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Paris’ Louvre is world’s most-visited museum

The Louvre said Thursday its new Islamic art wing helped cement its position as the world’s most-visited museum with nearly 10 million visitors in 2012, over a million more than last year. The exact figures will be released early next year, but in the meantime the Paris museum said there…

Queen of England to broadcast Christmas speech in 3D

Queen Elizabeth II will broadcast her annual Christmas message to Britain and the Commonwealth in 3D television for the first time, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday. Exactly 80 years after her grandfather king George V first started broadcasting a speech on December 25, the queen will embrace the new technology…

Economy grows faster than expected in third quarter at 3.1 percent

The US economy grew 3.1 percent in the third quarter, faster than previously estimated, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Gross domestic product growth in the July-September period was revised upward from prior estimates of 2.7 percent and 2.0 percent, the department said. The higher figure reflects upward revisions to consumer…

Pope puts Paul VI on path to sainthood

Pope Benedict XVI signed a decree on Thursday recognising the “heroic virtues” of late pope Paul VI, putting him on the first step towards beatification and eventual sainthood. Italian-born Giovanni Battista Montini, who was elected pope in 1963 and reigned until 1978, oversaw a complex series of reforms in the…

Dictator’s daughter Park Geun-hye elected South Korea’s first woman president

South Korea elects its first woman president, Park Geun-hye Park Geun-hye won a decisive victory Wednesday after a bitterly fought election for president of South Korea in which she overcame criticism of her legacy as the daughter of long-ruling dictator Park Chung-hee. So doing, she also overcame traditional barriers to…

‘Erin Brockovich’ toxin chromium-6 found at Japanese iron plant

THE toxic chemical made infamous by campaigning single mother Erin Brockovich has been found at up to 15,800 times safety limits in groundwater at a Japan iron plant, the factory’s operator said Thursday. Excessive amounts of hexavalent chromium were discovered at Nippon Denko’s plant in Tokushima in the country’s west…

Russia’s Putin denies propping up Syria’s Assad

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday denied propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and stressed that Moscow was only seeking to avert a perpetual civil war. “What is our position? Not to leave Assad’s regime in power at any price, but to first (let the Syrians) agree among themselves how…

Rape outcry shines light on India’s ‘misogyny’

Despite an outpouring of anger at a student’s gang-rape, observers say misogyny remains widespread in India where sex assaults are often dismissed as “teasing” and victims find themselves blamed for attacks. The Sunday night assault on a bus in New Delhi, which left the 23-year-old victim fighting for her life,…

Putin offers French actor Gerard Depardieu Russian passport following tax controversy

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he was ready to offer French movie star Gerard Depardieu a Russian passport to resolve his tax row, calling him a friend. “If Gerard really wants to have a residency permit in Russia or a Russian passport, we can consider this issue resolved…

Senators Feinstein, Levin and McCain slam bin Laden manhunt flick ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Three top US senators, including former White House hopeful John McCain, on Wednesday slammed a new Osama bin Laden manhunt movie for suggesting that torture helped find the Al-Qaeda chief. In a letter to Sony Pictures head Michael Lynton, Democratic senators Diane Feinstein and Carl Levin and Republican McCain took…

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