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Strauss-Kahn detained over vice ring

French police detained former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahnfor questioning on Tuesday over allegations he took part in orgies in Paris and Washington paid for by a pair of businessmen. The 62-year-old former Socialist minister, who until last year was seen as the frontrunner to replace Nicolas Sarkozy as president of France, had been due to…

Afghan protests erupt over rumor of NATO troops burning the Koran

Afghan protesters firing slingshots and petrol bombs besieged the largest US-run military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday, furious over reports that NATO troops had set fire to copies of the Koran. Guards at Bagram airbase, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Kabul, responded by firing rubber bullets from a…

Scientists regenerate 30,000 year-old plant

Fruit seeds stored away by squirrels more than 30,000 years ago and found in Siberian permafrost have been regenerated into full flowering plants by scientists in Russia, a new study has revealed. The seeds of the herbaceous Silene stenophylla are far and away the oldest plant tissue to have been…

Stark warning emerges from summit: science is ‘under siege’

A stark theme emerged from an annual scientific get-together in Vancouver: the world must be helped to believe in science again or it could be too late to save our planet. Science is “under siege,” top academics and educators were warned repeatedly at the American Association for the Advancement of…

Riot police beat students in Spain protest: witnesses

VALENCIA, Spain — Baton-wielding riot police charged, beat and arrested several demonstrators at a student protest against spending cuts in the Spanish city of Valencia on Monday, reporters at the scene said. The clashes broke out in the mid-afternoon after students protesting against education budget cuts, which they say have…

Canada threatens trade war with EU over oil sands

MONTREAL — Canada has threatened to lodge a World Trade Organization complaint against the European Union if the bloc labels oil from Alberta’s tar sands as highly polluting, documents published Monday show. Environmental group Friends of the Earth Europe obtained a copy of a letter sent in December by Canada’s…

Science overturns view of humans as naturally ‘nasty’

VANCOUVER, Canada — Biological research increasingly debunks the view of humanity as competitive, aggressive and brutish, a leading specialist in primate behavior told a major science conference. “Humans have a lot of pro-social tendencies,” Frans de Waal, a biologist at Emory University in Atlanta, told the annual meeting of the…

Red Cross calls for halt to Syrian violence to deliver humanitarian aid

The Red Cross said Monday it was in talks with the Syrian authorities and rebels to halt the violence so that it can deliver aid, amid calls to allow women and children out of the besieged city of Homs. President Bashar al-Assad, meanwhile, again accused foreigners of funding and arming…

Pakistan makes domestic violence a criminal offense

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s Senate on Monday passed a bill that makes violence against women and children an offence carrying jail terms and fines, state media said. The Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill was introduced by Senator Nilofar Bakhtiar and passed unanimously by the upper house of the federal parliament,…

Animal diseases increasingly plague the oceans

VANCOUVER — When dead sea mammals started washing ashore on Canada’s west coast in greater numbers, marine biologist Andrew Trites was distressed to find that domestic animal diseases were killing them. Around the world, seals, otters and other species are increasingly infected by parasites and other diseases long common in…

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