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Roman Polanski complains birth control pills are ‘masculinizing’ women

Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski on Saturday blamed birth control pills for “masculinising” women, as he premiered what he called a satire on sexism. Polanski unveiled “Venus in Fur” starring his wife Emmanuelle Seigner, which was the last movie in competition to be screened at the Cannes Film Festival. Asked by…

Chuck Hagel: Military sexual assault ‘a profound betrayal of sacred oaths’

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Saturday called for the “scourge” of sexual assaults within the military to be “stamped out,” in a speech at the West Point military academy in New York. Speaking at a graduation ceremony for newly commissioned officers, the Pentagon chief emphasized it would be their…

Obama: Effects of sexual assaults in the military ‘ripple far and wide’

President Barack Obama said Friday that members of the military guilty of sexual assaults threatened to undermine the trust and discipline vital to the strength of the US military machine. Obama delivered the warning at a graduation ceremony at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, following a spate of…

Former Guatemala president Alfonso Portillo extradited to U.S.

Guatemala extradited former president Alfonso Portillo to the United States to face charges of laundering $70 million of swindled government funds through US banks. Portillo, president 2000-2004, is the first former Latin American leader ever to be extradited to the United States. “Hasta luego (see you later), people of Guatemala,”…

New York beaches re-open seven months after Hurricane Sandy

Seven months after deadly superstorm Sandy devastated the coastline of New Jersey and parts of New York, all New York City beaches opened Friday at the start of the three-day Memorial Day weekend. New York City has eight public beaches along 14 miles (23 kilometers) of coastline — Brooklyn (southeast),…

Yemenis in Guantanamo hopeful of transfer after Obama’s speech

Weakened by a prolonged hunger strike, Yemeni detainees who have languished at Guantanamo Bay for years see growing hope of finally returning home after a ban on transfers to Yemen was lifted. If fulfilled, President Barack Obama’s pledge Thursday to end a moratorium on sending prisoners to the Gulf state…

Mexico sees fewer drug-related murders

The drug-related murders that plagued Mexico for six years have decreased in the past six months, while fewer people have disappeared than previously thought, the interior minister said Friday. Mexico’s top security official, Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, said deaths linked to organized crime have fallen by around 20 percent since…

Japanese mayor to apologize for saying U.S. troops need ‘comfort women’

A Japanese politician who drew fire for calling “comfort women” a wartime necessity has been forced to apologise for suggesting US soldiers in Okinawa visit brothels to vent their violent frustrations. Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto had suggested that US servicemen in the southern prefecture of Okinawa, where relations are frequently…

Afghan security forces praised after routing Taliban assault on Kabul

The Afghan government lauded its security forces Saturday for beating back a Taliban assault on central Kabul that left one policeman, two civilians and all four militants dead. Explosions rocked the city for several hours on Friday after insurgents launched a coordinated suicide and gun attack centred on a compound…

Palestinian president says peace deal with Israel ‘still possible’

Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is “still possible”, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Saturday, hailing US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to revive stalled talks. In a speech to the World Economic Forum in the town of Al-Shunah on the banks of the Dead Sea in Jordan, Abbas…

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