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British organ donations jump 50 percent in five years

The number of people in Britain donating their organs after death has surged 50 percent in the past five years, says the NHS Blood and Transplant service (NHSBT). Each person who donates organs provides an overall average 56 years of extra life for the recipients, according to a specialist surgeon.…

Syria activists reject Qaeda call for Islamic state

Syrian activists on Thursday dismissed as “blatant interference” a weekend call by Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri for an Islamic state to be established in the strife-torn country. “The Local Coordination Committees in Syria completely reject the statement by … Zawahiri in which he called for the establishment of an Islamic…

Maine police arrest ‘North Pond Hermit’

Police in the far north-eastern state of Maine have arrested a loner who vanished from sight in 1986 and survived by stealing supplies from area camps, local media reported Thursday. Christopher Knight, the 47 year-old man locals called the “North Pond Hermit,” was arrested last week and charged with burglarizing…

Israel police arrest 5 feminists for praying at Western Wall

Five Jewish feminists who on Thursday wore prayer shawls and prayed out loud at Jerusalem’s Western Wall in defiance of a court order have been detained for questioning, a police spokeswoman said. Some 200 women gathered at the Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City to stage what has become a monthly…

Mandela ally rejects daughters’ bid to oust him

Nelson Mandela’s long-time friend and lawyer George Bizos will fight an attempt by the anti-apartheid icon’s daughters to oust him from the board of Mandela companies, his lawyer said Thursday. Bizos, who defended Mandela in a 1960s treason trial and successfully opposed his death sentence, will reject accusations that he…

Louvre reopens after staff walkout over pickpockets

Paris’s Louvre museum on Thursday reopened its doors to the public after a walkout by some staff in protest at gangs of pickpockets operating at the world famous art gallery. Around 20 police officers have now been drafted in to patrol the museum in response to staff concerns, Louvre officials…

American woman marries Mexican fiancé on Rio Grande river border

A US citizen has married her Mexican fiance on a raft on the river border between their two countries, a unique ceremony designed to meet US immigration requirements. Stephanie Guerra, 26, and Ruben Alfonso Fierro, 27, defied the swirling currents of the Rio Grande and boarded a Zodiac raft that…

Excitement builds in Japan for new Murakami novel

The wait is nearly over for thousands of readers eager to get their hands on the new novel by celebrated Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami. At least one major bookstore in Tokyo is flinging open its doors at midnight to cater to the demands of the most dedicated fans of the…

Homophobic assaults up in France amid same sex marriage debate

Wilfred de Bruijn’s face is bloated, seeped in blood, his bruised right eye shut tight, his tooth broken — the victim of a brutal attack in Paris while he was “walking arm in arm” with his boyfriend. His is one of the latest cases of homophobia in France, where activists…

Uruguay legislature approves same sex marriage

Uruguay’s legislature voted to allow same-sex marriages nationwide, making it only the second Latin American country to do so. The vote, with 71 of the 92 members of the lower house backing the measure, was welcomed with cries of “freedom, freedom” and “equality” from members of the public who burst…

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