Top news: British Exchequer Chancellor George Osborne has announced the British government's most severe cuts to public spending cuts since World War II as part of an austerity push to reduce the country's hundreds of billions in deficits. Prime Minister David Cameron's government has ordered more than $130 billion in cuts over the next five years. As many as 500,000 public sector jobs will be lost and the state pension age will be raised to 66 four years earlier than planned.
Departments will face an average 19 percent budget cut under the plan. One of the hardest hit will be the foreign office, which will face a 24 percent cut, likely leading to the firing of hundreds of London-based diplomats.
The announcement comes a day after the Ministry of Defense learned its fate -- an 8 percent budget cut. This is less than other departments but will force the British military to sharply reduce troop levels and scrap several developmental aircraft programs.
The Labour Party had also been planning serious cuts, but maintains that Cameron's measures are too severe. Labour leader Ed Miliband has accused the government of taking an "irresponsible gamble with our economy and, indeed, many of the frontline services people rely on."
Defending the plan, Osborne said, "It is a hard road, but it leads to a better future."
Afghan election: Nearly 1 in 4 ballots from last month's Afghan parliamentary election have been declared invalid.
- The Afghan government has reportedly been holding peace talks with the hardline, Pakistan-based Haqqani network.
- Tibetan students marched against plans to use the Chinese language exclusively in classes.
- South Korean authorities have arrested an alleged North Korean spy.
- Protesting workers rioted and blocked access to Paris' airports as demonstrations against a law raising the retirement age continued.
- Embattled Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero reshuffled his cabinet.
- Four Czech neo-Nazis were jailed for an arson attack on a Roma family.
- Iran says it will try the three captured U.S. hikers for spying.
- Egypt has shut down 12 private television channels and arrested dozens of opposition leaders ahead of next month's parliamentary elections.
- A Saudi prince was sentenced to 20 years in jail for killing one of his servants in a British hotel.
- Mexico seized more than 105 tons of marijuana belonging to the Sinaloa drug cartel.
- The United States and Cuba are in high-level talks over the release of an American contractor who has been held in Havana since December.
- Colombia's armed forces have set up a special unit to prevent rebel groups from obtaining nuclear weapons.
- Two demonstrators were killed by police in protests leading up to this Guinea's presidential runoff.
- A British aid worker captured in Somalia last week has been released.
- Human Rights Watch has accused Ethiopia of using foreign aid to suppress dissent.
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