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Santas warm up for Christmas in Sweden’s far north

Christmas cheer came early to Sweden’s Arctic mining town of Gaellivare this weekend, where Santas from around the world gathered to compete in one of the world’s most important but little known sporting events, the Santa Winter Games. “We’re getting into shape before delivering all the Christmas presents and we…

Israeli army takes over Hamas TV broadcasts

The Israeli army on Monday took over programming at a Gaza-based Hamas television station “to broadcast warnings,” as deadly violence between the sides entered its sixth day. Al-Aqsa television, the official station of Gaza’s Hamas rulers, said in a statement the Israeli army “is interfering with Al-Aqsa TV,” with the…

Obama to make history with Myanmar visit

US President Barack Obama heads to Myanmar on Monday for a historic visit aimed at encouraging a string of dramatic political reforms in the former pariah state. Obama will be the first serving US president to set foot in the country also known as Burma, in the starkest illustration yet…

World Bank warns global temp. could rise devastating 4 degrees this century

The World Bank warned Sunday that global temperatures could rise by four degrees this century without immediate action, with potentially devastating consequences for coastal cities and the poor. Issuing a call for action, the World Bank tied the future wealth of the planet — and especially developing regions — to…

Kuwait detains Twitter users for insulting emir

Kuwait’s public prosecution on Sunday ordered the detention of four Twitter users for 10 days for allegedly insulting the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state, a rights group said. The four were arrested on Wednesday and remanded in police custody pending further investigation before the prosecution issued its detention order,…

Britain defends shooting pigs for army medic training

Britain’s Ministry of Defence on Sunday defended its practice of shooting pigs and giving the wounded animals to military surgeons to practice treating common battlefield injuries. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokesperson Klare Kennett said the training exercises, which take place twice a year in Denmark,…

Anti-gay marriage protesters rally in Paris

Thousands of Catholics and other opponents of French government plans to legalise gay marriage and same-sex adoption marched in Paris on Sunday, a day after more than 100,000 turned out across France for the cause. The rally, organised by conservative Catholic group Civitas, was marred by accusations that journalists covering…

Republicans question timeline that led to Petraeus resignation

Barack Obama may have known about the extra-marital affair that brought down former CIA boss David Petraeus prior to being re-elected president, the Republican head of the influential House intelligence committee claimed Sunday. Casting aspersions over the official timeline of events, congressman Mike Rogers said he was “not sure” that…

Senator Levin blasts Egypt’s ‘weak’ effort on Gaza

WASHINGTON — Senior US Senator Carl Levin criticized Egypt’s “weak” efforts Sunday to pressure its ally Hamas to reduce tensions in the bloody conflict between Gaza’s Islamist rulers and their enemy Israel. “It’s pretty weak so far from what I can tell. The Egyptians have a real interest here in…

Gaza braces for ground invasion as death toll mounts

Gaza is braced for a ground invasion by Israeli forces following intensified bombing that included the flattening of the headquarters of the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. As the Israeli military began the emergency call-up of up to 75,000 reservists, leaders from Turkey, Egypt and Qatar met in Cairo to discuss…

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