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Shell to Pay $15.5 Million to Settle Nigerian Human Rights Abuses Case

Shell, the big oil company, agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle a case alleging that it took part in human right abuses in the Niger Delta in the mid 1990s, a striking sum given that the company denied any wrongdoing.

The settlement, announced late Monday, came days before the start of a trial in New York that was expected to reveal extensive details of Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta.

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TVNL Comment: Corporations can settle criminal charges with huge payoffs.  Could you?

European elections 2009: far-Right makes gains across Europe

Far-Right parties and extremists made gains across Europe on Sunday night as protest votes and low turnouts marked elections for the European parliament.

Angry voters punished governments in Spain, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Greece and Ireland - all countries hit hard by the economic crisis.

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Clinton Rejects Israeli Claims of an Understanding on Settlements

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton forcefully rejected yesterday Israeli claims that the Bush administration had secretly agreed to expanding Jewish settlements on the West Bank, deepening the impasse between the two countries.

"We have the negotiating record, that is the official record, that was turned over to the Obama administration by the outgoing Bush administration,"

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Obama: First president to admit role in '53 Iran coup

President Obama Thursday became the first president to acknowledge responsibility for the 1953 CIA-led coup that overthrew the elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh.

"In the middle of the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically-elected Iranian government," Mr. Obama said, alluding to the 1953 coup. Funded and egged on by the CIA, Iranian monarchists removed Mr. Mossadegh - who had nationalized a British-owned oil company. The coup reinstalled Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, an autocratic ruler who was subsequently overthrown in a popular revolution in 1979.

Until Thursday, the most senior U.S. official to express regret for the coup was Madeleine Albright in 2000 when she was secretary of State.

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Iran's Ahmadinejad wants to debate Obama at UN

His offer of to debate Obama could also be campaign posturing before the June 12 vote. But it does put Ahmadinejad on record as supporting a potentially groundbreaking encounter following Obama's offer for dialogue.

Ahmadinejad said that, if re-elected, he would be open to "debate global issues as well as world peace and security" during the U.N. General Assembly in September.

There was no immediate reaction from Washington.

On the nuclear issue, Ahmadinejad ruled out talks with the U.S. He said Iran's stand is "crystal clear" and Tehran would only discuss the subject within the framework of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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Israeli PM says Jerusalem will never be divided

sraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that Jerusalem would "never be divided" and would remain the capital of the Jewish state, drawing an angry response from the Palestinians.

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Israeli troops kill U.N. truck driver at Gaza crossing

Israeli soldiers opened fire Thursday on a truck attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip, killing one United Nations-contracted driver and seriously wounding another, U.N. officials said.

The shooting occurred at the Erez checkpoint, the main entrance used by relief agencies to funnel badly needed food and medical supplies into Gaza, where Israel is waging a devastating, 13-day-long military campaign against the militant Islamic group Hamas.

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