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Muslim leaders pray at Auschwitz during a Holocaust awareness visit

Muslim leaders from across the globe knelt in prayer for the Holocaust dead at the Auschwitz’s notorious Wall of Death on Wednesday, in an emotional visit to the Nazi German death camp in southern Poland. Imams from Bosnia, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States offered…

IAEA says Iran expanding nuclear program

Iran is making significant progress in expanding its nuclear programme, including in opening up a potential second route to developing the bomb, a new UN atomic agency report showed Wednesday. The International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest quarterly update said that Tehran has accelerated the installation of advanced uranium enrichment equipment…

IRS director Lois Lerner refuses to testify at House hearing

The head of the IRS office that oversees non-profit groups refused to testify Wednesday at a congressional panel probing abuse at the US tax agency but defiantly declared she had done nothing wrong. Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations, invoked her Fifth Amendment constitutional rights against self-incrimination, citing accusations by…

Scientists optimistic of AIDS cure for some

Top AIDS scientists were optimistic Wednesday of finding a cure for the disease that has claimed 30 million lives — but said it might not work for all people. The experts have high hopes for a treatment that will be given at an early stage of infection — most likely…

Facebook becomes member of Internet freedom group

Facebook on Wednesday became a full member of the Global Network Initiative, a non-governmental organization promoting Internet freedom and privacy rights. The announcement came one year after the world’s biggest social network gained observer status at GNI, whose corporate members include Microsoft, Yahoo! and Google. “We welcome Facebook as a…

Sunbathing crocodile sends hundreds fleeing from Indonesian beach

Hundreds of sunbathers fled a popular Indonesian beach in panic when a four-metre (13-foot) crocodile laid down next to them to soak up some rays, an official said Wednesday. Crowds were thronging the beach at Balikpapan on Borneo island at the weekend when the 500 kilogram (1,100 pound) reptile crawled…

UN secretary general warns the world is on track to run out of drinkable water

By John Parnell for RTCC, part of the Guardian Environment Network Freshwater supply and water quality under pressure, warns UN secretary general on International Day of Biological Diversity Ban Ki-moon has warned the world is on course to run out of freshwater unless greater efforts are made to improve water security. Speaking on the UN’s International…

Spanish flamenco dancing to celebrate origins in India

MADRID, Spain — Spain’s oldest flamenco festival will visit India in 2014, retracing the origins of the classic Spanish musical form, organisers said Wednesday. The Cante de las Minas festival plans its first overseas event in March in Jodhpur, in Rajasthan state — considered the home of the migrant gypsies…

France debates teaching more courses in English at universities

France’s lower house will start debating a proposal Wednesday to introduce more courses in English at universities, amid a storm of controversy in a nation fiercely protective of its identity. The measure, which would also introduce lessons in other languages as part of a wider bill on higher education reform,…

Japanese specialist tests non-surgical ‘heavy ion radiotherapy’ breast cancer therapy

A Japanese cancer specialist said Wednesday she has started the world’s first clinical trial of a powerful, non-surgical, short-term radiation therapy for breast cancer. The National Institute of Radiological Sciences has begun the trial using “heavy ion radiotherapy” which emits a pinpoint beam that can be accurately directed at malignant…

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