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Women sit on Saudi council for first time

Thirty Saudi women took seats in Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council, for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom’s history, as they were sworn in before King Abdullah on Tuesday at his palace in Riyadh. The women took their seats in the same room with their 130 male colleagues and were…

BP to argue government charged ‘excessive’ fines for Deepwater Horizon spill

British energy giant BP on Tuesday vowed to “vigorously defend” itself in court next week over US government claims for “excessive” fines linked to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster. “BP will vigorously defend against gross negligence allegations,” the energy giant said ahead of the start of a…

Romanian police bust Israeli human egg-trafficking ring

Romanian police on Tuesday busted a human egg-trafficking ring involving Israeli specialists in assisted reproduction, just months after several Israeli doctors were sentenced in a similar case. Police and prosecutors said the network consisted of 11 people, including Israeli doctors and Romanian managers of a Bucharest clinic, but declined to…

UN urges investigation into hormone-disrupting chemicals

Scientists suspect chemicals which disrupt the hormone system are linked to early breast development, poor semen quality, low birthweight in babies and other problems, but more research is needed, UN agencies reported on Wednesday. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and World Health Organisation (WHO) said evidence is mounting that so-called…

Israeli court: ‘Prisoner X’ died by hanging in the shower

An anonymous detainee found dead in his prison cell in December 2010, identified by Australian media as Mossad agent Ben Zygier, died by hanging in his cell’s bathroom, an Israeli court revealed on Tuesday. “The deceased was found hanging in the shower of his detention cell, with a sheet around…

Spider-Man Broadway stuntman files $6 million lawsuit over injuries

By Matt Trueman, The Guardian Injuries allegedly caused by faulty rigging spark latest lawsuit to beset Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark Every superhero needs a suit, but not the kind that beleaguered Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark is attracting. A former stuntman on the production is the latest…

Marathon champ recalls Kenyan election terror: ‘We narrowly escaped death’

Five years since Kenya’s world marathon champion Luke Kibet narrowly escaped death in post-election violence that killed two of his colleagues, the runner is nervous as fresh polls approach. More than 1,100 people — including two international athletes — were killed in the chaos and ethnic violence that followed Kenya’s…

Report: ‘Toxic’ Australian swim culture marred team’s ‘Lonely Olympics’

Drunkenness, misuse of prescription drugs and bullying were among “toxic” incidents in the under-performing Australian swimming team at the London Olympics, a report said on Tuesday. So bad was morale at the 2012 Games, swimmers described them as the “lonely Olympics” and the “individual Olympics”, the damning Bluestone Review submitted…

Dreamliner investigation reveals second battery failure

A second battery on a Boeing Dreamliner that made an emergency landing due to smoke linked to its main power unit had also expanded, a Japanese safety board official said Tuesday. Detailed examination of the auxiliary power unit (APU) battery of the plane revealed that two of its eight cells…

The Philippines tries to revive rivers at the heart of Manila

Boys shout in delight as they flip backwards off a bridge. Fishermen quietly cast rods out. They are joyful acts that should belong to an earlier era, before the Philippines’ Pasig River turned toxic. Yet some slum dwellers in Manila whose shanty homes choke the river and its tributaries have…

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