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German Justice Minister demands equal tax treatment for same sex couples from her own government

German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger upped the pressure on Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble Saturday to give registered gay couples a tax break. In a letter to her government colleague seen by AFP she called on him to abandon his insistance on waiting for a decision on the issue by Germany’s…

Whale uninjured in crash that broke man’s arm

A South African man fractured his arm after a catamaran crashed into a whale off the eastern port city of Durban but the Leviathan was unhurt, an official said Saturday. Derrick Pienaar, 50, suffered a fracture in his right arm, National Sea Rescue Institute official Craig Lambinon said. “Mr Pienaar’s…

Spice Girls rumored in Olympic closing ceremony

The Spice Girls are rumoured to be among a diverse wealth of acts lined up for Sunday’s Olympic Games closing ceremony, entitled “A Symphony of British Music”. George Michael, Muse and Ed Sheeran have broken the ring of silence surrounding the event and confirmed they are among the acts taking…

Panic, injuries as strong quakes hit northwest Iran

Two strong earthquakes hit northwest Iran in quick succession on Saturday, injuring dozens of people in scores of villages and sending panicked residents fleeing from their homes, officials said. The temblors, which struck near the city of Tabriz, home to 1.5 million people, measured 6.2 and 6.0 on the moment…

France committed to political solution in Syria: Hollande

French President Francois Hollande said France was committed to finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict as he paid tribute Saturday to the 88th French soldier killed in Afghanistan. He noted that France had deployed a field hospital in Jordan “as close as possible to the border with Syria…

BBC sued over ‘cash for medals’ allegations by Olympic boxing body

With the men’s Olympic boxing medals to be decided this weekend, the sports’ governing body announced Saturday it is suing the BBC over repeated allegations of cash for medals. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has begun legal action after the broadcaster repeated on Friday night that boxing medals could be…

Turkey treating Iraqi Kurdistan ‘as independent’

Turkey has been dealing with Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region as though it were an independent state, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in a statement released on Saturday. Turkey is “dealing with the (Kurdistan) region as an independent state, and this is rejected by us,” Maliki said in a soon-to-be…

Obama team lower than ‘limbo dancer’: Romney aide

WASHINGTON — A top aide to Mitt Romney on Friday accused President Barack Obama of going lower than a “world champion limbo dancer” with negative attack ads he said have demeaned the office of the US presidency. Eric Fehrnstrom expressed revulsion at a recent television ad airing in key swing…

As drought worsens, Obama calls for new farm bill

WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama urged members of Congress Saturday to pass a farm bill that would help the agricultural sector cope with the most severe drought that has struck the United States in half a century. “They need to pass a farm bill that not only helps farmers…

‘Teddy bear’ stunt trio summoned by Belarus KGB

Three Swedes behind the so-called “teddy bear” stunt in Belarus which is believed to have sparked a diplomatic row with Stockholm have been summoned to appear before the KGB, they said Saturday. “We’ve received a document from the KGB … Three of us have been asked to appear before the…

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