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Israel president hopeful Pope Francis can ignite interfaith peace talks

Israeli President Shimon Peres has raised the possibility of an interfaith conference on peace during a recent encounter with Pope Francis in Rome, the presidency said on Thursday. “The issue of a multi-faith conference was raised, and President Peres expressed his belief that Pope Francis can play an important role…

Maroon 5′s Adam Levine apologizes for ‘I hate this country’ remark

Patriots complain on Twitter after Maroon 5 frontman makes ‘lighthearted’ remark, perhaps unaware his mic was recording America won’t tolerate Adam Levine‘s “unpatriotic” exasperation. TheMaroon 5 frontman drew scores of complaints for quipping “I hate this country” on an episode of The Voice, requiring a formal statement to explain his remark. On Tuesday…

European council promises to comb U.S. wheat for Monsanto GMO strains

The European Commission said Thursday it has asked EU member states to check imports of wheat from the United States which may be tainted with a genetically modified strain made by US agrochemicals giant Monsanto. The Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, said it had informed the 27 member states…

Italian lawmaker promises bill to recognize same sex unions

A lawmaker from Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party said he was submitting a draft bill on Thursday to recognise same-sex unions, a day after France celebrated its first gay wedding. “We are very behind in terms of civil rights in Italy,” the deputy, Giancarlo Galan, told AFP, saying it…

Nigerian lawmakers enact same sex marriage ban with penalty of up to 14 years in prison

Nigerian lawmakers approved Thursday a bill to outlaw gay marriage and crack down on gay rights, including criminalising public displays of affection between same-sex couples. The House of Representatives unanimously approved the bill which provides for jail terms of up to 14 years for gay marriage. A gay rights bill…

Acne benefits of contraception outweigh blood clot risk: watchdog

An EU medicines watchdog on Thursday endorsed the safety of acne drug Diane-35, also widely used as a contraceptive, despite protests from France, which has suspended its use. The CMDh, which groups EU drug agencies, agreed with a ruling by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) two weeks ago that the…

Iran amends stoning-for-adultery law to allow judges discretion on type of execution

Iran has amended its internationally condemned law on stoning convicted adulterers to death to allow judges to impose a different form of execution, according to the revision seen by AFP on Thursday. The controversial practice, in which stones are thrown at the partially buried offender, has provoked outcries from human…

Hollywood filmmakers engage in ‘artistic surrender’ to keep markets in China open

In Hollywood, the screenwriter William Goldman once observed, “nobody knows anything”. Now, however, everybody knows at least one thing: whatever you do, be nice to China. If your movie features a Chinese villain, change his nationality. If your plot omits a scene in China, insert one – preferably with gleaming…

UN expert demands moratorium on killer ‘robot’ weapons

The international community must impose a moratorium on robot weapons, a UN expert told the world body’s top human rights forum Thursday, warning that they could enable war crimes to go unpunished. “Human rights requires that human beings should in one way or another retain meaningful control over weapons of…

U.S. and European firms take different paths in aftermath of Bangladesh factory tragedy

The wear-and-toss “fast fashion” craze has swept Europe and the United States in equal measure, but concern…  …

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