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Spanish parliament votes on bullfighting protection after one region banned it

Spain’s parliament will vote Tuesday on a petition demanding bullfighting be declared a key part of the country’s cultural heritage, a year after the practice was banned in the independence-minded region of Catalonia. The petition organised by the Catalan Bullfighting Federation signed by nearly 600,000 people states that “bullfighting belongs…

Obama to announce he’ll bring 34,000 Afghanistan troops home by next year

US President Barack Obama will announce in his State of the Union address Tuesday that he will pull 34,000 US troops home from Afghanistan in the next year, a source familiar with his speech said. The long-awaited move will effectively halve the size of the current 66,000-strong US force in…

IRS wins tax ruling against Bank of New York Mellon

By Jeff Gerth, ProPublica A federal tax court judge yesterday ruled that the Bank of New York Mellon had improperly claimed foreign tax credits through a complex deal arranged by Barclays. In the wake of the ruling, BNY Mellon said it will take a charge of $850 million but also…

Researchers find gene that boosts digestibility of sorghum grain to make it a famine-beater

Agricultural researchers on Tuesday said they had found a gene that boosts the digestibility of sorghum, transforming a humble grain into a potential famine-beater. Sorghum (Latin name Sorghum bicolor) is a tough tropical cereal grown in dry regions of Africa, India and the southern United States. The plant is drought-tolerant…

France’s parliament approves allowing same sex couples to adopt

France’s National Assembly voted Tuesday by a clear majority to adopt legislation allowing homosexual couples to marry and adopt children, and the law will now go for approval by the upper house of parliament. The formal vote came 10 days after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of its key article…

Obama makes trip to Israel’s West Bank in March

US President Barack Obama is expected to arrive in Jerusalem on March 20 for a three-day trip which will also take him to the West Bank city of Ramallah, media reports and a Palestinian official said. According to a draft itinerary published in Israel’s top-selling Yediot Aharonot, Obama will begin…

Angry fans torch Jerusalem soccer offices over signing of two Muslim players

The torching of Beitar Jerusalem’s offices by fans angry at the signing of two Muslim players has sparked a major outcry which both supporters and ex-players hope could end decades of open racism at the club. Friday morning’s arson attack, which caused heavy damage to a room used as the…

Amazon asks for laxer online shopping rules in India

US online retail giant Amazon said Tuesday it had asked New Delhi to consider relaxing a law that stops its Indian subsidiary from selling directly to customers. The topic was raised when Paul Misener, Amazon’s global vice president, met Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma in New Delhi. “We talked about…

Banned Iranian director’s film depicts crushing state oppression at Berlin festival

The 63rd Berlinale premiered Tuesday the latest film by banned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, a haunting lament about crushing state oppression and a tribute to the resilience of the creative drive. “Closed Curtain”, which Panahi co-directed with longtime collaborator Kambuzia Partovi, tells the story of two people on the run…

Cost of world’s first super telescope jumps to $530 million

The estimated cost of the first construction phase of the world’s largest radio telescope has jumped to 400 million euros ($530 million), the project’s director general said Tuesday. The increase of 50 million euros takes six years of accumulated inflation into account, and the figure could escalate further once additional…

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