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UN calls for ‘billionaires tax’ to help world’s poor

The United Nations on Thursday called for a tax on billionaires to help raise more than $400 billion a year for poor countries. An annual lump sum payment by the super-rich is one of a host of measures including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, currency exchanges or financial transactions…

Restaurant groups file suit against California foie gras ban

Days after a foie gras ban came into force in California, a Los Angeles restaurant group and others have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the bill outlawing the controversial gastronomic delicacy. Hot’s Restaurant Group, Canada’s Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec and New York-based producer Hudson Valley Foie Gras claim the ban is “unconstitutional, vague and…

Libyan oil terminals shut down by demonstrators

Two oil terminals in east Libya were forced to halt production Thursday by federalism backers, an AFP journalist at the scene and local sources said. “The harbour is closed… The pumping and loading of oil has been stopped… The group that came were federalists,” said Tumi Shakari, a supervisor at a major oil terminal in the port…

Former Argentine dictators sentenced to long jail terms in “stolen babies” case

Two former Argentine dictators were handed heavy prison sentences Thursday for their involvement in the kidnapping of babies from leftist activists killed during the 1976-1983 dictatorship. Jorge Videla, 86, was sentenced to 50 years in prison and Reynaldo Bignone, 84, was given a 15-year jail term, presiding judge Maria Roqueta said as she read the…

EU votes to end whaling in Greenland

Denmark on Thursday lost a bid to extend whaling by Greenland’sindigenous people beyond this year, with EU nations sharing concerns that tourists were being served a glut of whale meat. In a surprise at International Whaling Commission talks in Panama, all other European Union nations voted against fellow member Denmark after saying they failed to reach…

Hamburg moves forward with concert hall designed to rival Sydney Opera House

German city Hamburg ended a row Thursday with the firm building a concert hall intended to rival the Sydney Opera House, already years behind schedule and millions over budget. Under the deal between the local government and the construction company Hochtief announced in a joint statement, the Elbphilharmonie hall, which…

Google and Italy partner to put film heritage on YouTube

US Internet giant Google and Italy’s Istituto Luce-Cinecitta on Thursday announced a joint project to make much of the country’s silver screen heritage available on a YouTube channel. “This announcement represents an important step in our efforts to safeguard Italy’s rich culture and allow global public access to it,” said…

UN Human Rights Council backs Internet freedom

The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva passed its first resolution on Internet freedom on Thursday with a call for all states to support individuals’ rights online as much as offline. Despite opposition on the issue from countries including China, Russia and India, countries promoting the resolution hailed the…

No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani hosts fundraiser for Obama

No doubt about it: pop singer Gwen Stefani is joining a galaxy of stars helping to raise money for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. The Hollywood Reporter said Monday that mother-of-two Stefani will host a “family day” event on Sunday August 12 at her Beverly Hills home, to be attended…

Police: 2,000-person Pakistani mob kills man for burning Koran

A 2,000-strong Pakistani mob snatched a mentally unstable man from a police station, beat him to death and torched his body after he allegedly burned pages from a Koran, police said Thursday. The mob ransacked the police station in a village on the outskirts of central Pakistan’s Bahawalpur city, some…

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