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Beneath the burqa: Afghan women opt for cosmetic surgery

Despite living much of their lives behind a veil, some Afghan women are feeling pressure to conform to ideals of female beauty and are lining up for cosmetic surgery at a handful of clinics in Kabul. A few years ago, most operations would have been to repair war wounds or…

Ostrich arteries bring bypass hope: Japan scientists

Scientists in Japan have used ostrich blood vessels to create a viable bypass in pigs, raising hopes of easier and more effective artery transplants for heart patients. The team found they could harvest blood vessels from the bird’s long neck and use them to construct artificial pathways that are up…

Egypt opposition refuses dialogue with Morsi

Egypt’s opposition coalition rejected on Friday a dialogue proposed by President Mohamed Morsi to defuse bloody protests over sweeping powers he assumed to speed through a new constitution. The National Salvation Front said it had decided “to refuse to take part in a dialogue proposed by the president for tomorrow,…

U.S. diplomat hopes song can win over Pakistan

A US official is taking a novel approach to diplomacy in Pakistan — singing in a local language to build bridges in one of the world’s most dangerous countries, where anti-Americanism runs rampant. Shayla Cram, a public diplomacy officer assigned to Peshawar, the gateway to Al-Qaeda and Taliban strongholds in…

UN urges Palestinians to stay out of Syria conflict

The half a million Palestinian refugees living in Syria should keep out of the country’s conflict and their neutrality be respected, UN Relief and Works Agency chief Filippo Grandi told AFP. “The Palestinians should remain neutral and everybody should respect that. Nobody should put them into the crisis,” Grandi said…

Tsunami alert after 7.3-magnitude earthquake rocks Japan: NHK Broadcasting tells citizens to ‘flee to higher ground’

Japanese authorities issued a tsunami alert for the northeast coast Friday after a powerful 7.3-magnitude undersea earthquake struck, setting buildings in Tokyo swaying violently. Media reports said a one-metre-high wave could sweep ashore in an area badly hit by the March 2011 tsunami that devastated a large swathe of the…

Washington Post newspaper to erect ‘paywall’: report

The Washington Post, one of the last top US newspapers to offer its content free of charge online, will likely begin collecting fees next year, a report said Thursday. The Post is planning to roll out a “metered paywall,” meaning the subscription cost will kick in after readers access a…

World’s oldest trees dying due to climate change: study

Scientists Friday warned of an alarming increase in the death rates of the largest living organisms on the planet, the giant, old trees that harbour and sustain countless birds and wildlife. Research by universities in Australia and the United States, published in Science, said ecosystems worldwide were in danger of…

U.S. again warns Syria on chemical weapons

The United States has intelligence which raises “serious concerns” that Syria is considering employing chemical weapons in its war with rebel forces, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday. “Without commenting on the specific intelligence that we have with regards to these chemical weapons, I think there is no question…

Obama warns of human cost of fiscal cliff

President Barack Obama traveled to the suburban apartment of a high school teacher Thursday, to warn of the human cost of failing to solve the US “fiscal cliff” tax and austerity crisis. Obama sat at the kitchen table of Tiffany Santana in Virginia to issue a new warning that he…

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