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3,000 Saudis urge Shura council to debate women’s driving

A petition signed by 3,000 Saudis has urged the Shura Consultative Council to debate on allowing women to drive in the ultra-conservative kingdom, Arab News daily reported on Monday. The newspaper, quoting Abdullah al-Alami, a signatory to the petition, said that the human rights committee of the council — also…

Police investigating mysterious death of renowned British painter David Hockney’s 23-year-old assistant

A young man who was at the home of world-renowned British artist David Hockney has died in mysterious circumstances, police said on Monday. Officers are investigating events leading up to the death of the 23-year-old — identified by media as Dominic Elliott, an assistant and close friend of the painter…

Christian Bale to play Moses in Ridley Scott’s biblical epic

Dark Knight Rises actor set to take the lead in Scott’s forthcoming Old Testament saga, though there is competition to get the story to the screen Christian Bale is set to play Moses in Ridley Scott’s retelling of the story of the biblical hero, according to Deadline. The suggestion follows…

Palestinians eye concrete gains during Obama visit

The Palestinians are hoping to see concrete gains from US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit, while acknowledging it unlikely the trip will bring about a peace breakthrough. Obama himself has played down expectations of pushing forward peace talks on his first visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories as president,…

‘State of the Media 2013′ report finds positive signs for troubled U.S. newspapers

The US newspaper industry is seeing some glimmers of hope after being battered for years, a prominent study concluded Monday. While the industry is about half the size it once was, there are some positive signs, including new revenue streams from digital paywalls and a general economic improvement which is…

Six men to appear in India court over gang-rape of Swiss tourist

Six men were due to appear in court on Monday over the gang-rape and robbery of a Swiss cyclist holidaying in India, an assault which has raised alarm about the safety of tourists. “We have detained all the six persons and they will be produced before the magistrate after lunch…

Biden heads to Rome for Pope’s inaugural mass

World leaders arrived in Rome ahead of an inauguration mass for Pope Francis who receives compatriot President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina on Monday in his first meeting with a head of state. The first pontiff from Latin America had testy relations with Kirchner when he was Buenos Aires’ archbishop, Jorge…

Son charged over Hong Kong ‘heads-in-fridge’ murder

Two men including the son have been charged with murder after an elderly couple were gruesomely killed in Hong Kong, as a search continues for their missing body parts. The couple’s severed heads were reportedly found by police in a refrigerator at a bloodstained apartment on the outskirts of the…

U.S. complains about ‘excessive’ business class travel by UN staff

The United States is taking aim at “excessive” business class air travel by UN staff as it presses a campaign to restrain the global body’s multi-billion dollar budget. Complaints by the United States and other cash-strapped western nations have been bolstered by revelations that nearly three quarters of the money…

South Korea’s ‘Top Gun’ high school cyber warriors train for battle against North

Cheon Joon-Sahng may not look like an elite warrior, but the shy, South Korean high school student has been fully trained for a frontline role in any future cyber battle with North Korea. Cheon, 18, was one of 60 young computer experts chosen in July from many applicants for a…

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