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Nigerian lawmakers enact same sex marriage ban with penalty of up to 14 years in prison

Nigerian lawmakers approved Thursday a bill to outlaw gay marriage and crack down on gay rights, including criminalising public displays of affection between same-sex couples. The House of Representatives unanimously approved the bill which provides for jail terms of up to 14 years for gay marriage. A gay rights bill…

Acne benefits of contraception outweigh blood clot risk: watchdog

An EU medicines watchdog on Thursday endorsed the safety of acne drug Diane-35, also widely used as a contraceptive, despite protests from France, which has suspended its use. The CMDh, which groups EU drug agencies, agreed with a ruling by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) two weeks ago that the…

Iran amends stoning-for-adultery law to allow judges discretion on type of execution

Iran has amended its internationally condemned law on stoning convicted adulterers to death to allow judges to impose a different form of execution, according to the revision seen by AFP on Thursday. The controversial practice, in which stones are thrown at the partially buried offender, has provoked outcries from human…

Hollywood filmmakers engage in ‘artistic surrender’ to keep markets in China open

In Hollywood, the screenwriter William Goldman once observed, “nobody knows anything”. Now, however, everybody knows at least one thing: whatever you do, be nice to China. If your movie features a Chinese villain, change his nationality. If your plot omits a scene in China, insert one – preferably with gleaming…

UN expert demands moratorium on killer ‘robot’ weapons

The international community must impose a moratorium on robot weapons, a UN expert told the world body’s top human rights forum Thursday, warning that they could enable war crimes to go unpunished. “Human rights requires that human beings should in one way or another retain meaningful control over weapons of…

U.S. and European firms take different paths in aftermath of Bangladesh factory tragedy

The wear-and-toss “fast fashion” craze has swept Europe and the United States in equal measure, but concern…  …

Starbucks ‘toilet water’ coffee prompts outrage in Hong Kong

A Starbucks cafe in Hong Kong’s posh financial district which used water from a tap near a urinal to brew coffee prompted a torrent of angry reactions from customers Thursday. The coffee shop, in the famous Bank of China Tower, has been using the water from a tap in a…

Gulf states ‘may place Hezbollah on terror list’

Gulf Arab states will consider placing Lebanon’s Shiite party Hezbollah, which is openly involved in the Syrian conflict, on its terror list, Al-Rai daily quoted highly placed diplomats on Thursday as saying. Bahrain will ask foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to discuss “placing Hezbollah on the terror…

Mother takes son’s police shooting case to UN Human Rights Committee

An Australian woman whose 15-year-old son was shot five times by police who were cleared of wrongdoing took her case to the United Nations Thursday, saying they “didn’t even ask him his name”. Tyler Cassidy was armed with knives, intoxicated and in a distressed state when he confronted four police…

Forty-two kids advance to semi-finals in National Spelling Bee

Forty-two contestants advanced to the semi-finals of the top US spelling contest, the first to also ask competitors to know what the words mean. They were among 281 youngsters from eight nations who gathered at the Gaylord National Resort outside Washington for the three-day Scripps National Spelling Bee that is…

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