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Germany moves to toughen bestiality laws

BERLIN — Germany is set to tighten its laws against bestiality in a bid to improve animal welfare, a lawmaker involved in drafting the legislation said on Monday. Bestiality was removed from Germany’s penal code in 1969 and since then has only been against the law if “significant harm” is…

Catalonia independence movement reels after sovereignty vote fails

Catalonia’s fight for statehood and a historic divorce from Spain floundered Monday after a snap election left no single party in command. Pro-sovereignty parties from right and left emerged with a clear combined majority, but the prospects of them joining in battle for a new nation were deeply uncertain. That…

Winehouse play in Copenhagen blocked by father

A Copenhagen play on the life of late British singer Amy Winehouse has been blocked by the singer’s father, the Danish copyright collecting society said Monday. The show, titled “Amy”, was due to open at the Royal Danish Theatre in January but was cancelled because KODA, a society that administers…

Black Friday nets $1 billion in U.S. online shopping

US shoppers spent heavily online on the crucial Black Friday shopping day, for the first time topping a billion dollars in online sales in a single day, analysts and retailers said. The four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend is the kickoff to the US holiday shopping season, and Black Friday has long…

Russian PM ‘does not rule out’ Kremlin comeback

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he is not ruling out a return to the Kremlin after his 2008-2012 single term as Russian head of state but was happy working as premier under his mentor Vladimir Putin. “If I have sufficient strength and health, if our people trust me in the…

Taiwan nixes ‘Jeremy Lin Party’

Taiwanese authorities have rejected an application to set up a new political party named after Asian-American basketball hero Jeremy Lin, officials said Monday. The “Jeremy Lin Party”, jointly endorsed by 30 people as required by Taiwan law, was turned down by the interior ministry’s Department of Civil Affairs. “According to…

Elton John dedicates Beijing show to Chinese dissident

Pop-rock balladeer Elton John dedicated his Beijing show to Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei — a controversial move the artist said Monday was unlikely to make the nation’s cultural minders happy. After the Icelandic singer Bjork chanted “Tibet, Tibet” at a 2008 concert in Shanghai, authorities refused numerous Western acts permits…

More protests in Egypt as Morsi plans meeting with judges

Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was to meet with senior judges on Monday in a bid to defuse a crisis that erupted after he assumed sweeping new powers, sparking strikes and deadly protests. The crisis talks, on the eve of rival rallies which threaten to deepen the country’s divisions, come…

Samsung finds ‘inadequate’ practices in China plants

Samsung Electronics said Monday that a probe of its suppliers in China had found no evidence of alleged child labour, but did uncover some “inadequate” employment practices that needed to be remedied. The South Korean technology giant inspected 105 Chinese partners in September following a report by China Labor Watch…

New factory fire in Bangladesh before national day of mourning

Bangladesh firefighters battled a new blaze at a garment factory Monday as the country prepared for a day of mourning after the death of 110 workers over the weekend in the export industry’s worst accident. The second fire broke out at a 12-storey facility on the outskirts of the capital…

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