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Cardinals seek pope to tackle Vatican bureaucracy

The next pope’s ideal profile began to take shape on Tuesday as cardinals held a second day of pre-conclave talks — a man with pastoral experience, missionary energy and few ties to the Vatican’s unruly government. Cardinals waved cheerfully to journalists at the gates of the Vatican but declined to…

Japan worries about smog drifting in from China

A local government in southwestern Japan on Tuesday advised residents to stay indoors or wear masks when they go outside in the nation’s first official health warning over smog drifting in from China. Officials in Kumamoto, on Kyushu island, said the quality of air was likely to be substantially below…

British ‘Batman’ unmasks himself after bout with online fame

A takeaway delivery man revealed Tuesday that he is the mysterious crime-fighter whose image went viral online after he walked into a British police station dressed as Batman and handed over a wanted man. Stan Worby, 39, said he was “gobsmacked” by worldwide coverage of his antics and revealed that…

Report: ‘Designer drug’ use, abuse and production surging

Designer drugs are multiplying at a worrying rate and increasingly sending users to hospital, a UN-affiliated report said Tuesday, calling for international efforts to stem the spread of these substances. “In recent years, there has been an unprecedented surge in the abuse of new psychoactive substances,” often called “legal highs”…

U.N. cancels Gaza marathon after Hamas bans women runners

Gaza’s third international marathon has been cancelled after the ruling Hamas movement refused to allow women to participate, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said on Tuesday. The marathon, which runs the entire length of the coastal territory, was to have taken place on April 10. “UNRWA regrets to…

Thai airport officials linked to rhino trade

Thai authorities said Tuesday they would seek arrest warrants for three police officers allegedly involved in trafficking rhino horn through Bangkok’s main airport. The horn was brought into Suvarnabhumi Airport in January by Vietnamese migrant workers paid $500 per trip, said Narasak Hemnithi, commander of the Natural Resources Environmental Crime…

Police detain suspect in ballet director acid attack

Moscow police on Tuesday detained a suspect who allegedly splashed acid in the face of the artistic director of the Bolshoi ballet in an attack that shocked the world artistic community and left the troupe in crisis. The 42-year-old Sergei Filin was struck with sulphuric acid by a masked assailant…

Pistorius family distances itself from father’s gun comments

The family of star sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who is charged with murdering his girlfriend, on Tuesday rejected his father’s assertion that South Africa’s high crime rates necessitated gun ownership. The family was “deeply concerned” about the comments Henke Pistorius made to the British newspaper The Telegraph, the family’s publicist said…

James Franco rips Australia for banning gay-themed film ‘I Want Your Love’

Hollywood star James Franco has lashed out at Australia for banning the US gay-themed film “I Want Your Love”, calling the decision embarrassing. Australia’s Classification Board deemed the movie’s sex scenes too explicit and refused to allow it to be screened at the upcoming Melbourne Queer Film Festival and the…

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin merging operations

The regulator of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac detailed plans Monday to begin contracting their business while merging their securitization operations. Federal Housing Finance Agency acting director Edward DeMarco said the two, rescued by the government in 2008 in a $180 billion bailout after the housing market…

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