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Russian parliament will debate taking children from same-sex parents

Russian lawmakers will in February debate a bill that could see homosexual couples lose custody of their children, parliamentary documents showed Wednesday. The debate will likely coincide with the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi which have already been marred by boycott calls over Russia’s controversial new anti-gay legislation. The…

Gentrification hurting Chinatown neighborhoods across the U.S.

Faced with a proliferation of luxury housing and chain stores, America’s Chinatowns risk extinction as new immigrants are priced out of city centers, an advocacy group said Wednesday. A study found that foreign-born residents have become a minority in the Chinatowns of New York, Boston and Philadelphia. The number of…

DDT helping South Africa drastically reduce deaths from malaria

South Africa has turned the tide on malaria, cutting mortality rates by 85 percent over the last 12 years, and hopes to soon eliminate the disease, a report stated Wednesday amid controversy over the use of highly controversial DDT. Last year, only 70 people died from the mosquito-borne disease, compared…

Judge blocks Bloomberg’s plan for all-Nissan New York taxi fleet

A New York state judge has blocked New York City’s $1 billion plan to replace the city’s yellow cabs with a taxi fleet made by Japanese automaker Nissan. The plan by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration to create the “Taxi of Tomorrow” with a fleet of Nissan minivans breached the authority…

Afghan publishers break through and debut at industry gala

Publishers from Afghanistan, a country torn by three decades of conflict, are for the first time showcasing their books at the industry’s biggest meet-up, which opened in Germany Wednesday. Mohammad Ibrahim Shariti, who owns and runs one of Afghanistan’s biggest publishing companies, said he represents his country’s about 60 publishers…

Philippines officials begin ranking restaurants by tax payments

The Philippines has put out a unique ratings guide for restaurants — ranking them by taxes they pay rather than their menu to shame those cheating the state out of revenues. The gradings system, a unique twist on the world-famous Michelin guide, is part of a government drive to bolster…

U.S. calls on Iran to ‘meet its own denuclearization commitments’

A top US official on Wednesday stepped up overtures to Iran to prove that it wants a nuclear proliferation deal with the West. “We should be cautious but cognizant of potentially historic opportunities,” Rose Gottemoeller, US assistant secretary of state for arms control told a UN disarmament committee. “We must…

Vietnam seizes massive shipment of illegal ivory

Vietnam has seized two tonnes of illegal elephant tusks found stashed in bags of shells being shipped to China, state media reported Wednesday. Customs officials found the tusks in a shipping container that had been transported to the northern port city of Hai Phong from Malaysia, according to the state-run…

Obama demands immediate restoration of military death benefits

President Barack Obama demanded immediate action after learning the US government shutdown had cut off death benefits to relatives of soldiers recently killed in action, his spokesman said Wednesday. Obama expected a solution by the end of Wednesday, Jay Carney said, adding the US leader was “disturbed” to find out…

North Korea says it is ready for a military confrontation

North Korea took fresh aim at the United States Wednesday over a three-nation naval drill, accusing it of “serious military provocation” and branding the exercise an “attack on our efforts for peace”. The planned drill in waters around the Korean peninsula involves South Korea, Japan and the United States, which…

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