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Myanmar accused of ‘ethnic cleansing’ by human rights watchdog

Myanmar has waged “a campaign of ethnic cleansing” against Rohingya Muslims, a top rights watchdog said Monday, citing evidence of mass graves and forced displacement affecting tens of thousands. The Rohingya, who are denied citizenship by the country also known as Burma, have faced crimes against humanity including murder, persecution,…

Life on Mars to become a reality in 2023 according to Dutch firm

Thousands apply to become one of four astronauts selected to set up a human colony in a plan that comes with snags A few months before he died, Carl Sagan recorded a message of hope to would-be Mars explorers, telling them: “Whatever the reason you’re on Mars is, I’m glad…

Compensation talks over flotilla raid a key test for Turkey-Israeli relations

AFP - Israeli and Turkish officials meet on Monday for talks on compensation over a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which if successful could get the two states’ rocky relations back on track. But demands by families of the Turks who lost their lives in the May 2010 assault…

Orbital Sciences Corp. takes first step to becoming NASA’s freight carrier

AFP - Orbital Sciences, one of two private US firms chosen by NASA to shuttle cargo to the International Space Station, launched a first test flight of its Antares rocket Sunday. The launch of the two-stage launch vehicle — 131 feet (40 meters) tall and 12.8 feet in diameter — took…

Paraguay votes on new leader after ex-president’s impeachment

AFP – Voters in Paraguay cast ballots Sunday to choose a new leader, turning the page on a political crisis that saw leftist president Fernando Lugo impeached 10 months ago. Polls closed at 4:00 pm (2000 GMT) and election officials said early results would be made available at around 8:00…

Nobel-winning biologist Francois Jacob dies at 92

AFP – French biologist Francois Jacob, who won the 1965 Nobel prize for medicine for his research into enzymes, has died at the age of 92, a relative told AFP on Sunday. Jacob, a member of the prestigious “Ordre de la Liberation” awarded to those who performed heroic deeds during…

Police bust kidnapping ring that strapped bomb vests to victims

AFP - Police have smashed a gang which used fake bomb vests in the kidnapping of 21 businessmen in France and Luxembourg to raise over three million euros in ransom, Spanish police, which took part in the operation, said Sunday. Eight suspects, including the ring’s suspected leader who had escaped from…

Brits artificially inseminate panda after bear couple fails to mate

AFP - Experts at Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland have artificially inseminated Britain’s only female giant panda Tian Tian after she failed to mate with her male partner, Yang Guang, the zoo announced on Sunday. Despite Yang Guang showing “consistently encouraging behaviour”, the zoo decided to step in overnight Saturday as Tian…

Syrian opposition leader resigns, castigating global ‘inaction’

AFP - Syrian opposition chief Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib is determined to step down in the face of what he sees as world “inaction” as government forces recapture territory from the rebels, colleagues said on Sunday. Troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad made advances outside the capital and near the Lebanese border,…

U.S. diplomat warns situation in Darfur deteriorating

Security in Darfur is worsening and militias need to be disarmed, the US charge d’affaires to Sudan Joseph Stafford said on Sunday, condemning the recent attack which killed a peacekeeper. Stafford also expressed grave concern “about the reports of civilian casualties and deliberate targeting of civilians by militias in Muhagiriya…

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