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India’s Supreme Court recognizes ‘transgender’ as a third gender in landmark ruling

India’s highest court ruled Tuesday that a person can be legally recognised as gender-neutral, a landmark judgement that raises hopes of an end to discrimination against several million transgenders and eunuchs. The Supreme Court also said transgenders should be included in government welfare schemes offered to other minority groups in…

Iraq closes down infamous Abu Ghraib prison over security fears

Iraq has closed Abu Ghraib prison, made infamous by Saddam Hussein’s regime and US forces, due to security concerns following a mass breakout last year, the justice ministry said Tuesday. The country is suffering a protracted surge in violence that has claimed more than 2,550 lives so far this year,…

Communities trying to bring feral cat populations under control

It’s Friday night in Eckington, a quiet residential corner of Washington, and the back alley is crawling with feral cats — rich pickings for seasoned cat-trapper Marty King. “Here, kitty kitty kitty kitty,” said King after setting four metal traps baited with flaked shrimp and fish cat food and lined…

Mini-sub aborts first search for MH370

A mini-sub hunting for Malaysian jet MH370 aborted its first search of the remote Indian Ocean seabed after just six hours because the water was deeper than its operating limits, officials said Tuesday. The unmanned submarine loaded with sonar to map the ocean floor deployed Monday night from the Australian…

Malta legalizes civil unions and adoption rights for gay couples

Malta’s parliament passed a law Monday legalising same-sex civil partnerships and giving gay couples the right to adopt. The Mediterranean island country’s parliament passed the bill by a vote of 37-0. The opposition abstained because it opposes gay adoption but not gay unions, said its leader Simon Busuttil. Thousands of…

Researchers: ‘Thunder god’ herb better for rheumatoid arthritis than widely-prescribed drugs

A Chinese herb called thunder god vine works better than a widely-prescribed pharmaceutical drug at easing rheumatoid arthritis, a study published on Monday said. The herb has long been used in China to treat this potentially crippling autoimmune disease, which typically strikes hand and foot joints. It is known in…

Norway gives China only existing copy of 1927 silent film thought to have been lost

Norway will hand to China a copy of The Cave of the Silken Web, a classic Chinese film that had long thought to be lost, the National Library of Norway said Monday. The delivery of the silent film from 1927 is expected to arrive in Beijing on Tuesday. Diplomatic relations…

U.S. hints at more sanctions against Russia after tense phone call between Obama and Putin

Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin confronted one another in telephone talks Monday as a standoff over Ukraine escalated after the CIA chief visited Kiev and a Russian war plane “buzzed” a U.S. destroyer. Washington said it was consulting European allies and hinted that more sanctions on Russia’s economy could…

‘Heartbleed’ online bug hits 1.5 million users of British parenting site

British parenting website Mumsnet is the latest organisation to have been hacked due to the “Heartbleed” bug, founder Justine Roberts revealed on Monday. “Last week we became aware of the Heartbleed bug and immediately applied a fix to close the OpenSSL security hole,” she said in a statement. “However, it…

Guardian and Washington Post share Pulitzer Prize for NSA reporting

The Washington Post and The Guardian US were awarded the Pulitzer Prize on Monday for public service journalism for revelations on secret US surveillance programs. The two newspapers shared the prestigious US award for reporting based on documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, the Pulitzer committee…

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