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Tennis hits new low with copper mine match

Sport will plunge to new depths in March when former professional tennis players Marcelo Rios and Guillermo Coria contest a match 1,500m down inside the world’s largest copper mine. “A tennis court of clay and cement will be built at a depth of 1,500m,” organiser Juan Romero told El Mercurio…

Thousands of Macedonian protesters call on government to resign

Several thousand Macedonians protested in the capital Skopje on Saturday, calling on the conservative government to step down amid a dire economic crisis in the former Yugoslav republic. The rally, organised by the opposition left-wing SDSM party, came after the government adopted the 2013 budget Monday amid a series of…

Explosives found near home of Cyprus president

Three pounds (1.36 kilogrammes) of military grade TNT were found on Saturday close to the holiday home of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, police said. The “high yield explosives and a common detonator” were discovered at a distance of 500 metres (yards) from the president’s retreat and ready to use, police…

Convicted rapists put to death by hanging in Iran

Iran on Saturday hanged an Afghan drug trafficker and four Iranians, three of them convicted of rape, local media reported. The 27-year-old Afghan from Herat, identified only by his initials MM, was sent to the gallows in the northern city of Damghan after being convicted of selling around two kilos…

George H.W. Bush released from intensive care

Former US president George H.W. Bush is on the mend and has been released from intensive care, a spokesman said Saturday. “President Bush’s condition has improved, so he has been moved today from the intensive care unit to a regular patient room at The Methodist Hospital to continue his recovery,”…

Pope attends ecumenical gathering of 40,000 young Christians

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday attended an ecumenical gathering of around 40,000 young people in Rome’s St Peter’s Square. The young Christians — Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox — came to Rome as part of a European meeting of the Taize community, an ecumenical monastic order in Taize in eastern France.…

French soccer league cheers defeat of government’s 75% tax proposal

The French Football League (LFP) on Saturday welcomed news that France’s top constitutional body had thrown out plans by the Socialist government to introduce a 75-percent upper income tax rate. The rate would have applied to anyone earning over one million euros a year – therefore top footballers such as…

First African smartphone launched in Rep. of Congo

A Congolese inventor has unveiled what he says is the first African-designed smartphone. Verone Mankou, 27, told AFP that the so-called Elikia, which means “hope” in the local language, went on sale the day before in the Republic of Congo. Mankou, head of the company VMK, said the Android-powered device…

Toxic cough syrup kills 24 in Pakistan

At least 24 people, mostly drug addicts seeking a fix, have died after drinking toxic cough syrup in an eastern Pakistani city, officials said on Saturday. The deaths started occurring Wednesday in the industrial city of Gujranwala, some 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of Lahore, with most of the victims…

Russian jet overshoots runway and plows into road, killing 4

Four people were killed and four were injured Saturday when a Russian-made airliner overshot a runway on landing at a Moscow airport and crashed onto a nearby highway, officials said. “According to updated information, four people were killed and four more were injured,” an interior ministry official told RIA Novosti.…

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