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Philippine authorities angered over Dan Brown’s description of Manila as ‘gates of hell’

Philippine authorities Thursday reacted angrily over “Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown’s portrayal of Manila as “the gates of hell” in his latest novel. The book “Inferno” includes a character who describes the capital as a city of horrible traffic jams, suffocating pollution, massive poverty and a thriving child sex…

Ronald Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ project still hasn’t met original goal 30 years later

Three decades after Ronald Reagan launched his “Star Wars” project, the costly missile defense program has become a pillar of US strategy despite lingering doubts about its technology. No longer designed to counter a Soviet nuclear attack, the anti-missile network is supposed to thwart a “limited attack” from North Korea…

McDonald’s pairs with Barilla pasta to develop ‘Mediterranean diet’ menu items

Fast-food chain will sell pasta salad from Friday in attempt to Italianise menu after deal with Parma-based Barilla One is an iconic brand of Italian cuisine that has been in the same family for four generations. The other is one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world. They may,…

Celebrity pastor under fire after worshippers die in rush for ‘holy water’

TB Joshua promises to pay medical expenses from fatal stampede at Synagogue Church of All Nations in Ghana, says Afua Hirsch It’s the middle of a working day, in the middle of the week, but the trickle of worshippers at the Synagogue Church of All Nations is quickly becoming a…

48-year-old woman confronted London attackers to deflect danger

A woman who challenged knife-wielding assailants suspected of hacking to death a British soldier in London on Wednesday said she intervened because “it was better having them (the weapons) aimed on one person”. Cub scout leader Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, 48, explained in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph that one of the men told…

Dutch meat wholesaler arrested for ‘horsemeat fraud’

Dutch meat wholesaler Willy Selten was arrested on Thursday for allegedly selling 300 tonnes of horsemeat labelled as beef, the public prosecutor said. The prosecutor’s office said that Dutch food safety authority NVWA arrested the man, whom media identified as Selten, allegedly a key player in Europe’s horsemeat scandal, as…

Guatemala’s Maya outraged at genocide ruling annulment

Native Mayas who survived massacres during Guatemala’s 1960-1996 civil war voiced outrage Wednesday at the overturning of the genocide conviction of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt. Guatemala’s Constitutional Court on Monday struck down the 80-year sentence given to Rios Montt along with his conviction for genocide and war crimes. The…

American short-story writer Lydia Davis wins Booker International Prize

US writer Lydia Davis, best known for her unconventionally short stories, on Wednesday claimed the prestigious Man Booker International Prize at a London ceremony. The New York based author beat off competition from the nine other authors who made the shortlist to win the award, which honours “achievement in fiction…

Teen birth rate drops to record low in the U.S.

US teen births have dropped to a record low, but the country still has one of the highest rates among developed nations, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. “The overall rate declined 25 percent from 41.5 per 1,000 teenagers aged 15-19 in 2007 to 31.3 in 2011…

London attacker vows: ‘You people will never be safe’

One of the two alleged killers of a British soldier on a street in south-east London on Wednesday explained his actions on an amateur video obtained by the television channel ITV. The young black man, who is wearing jeans, sports shoes, a jacket and a black hat and holding a…

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