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Pharma firms tested drugs on East Germans: report

Major Western pharmaceutical companies carried out tests of medications in the 1980s on patients in communist East Germany, in some cases without the subjects’ knowledge, a media report said Friday. “We have documents showing there were contracts between Western drug companies and East German institutions for medical tests,” a staff…

Immigration reform likely to be at the top of Congress’ agenda in 2013

Immigration reform: Is 'amnesty' a possibility now? (via The Christian Science Monitor) The momentum of President Obama’s resounding victory in November’s election – with a big push from Latinos and other minority groups – has catapulted immigration policy to the top of Washington’s 2013 agenda, making reform not only possible…

West Bank settlers throw rocks at police sent to remove them

Stone-throwing Jewish settlers drove off Israeli security forces sent to dismantle buildings at a wildcat settler outpost near the West Bank city of Ramallah on Friday, Israeli media said. Army radio said that five border policemen were lightly wounded by rocks and one “right-wing activist” was arrested. A military spokeswoman…

Japan’s foreign minster vows to patch up relations with China over island fight

Japan’s new foreign minister said Friday he would work to patch up ties with China, soured over a bitter territorial row that has blighted relations for months. “I believe it is very important to have good communication between the two governments, as well as between two foreign ministers,” Fumio Kishida…

Air pollution surges in Athens as residents choose cheaper wood-burning heat

Air pollution in Athens has surged in recent days because of people choosing wood over more expensive fuels to heat their homes in the grips of a continuing economic crisis, the environment ministry said Friday. Particulate matter has been measured at 150 milligrammes per cubic metre, or three times the…

Labor strike that could have shut down East Cost port averted

A looming labor shutdown of ports on the US East Coast was averted Friday when federal mediators helped workers and shippers reach a breakthrough on a key issue in deadlocked contract talks. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said the two sides had agreed to extend final contract negotiations for…

U.S. condemns Russian ban on American adoptions

President signs bill preventing Americans from adopting Russian children in move Washington says is ‘politically motivated’ The US government has condemned as “politically motivated” a decision by the Kremlin to ban Americans from adopting Russian children, warning of a further wedge in relations with Moscow. President Vladimir Putin signed the…

China approves rules requiring real-name online identification

China has approved new rules that require Internet users nationwide to provide real-name identification, state media reported on Friday, as the government increases its already tight online grip. The National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s legislature, adopted the measures at a meeting on Friday, the official Xinhua news agency and…

Iraq exhibition looks at inaugural parliament 87 years ago

Iraqis wistful for a golden age in politics, often labelled divided and cynical now, have been able to harken back to such a time through an exhibition on their inaugural parliament 87 years ago. During the exhibition at the modern Council of Representatives building in Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone,…

Berlusconi ordered to pay nearly $4 million in divorce settlement

An Italian court has ordered Silvio Berlusconi to pay his second wife three million euros ($3.95 million) a month alimony as part of a legal separation settlement opening the way for their divorce, media reports said Friday. Veronica Lario filed for divorce in 2009 after revelations that Berlusconi, notorious for…

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