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Climate change making insurers reassess natural disaster policy

Climate change is creating more frequent and more unpredictable extreme weather events, forcing insurers to change how they assess the risk of natural disasters hitting a specific area, the Geneva Association think tank said Monday. “Traditional approaches, which are solely based on analysing historical data, increasingly fail to estimate today’s…

Verdict looms in Berlusconi sex trial

A verdict is expected Monday in a high-profile trial against former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi for allegedly having sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his official powers to favour her. Prosecutors in Milan have called for the 76-year-old magnate to be banned from politics for life and serve…

Turkish transgender people join popular protest marches

Hundreds of Turkish transsexuals and rights activists staged a protest in Istanbul on Sunday against the conservative government of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The annual march came after weeks of unprecedented anti-government protests in Istanbul, the capital Ankara and other cities over what is seen as Erdogan’s increasingly…

Study finds H7N9 bird flu killed 1/3 of those infected

The H7N9 bird flu that hit China this year killed over a third of hospitalised patients, said researchers Monday who labelled the virus “less serious” but probably more widespread than previously thought. They warned watchdogs not to take comfort from a lull in new infections, as the virus may reappear…

Palestinians struggle to save remains of ancient Christian monastery

A haven of peace in the sea of concrete that is the Gaza Strip, the crumbling remains of the Holy Land’s oldest monastery are in danger of disappearing for lack of funds to preserve them. Saint Hilarion, which is located at a site called Tel Umm al-Amr, draws its name…

Snowden seeks asylum in Ecuador

Edward Snowden has requested asylum in Ecuador, the Ecuadoran foreign minister said Sunday, as he seeks to escape US justice for revealing secrets of a vast phone and Web surveillance drive. Minister Ricardo Patino made the announcement on his Twitter account. Ecuador has been sheltering WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at…

Egypt’s army threatens to ‘intervene’ if unrest continues

Egypt’s defence minister warned on Sunday that the army will intervene if violence breaks out in the country where opponents of President Mohamed Morsi are planning rallies against him this month. “The armed forces have the obligation to intervene to stop Egypt from plunging into a dark tunnel of conflict…

Nelson Mandela’s condition ‘now critical’: spokesperson

Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela who is receiving treatment for a recurrent lung infection is now in critical condition, South Africa’s presidency said Sunday. “The condition of former president Nelson Mandela, who is still in hospital in Pretoria, has become critical,” Mac Maharaj, presidential spokesman, said in a statement. The condition…

Pollution reduced frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes: study

Higher levels of air pollution reduced the frequency of North Atlantic hurricanes and other tropical storms for most of the 20th century, a study said Sunday. Adding to evidence for mankind’s impact on the weather system, the probe found a link between these powerful storms and aerosols, the scientific term…

Mucked up legal paperwork allowed Edward Snowden to escape arrest in Hong Kong

Edward Snowden was five hours into his flight from Hong Kong, having already been served one of two hot meals, when news of his departure to Moscow began to electrify media organisations all over the world. The Hong Kong authorities waited until Snowden was safely out of Chinese airspace before…

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