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Texas students to seek federal help to soften ‘cruel’ truancy policies

By Stephanie Simon (Reuters) – Several students from northeast Texas said they plan to file a federal complaint on Wednesday accusing their school districts of cruel and unusual punishment by prosecuting them in criminal court for missing school or being late for class. The civil rights complaint, a copy of…

Turkish riot police fight protesters as Taksim Square is cleared

By Nick Tattersall and Ayla Jean Yackley ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish riot police fought running battles with pockets of protesters overnight, clearing the central Istanbul square that has been the focus of nearly two weeks of protests against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. By dawn, Taksim Square, strewn with wreckage from…

Actor John Krasinski on life after ‘The Office’

By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) – John Krasinski is best known for playing the handsome, affable salesman Jim Halpert on the hit TV series “The Office,” but that could change as the versatile actor tackles new projects, including writing two new scripts. The Massachusetts native will appear on the…

Ten million children worldwide work as domestic servants

As many as 10.5 million children worldwide work as domestic servants, in what can be hazardous and even slave-like conditions, the International Labour Organization said Wednesday. The UN labour agency said almost three quarters of such youngsters are girls, and that 6.5 million child servants are between five and 14…

Mayor Bloomberg unveils plan to save New York from climate change

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has unveiled a $19.5 billion plan to boost the city’s defenses against climate change, seven months after superstorm Sandy devastated the US East Coast. The blueprint features structures like a series of six-meter-high (20-foot) waterfront walls and dikes to prevent flooding of the kind that…

Brazil’s indigenous activists step protests over land rights

Indigenous activists occupied the headquarters of a federal agency here Tuesday as part of mounting protests against government policies and the construction of a controversial dam in the Amazon. The natives arrived in the Brazilian capital a week ago for talks with authorities after occupying one of the Belo Monte…

Rural Chinese children ‘left behind’ as parents join mass migration to the cities

Six-year-old Keke looks silently from a bare living room at her closest companion: a grandmother who resents having to raise her. Keke is one of China’s 61 million “left-behind” children, whose parents have joined the mass migration to cities where they can earn higher wages — but cannot afford to…

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard subject of ‘grossly sexist’ menu at party fundraising dinner

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday accused the opposition of a pattern of misogynist behaviour, branding a menu for a party fundraiser “grossly sexist and offensive” after it featured a quail dish named after her that offered “small breasts” and “huge thighs”. The menu was used at a dinner…

Brain surgery forces halt to Mumford and Sons tour

Chart-topping English indie folk rock band Mumford and Sons postponed three sell-out shows on their US tour Tuesday while bassist Ted Dwane undergoes surgery for a blood clot. Writing on its website, the group — winners of this year’s Grammy for best album — said scans had revealed a blood…

Clown wins lawsuit over FHM magazine’s drug addict jibe

A clown won a lawsuit against the South African edition of men’s magazine FHM after the publication printed his picture with a report likening jesters to cross-dressing drug addicts. FHM used in its December 2007 issue a stock image of Puddles the Clown alongside an article branding clowns “grown men…

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