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Hollande tipped to cement Socialist power in France vote

France was voting on Sunday in round one of a parliamentary election tipped to give Socialist President Francois Hollande the majority needed to implement his tax-and-spend programme. Hollande defeated right-winger Nicolas Sarkozy in last month’s presidential election and has called for voters to turn out en masse to give him…

Nepal ‘Himalayan Viagra’ harvest droops to record low

Every summer, Himalayan villages empty as locals rush to the mountains of northern Nepal to harvest yarchagumba, a high-altitude wild fungus that is prized for its aphrodisiac qualities. In recent years, however, the yield has been severely depleted by over-picking and the probable effects of climate change, experts have warned,…

Galapágos menaced by tourist invasion

Tourism will wreck the wonders of the Galápagos – where animal and plant life is being wiped out by the arrival of aggressive new species – unless action is taken soon, writes Carole Cadwalladr Opening what looks like the drawer of an office filing cabinet, Gustavo Jimenez, a scientist at…

Prince Philip leaves hospital

Britain’s Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, left hospital on Saturday after five days of treatment for a bladder infection that sparked concerns for the 90-year-old’s health. The prince shook hands with staff, smiled and nodded when asked if he was feeling better as he walked out of King Edward VII Hospitalin central London just…

Man given George Zimmerman’s old phone number gets threats

A man assigned the old phone number of a Florida neighborhood watch volunteer charged with murder for shooting dead an unarmed black teenager is seeking compensation, after a rash of threatening calls. Junior Alexander Guy, 49, got his first cell phone last month. Immediately he was besieged by callers angry at George Zimmerman. “You murderer!” “You deserve…

Toxic mushroom kills Chinese woman in Australia

A woman reported to be visiting Australia from China has died after eating a toxic Death Cap mushroom – the third such fatality in the southern nation this year. The woman, aged in her 50s, died Friday at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, two days after being admitted with severe poisoning due to ingestion of the…

U.S. welcomes Spain’s bank recapitalization action

US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Saturday said he welcomed Spain’s Spain’s appeal to the eurozone for a 100-billion-euro ($125 billion) lifeline for its banks. “We welcome Spain’s action to recapitalize its banking system and the commitment by its European partners to provide support,” Geithner said in a brief statement. “These are important for the…

Jews and Arabs march to mark 45 years of Israeli occupation

Hundreds of Jews and Arabs marched in Tel Aviv on Saturday night to mark the 45th anniversary of the Six-Day War in which Israelseized the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, Israeli media reported. The left-leaning Haaretz newspaper’s website said around 1,000 people marched from the city’s Rabin Square. Israeli army radio said “hundreds” took part under the banner…

LGBT march key tolerance test for EU-bound Croatia

Hundreds of riot police were on guard Saturday as Croatia’s second city hosted a gay parade seen as a test of tolerance in the EU-bound country after violence last year left a dozen people injured. More than 500 people — many carrying the rainbow flags which are symbol of gay activism — set off from…

Peru police find helicopter crash as any survivors unknown

Police searchers on Saturday found the helicopter that vanished in the Peruvian Andes with 14 people aboard, but do not know yet if there are survivors, Police General Hector Dulanto told AFP. A team of police mountain climbers found the helicopter crash site at 4,900 meters (16,000 feet) above sea level at mid-morning near Mount Mamarosa, Dulanto, a regional…

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