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/ 5 November 2007

Musharraf to be given ultimatum

The United States and Britain are on Monday expected to demand that Pakistan’s President, Pervez Musharraf, honour pledges to hold elections in the next two months and step down as the army chief, or face a cut in Western support. The diplomatic showdown will come in the form of a meeting in Islamabad between the Pakistani leader and a group of ambassadors.

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/ 25 October 2007

Spending row claims British Auditor General

Britain’s Auditor General, the man charged with stopping government waste, announced he is stepping down on Thursday after criticism of his own lavish spending on foreign travel and top-notch restaurants. Sir John Bourn for 20 years served the British Parliament by making sure public money was not frittered away on frivolous projects.

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/ 24 October 2007

Twelve years and counting for Aung San Suu Kyi

Australia slapped financial sanctions on Burma’s generals and their families on Wednesday as supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi marked her 12 years in captivity with protests in 12 cities. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the measures would hit 418 people, including leader Senior General Than Shwe.

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/ 10 October 2007

Arise, Sir Beefy! Botham formally made a knight

English cricketing legend Ian Botham was formally made a knight of the realm by Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday in a ceremony at her official Buckingham Palace residence in central London. Botham, whose career has combined a rare talent on the cricket field with a flamboyant lifestyle off it, was rewarded for his services to sport and to charity in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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/ 8 October 2007

Brown takes the blame for election row

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday said he took ”full responsibility” for the decision not to call an early election, but rejected claims he had run scared from a possible defeat. Brown told an often rowdy news conference that he had instead opted to wait and take a long-term approach before going to the polls.

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/ 6 October 2007

Gary Player under fire over Burma links

Legendary golfer Gary Player has come under fire in South Africa over his company’s business ties with Burma, where a golf course he designed is allegedly used by members of the brutal ruling junta. South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for a boycott of all foreign companies doing business in the Asian country.

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/ 3 October 2007

Russia issues gas ultimatum to Ukraine

Russia threatened on Tuesday to cut gas supplies to Ukraine again in a move that appears to reflect its displeasure at the prospect of a new orange government in Kiev. Gazprom, the state-controlled monopoly, said it would reduce supplies to Ukraine next month unless it settled a bill of more than ,3-billion.

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/ 19 September 2007

US agrees further British withdrawal from Iraq

Britain is poised to announce significant cuts in the number of troops in southern Iraq following an upbeat assessment by United States and British military officials in London on Tuesday. This was the message from defence officials following talks between ministers and General David Petraeus, the US military commander in Iraq.

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/ 18 September 2007

Rwanda warns Hutu rebels in the DRC

Rwanda has made a thinly veiled threat to send its troops back into eastern Democratic Republic of Congo after accusing the government in Kinshasa of collaborating with genocidal Hutu extremists on its border. The Rwandan government said a Congolese army assault against a renegade Tutsi general, Laurent Nkunda, is helping to strengthen Hutu rebels.

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/ 10 September 2007

No return for Noriega

Out of sight and mind for almost two decades, inmate number 38699-079 completed his sentence on Sunday an older, frailer figure than the world remembered. Manuel Noriega served out his time at Miami’s Federal Correctional Institution with a gammy leg, his hair dyed and in the uniform of an army which no longer exists, a bogeyman from another era.

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/ 6 September 2007

China denies cyber-spying charges

From the German chancellery to the Pentagon, government computer networks have been targeted by cyber spies that media reports say were directed by China’s military. The reported Pentagon attack was the ”most flagrant and brazen to date”, said Alex Neill, an expert on the Chinese military at London’s Royal United Services Institute.

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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.

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/ 3 September 2007

DRC general turns guns on govt forces

Peace accords that were to put an end to the conflicts that killed millions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR) are collapsing after a powerful renegade Tutsi general declared war on the government. The United Nations has started airlifting thousands of government troops into the eastern Kivu region, which has endured two foreign invasions and more than a decade of civil war.

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/ 30 August 2007

How to solve Afghanistan’s opium crisis

The United Nations reported on Monday that there had been a ”frightening” explosion in opium production in Afghanistan with Helmand province, where Britain has 7 000 troops deployed, leading the way. A record crop means that the country now accounts for 93% of the world’s supply and the situation is getting worse daily despite billions being spent to eradicate the trade since 2001.

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/ 29 August 2007

Bush stokes war of words with Iran

United States President George Bush on Tuesday ramped up the war of words between the US and Iran, accusing Tehran of threatening to place the Middle East under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust and revealing that he had authorised US military commanders in Iraq to ”confront Tehran’s murderous activities”.

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/ 28 August 2007

Russia arrests 10 for journalist’s murder

Russia’s chief prosecutor, Yuri Chaika, announced on Monday that 10 people had been arrested in connection with the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, which he blamed on a Chechen Mafia boss and rogue elements in Russia’s security services. But he hinted that the real mastermind behind the plot was a Russian citizen living abroad.

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/ 15 June 2007

Grrrrr politics

The Gossip have transformed themselves from a garage rock band into a radical punk outfit, and lead singer Ditto is on a mission to tackle hypocrisy in world politics as well as the gender status quo, writes Lloyd Gedye