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German parliament passes law allowing religious circumcision

Germany’s parliament passed a law on Wednesday to allow religious circumcision, clarifying the legal situation after a court said the rite amounted to grievous bodily harm in a ruling that caused international uproar. Members of the Bundestag or lower house of parliament passed the cross-party motion by 434 votes to…

Pope’s tweeting draws mockery

Pope Benedict XVI’s debut on Twitter got off to a bumpy start on Wednesday, with mockery outweighing piety in reaction to the first tweets from the leader of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics. The pope’s second tweet — “How can we celebrate the Year of Faith better in our daily…

WWF: Illegal wildlife poaching ‘threatens national security’

Poaching and illegal trade in protected species like elephants, rhinos and tigers has boomed into a $19-billion-a-year industry that threatens security and stability in many countries, the World Wildlife Fund warned Wednesday. “Besides driving many endangered species towards extinction, illegal wildlife trade strengthens criminal networks (and) undermines national security,” the…

Dead nurse who received hoax call found hanged

By Caroline Davies, The Guardian Jacintha Saldanha was discovered at flat near King Edward VII hospital where Duchess of Cambridge was being treated The nurse found dead after a hoax call to the hospital treating the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was found hanged, the Guardian understands. Jacintha Saldanha, 46, a…

UN: Three-quarters of Pakistani girls aren’t enrolled in school

ISLAMABAD — Nearly three quarters of young Pakistani girls are not enrolled in primary school and the number finishing five years in education has declined, a new UN and government report showed Wednesday. The findings expose the miserable state of education for millions in Pakistan, where the Taliban shot 15-year-old…

UN to vote in favor of universal health care

UN general assembly vote could put access to quality and affordable healthcare for all on new development agenda The UN general assembly is expected to vote in favour of a resolution for universal health coverage on Wednesday, reflecting a growing international consensus on the importance of affordable access to healthcare. The UN…

Uruguayan congress moves to legalize same sex marriage

Uruguayan lawmakers approved a bill early Wednesday to legalize same-sex marriage and sent it on to the Senate. The Chamber of Deputies approved the measure after eight hours of debate, with 81 votes in favor out of 87 legislators present. The result was greeted with thunderous applause from around 200…

Paris’ famed Notre Dame cathedral turns 850

Quasimodo only had eyes for Esmerelda but the famous hunchback’s fellow Parisians have always had another special lady in their lives. Notre Dame (Our Lady), the iconic cathedral at the heart of the French capital, will on Wednesday launch a year of celebrations to mark the 850th anniversary of its…

Egypt splits constitution vote into two rounds

Egypt’s vote on a divisive draft charter will take place in two rounds, its electoral commission said, after the army urged President Mohamed Morsi and his opponents to meet Wednesday over the crisis. Cairo’s presidential palace and surrounding streets were calm after a mass demonstration calling for Morsi’s ouster, condemning…

Jerusalem sites sprayed with anti-Christian graffiti

Vandals sprayed anti-Christian graffiti on a monastery and a Christian cemetery in Jerusalem overnight, in two apparent “price-tag” attacks, police told AFP on Wednesday. “Overnight, graffiti was sprayed on the gates of the entrance of the Armenian cemetery reading ‘Jesus is a son of a bitch’ in Hebrew, and on…

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