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Cuba scraps ‘exit visas,’ allowing Cubans to travel freely with just a passport

Havana scraps exit visas, but most Cubans won't be going abroad (via The Christian Science Monitor) Havana’s old town is a colorful though faded grid of dilapidated houses punctuated by chess games and 1950s-era American cars. Neighbors chat from their doorways, like Estrella, who sits on a knee-high box in front of her…

Trial: Brother dismembered British actress after arguing about overflowing sink

A former star of the British soap “EastEnders” was beaten to death and dismembered by her brother after they argued over an overflowing sink, a court heard on Monday as the murder trial opened. Tony McCluskie, 35, denies murder but has admitted the manslaughter of his sister Gemma, whose headless…

Regulations force Coca-Cola ads to address obesity

Facing new regulations that target high-calorie soda drinks, US soft-drink giant Coca-Cola will unveil a pair of television ads this week that acknowledge the calories in its products and encourage consumers to burn them off. A two-minute video titled “Coming Together” will begin airing on national cable news networks late…

Obama says assault weapons ban makes sense

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Monday he thinks an assault weapons ban makes sense, after accepting what he said was a “sensible” list of plans to curb gun violence from Vice President Joe Biden. At a White House press conference a month after the Newtown massacre, Obama backed restricting…

Russia to require soldiers to wear socks by end of the year

Russia’s defence minister expressed horror on Monday that soldiers were still wrapping cloths around their feet instead of wearing socks, and vowed the historic practice must end this year. “I would like to give an order that in 2013, at least by the end of the year, we forget the…

EU releases all data used to clear genetically modified corn’s link to cancer

The EU’s food safety agency challenged its doubters on Monday, making available all the scientific information used to clear a genetically modified corn which a French researcher had linked to cancer. The European Food Safety Authority said that “given the level of public interest … (it would) make all data…

Study: Children who eat lots of fast food more likely to develop asthma

Children who frequently eat fast food are far likelier to have severe asthma compared to counterparts who tuck into fruit, a large international study published on Monday said. Researchers asked nearly half a million teenagers aged 13-14 and children aged six and seven about their eating habits and whether in…

British PM Cameron denies ‘blackmailing’ EU members

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday denied trying to “blackmail” his European partners by threatening to pull out of the EU if he did not get his way on repatriating powers. Ahead of a long-awaited speech next week in which he is expected to propose a referendum after 2015…

French leaders unmoved by march against marriage equality

France’s ruling Socialists refused to back down on Monday, a day after hundreds of thousands marched against plans to legalise gay marriage and adoption, and as opposition politicians stepped up calls for a referendum on the issue. Despite the massive turn-out in Paris — 800,000 according to organisers, 340,000 according…

GM says 2012 sales in China hit record highs

US auto giant General Motors said that its sales in China, the world’s biggest car market, hit a record 2.84 million vehicles last year, despite the country’s slowing economy. GM’s China sales grew 11.3 percent in 2012 from 2011, which recorded the previous record of around 2.55 million vehicles, the…

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