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Egypt’s ‘Jon Stewart’ Bassem Youssef freed on bail

Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef was released on bail on Sunday after nearly five hours of questioning over alleged insults to the president and religion, highlighting concerns over freedom of expression in post-revolt Egypt. Youssef, whose weekly programme Albernameg (The Show) has pushed the boundaries of local television with its merciless…

New U.S. strategy could push North Korea over the edge

AFP – Soaring tensions on the Korean peninsula have seen dire North Korean threats met with an unusually assertive US response that analysts warn could take a familiar game into dangerous territory. By publicly highlighting its recent deployment of nuclear-capable B-52 and stealth bombers over South Korea, Washington has, at…

Turks hope Israeli apology for flotilla raid sparks tourism boom

AFP – The air-clearing apologies were both made and accepted. Now, Turkey’s tourism industry is holding its breath and hoping that Israel’s apology for a deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla will translate into a new love affair that will bring Israeli holidaymakers back to its beach resorts.…

India court ruling could deprive developing nations of patented drugs

AFP – India’s top court is set to rule Monday on a patent challenge by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis that activists say threatens access to cheap generic versions of life-saving drugs in poor nations. Generic drug firms in India — long known as the “pharmacy to the developing world” —…

Arctic ‘greening’ seen through global warming

Land within the Arctic circle is likely to experience explosive “greening” in the next few decades as grass, shrubs and trees thrive in soil stripped of ice and permafrost by global warming, a study said on Sunday. Wooded areas in the Arctic could increase by as much as 52 percent…

Removing military assets from Afghanistan to cost at least $5 billion

The US operation to remove military hardware and vehicles from Afghanistan as troops withdraw after 12 years of war will cost between five and six billion dollars, officials said Sunday. Among statistics released by the military about the process known as a “retrograde” was that 25,000 vehicles have been shipped…

Archbishop of Canterbury warns of hero worship in first Easter Sunday sermon

The new Archbishop of Canterbury warned against “pinning hopes on individuals” to solve all of society’s problems in his first Easter Sunday sermon. Justin Welby said a “hero leader culture” in which all trust was placed in one person only led to false hope. Failing to recognise human failure in…

Tech giants all plan to release smartwatches later in 2013

Amid much speculation on the future of the “smartwatch,” the consensus is growing: the time is right. In recent weeks, reports have surfaced about plans for smartwatches from tech giants Apple, Samsung and Google, with launches possible later this year. “I think we have reached a tipping point,” said Avi…

Scientists find evidence of nearly-extinct Sumatran rhinos in Borneo

Footprints thought to be from the critically endangered Sumatran rhino have been found on Borneo island, where the species was believed to have been extinct for 20 years, environmental group WWF said Thursday. The Sumatran rhino population has dropped by 50 percent over the past two decades and there are…

Catholic Cardinal Dolan: Our opposition to same sex marriage can’t be ‘reduced to an attack on gay people’

A leading US cardinal defended Catholic opposition to gay marriage during an Easter Sunday interview, saying that sometimes the church by its nature must be “out of touch”. The interview came days after the US Supreme Court held oral arguments on the question of same-sex marriage, which is legal in…

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