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North Korea claims tourism is ‘booming’ following nuclear test

Foreign tourism is “booming” in North Korea, state media said Tuesday a week after the country triggered global outrage by conducting its third nuclear test. The number of foreign visitors to the North has grown steadily since 2000 and witnessed a surge after 2009, especially in the number of European…

Afghan street kid heads for the Oscars red carpet

An Afghan street kid is off to Hollywood and the red-carpet treatment at the Oscars— a fairytale ending to a chance encounter that led to a starring role in a movie. Fawad Mohammadi, 14, was selling maps to passing foreigners on Kabul’s famed Chicken Street to help feed his family…

U.S. security firm claims China’s military controls ‘most prolific hackers in the world’

China’s army controls some of the most prolific hackers in the world, according to a new report Tuesday by an Internet security firm that traced a host of cyberattacks to an anonymous building in Shanghai. Mandiant said its hundreds of investigations over the past three years showed that groups hacking…

Belarus jails border guard over ‘teddy bear invasion’

Belarus has convicted and jailed for two years a border guard for failing to report that a foreign plane full of teddy bears had crossed into national airspace from Lithuania last July, the Belarus Supreme Court said Tuesday. The decision by a military tribunal is the first jailing in connection…

Nestle pulls meals in Italy, Spain after horsemeat found

Swiss giant Nestle (VTX: NESN.VX – news) has become the latest food company hit by Europe’s horsemeat scandal, announcing it is removing two pasta meals from supermarket shelves in Italy and Spain due to contamination. The news came Monday as German discount chain Lidl pulled ready-made meals from the shelves…

Has politics weighed on Oscars race?

Perhaps it is no surprise, given that 2012 was a US election year, but this year’s Oscars crop includes a heavy dose of politics — which has arguably influenced Hollywood’s top awards race. From gun control advocates blasting blood-spattered “Django Unchained”, to rows over CIA torture that were triggered by…

Thousands join anti-government rallies across Bulgaria

Several thousand people joined street rallies across Bulgaria on Monday as initial protests against high electricity bills snowballed into bitter anger against the right-wing government of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov. Between 1,500 and 2,000 protesters marched on parliament in downtown Sofia on Monday evening, shouting “Mafia!”, “Resign!” and “Garbage!” Over…

Boeing seeks temporary fix for suspect batteries: report

US aerospace giant Boeing is considering an interim plan to protect its 787 Dreamliner if its batteries overheat or catch fire, according to a report Monday in the Seattle Times. Boeing’s flagship new jet has been banned from flight worldwide since the middle of last month after battery smoke forced…

David Axelrod: White House made ‘mistake’ in releasing draft immigration bill

A former top adviser to the president said Monday that the White House had made a “mistake” in distributing a draft bill on immigration reform, as Republicans attacked the leaked blueprint as an attempt to sideline bipartisan input. “The mistake here was to disseminate it so widely within the administration…

Two charged for burning alive ‘witch’ in Papua New Guinea: report

Two people have been charged with the murder of a young mother in Papua New Guinea who was accused of being a witch and set upon by a mob that burned her alive, reports said Tuesday. Kepari Leniata, 20, was stripped naked, doused with petrol and set alight atop a…

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