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Lebanese Muslim authority issues fatwa against civil marriage moves

Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim authority on Monday issued a fatwa against moves to legalise civil marriages inside the country, where couples of different faiths have to travel abroad to tie the knot. The religious edict came a day after President Michel Sleiman tweeted that he would remain steadfast in supporting…

Twitter: Government user data requests have risen 20 percent

Twitter said Monday that worldwide requests from governments about its users rose nearly 20 percent in second half of 2012 as it sought to raise awareness about “invasive” actions. The popular messaging platform said information requests in the July-December period numbered 1,009, up from 849 in the prior six months.…

Dutch Queen Beatrix to abdicate in favor of her son

Dutch Queen Beatrix is expected to announce later Monday her abdication in favour of her son, Dutch media reported Monday. Beatrix, who turns 75 on Wednesday, will abdicate “in favour of her son Willem-Alexander,” after an almost 33-year reign, Dutch news agency ANP said, quoting sources close to the court.…

EU drug agency to review new birth control pills for blood clot risk

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) on Monday said it would review safety data for third- and fourth-generation birth control pills, responding to French concern that these contraceptives may cause dangerous blood clots. The agency, describing contraceptive pills as carrying only “a very rare risk” of clots, said a special panel…

Android and Apple have ‘duopoly’ in world smartphone market

Android and Apple smartphones captured a whopping 92 percent of global sales in the fourth quarter, giving the two systems an effective duopoly, a research firm said Monday. Strategy Analytics said global smartphone shipments grew 38 percent annually to reach 217 million units in the fourth quarter, to bring annual…

Garbage piles up at Madrid airport as cleaning staff strikes

Garbage piled up at Madrid’s Barajas airport, one of Europe’s busiest, on Monday due to a strike by cleaning staff over salary cuts and job losses. Papers, empty plastic bottles and drinks cans littered the floor of the airport, Europe’s fourth-busiest by passenger numbers, with 45 million passengers last year.…

Court: Iceland doesn’t need to repay UK and Dutch depositors

Iceland was entitled to refuse to pay immediate deposit guarantees to savers with failed online bank Icesave in Britain and the Netherlands, a European court said Monday. The ruling is the latest twist in a bitter dispute which has clouded negotiations on Iceland’s ambitions to become a member of the…

Islamist insurgents torch library containing ancient Mali manuscripts

Fleeing Islamist insurgents burnt two buildings containing priceless books as French-led troops approached, says mayor Islamist insurgents retreating from the ancient Saharan city of Timbuktu have set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless ancient manuscripts, some dating back to the 13th century, in what the town’s mayor described as…

Low turnout means Bulgarian referendum on building second nuclear plant will likely fail

Low turnout appears to have scuppered a Bulgarian referendum on whether the former Communist nation should build a second nuclear power plant. Some 4.35 million people, about 60 percent of eligible voters, needed to cast ballots for the results to be binding. Although the central electoral committee is yet to…

Sixth New Delhi gang rape suspect to be tried as juvenile

A court on Monday ruled that the sixth suspect in last month’s deadly gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi would be tried as a juvenile, after rejecting calls for tests to determine his age. Ishkaran Bhandari, a lawyer for the teenager who cannot be named for…

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