murdering their Filipina domestic helper. The criminal court found the disabled husband and his wife guilty of “premeditated murder” after throwing the maid from their car and driving over her, Al-Rai and Al-Anbaa dailies reported, citing the verdict. No names were published in the reports, for the couple or the maid.

Woody Allen awarded
US actor and director Woody Allen has added another prize to a long list of awards he has won throughout his career in Hollywood. The Writers Guild of America announced that the 76-year-old filmmaker was the winner of its best original screenplay award for his movie “Midnight in Paris.”




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