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Pharma giant Pfizer fined for bribing officials in Eastern Europe and China

The US charged Pfizer and its subsidiary Wyeth on Tuesday with paying millions of dollars in bribes to build their business in Eastern Europe and China, and set hefty fines on the two to settle the charges. The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission both said Pfizer subsidiaries…

Protesters greet Madonna in Russia over her support of Pussy Riot

US pop icon Madonna found herself in hot water in Moscow on Tuesday after she waded intoRussia’s fiercest controversy by calling for the release of three women in the Pussy Riot protest punk band. The one-time “material girl” and current campaigner for human rights causes arrived in Moscow on Monday to open a new…

Study: Chance that extreme weather isn’t cause by climate change is ‘negligible’

Unusually hot summers, and the destructive droughts and wildfires that follow, are the product of climate change, according to a study of recorded global temperature data by a prominent Nasa scientist. The study uses recorded temperature data, rather than prediction models, to assert that climate change is responsible for recent extreme weather events including last…

Ramadan ‘police’ go after Pakistan’s cafe culture

With its wooden floors, leather sofas and customers peering at their Apple laptops as they sip their coffees, Mocca Cafe is the not the den of iniquity that might normally attract a police raid. But Islamabad’s police have suddenly found cause to turn their attention to the capital’s poshest eateries…

DreamWorks plans $3.2 billion China tourist attraction

DreamWorks Animation on Tuesday said it plans to build a $3.2 billion “entertainment zone” in Shanghai, as the US film giant seeks to bolster its presence in the booming Chinese market. The studio’s newly-formed China joint venture, Oriental DreamWorks, is set to open the tourism attraction in 2016, the creator…

Malaysian toddler dies in ‘exorcism’

A three-year-old Malaysian girl died of suffocation during a lengthy exorcism ritual in which seven family members and a maid piled on top of her, a police official said Tuesday. The ritual, which included the child’s parents, was held by the ethnic Chinese family late Sunday in the northern town…

Nigeria school offers hope for young women fleeing abusive marriages

The clattering sewing machines at this northern Nigeria school offer hope of a better life for a group of young women who fled abusive marriages that for some prove inescapable. In Nigeria’s deeply impoverished north, which has some of the worst gender disparities in the world, millions of girls who…

Argentina imposes more restrictions on U.S. dollars

Argentina has imposed another restriction on the sale of US dollars, barring travelers from purchasing them unless the dollar is the currency of their destination, the government said Monday. The restriction, which takes effect next week and was detailed in the official gazette, is the latest twist in the government’s…

Megaupload boss says New Zealand police beat him

Megaupload boss Kim Dotcom on Tuesday accused New Zealand police of kicking and punching him when they raided his Auckland mansion earlier this year to arrest him for alleged copyright piracy. Dotcom told the Auckland High Court he tried to surrender peacefully to police during the raid in January, when…

‘Fifty Shades’: sado-masochistic romance novel now a global hit

It’s a literary phenomenon: with nearly 40 million copies sold, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, an erotic romance spiced up with sado-masochism is well on its way to breaking all the records. What sets the book apart is that it is written for women by a woman — British author EL…

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