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Honduran Congress Grants Zelaya, Coup Plotters Amnesty

The Honduran Congress has approved amnesty for deposed President Manuel Zelaya and all those responsible for the coup that removed him from power. The vote past the legislature late Tuesday, just hours after a Honduran Supreme Court judge cleared senior military leaders of criminal charges for their roles in the coup that ousted Mr.

Malaysian Churches Face Violence

Christian churches in Malaysia are trying to cope with recent violence in the officially-Muslim, but religiously tolerant country. The violence followed a court ruling that overturned a government ban on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.  A Roman Catholic publication led the fight to overturn the ban. Christians had used the word “Allah” for “God” for hundreds of years.  But some Muslims worried that the practice could encourage Muslim conversions to Christianity, something that is illegal in Malaysia.  Eleven Christian churches, a Sikh temple and a mosque have been attacked

Burma Expected to Hand Down Verdict in Trial of Burmese-American Activist

Burmese authorities are expected to hand down the verdict in the trial of a Burmese-American rights activist Wednesday.   Kyaw Zaw Lwin, also known as Nyi Nyi Aung, was one of the organizers of the 1988 pro-democracy uprising.  He fled Burma for neighboring Thailand following a military crackdown on activists. He later became a U.S.

Al-Shabab Attacks Peacekeeping Hospital in Somalia

Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabab has claimed responsibility for an attack on a hospital run by the African Union peacekeeping force.

Sri Lanka Chooses Tuesday between Incumbent President and His Former Top General

An unusual political irony is reaching a climax on the South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka. The two proclaimed heroes of the recently-ended quarter century civil war, who are openly accusing each other of war crimes, are facing off in the country's presidential election Tuesday. The two Sinhalese Buddhists have focused their campaigns on persuading the minority, mostly Hindu, Tamils, who bore the brunt of the war, to vote for them. The election is being closely watched by international agencies and donor governments.

Medvedev: New Arms Deal with US 95 Percent Complete

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says a new arms control treaty with the United States is 95 percent complete, but that U.S. missile defense plans are still an issue. Mr. Medvedev said Sunday he is optimistic a new deal will be reached soon. But he called it "sly" to talk about cutting nuclear arms without talking about missile defense. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has called U.S. plans for a missile defense system for Europe the main obstacle to a new arms treaty. U.S. officials say the arms control talks would only cover strategic offensive weapons.

Death Toll Rises in Haiti Quake Rises to 150,000

The Haitian government says the confirmed death toll from the massive earthquake that devastated the capital nearly two weeks ago has risen to 150,000. Officials said Sunday the number does not include outlying areas such as Jacmel, where many other bodies are believed to be buried under rubble. Authorities have estimated that the final toll will reach 200,000.  The government officially called off search and rescue operations on Friday, but international rescue teams pulled a man from the rubble of a grocery store in Port-au-Prince on Saturday. Tim Callahan, an official with the U

Kremlin Says Modernization Requires Political Competition

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev says opposition parties and increased political competition can help modernize Russia.  He issued the call for reform in a live, nationally-televised meeting of the State Council, in which representatives of small Russian parties condemned media censorship and the ruling United Russia Party.  Russian President Dmitri Medvedev told a Kremlin meeting of various political party leaders and governors that Russia's political system must become more flexible to reflect society's growing diversity.  He says that requires cooperation rather than commands. The Kr

Zimbabwe Facing Another Drought

Farmers in Zimbabwe say they face another difficult agricultural season, as the dry spell that has hit the country continues. Weeks into the agricultural season, the rains are nowhere near normal and the crops are showing it.  Zimbabwe Farmers Union Director Paul Zakariya tells VOA even crops that normally thrive under dry conditions are feeling the heat. "We are looking at maize [corn], we are looking at cotton and, in some instances, it's also the tobacco and the other small grains which naturally will be resisting or would be tolerant but they are already succumbing," he said. The

Petraeus Accepts Some Pakistani Deals with Border Tribes

The commander of U.S. forces in Central Asia and the Middle East, General David Petraeus, says Pakistan will likely have to make some deals with tribes along its border with Afghanistan in an effort to consolidate gains its military forces have made, but can not sustain on their own.  Such deals have failed in the past, and U.S.

Angolan Opposition Walks Out as Parliament Votes New Constitution

Angola's main opposition party has walked out of parliament to protest a new constitution that expands the powers of the presidency.

Dutch Politician on Trial for Anti-Muslim Comments

Dutch politician Geert Wilders has appeared in an Amsterdam court on charges of incitement and discrimination against Muslims for his comments about Islam and for an anti-Muslim film he made.  The trial in the Netherlands is being closely watched around the world, because it pits the right to free speech against religious freedom and freedom against persecution. The defendant is Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whose remarks against Islam and Muslims, and his anti-Islamic movie, Fitna, have offended many Muslims around the world. At the Amsterdam courthouse where he went on tr

New Earthquake Jolts Haiti

The U.S. Geological Survey says the new quake, which shook Haiti just after sunrise Wednesday, was centered about 35 miles northwest of the capital Port au Prince. It was the largest of more than 40 significant aftershocks following the January 12th quake. There have been no reports of injuries from the new quake. Meantime, relief efforts continue in the aftermath of last week's earthquake, which killed an estimated 200,000 people.

Republican Candidate Brown Wins Massachusetts Senate Seat in Blow to Obama

Republican candidate Scott Brown has won an upset victory in the race to fill the Massachusetts seat held for almost five decades by the late Democratic Senator Edward (Ted) Kennedy.  Brown defeated Democratic candidate Martha Coakley by a margin of 52 to 47 percent, in what many analysts view as a serious setback for President Barack Obama and his legislative agenda. The victory caps a dramatic surge in opinion polls, in the past week for Massachusetts State Senator Scott Brown.  He overcame a commanding lead by state Attorney General Martha Coakely, to win the race in a state where Democr

Vietnamese Political Activists Convicted

A Vietnamese court has convicted four political dissidents of subversion and sentenced them to up to 16 years in prison. The four went on trial in Ho Chi Minh City Wednesday for taking part in "activities aimed at overthrowing the people's administration," including promoting a multiparty state and collaborating with exiled Vietnamese pro-democracy groups.  U.S.-educated human rights lawyer  Le Cong Dinh and Le Thang Long received five-year sentences after the one-day trial.  A third defendant, Nguyen Tien Trung, received a seven-year sentence, while Internet entrepreneur Tran Huynh Duy