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Palestinians prepare for return of ‘Arab Idol’ winner

Thousands of Gaza residents on Tuesday gathered at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, eagerly awaiting the arrival home of a 23-year-old Palestinian who won this year’s prestigious Arab Idol talent show. Young and old alike waved Palestinian flags and held up posters of Mohammed Assaf, raising banners congratulating him…

Topless protesters disrupt call for law reform in Tunisia

The European Commission on Tuesday urged Tunisia to reform criminal laws from its previous authoritarian regime as three topless feminist activists staged a protest in Brussels by jumping on visiting Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh’s car. “Stop Repression!” and “Free Amina!” the activists shouted, before being led away by police.…

‘Digital detox’ packages gaining popularity with heavy tech users

Tired of checking your smartphone every few minutes for new emails, likes or retweets? Do you spend more time looking at your device than chatting to your date? Are you close to a digital burn-out? Fear not, an increasing number of options are available for those seeking to detox from…

Massachusetts voters to decide on Kerry’s Senate replacement

BOSTON (Reuters) – Massachusetts voters go to the polls on Tuesday to choose between a Republican newcomer and a veteran Democratic Congressman hoping to preserve the majority his party holds in the U.S. Senate. Representative Edward Markey has enjoyed a strong lead in polls since launching his campaign six months…

European Union agrees to new membership talks with Turkey

European Union ministers agreed Tuesday to reopen Turkey’s accession talks despite reticence from Germany and others over Ankara’s tough crackdown on protests. Ireland, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said EU ministers had finally agreed to resume membership talks with Turkey after a three-year break. In Ankara, the foreign…

Mystery girl to testify in Trayvon Martin murder case

By Barbara Liston SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) – Prosecutors in the Florida murder trial of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman will reveal a star witness for the first time on Tuesday, the girl Trayvon Martin was talking with in the last minutes of his life. The teenage girl, known as Witness #8…

Silvio Berlusconi found guilty of paying for sex with underage prostitute

Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister and head of the main coalition partner in the current government, has been found guilty of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his office to cover it up. In a highly anticipated verdict at the end of a sensational trial…

Comprehensive immigration reform bill passes key test vote in the Senate

Hopes of securing a landslide Senate vote in favour of immigration reform were hampered by summer storms on Monday night after several lawmakers were prevented from flying to Washington in time for a key vote. Nevertheless, the efforts to legalise an estimated 11 million undocumented migrants in the US received…

Indiana grain silo explosion kills one

By Brendan O’Brien (Reuters) – An explosion in a grain silo killed an employee at an agricultural co-op in rural northwestern Indiana on Monday, authorities said. James Swank, 67, of Union Mills was killed in the afternoon explosion at the Co-Alliance fertilizer and grain facility in Union Mills, some 70…

Obama administration fights claims of incompetence as Snowden saga continues

By Andy Sullivan and David Ingram WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration has spent the past few weeks arguing it can wield power responsibly after Edward Snowden unveiled its sweeping spying programs. Now the administration must prove it can wield power effectively. As the 30-year-old leads the world’s lone superpower…

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