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Gold trade booms in war-torn Syria

ALEPPO, Syria — Abu Salem used to sell lunchtime sandwiches to office workers in Syria’s commercial capital. Since a rebel offensive turned Aleppo into a warzone last July, he has been buying up their heirlooms. In Syria’s northern metropolis, as across the Middle East, those who can afford to have…

U.S. seeks public comment on proposed European Union trade deal

The United States put its proposed trade partnership with the European Union to the public Monday, marking another step toward creating the world’s largest free-trade area. The US Trade Representative (USTR) said it was seeking public comments on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, including regarding US interests and…

Syria marks deadliest month with 6,000 deaths

The month of March was the deadliest in Syria’s two-year conflict, with more than 6,000 people killed, a monitoring group said on Monday. “At least 6,005 people were killed in March. A total of 2,080 were civilians, among them 298 children aged under 16. Another 291 fatalities were women,” said…

Study maps sea turtle deaths

Sea turtles can get accidentally caught and killed in fishing operations, and new research out Monday seeks to map this phenomenon for the first time in a bid to save the endangered creatures. The study in the journal Ecosphere said sea turtles in the East Pacific, North Atlantic, Southwest Atlantic…

Mandela spent part of the day with family at hospital

Nelson Mandela spent part of Monday with his family at his hospital bedside, the South African government said, adding that there was no “significant change in his condition”. “He spent part of Family Day today with some members of his family,” the presidency said in a statement in its first…

Greece to begin privatizing rail system in June

Greece will in June launch a tender to privatise the national rail operator Trainose, officials said on Monday, with the aim of finding a buyer by early 2014 to keep international credits flowing. “The privatisation of Trainose is now on track,” Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis said in a statement. “The…

Lawyer: Suspected Basque separatist leader received ‘shameful’ treatment before death

The lawyer for the late suspected leader of Basque separatist group ETA said Monday she planned to lodge a complaint over his “shameful” hospital treatment in Paris ahead of his death at the weekend. Javier Lopez Pena, who used the alias Thierry, died at the age of 54 in a…

Iranian dairy company unveils five-ton ice cream tub to break world record

An Iranian dairy company unveiled a five-ton tub of chocolate ice cream in Tehran on Monday in a bid to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records. The company, Choopan, put the giant tub, which is more than two metres (6.5 feet) wide and 1.60 metres (5.2 feet)…

Indonesian officials seize 700 endangered pig-nosed turtles

Indonesian authorities have seized nearly 700 endangered pig-nosed turtles at the main airport serving the capital Jakarta, an official said Monday. The turtles, which were less than a month old, had been transported from the easternmost province of Papua to Soekarno-Hatta airport on a local carrier but their final destination…

Pope encourages ‘daily engagement’ of Easter sacraments

Pope Francis urged the faithful to translate the sacraments they received during Easter Sunday into their daily lives as he addressed tens of thousands the day after the holiest day in the Christian calendar. Speaking from a window in the pontifical palace the new pope urged the faithful crowded into…

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