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Key China oil ports shut down ahead of typhoon

SINGAPORE - Several key oil and container ports in southern China were closed on Thursday ahead of Typhoon Megi, stopping bunker fuel deliveries and forcing tankers to evacuate to calmer waters, industry sources said.

In Holy Land, Christians a community in decline

BEIT SAHOUR, West Bank - In the land where Jesus lived, Christians say their dwindling numbers are turning churches from places of worship into museums.

Eastern Europe confronts fake medicines trade

BUCHAREST - Eastern Europe is a key route in a multi-billion-dollar trade in often-dangerous counterfeit medicines that has grown exponentially on the Internet, experts said at regional meet this week.

US announces $60-B arms sale to Saudi

WASHINGTON - In its biggest arms deal ever, the United States announced Wednesday it will sell up to $60 billion worth of warplanes, helicopters and other weapons to Saudi Arabia, partly to help it counter Iran.

France clears fuel blockades before pension vote

PARIS – President Nicolas Sarkozy sent in police to clear access to barricaded French fuel depots and restore supply as trade unions kept up their resistance on Wednesday to a pension reform due for a final vote this week.

Trapped Ecuador miners' lamps, boot found

QUITO – Ecuadorean rescue workers found lamps and a boot on Wednesday presumably belonging to two workers trapped underground by a cave-in at a remote southern gold mine six days ago.

Britain unveils deep spending cuts to tackle record deficit

LONDON – Britain's government unveiled the harshest spending cuts for decades on Wednesday, slashing budgets by around a fifth and taking the axe to the country's comprehensive welfare system.

US backs calls for more AU troops for Somalia

WASHINGTON – The United States supports proposals to raise more African Union troops for Somalia and the U.N. Security Council will likely debate the matter within 30 days, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday.

Shots, tear gas fired at Indonesia protests

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Protesters hurled stones at police who responded with water cannon and tear gas Wednesday on the first anniversary of the swearing in of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Britain to slash welfare in austerity gamble

LONDON, United Kingdom - Britain will take an axe to its welfare state on Wednesday as part of an 80 billion-pound ($125 billion) cut in public spending that will dictate the future of both the economy and the coalition government.