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Taiwanese billionaire launches Asian ‘Nobel prize’

One of Taiwan’s richest men on Monday launched what has been widely touted as the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize, and it is even more lucrative than the famed Swedish award. Samuel Yin, head of the sprawling Ruentex business empire, said that by donating Tw$3 billion ($101 million) for…

South Korea’s pop artists eye life after Psy

Thanks to Psy’s “Gangnam Style” smash hit, the South Korean music industry’s long-held dream to make it big in Europe and the USA with its K-pop boy bands has taken a giant leap forward. But Psy’s international success looks unlikely to have a big knock-on effect in other Asian countries,…

French troops lead attack on fabled Timbuktu

French-led troops surrounded Mali’s fabled desert city of Timbuktu Monday after seizing its airport in a lightning advance against Islamists who have been driven from key northern strongholds. French paratroopers swooped in to block any fleeing Islamists while ground troops coming from the south seized the airport in the ancient…

Eurozone crisis ‘drying up credit to households’

Bank lending to private households in the euro area contracted again in December as the region’s crippling debt crisis continues to put a freeze on demand for credit, data showed on Monday. Eurozone bank loans to the private sector declined by 0.7 percent in December compared with the same month…

Brazil in mourning after deadly nightclub inferno

Brazilians on Monday were mourning the victims of a nightclub blaze in a small college town that left more than 230 people dead and over 100 injured, with many still fighting for their lives. Shocked survivors, mostly science students in Santa Maria, described how scores of revelers were trampled to…

Australian teen found after spending two months in wild

An Australian teenager who went missing two months ago was discovered in bushland minutes from his home, emaciated, exhausted and covered in leeches, police said. Matthew Allen’s family feared the worst after the 18-year-old disappeared in late November from Westleigh, in northwest Sydney. His mobile phone and bank accounts went…

Republican-Democrat alliance unveils immigration reform deal

Eight US lawmakers crossed party lines to unveil a plan Monday that would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the shadows in the United States. “We recognize that our immigration system is broken,” the senators said in their bipartisan framework, a copy of…

Author of climate change report: ‘I got it wrong on climate change – it’s far, far worse’

by Heather Stewart Lord Stern speaks out in Davos on danger to economies as planet absorbs less carbon and is ‘on track’ for 4C rise Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the…

Venezuela making ‘bald-faced lies’ over Chavez: opposition

Venezuela’s government is flat-out lying to its people about cancer-stricken President Hugo Chavez’s health, the country’s leading opposition figure charged Sunday. “The people are being told bald-faced lies about the situation the president is in,” Henrique Capriles, who lost last October’s presidential race to Chavez, said at a ceremony in…

Clinton and Obama discuss transition from 2008 primary battle to ‘warm, close’ friendship

In a joint interview with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, aired on CBS on Sunday evening, the pair discussed moving past the 2008 primary race to become “warm, close” friends and Clinton’s work in the president’s administration. Obama said he wanted to use the interview to…

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