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Gaza Salafist leader among three dead in Israel air strikes

A top Salafist leader and two other militants were killed in overnight air strikes on Gaza, as Israel vowed on Sunday to “act aggressively” against jihadists. In the first of two deadly strikes, which took place in the northern town of Jabaliya late on Saturday, the Israeli air force killed…

Bernanke fights monetary easing criticism

The head of the US Federal Reserve on Sunday defended the central bank’s monetary easing measures after criticism that stimulus was to blame for destabilising capital flows around the world. Ben Bernanke said the trillions of dollars that the Fed has pumped into the world’s biggest economy in recent years…

Butterfly pioneer laments threat to species

Chen Wei-shou, the pioneer of Taiwan butterfly research, remembers being spell-bound when as a boy of six he first saw “a flower that could move”. A life-long obsession had begun. Now aged 81, Chen can look back at a long career which has spanned seven decades, 77 books and has…

Ebooks ‘enhancing erotic literature sales’

Flush with the success of “Fifty Shades of Grey”, erotic literature is increasingly finding ardent fans among women seduced by the discretion afforded by ebooks, publishers say. “The Perfect Submissive”, “Body Temperature And Rising” and “Dark Desires”, the titles issued by British specialist publisher Xcite leave little room for doubt…

Hobbit tourism scatters more of Tolkien’s magic across New Zealand

For millions, the Lord of the Rings films turned the country into Middle-earth. As the premiere of a second trilogy approaches, tour operators are ready for another bonanza This time last year, New Zealand was under the spell of the Rugby World Cup, with host nation enthusiasm going a long…

Mexico’s drug cartels target journalists in brutal killing spree

Scores of journalists have died in a country gripped by violence that has claimed an estimated 60,000 lives since 2006 He shakes as he speaks and at moments his eyes fill. “It’s certain that the people who killed my colleague were criminals,” he says. “The killing had the modus operandi…

Thousands protest in Spain, Portugal against austerity cuts

Thousands of protesters in Portugal and Spain marched Saturday in fresh protests against the austerity measures their governments have imposed to tackle their debt crisis. Portuguese demonstrators staged marches that took on a festive air in the capital Lisbon and a number of other cities. In Lisbon, actors, singers, singers…

Mauritanian president shot, wounded

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was shot and wounded as he was drove through the capital Nouakchott Saturday, but his life is not in danger, a security source told AFP. Abdel Aziz was hit in the arm by a bullet that a motorist fired at him as he was…

Syria rebels down fighter jet near Aleppo: watchdog

Syrian rebels shot down a fighter jet in the northern province of Aleppo on Saturday, a monitoring group and a military defector said. “The rebels shot down the fighter jet in the west of Aleppo province, where fierce battles are taking place,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel…

Japan says it may purchase new Europe bailout bonds

Japan said Saturday it would consider buying bonds issued by Europe’s new permanent bailout fund in a bid to help soothe the eurozone’s crippling debt crisis. “We will consider buying them after carefully reviewing what Europe itself will be doing” on reforms, Finance Minister Koriki Jojima told a press briefing…

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