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UN report: Afghan insurgents use marijuana fields as hiding places

The amount of Afghan farmland planted with cannabis fell by nearly a fifth last year after one province launched a fierce eradication campaign, but a bumper crop meant that actual production rose compared with 2011, according to the UN. Officials in southern Uruzgan province, which borders Kandahar and Helmand, largely…

Religiosity continuing to decline in Britain

The number of Britons who are religious has declined significantly in the last 30 years and the number of adherents to the established Church of England has halved, a survey revealed on Tuesday. Just 52 percent of people said they belong to a religion, down from 68 percent in 1983,…

Switzerland decides 16-year-old girls can no longer be prostitutes

The Swiss parliament voted Tuesday to raise the legal prostitution age from 16 to 18, tightening the country’s liberal sex-trade laws to bring them in line with European standards. The lower house of parliament voted to change the Swiss penal code to make it illegal to pay for sex with…

Indonesia’s forestry minister wants to deport Harrison Ford for ‘attacking’ him with questions

Indonesia’s forestry minister has accused Hollywood legend Harrison Ford of subjecting him to a rude interview on climate change that left him “shocked”, an official said Tuesday. The “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars” actor, who is making part of an environmental documentary in Indonesia, attacked the minister with questions during…

Three-year-old special needs child ‘starved like people in concentration camps starved’ by parents

The parents of Nathalyz Rivera were arrested on suspicion of homicide and child abuse after the three-year-old, who had been born blind and with Down syndrome, was brought to Philadelphia’s Einstein Medical Center and pronounced dead. She weighed eleven pounds, and her body was covered in festering wounds that doctors…

Syria tentatively accepts Russia’s suggestion they surrender chemical weapons arsenal

Moscow is currently in talks with Damascus to develop a “concrete plan” for the Syrian regime to hand over its chemical weapons arsenal, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday. “We (Russia) are currently working on preparing a workable, precise and concrete plan and for this there are literally right…

Steve Jobs is ‘big brother’ and smartphone users are ‘zombies’ in NSA cell phone tapping presentation

< Just in case you’re not convinced the intelligence community views the public (American or otherwise) as little more than exploitable data generators, two paragraphs from Der Spiegel’s full article on the NSA’s cell phone exploits should do the trick…  …

Amount of raw materials needed to sustain economies of developed world is significantly underestimated, research finds

The true raw material footprint of the world’s leading economies has been revealed thanks to new research — and the findings don’t bode well, the amount of raw materials necessary to sustain the economies of the developed world is considerably…  …

‘Fearless’ student whose gang rape and murder shook India remembered as court finds assailants ‘guilty’

Feted in death as India’s ‘Braveheart’, the 23-year-old whose gang rape rocked a nation is remembered by family and friends as a fearless and inspirational student with a fierce determination. The story of a young woman whose father had moved from the countryside to the city and sold his ancestral…

Do big balls make for bad dads? New study compares testicle size and fathering habits

A US study Monday measuring fathering habits and testicle size suggested that bigger may not be better when it comes to the day-to-day raising of small children. The research involved 70 US men of varying ethnicities — most were Caucasian, five were Asian and 15 were African-American. All were the…

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