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Olympic torch brought to London by commando descending from military helicopter

The Olympic flame made a dramatic arrival in London on Friday when it was flown in by military helicopter and lowered to the ground by a marine commando a week ahead of the opening ceremony. As the sun went down over the British capital, Royal Marine Martyn Williams abseiled from…

Russian city prosecutes 73 people for ‘homosexual propaganda’

Seventy-three people have been prosecuted for violating new anti-gay legislation imposed in Russia’s former imperial city Saint Petersburg four months ago, police said Friday. The law which punishes public homosexual and paedophile “propaganda” with fines of up to 500,000 rubles (12,800 euros/$15,600) has been criticised by human rights activists as…

Liberian Senate votes on same sex marriage ban

The Liberian Senate on Friday voted unanimously to approve a constitutional amendment prohibiting marriage between gay couples. While homosexuality is considered taboo in Liberia, and ‘voluntary sodomy’ considered a criminal offence, the question of gay marriage had not been expressly addressed in law. The amendment was made to section 2.3…

North Korea to ‘completely review’ nuclear issue

North Korea said Friday it had no choice but to “completely review” the nuclear issue after accusing the United States and South Korea over a plot to blow up a statue of its founding leader. The foreign ministry did not elaborate on what was meant by a review, but it…

Russian anti-Putin female punk band ‘Pussy Riot’ kept in jail

A Moscow court Friday ordered three young women on trial for staging an anti-Putin concert in a Moscow church to stay in jail until next year, a surprise move their lawyers branded “repression”. The Khamovnichesky court ruled that the detention of the members of the Pussy Riot punk rock group…

Food security still a concern in Somalia: UN

Somalia has made strides toward food security one year since its famine but the situation remains critical, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation said Friday. “Today Somalia is on the path to recovery but the situation remains critical and continued aid is vital in order to preserve food security,” the…

Yale University defends restrictions on political activity at Singapore campus

Yale University, one of the leading centres of liberal education in the United States, on Friday defended controversial restrictions on protests and political parties at its new Singapore campus. Yale-NUS College, a partnership with the National University of Singapore, was launched with “full awareness” of the city-state’s laws governing freedom…

PETA urges Indian snake charmers to switch to fakes

Animal rights group PETA on Friday called on India’s snake charmers to use fake reptiles during an upcoming serpent festival and spare the animals their annual torture. The Indian unit of US-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said snakes were abused during the annual Naag Panchami festival,…

Sea rise threatens ‘paradise’ Down Under

When Elaine Pearce left Sydney for the seaside peace of Old Bar 12 years ago she was assured her new house was a solid investment, with a century’s worth of frontage to guard against erosion. But three neighbours have already lost their homes to the rising ocean and there are…

Outcry as Aussie women’s basket team fly economy

Australian basketball officials on Friday said they would review travel policies after stinging criticism that the men’s team travelled to the London Olympics in business class but the women in economy. Sports Minister Kate Lundy called for more equitable arrangements after learning that the Australian Opals, captained by global star…

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