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Topless women protest Putin’s visit to Germany

Topless female demonstrators shouted at Russian President Vladimir Putin as he toured an industrial fair with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Monday, media reported. Putin and Merkel were taking in a presentation of a new car model at the Volkswagen stand by the company’s chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, when the four…

Lance Armstrong’s former teammate will not face doping charges

A former team-mate of shamed cyclist Lance Armstrong, Norway’s Steffen Kjaergaard, will escape sanctions despite having admitted doping, the country’s anti-doping agency announced on Monday. Kjaergaard, who competed in the 2000 and 2001 Tour de France on Armstrong’s US Postal Service team, admitted in October last year that he took…

Hamas starts rounding up, beating young men for ‘inappropriate’ hairstyles

Hamas security forces in Gaza have been rounding up young men and forcing them to get haircuts on grounds of inappropriate hairstyles, a rights group has charged. Some of the youths have even been beaten for styling their hair in a way deemed unacceptable to Gaza’s ruling Islamist movement, or…

Deal between Syrian rebels and Kurds marked by mistrust

In the majority-Kurdish Sheikh Makqsud district of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, Arab rebels and Kurd fighters say they are fighting together against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. But on the ground, the reality is rather more complex. Standing at the entrance to Sheikh Makqsud, rebel commander Abu…

Putin critic and opposition leader: I’m ready for prison

Charismatic Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who goes on trial in just over one week, said Monday that he was mentally prepared for a prison sentence and had even packed a bag of clothes to take to jail. In an interview published in opposition New Times weekly, Navalny said that…

North Korea pulls 53,000 workers out of shared industrial zone with South Korea

North Korea announced Monday it would pull all its 53,000 workers out of the Kaesong joint industrial zone with South Korea and suspend all commercial operations in the complex, blaming “military warmongers”. North Korea “will withdraw all its employees from the zone”, Kim Yang-Gon, a senior ruling party official, said…

French foreign minister ‘absolutely’ denies ‘rumor’ of Swiss bank account

AFP – France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius denied a “rumor” in a newspaper report claiming that he may have a Swiss bank account, as the French government struggles to deal with a scandal over undeclared foreign bank holdings. “I absolutely deny the rumor, published in the Monday April 8 edition…

America stunned at diplomat’s death in Afghanistan

AFP – Relatives and colleagues of a young US diplomat killed in Afghanistan honored her as a smart woman just starting her career and eager to engage with locals in the war-ravaged country. Anne Smedinghoff, 25, was among at least five Americans killed in separate attacks Saturday, in the deadliest…

Venezuela’s opposition leader sees momentum key to succeeding Chavez

AFP – Hundreds of thousands of supporters on Sunday crammed Caracas’ streets in what opposition presidential hopeful Henrique Capriles, trailing in the polls, called a fast-changing tide. “Today, we are winning this contest,” Capriles, the 40-year-old governor of Miranda state, told masses of faithful, despite polls showing him as many…

Work gets underway exhuming poet Pablo Neruda’s remains

AFP – Experts on Sunday started work on opening the tomb of Chilean Nobel prize winning poet Pablo Neruda, to uncover his remains and determine if he died of cancer or was poisoned. The leftist author, who died 12 days after the 1973 military coup that ousted socialist president Salvador…

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