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/ 2 June 2008

Mugabe in Rome for food summit

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe flew into Rome for a global food summit on Sunday, his first official trip abroad since elections condemned by Western and opposition leaders as fraudulent. A British Foreign Office spokesperson said: ”It is a matter of concern to us and we would prefer that he did not attend.”

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/ 29 March 2008

Merkel won’t attend opening of Beijing Olympics

The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Friday became the first world leader to decide not to attend the Olympics in Beijing. As pressure built for concerted Western protests to China over the crackdown in Tibet, European Union leaders prepared to discuss the crisis for the first time on Saturday, amid a rift over whether to boycott the Olympics.

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/ 14 January 2008

Bush urges Arab allies to confront Iran

United States President George Bush on Sunday ratcheted up rhetoric over Iran, lambasting it as ”the world’s leading sponsor of state terror”, and urging America’s closest Arab allies to confront it ”before it is too late”. ”Iran’s actions threaten the security of nations everywhere,” he declared in Abu Dhabi.

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/ 20 December 2007

Cuban cricket team caught out by US ban

More than a century ago, a war correspondent called Winston Churchill was dispatched to Cuba to cover the conflict with Spain. ”It may be that future years will see the island as it would be now, had England never lost it — a Cuba free and prosperous under just laws and patriotic administration, throwing open her ports to the commerce of the world, sending her ponies to Hurlingham and her cricketers to Lord’s.”

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/ 28 November 2007

Sudan charges UK teacher with insulting religion

A British teacher detained in Sudan after her class called a teddy bear Muhammad was charged on Wednesday with insulting Islam in a move that sparked a diplomatic row. Gillian Gibbons (54) was also charged with inciting hatred and showing contempt for religious beliefs. If convicted, she could face 40 lashes, a fine or one year in jail.

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/ 23 September 2007

‘Tall and black’ vs ‘white and colonial’

”Mugabe stands very tall and black,” boasted Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru in Zimbabwe on Saturday. ”Brown stands white and colonial.” It was a reminder of the intensity of the diplomatic row that has erupted over British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s decision to boycott a Europe-Africa summit if Mugabe shows up.

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/ 11 September 2007

Violence ‘could undermine Darfur peace talks’

Ongoing violence in Sudan’s Darfur region threatens to undermine planned peace talks between Khartoum and rebel groups, a British minister said as he flew into the war-torn area on Tuesday. British Foreign Office Minister for Africa Mark Malloch Brown made the remarks a day after rebels said government aircraft had bombed a rebel-held Darfur town.

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/ 10 September 2007

Sudan bombs north Darfur town

Sudanese government aircraft bombed a rebel-held town in Darfur on Monday, insurgent groups said, hours after the government said it was investigating a rebel raid on one of its bases last month. Reports of the attack came seven weeks before rebel groups and the Khartoum government are set to meet for peace talks.

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/ 3 September 2007

Pyongyang’s nuclear dividend

Tank traps, landmines and checkpoint barriers flank the North Korean road to Panmunjom, the last frontier of the Cold War. For more than half a century, this small village in the demilitarised zone that divides the Korean peninsula has been frozen in suspended conflict.