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Rich Germans donated only €165,489 Euros to reduce €2.1 trillion debt

An appeal by Germany’s government for generous-hearted citizens to help wipe out the country’s debt has fallen short… by over two trillion euros, Der Spiegel reported Friday. Germans have only donated 165,489 euros ($203,556) to the finance ministry cause since the launch of its appeal in 2006 to reduce the…

Canadians mock U.S. tourist who complained about not being able to carry a gun

Canadians this week ridiculed a nervous American tourist over his criticisms of Canada’s strict gun laws following what he said was “menacing” encounter with two young men in a Calgary park. Walt Wawra of Kalamazoo, Michigan detailed his account of a chance meeting in Nose Hill Park in a letter…

‘Tears of St. Lawrence’ annual meteor shower reaches peak this weekend

The annual Perseid meteor shower — dubbed “the tears of St. Lawrence” in honour of a martyred Christian saint — reaches its peak this weekend, astronomers said on Friday. Cloud-free skies permitting, the show of shooting stars should be an above-average spectacle this year as the Moon is in a…

Analysts: North Korea seeking economic reforms

North Korea’s new leadership is apparently pushing for reforms in a bid to revive its crumbling state-directed economy, analysts and a South Korean official said Friday. “Our government is aware of North Korea’s discussion and consideration of various changes in the economic sector since the launch of its new leadership,”…

Google’s Android becomes dominant mobile platform worldwide

Google’s Android mobile operating system tightened its grip on the smartphone market in the second quarter of 2012, making up 68.1% of the 154m shipments worldwide, according to the research company IDC. Overall, the smartphone market grew at 42.2%, meaning that Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone were the only platforms…

Venezuela claims arrested American is part of a plot to remove Chávez

Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, is claiming a US citizen has been arrested and interrogated on suspicions he is a mercenary involved in a conspiracy against the government. Chávez, who faces an election on 7 October, suggested the man is part of a plot to destabilise the country if he…

Hunt is on for serial child rapist in France’s Ardeche campsites

A suspected serial rapist is preying on young girls holidaying on campsites in the Ardeche region of central France, local police said Friday. A major investigation has been launched in the area and campsite owners have been asked to step up security following the rape of an 11-year-old French girl…

Argentinian asylum’s art program turns out work to rival professional competitors

Hundreds of patients at Argentina’s biggest mental hospital are turning fine arts training into real ability as painters, actors and musicians, and getting a fuller sense of self along the way. “Art really can be a tool for change in society. And you can see its effects, because art can…

Australian spy agency confirms ‘disruption’ to website Anonymous says it hacked

Hacking group Anonymous on Friday claimed to have shut down a computer server belonging to Australia’s domestic spy agency ASIO, reportedly briefly closing down access to its public webpage. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) acknowledged some disruption to its website. “ASIO is aware that there may have been some…

Sandra Avila Beltran, drug ‘Queen of the Pacific,’ extradited to U.S. to face trafficking charges

US authorities extradited one of the most notorious women accused of links to Mexico’s drug trade on Thursday, Mexican officials said. Mexican police handed over Sandra Avila Beltran, a 52-year-old known as the “Queen of the Pacific,” at an airport in the central city of Toluca. Avila is expected to…

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