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New Socialist French government looks to abolish prostitution

In a parking bay on a deserted industrial estate in Lyon, Karen, in her late 40s, sat in the passenger seat of her second-hand Ford Transit van wearing only black underwear. It was 7.30pm on a Friday night. She lit a pink lantern on the dashboard. Soon, a steady flow…

Taiwanese war criminal sees himself as victim

“War criminal” is not the first expression that comes to mind when seeing white-haired Chou Ching-feng in his living room in central Taiwan, sipping tea with his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren. But nearly 70 years ago, he worked for the Japanese army in what is now Malaysia, guarding Australian prisoners…

U.S. battery firm bars lead at Chinese plant after poison claims

US battery giant Johnson Controls will stop lead processing at a plant in China’s commercial hub Shanghai, the firm said, after the city found high levels of the metal in children living nearby. The Fortune 500 company has denied the plant’s operations caused elevated lead exposure for people living in…

Merkel warns against hasty action amid euro worries

Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Tuesday the eurozone should not rush headlong into a banking union, amid signs Germany is being sucked into the abyss and fresh worries over Greece and Spain. Speaking at a conference in Berlin, Merkel rebuffed demands — notably from the European Commission and France —…

France summons Facebook over private messages rumor

The French government said on Tuesday it had summoned Facebook managers to explain rumours that some users’ old private messages were being posted publicly on the social network. In a joint statement, Industrial Renewal Minister Arnaud Montebourg and the junior minister for the digital economy, Fleur Pellerin, said Facebook managers…

Oxfam: Yemeni women worse off after uprising

Oxfam has warned that women in Yemen are worse off than before the uprising that ousted long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh as a deepening humanitarian crisis in the country shows no signs of abating. In its latest report, entitled “Still waiting for change,” Oxfam said “four out of five” Yemeni…

Psy to dance half-naked if ‘Gangnam Style’ tops U.S. chart

South Korean rapper Psy pledged Tuesday to perform his signature horse-riding dance “half-naked” somewhere in his home city Seoul if his global hit “Gangnam Style” tops the US Billboard chart. The song is currently ranked 11 on the chart’s “Hot 100″ list. “If I do become number one on Billboard,…

Tibet exiles gather to debate change in China

Tibetan exiles began their biggest gathering in four years on Tuesday, eyeing a change of leadership in China and seeking ways to end a gruesome wave of self-immolation protests. About 400 Tibetans from around the world came together in the home of the exile community in mountainous northern India for…

Google launches Nexus 7 tablet in Japan

Google said on Tuesday it was launching its Nexus 7 tablet computer in Japan, aiming to take on Apple’s iPad in one of the most lucrative markets in the world. The Nexus 7′s 16 gigabyte model, powered by the latest generation of Android software is available to order at Google…

Syria’s extraordinary archaeological heritage falls prey to war

Syria’s extraordinary archaeological heritage has fallen prey to the fighting ravaging the country for more than 18 months, with destruction, theft and systematic looting on the rise. In a country where corruption and trafficking of archaeological artefacts and treasures was already a chronic problem, widespread clashes and a power vacuum…

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