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German legislators call to protect religious circumcision

German MPs adopted a cross-party motion on Thursday calling on the government to protect religious circumcision after a court ruling branding it a crime sparked outrage at home and abroad. The resolution urges Berlin to draw up legislation in the autumn that “ensures that the circumcision of boys carried out…

French soft drink makers unveil ‘DSK’ aphrodisiac beverage

A fizzy drink with alleged aphrodisiac qualities carrying the initials of disgraced IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will hit French night clubs this summer, its makers said. The Drink Safran Kiwi (DSK, or Saffron Kiwi Drink), to be sold in Paris and the French Riviera, is geared towards “the in-crowd, night…

Internet ‘superheroes’ defend online freedom with ‘cat signal’

The Internet’s “superheroes” are rallying to defend online freedom, while taking a page from Hollywood’s playbook. The launch set Thursday of the Internet Defense League coincides with the US release of the new Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises,” and will use a bat — er, cat signal — to…

Police arresting condom carriers increase risk of spreading HIV

Police in major cities in the United States are criminalising women who carry a stock of condoms, making sex workers and their clients less likely to use them and increasing their risk of contracting HIV, says Human Rights Watch. A new report compiles evidence from sex workers in four major…

Study: Chinese access Internet more through mobile phones than computers

Mobile phones have overtaken computers as the most popular device for getting online in China, the government said Thursday, as it announced the number of web users had hit 538 million. China has the world’s biggest online population, with nearly four out of 10 of its 1.3 billion people now…

Security experts shut down massive spam botnet

A huge global ‘botnet’ responsible for sending out millions of spam messages each day has been shut down by a collaborative effort from security experts in the US, Britain and Russia, researchers said. The so-called Grum botnet — which uses a network of infected computers to automatically generate emails —…

Researchers: Too few cyber victims willing to report crimes

US cybersecurity efforts are hampered by attacks that go unreported by victims unwilling to divulge confidential information, a research panel said Thursday. The report by the Bipartisan Policy Center said the number of cyberattacks appears to be on the rise, along with financial losses. It said that from October 2011…

Austrian farmer fined €100 because his cowbells were too noisy

There are few things more typically Alpine than the gentle ringing of cow bells, but one Austrian farmer has been fined because those of his herd were too noisy, authorities said Thursday. Two families in the village of Stallhofen in the southeastern Austrian state of Styria filed a complaint with…

Massive police state controls North Korea: study

North Korea’s notoriously harsh secret police consists of vast and sometimes competing agencies that will pose a major challenge to any potential attempts at reform, a study said Thursday. In a lengthy study of the workings of the ultra-authoritarian state, a rights group said that North Korea has maintained control…

Mourners bid farewell to ‘first Bollywood superstar’

Mourners gathered in Mumbai under heavy monsoon rain to bid farewell and catch a final glimpse of Bollywood’s first superstar, Rajesh Khanna, who was to be cremated on Thursday. His body was driven from his residence on an open-back trailer with only his face showing from beneath a blanket of…

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