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Psych ward verdict for Russian protester ‘a return to Soviet psychiatric persecution of dissidents’

The condemnation this week of protester Mikhail Kosenko to forced psychiatric treatment has sparked debate that Russia is returning to the Soviet practice of punitive psychiatry to silence its critics. Kosenko, who had been taking medication for several years for a mild form of schizophrenia, was given a new, more…

Second endangered orangutan dies at Indonesian ‘death zoo’

An endangered Borneo orangutan died Thursday at Indonesia’s “death zoo”, the latest in a series of suspicious animal deaths that have prompted calls to close the notorious facility. Fifteen-year-old Betty the orangutan had difficulty breathing before she died, Surabaya Zoo spokesman Agus Supangkat said, adding she had just undergone a…

Pakistani Taliban say Malala has done ‘nothing’ to earn human rights prize

The Pakistani Taliban Thursday said teenage activist Malala Yousafzai had done “nothing” to deserve a prestigious EU rights award and vowed to try again to kill her. The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov human rights prize to the 16-year-old, who has become a global ambassador for the right of all…

Canada’s Alice Munro wins Nobel Literature Prize

Canada’s Alice Munro won the Nobel Literature Prize on Thursday for her short stories that focus on the frailties of the human condition She is just the 13th woman to win the coveted award, and the first Canadian. The Swedish Academy described Munro, 82, as a “master of the contemporary…

Missing British woman’s body found in stairwell of San Francisco hospital

A body found in a U.S. hospital stairwell was identified as that of a British woman who went missing from the medical center over two weeks ago, prompting a huge search. Fifty-seven year old Lynne Spalding was last seen on September 21 at the San Francisco General Hospital, where she…

Australian police storm Hells Angels’ hideouts using new anti-fortification law

More than 700 Australian police swooped on the Hells Angels biker gang Thursday in a series of heavily-armed raids in Melbourne and its surrounds, seizing guns, ammunition, drugs and cash. In a coordinated dawn operation, police stormed some 60 clubhouses and properties simultaneously to clamp down on an escalating war…

Snowden’s father arrives in Moscow to visit fugitive son

The father of U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden arrived early Thursday in Moscow, hoping to meet his son for the first time since the latter became a fugitive. Lon Snowden arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport, where his son had spent more than a month in transit limbo before Moscow agreed…

Asian shares mixed as U.S. debt deadline approaches

Asian markets were mixed on Thursday as traders nervously awaited signs of progress in solving a budget stand-off in Washington that threatens to plunge the U.S. into default. President Barack Obama said he will meet leaders of the Republicans and Democrats to try to break the deadlock, which has shut…

Lab mice breakthrough offers Alzheimer’s hope

Scientists on Thursday said they had a drug that in mice helped prevent prion disease and may also work on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain disorders that share a similar mechanism. Still at a very early and experimental stage, the drug blocks disruption of the brain’s defense system, something that…

Womens’ soccer star Abby Wambach marries teammate

US women’s football star Abby Wambach married her longtime partner and fellow footballer Sarah Huffman, taking to Twitter Wednesday to thank fans for their support. “Sarah and I wanted to thank everyone for all the love and support,” Wambach tweeted. “We couldn’t be happier. What an amazing week it’s been.…

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