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Leprosy: an ancient disease thrives in 21st century

It has been called the world’s oldest recorded disease, an evil that humans have known for more than 3,500 years, as papyri from ancient Egypt testify. Yet drugs to cure leprosy are cheap, plentiful and effective. So why is this biblical curse still around? Doctors speaking ahead of World Leprosy…

At least 55 dead in Venezuela prison riot

At least 55 people were killed and 90 others wounded in clashes between prison gangs and security guards at a facility in northwest Venezuela, a hospital director said Saturday. Television images had earlier shown National Guard troops surrounding the Uribana prison in Lara state as inmates in bloody clothes were…

Judges slap down Obama ‘recess appointments’

Judges slap down Obama 'recess appointments.' Case headed to Supreme Court? The partisan battle over “recess appointments” took a new turn Friday when a federal appeals court ruled that President Obama violated the Constitution when he made such appointments to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). In…

Obama vows to watch U.S. financial industry to prevent ‘irresponsible behavior’

President Barack Obama promised Saturday to watch the US financial industry to prevent what he called “irresponsible behavior” as he defended his nominations to key financial watchdog agencies. The comments came after Obama nominated Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission and Richard Cordray to continue as…

Kyrgyzstan cracks down on bride snatching

Kyrgyzstan on Saturday signed into law harsher measures against men who kidnap women to force them into marriage, introducing prison terms of up to 10 years. Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev signed new legislation punishing men who snatch brides with up to seven years in prison. Previously men faced only three…

Leftist Zeman wins Czech presidency, trumps aristocrat

Czechs chose leftist ex-premier Milos Zeman as their new president in Saturday’s runoff in the EU republic’s first direct election, defeating Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, an aristocrat whose Sex Pistols-inspired social media campaign fell flat. The burly, silver-haired Zeman garnered 54.82-percent support with virtually all votes counted, against 45.17 percent…

China must modernize before boosting global role, official tells Davos

China’s new leadership will focus on modernising the country before it increases Beijing’s role in international affairs, a top official told the Davos forum on Saturday. Senior Chinese planning official Zhang Xiaoqiang told economic and business leaders gathered in the Swiss ski resort that the whole world would benefit if…

One-third of fish caught in English Channel have plastic contamination

Fish were found to contain small pieces of plastic known as ‘microbeads’, in a study of 10 species One-third of fish caught off the south-west coast of England have traces of plastic contamination from sources including sanitary products and carrier bags, scientists have found. The Plymouth University study, published in…

Iowa Democratic Senator Tom Harkin to retire

Democratic Iowa Senator Tom Harkin has announced that he will not seek re-election at the end of his term. Harkin, who is 73, told the Associated Press in an interview that he intends to retire. “It’s just time to step aside,” he said, noting that at the end of his…

U.S. sees signs that China is tiring of North Korea’s antics

US sees signs that China is tiring of North Korea's antics US officials are taking heart in mounting evidence that China, while still worried about the repercussions of a North Korean collapse, is tiring of protecting its troublesome ally. Though wary of each other on other international issues, the United…

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