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Pakistani flagmakers may see boost in sales after Obama victory spurs more effigies

Many Pakistanis fear President Barack Obama’s re-election will mean a surge in America’s unpopular drone campaign, but for those making and selling US flags to burn at protests this could be good news. Demonstrations against Washington’s programme of missile strikes against suspected Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants are common in Pakistan,…

Spanish statuettes depict a bare-bottomed French president

French President Francois Hollande has been caught with his pants down in Spain’s latest “caganer” statuettes, which depict bare-bottomed celebrities defecating. The ceramic figurines have been sold in Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region since the 18th century to be placed in Christmas nativity scenes for good luck. The 2012 collection features…

7.4 magnitude earthquake hits Guatemala’s Pacific coast

A strong 7.4 magnitude quake struck off the Pacific coast of Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico on Wednesday, prompting panicked evacuations, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake struck at 1635 GMT some 24 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of…

Congolese gynecologist who worked with rape victims fears for his life

Celebrated Panzi gynaecologist Denis Mukwege who fled after armed raid seeks government protection for return to DR Congo A Congolese gynaecologist, honoured for his work with rape victims, says he dare not return home until his security is assured after narrowly surviving an assassination attempt last month. Denis Mukwege was saved by…

Germany gaining in Michelin-ranked restaurants

Germany has increased its tally of top-ranked restaurants in next year’s prestigious Michelin guide, unveiled here on Wednesday, and has a record number of eateries with star status. In bestowing three stars on La Belle Epoque restaurant in the northern town of Luebeck-Travemuende for 2013, Germany now has 10 restaurants…

Apple ordered to pay $368 million over Facetime patent infringement

Apple has been ordered to pay $368 million for patent infringement in its use of Facetime, an application that allows for video calls on mobile devices, the plaintiff said Wednesday. Security software firm VirnetX said in a statement the jury in a federal court in Texas ordered the payment “for…

German economy beginning to feel pinch of Europe’s debt crisis

The German economy, which long seemed immune to Europe’s debilitating debt crisis, is now feeling the pinch and growth will be hit in the fourth quarter, a panel of top economic experts said Wednesday. This assessment was backed up by new data showing that industrial output slumped in September, as…

Google revamps search pages to give results more room

Google began Tuesday serving up revamped search pages that give results more room by shifting the tools menu to the top of the screen. The California-based Internet titan said the change was intended to streamline search pages and make the layout on desktop computers consistent with those on smartphones and…

News Corp. publishing profits down by nearly half after phone-hacking scandal

Home to titles including the Times, Sun and Wall Street Journal hit by $67m charge relating to phone-hacking scandal.  Profits almost halved at News Corporation’s publishing division, home to titles including the Times, Sun and Wall Street Journal, in the three months to the end of September, during which the…

France adopts marriage equality plan despite opposition

France’s Socialist government Wednesday adopted a draft bill to authorise gay marriage and adoption despite opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and others. “This is an important step towards the equality of rights,” said Minister of Family Affairs Dominique Bertinnoti. President Francois Hollande, who had made the issue a key…

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