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Man lived for years with pencil inside his head

A young man lived for many years with a pencil lodged inside his head, said German surgeons who detected the object on a CT scan and safely removed it. The patient, a 24-year-old man from Afghanistan, had complained of impaired vision in his right eye, headaches and a discharge from…

UN experts slam Iran’s decision to ban women in elections

Several UN experts on Wednesday criticised Iran’s decision to bar women from running in upcoming elections, saying the move violated international law. “This mass disqualification including that of women wishing to stand in the presidential elections is discriminatory and violates the fundamental right to political participation,” UN special rapporteur on…

Tropical storm threatens to hit Mexico’s southern Pacific coast

Tropical Storm Barbara picked up steam off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast on Wednesday, threatening to make landfall with hurricane strength in a rural fishing region. Authorities closed four ports and urged residents to stay indoors, although television images showed people walking outside in coastal towns of the state of Oaxaca…

Scientists find Earth’s life thanks to position in sweet spot of solar system

Similar in size and often referred to as twin planets, Earth and Venus evolved from common origins into two contrasting worlds – one dry and inhospitable, the other wet and teeming with life. The reason has had science stumped, until now. Writing in the journal Nature on Wednesday, a Japanese…

French president auctions off wines in austerity fire sale

The French presidency will on Thursday and Friday put up for auction 1,200 bottles of wines in an unprecedented belt-tightening measure at a time of recession. The sale, to be conducted by the Drouot auction house, is a watershed with the Elysee putting up some of the contents of its…

Facebook revamps guidelines after campaign against ‘gender-based hate’ comments

Facebook has announced it is updating its policies on “harmful and hateful” content after a campaign complaining it was allowing jokes and other offensive comments about rape and domestic abuse. Facebook vice president of global public policy Marne Levine said the social network would “complete our review and update the…

Militants attacked Red Cross office in Afghanistan

Militants attacked a Red Cross office in Jalalabad city, east Afghanistan, on Wednesday, officials said, with gunfire erupting in the area. “Initial information shows that at least two gunmen have taken position inside the office of the Red Cross and gunfire is continuing, there has also been an explosion,” provincial…

Ex-Bosnian Croat president sentenced to up to 25 years for war crimes

Former Bosnian Croat president Jadranko Prlic and five co-defendants were jailed on Wednesday for between 10 and 25 years for murdering and deporting Muslims in Bosnia in the early 1990s to create a “greater Croatian state”. The six former top Bosnian Croat officials faced 26 counts of war crimes and…

L.A. councilman to turn ‘Grease’ drag racing site into river for kayaking and fishing

A river runs through it? Kayaking, fishing come to downtown Los Angeles. (via The Christian Science Monitor) City Councilman Ed Reyes stands in front of the Los Angeles River in this 2003 photo. He has spearheaded an effort to reclaim parts of the river and turn them into recreational areas.…

‘Lost’ report over Brazilian tribal genocide resurfaces after 40 years

Figueiredo report reveals alleged crimes against indigenous tribes from 1940s to 1980s and sheds light on current land policy A “lost” report into genocide, torture, rape and enslavement of indigenous tribes during Brazil’s military dictatorship has been rediscovered, raising fresh questions about whether the government has made amends and punished…

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