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U.S. launches new major anti-smoking campaign

US health officials launched a hard-hitting offensive aimed at slashing the numbers of smokers across the country following the success of a similar campaign last year. The new campaign encourages smokers to kick the habit with a series of adverts spotlighting the wrenching personal stories of individuals battling smoking-related illnesses…

Guantanamo Bay hunger strikers say they’ve been denied drinking water and heat

Prisoners taking part in a growing hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay complained that their handlers have denied them drinking water and kept their cells at “extremely frigid” temperatures. US attorneys claimed Thursday that the allegations were “false,” as they urged the US District Court in Washington to dismiss the emergency…

Cubans hold their noses to eat farm-raised catfish

They live on an island, yet don’t like fish. But in Cuba, where times are always hard and food precious, people are holding their noses and getting used to eating farm-raised tilapia and catfish. “By nature Cubans reject fish, as they are used to eating pork or other meat, when…

Fewer Israelis see Obama as pro-Palestinian: poll

Fewer Israelis see US President Barack Obama as pro-Palestinian since his landmark visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank last week, according to an opinion poll published on Friday. The poll carried by the English-language Jerusalem Post found that just 16 percent of respondents said Obama was “pro-Palestinian” against…

China to build two more Antarctic ‘research’ bases: officials

China is to build two extra research stations in Antarctica, where it currently has three facilities, the State Oceanic Administration confirmed on Friday. A summer base, to be used between December and March, will be built between two of its existing stations — Kunlun and Zhongshan — on the frozen…

Harry Potter actor Richard Griffiths dies aged 65

British actor Richard Griffiths, best known for his roles in Harry Potter and the cult film “Withnail & I”, has died aged 65, his agent said on Friday. The portly star of stage and screen, one of Britain’s best loved character actors, died on Thursday from complications following heart surgery,…

Cyprus banks resume normal trading hours

Banks in Cyprus resumed normal trading hours on Friday after a near two-week lockdown and a day that averted a feared run on deposits following an EU-led bailout to rescue the island from bankruptcy. Small queues built up outside the banks of the capital Nicosia as their doors reopened for…

Israel beefs up security for ‘Land Day’

Israel deployed significant security reinforcements on Friday in the occupied West Bank including east Jerusalem for demonstrations commemorating the deaths in 1976 of Arab Israelis on “Land Day”. “Thousands of police reinforcements have been deployed in Jerusalem including in the Old City to prevent disorder,” a police spokeswoman told AFP.…

Bosnia’s ‘Monster of Grbavica’ gets 45 years for war crimes

A former member of the Bosnian Serb paramilitary forces was jailed Friday for 45 years for carrying out a reign of terror against Sarajevo civilians during the 1992-1995 war. Veselin Vlahovic, dubbed the “Monster of Grbavica”, was “found guilty of crimes against humanity and this tribunal is sentencing him to…

Iran, North Korea, and Syria block major UN arms trade treaty

Iran, North Korea and Syria held up agreement on the first global treaty on the $80 billion a year conventional arms trade. The three states twice blocked moves to adopt a treaty by consensus at the end of 10 days of arduous talks at the UN headquarters. Kenya announced that…

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