Noontime News is a snapshot of the news from the past 24 hours.  (More)

China voices fears as South Korean workers are barred from Kaesong

China voiced “serious concern” about rising tensions on the Korean peninsulaon Wednesday, as North Korea barred South Korean workers from entering a jointly run industrial complex

Extreme poverty could be wiped out by 2030, World Bank estimates show

Extreme global poverty could be eradicated by the end of the next decade under optimistic new targets unveiled by the World Bank that have divided development experts.

IMF sets terms of Cyprus bailout

The International Monetary Fund has demanded that Cyprus cut state pension costs and reform its welfare system as the price of a €1bn (£854m) loan to help bail out the stricken island.

US Troops in Afghanistan bid farewell to lobster, steak and salsa

No more surf’n’turf overlooking the Hindu Kush, no more salsa classes on the Kandahar boardwalk or mocha frappes in the Helmand desert.

UN approves first global arms treaty

The UN has voted overwhelmingly to regulate the $70bn global trade in conventional weapons in an attempt to halt the proliferation of violent conflict and human rights abuses around the world.

Scientists race to gauge pandemic risk of new bird flu

(Reuters) – Genetic sequence data on a deadly strain of bird flu previously unknown in people show the virus has already acquired some mutations that might make it more likely to cause a human pandemic, scientists say.

Hostilities flare along the Israel-Gaza border

(Reuters) – Israel pressed Hamas on Wednesday to rein in rocket-firing militants in the Gaza Strip after the most serious outbreak of cross-border hostilities since the ceasefire that ended an eight-day war in November.

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