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Mali Islamists destroying ‘more Timbuktu shrines’

BAMAKO — Islamist rebels in northern Mali took hoes and chisels to the tombs of ancient Muslim saints in the city of Timbuktu for a second day, ignoring international pleas to halt their campaign of destruction. After smashing three ancient tombs on Saturday, the Islamist militants who consider the World…

‘Strikingly’ few women in Asia’s top jobs: report

SEOUL — Companies in Asia’s leading economies have “strikingly” few women in senior jobs, missing out on a vital pool of talent to fuel the region’s growth, consultancy firm McKinsey & Company said on Sunday. In a survey covering 744 firms of 10 major stock markets in the Asia-Pacific, McKinsey…

Health care ruling restores faith in Supreme Court

With Chief Justice John Roberts’ decisive swing vote to uphold “Obamacare,” the conservative-majority US Supreme Court has seen its reputation as an independent final arbiter restored, experts say. Roberts silenced critics who believed that the court would vote along partisan political lines and strike down President Barack Obama’s signature domestic…

Japan readies nuclear reactor as protests mount

Engineers were Sunday readying to refire a nuclear reactor, despite growing public protests in the aftermath of meltdowns at Fukushima, ending nearly two months in which Japan was nuclear-free. Control rods that have prevented an atomic reaction inside Unit No. 3 at the Oi plant in western Japan were set…

Iraqi women face court-ordered virginity tests

Iraqi women face court-ordered virginity tests that often show they were virgins until marriage but shame them nonetheless, doctors at an institute that carries out the tests and a lawyer told AFP. Remaining a virgin until marriage can be an issue of life or death for women in the Middle…

Devotees hope to duck California ‘foie-mageddon’ ban

Californian foie gras fans stuffed themselves at gastronomic last suppers this weekend, as a ban on the delicacy finally came into force after years of wrangling. But even before the midnight Saturday (0700 GMT Sunday) deadline, devotees of the prized French foodstuff — fatty liver, made by force-feeding ducks or…

Three astronauts land on Earth from ISS in Russian capsule

A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three astronauts on Sunday landed on schedule in the Kazakh steppe, the Russian mission control said. “At 12:14 Moscow time (0814 GMT) the Soyuz TMA-03M capsule landed with an international crew,” Russian flight control centre said after Russian Oleg Kononenko, NASA astronaut Don Pettit and…

Iran shrugs off EU oil embargo

TEHRAN — A European Union embargo on Iranian oil went into effect on Sunday, provoking anger in Tehran which says the measure will hurt talks with world powers over its sensitive nuclear activities. Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi sought to downplay the embargo as just the latest punishment in decades of…

Supreme Court faced with same-sex marriage appeal

WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court could decide later this year whether to take up the issue of gay marriage, after a group of lawmakers asked it be deemed unconstitutional, a court source said Saturday. The subject is a hot-button issue that soared to the forefront of the political debate…

Beating victim Rodney King laid to rest

LOS ANGELES — Rodney King, whose beating by police in 1992 sparked one of the worst urban riots in US history, was laid to rest in Los Angeles, two weeks after his death aged 47. Black rights campaigner the Reverend Al Sharpton called King a “symbol of forgiveness” ahead of…

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