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Jewish leaders ask EU to block Polish kosher slaughter ban

Europe’s Jewish leaders on Thursday asked the European Union to back their call for a Polish ban on the ritual slaughter of animals for food to be overturned. Jewish community and religious leaders from across Europe also urged the EU to review its own legislation on animal slaughter to strengthen…

French authorities release neo-Nazi after arrest for plotting ‘terrorist act’

The French authorities on Thursday released from custody a Norwegian extremist who was detained on suspicion of plotting a “major terrorist act”, a judicial source told AFP. Kristian Vikernes, 40, was detained together with his French wife on Tuesday but investigators found no evidence of a terror plot, the source…

Brazil becomes world’s 7th most violent country with 1 million murders in 30 years

More than one million people were murdered in Brazil between 1980 and 2011, making it the world’s seventh most violent country, a survey showed Thursday. During the period, homicides soared 132 percent to claim 1,145,208 lives, from a rate of 11.5 murders for 100,000 inhabitants in 1980 to 27 per…

Raw sewage makes summer swimming hazardous in New York

New Yorkers and tourists tempted to cool off during the current heatwave by plunging into the Hudson River have been warned: it’s never been more dangerous. Researchers at Columbia University reported Thursday that antibiotic-resistant bacteria was widespread in the river that flows down the western side of the city, and…

FEMA caught using old data for new flood maps that cost homeowners untold sums in extra insurance premiums

When Donna Edgar found out that new flood maps from the Federal Emergency Management Agency would place her house in a high-risk flood zone, she couldn’t believe it. Her home, on the ranch she and her husband own in Texas hill country about 60 miles north of Austin, sits well…

Young generation gets into spirit of Mandela day

Sixteen-year-old Genius Molefe wasn’t born when Nelson Mandela became South Africa’s first black president, but she joined many South Africans in 67 minutes of community service marking his birthday Thursday. Molefe joined a government and UN-backed campaign to mark 67 years of Mandela’s public despite the fact her knowledge of…

Coalition seeks release of surveillance data

A coalition of Internet firms and activist organizations asked the US government Thursday to issue “transparency reports” on its online and phone data collection programs which have sparked an outcry. “Democracy requires accountability and accountability requires transparency,” said Kevin Bankston at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital rights…

Australian firm launches ‘anti-shark’ wetsuits

An Australian research firm Thursday launched what is being touted as the world’s first anti-shark wetsuit, using new discoveries about the predators’ eyesight to stave off or evade an attack. Working in conjunction with the University of Western Australia’s (UWA) Oceans Institute, entrepreneurs Hamish Jolly and Craig Anderson have developed…

Judge tells Bradley Manning she won’t dismiss charges of ‘aiding the enemy’ in leaks trial

Defense team ‘extraordinarily disappointed’ after Col Denise Lind declines to throw out charges against WikiLeaks source The judge presiding over the court martial of the WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning has declined to throw out the main charge against him – that he knowingly “aided the enemy” by leaking state secrets…

Indian forces shoot six Kashmir protesters dead

Indian paramilitary forces Thursday shot dead six people protesting at an incident involving the troops at an Islamic school in Kashmir, police said. Border Security Force (BSF) troops fired on demonstrators who had gathered outside their headquarters in the district of Gool, two officers said on condition of anonymity. “It…

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