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Blind Chinese activist completes U.S. odyssey

Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng began a new life in the United States, praising Beijing’s “restraint and calm” as he sought to draw a line under a month-long tussle that tested China-US ties. Chen on Saturday asked to say a “few simple words” as he, his wife Yuan Weijing, and their two young…

Water supply cut near Tokyo due to toxin contamination

The water supply to tens of thousands of households near Tokyowas cut off Saturday after local checks found it was contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical. The city of Noda, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) from central Tokyo, said it had stopped supplies to a major part of the city. Most of the neighbouring city of Kashiwa also has…

Obama says world will try for Burma reform

President Barack Obama, fresh from easing US sanctions on Myanmar, said at the G8 summit Saturday that world powers would do all they could to promote the country’s political reforms. Obama lifted some investment restrictions on the nominally civilian-ruled nation this week, hoping to reward President Thein Sein for taking steps toward political change, and to encourage…

Philippine rally demands Lady Gaga ban

Hundreds of protesters marched in the Philippine capital Saturday to demand a ban on pop phenomenon Lady Gaga’s upcoming concerts, claiming her lyrics were anti-Christian. About 50 riot police blocked a major Manila intersection to stop the marchers from reaching the shopping mall complex where the American singer is due to perform…

First tropical storm of season forms off U.S. east coast

The first tropical storm of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane seasonformed Saturday off the southeastern US coast with winds of 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, US weather forecasters said. Dubbed “Alberto,” the storm was 140 miles (225 kilometers) southeast of Charleston, South Carolina, moving southwest at a speed of three miles (six kilometers) per…

Jewish settlers ‘uproot trees near Hebron’

Dozens of Palestinian olive trees and grape vines were destroyed and anti-Arab graffiti was daubed in groves of the West Bank villageof Beit Omar, residents said on Saturday. The villagers said the attack had taken place on Friday night or early Saturday and blamed it on Jewish settlers of nearby Bat Ayin settlement, which…

Jessica Chastain calls Cannes feminist protest ‘silly’

US actress Jessica Chastain, in Cannes for her role in a film vying for the top prize, said a controversy about the lack of female directors in the line-up for the Palme d’Or was pointless. “I think it’s silly,” she told AFP in an interview. “I think a film should be judged on…

Cannes board brushes off sexism row

The Cannes Film Festival hit back at charges of sexism in its official line-up Saturday, saying it would continue to select pictures based solely on their merits. In response to a mounting row over the all-male selection for the competition at the world’s top cinema showcase, the event’s board said in a…

Police: 20,000 anti-capitalist protesters march in Frankfurt

More than 20,000 people on Saturday joined a march through the centre of the German financial capital Frankfurt, police said, in a protest against European austerity programmes. It was the only demonstration of the anti-capitalist movement known as “Blockupy Frankfurt” authorised by the city and justice authorities. Previous protests over…

Artists lead thousands against Putin in Moscow

Dozens of Russian artists with brooms in hand carted their most expressive works across the boulevards of Moscow on Saturday in a show of exasperation at Vladimir Putin’s return to a third Kremlin term. Several thousand Muscovites joined them in a second such intellectual walk in a week. More than 10,000 had supported…

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