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Spain scraps health benefits for undocumented immigrants

Spain takes pride in its universal health care but Europe’s debt crisis has spurred tough budget cuts that will bring sometimes life-saving treatment for illegal immigrants to an abrupt end. Carmen Maria, a 33-year-old woman from Nicaragua who arrived in the country in 2010, has no legal ID in Spain but has benefitted from free…

Israel arrests Gaza fishermen for being over three miles offshore

The Israeli navy on Sunday stopped a Palestinian fishing boat off the Gaza coast and arrested those on board, sources on both sides said. “A Palestinian fishing boat was found outside the limits of Gaza’s fishing zone and the navy took it to (the southern Israeli port of) Ashdod where…

Thai web editor faces 20 year sentence for ‘royal insults’ posted by others

A Thai web editor facing decades behind bars over remarks about the monarchy posted by other people on her website said she still hopes to be acquitted ahead of a closely-watched verdict this week. A Bangkok court is set to decide Monday on charges against Chiranuch Premchaiporn that could carry…

Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade aims to raise diversity awareness

Some 2,500 people marched in a gay pride parade in Tokyo on Sunday, vowing to transform a low-profile campaign for the rights of sexual minorities into a major movement in Japan. The crowd, mainly from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, as well as their supporters and sex…

Scientists find gene that inhibits pancreas cancer spread

PARIS — Scientists have identified a gene that slows the spread of pancreatic cancer tumours, paving the way for targeted treatment of one of the deadliest forms of the disease, said a paper published Sunday. After discovering the gene dubbed USP9X at work in a study of pancreatic cancer in…

U.S. seeks ‘appropriate balance’ in China activist case

WASHINGTON — The United States is working hard to strike an “appropriate balance” as it navigates the politically sensitive case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng who has sought refuge in the US embassy in Beijing. “We are working very closely with the individuals involved in this,” chief White House counterterrorism…

Taiwan to step up checks on U.S. beef after mad cow case

TAIPEI — Taiwan plans to step up checks of US plants that process beef exported to the island, the government said Sunday, following the discovery of a new mad cow disease case in the United States. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week reported the country’s fourth-ever case of…

Los Angeles marks 20th anniversary of riots

LOS ANGELES — America on Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the devastating Los Angeles riots, one of the worst spasms of violence in modern times in this country, sparked by the on-camera police beating of a black motorist. A series of events were scheduled in Los Angeles were scheduled…

Spaniards protest against austerity cuts

MADRID — Tens of thousands of people demonstrated across Spain on Sunday against new austerity measures targetting education and health care spending. “Cuts in health care and education, that’s the last straw for us, the working class,” said Domingo Zamora, a 60-year-old civil servant in Madrid. “Without that, what’s left?…

Afghan vote law change planned ‘to fight fraud’

KABUL — Afghanistan’s election commission has drafted proposed changes to the country’s election law in a bid to prevent fraud in future parliamentary votes, an official said Sunday. Afghanistan’s 2009 presidential election and the parliamentary election held a year later were both characterised by widespread electoral fraud. “We have used…

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