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‘Poet climber’ sidesteps security and scales U.S. embassy in Paris

A self-styled “poet climber” on Thursday managed to sidestep security and climb on to the roof of the US Embassy building in Paris. Herve Couasnon, whose previous stunts have included sneaking into France’s National Assembly and a nuclear power station, told AFP by phone from the roof that he wanted…

Russian actress Evelina Blyodans raises awareness about Down’s Syndrome

When Russian actress Evelina Blyodans gave birth to a son with Down’s Syndrome, the first question from the doctor at the maternity hospital came as a shock: “Are you going to keep him?” In Russia, where most children with Down’s Syndrome are still abandoned by their parents at birth, Blyodans,…

Russian artist who impersonated Marilyn Monroe and Vladimir Putin dies at 43

Top Russian artist, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, who painstakingly transformed himself to resemble Adolf Hitler, Marilyn Monroe and Vladimir Putin for avant-garde photo performances, has died at 43, Russian news agencies reported Thursday. Mamyshev-Monroe drowned in a hotel swimming pool in Bali, Russian news agencies reported, citing the Russian embassy in Jakarta.…

Scotland will vote on referendum for independence in 2014

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond said on Thursday that Scots will vote in a referendum on whether the country should become independent on September 18, 2014. Announcing the long-awaited date for the ballot, Salmond said it would be the “historic day when the people will decide Scotland’s future”.…

‘Deep Throat’ porn star Harry Reems dies at age 65

Former US porn actor Harry Reems, who starred opposite Linda Lovelace in the pioneering 1972 adult film “Deep Throat,” has died aged 65, a friend said Wednesday. The ex-actor, real name Herbert Streicher, fell out with Lovelace and became a real estate agent in the western state of Utah, marrying…

Study warns that skiing under the influence of alcohol is dangerous

One in five people ski having consumed alcohol, and 29 percent of these hurtle down the piste over the legal limit for driving, an Austrian survey showed Thursday. “People skiing under the influence of alcohol pose an increased risk to themselves and to other people on the slopes,” said Alexandra…

Hermes posts record profit in 2012

Luxury fashion group Hermes, known for silk scarves and handbags, reported on Thursday a record profit for 2012, confirming a stellar performance for France’s luxury industry as a whole last year. Net profit last year soared 24.5 percent to 740 million euros ($954 million), well above an analyst expectation of…

Experts sound worldwide alert over deadly bat virus

Experts on infectious diseases Thursday warned people to stay away from bats worldwide after the recent death of an eight-year-old boy bitten in Australia. The boy last month became the third person in the country to die of Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV), for which there is no effective treatment. Doctors…

Stall on immigration reform causes trouble on U.S. farms as growers seek workers and crops rot

Here’s a mess with no easy fix: American crops going unpicked — it’s backbreaking work Americans won’t touch — and poor migrants in need of work shying from it for fear of being abused. Creating a program for temporary farm workers from Mexico and other countries to work the land,…

Greenpeace activists protesting Obama and Arctic drilling arrested at Jerusalem bridge

Police arrested eight Greenpeace activists Thursday after members of the group chained themselves to a bridge in Jerusalem demanding US President Barack Obama halt exploratory drilling in the Arctic, an official said. “We have taken in eight activists for questioning, but there are still others at the site,” police spokesman…

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