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Britain defends shooting pigs for army medic training

Britain’s Ministry of Defence on Sunday defended its practice of shooting pigs and giving the wounded animals to military surgeons to practice treating common battlefield injuries. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokesperson Klare Kennett said the training exercises, which take place twice a year in Denmark,…

Anti-gay marriage protesters rally in Paris

Thousands of Catholics and other opponents of French government plans to legalise gay marriage and same-sex adoption marched in Paris on Sunday, a day after more than 100,000 turned out across France for the cause. The rally, organised by conservative Catholic group Civitas, was marred by accusations that journalists covering…

Republicans question timeline that led to Petraeus resignation

Barack Obama may have known about the extra-marital affair that brought down former CIA boss David Petraeus prior to being re-elected president, the Republican head of the influential House intelligence committee claimed Sunday. Casting aspersions over the official timeline of events, congressman Mike Rogers said he was “not sure” that…

Senator Levin blasts Egypt’s ‘weak’ effort on Gaza

WASHINGTON — Senior US Senator Carl Levin criticized Egypt’s “weak” efforts Sunday to pressure its ally Hamas to reduce tensions in the bloody conflict between Gaza’s Islamist rulers and their enemy Israel. “It’s pretty weak so far from what I can tell. The Egyptians have a real interest here in…

Gaza braces for ground invasion as death toll mounts

Gaza is braced for a ground invasion by Israeli forces following intensified bombing that included the flattening of the headquarters of the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. As the Israeli military began the emergency call-up of up to 75,000 reservists, leaders from Turkey, Egypt and Qatar met in Cairo to discuss…

Obama on Gaza: Next 48 hours will show what progress can be made

President Barack Obama suggested Sunday that it was “preferable” that Israel did not launch a ground invasion in Gaza, but stood firm over support of its ally despite mounting Palestinian civilian casualties. Speaking at the start of a three-day tour of south-east Asia, he reiterated the White House position that…

Pelosi won’t accept fiscal cliff deal without tax hikes on the rich

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat in the House of Representatives expressed hope Sunday that US lawmakers will reach a deal by mid-December to avoid the fiscal cliff but stood firm on tax rises for the rich. In an interview with ABC television’s “This Week,” Nancy Pelosi said she would not…

Iran warns against arming Syrian rebels

TEHRAN — Iran on Sunday warned against sending weapons to Syrian rebels battling its ally in Damascus, saying that this would threaten regional stability and increase the “risk of terrorism.” “Some countries envisage arming the opposition with heavy and semi-heavy weaponry,” Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a speech…

Moctezuma headdress stirs passions in Mexico and Austria

VIENNA — Steeped in myth and legend, the “Penacho”, a feather headdress supposedly worn by Aztec emperor Moctezuma II, continues to stir up passion in Austria and Mexico as it goes on display again after a years-long restoration. Some say it was brought to Europe by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes,…

One body found near damaged oil rig in Gulf of Mexico

WASHINGTON — Divers hired by the owner of an oil rig that suffered an explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico found one body, the Coast Guard said. Two workers have been missing since the accident Friday, but Coast Guard spokesman Carlos Vega would not say if the body…

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