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Activists push for unprecedented protection of the polar bear

Environmental activists in the United States and Russia have come together to push for unprecedented protection for the polar bear, hoping to stave off the decline of its already dwindling population. With Arctic Sea ice at record low because of climate change, polar bears have been deprived of a key habitat and…

Nepal’s ‘first’ global film star ekes out a living

Oscar-nominated “Himalaya” opened up the remote, pristine villages of the world’s tallest mountain range to the West. But while the director Eric Valli and co-stars have gone on to land lucrative work in film and television, the movie’s ageing star is penniless and struggling to survive in one of the…

Iran unblocks access to Gmail

Iran on Monday removed online blocks on Gmail but a government Internet filtering committee official said other, additional censorship was being prepared against YouTube, according to reports. Internet users in Iran found themselves able to freely access their Gmail accounts for the first time since the blocks were suddenly established…

iPhone image gets Taiwanese minister in trouble

Taiwan’s government spokesman has drawn fire for posting an image of an iPhone 5 on Facebook, along with an appeal to consume more, with angry members of the public asking why he did not urge people to buy home-grown smartphone HTC instead. Hu Yu-wei, who is also the information minister,…

Police detain French Olympic champ in handball betting probe

A French prosecutor is expected to give details of suspected match-fixing and illegal betting in handball Monday, a day after police detained several players including one of the biggest stars of the game. Double Olympic gold medal winner Nikola Karabatic was among those picked up during a police operation in…

Child’s balloon ‘knocks out’ Greek aviation radar

A child’s helium balloon has been blamed for a power failure that knocked out Greece’s main civil aviation radar and snarled flights for over an hour over the weekend, a report said on Monday. Top-selling Ta Nea daily said the balloon knocked out the “heart” of the Athens flight information…

Egyptian doctors begin public hospital strike

Egyptian doctors began a partial strike on Monday to demand better pay and working conditions, their syndicate said. Doctors at 540 government hospitals have stopped work, but emergency and intensive-care units will continue to operate, it said. “The strike will be in about 540 public hospitals, which is equivalent to…

Venezuela’s Chavez: ‘I’d vote for Obama’

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says that if he were a US citizen, he would vote for President Barack Obama in the November 6 presidential election — and if Obama were Venezuelan, he’d vote for Chavez. The firebrand leftist president is in a tight re-election race of his own against opposition…

Thousands in Haiti protest high cost of living

Several thousand people took the streets of Haiti’s capital to protest the government of President Michel Martelly, complaining he was not raising their dismal living standards. The protesters, supporters of two-time president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, expressed anger at the high cost of living and rising food prices under Martelly. “Martelly must…

World must figure out how to deal with ageing populations: UN

Governments around the world must work out how to cope with ageing, a UN report said on Monday, warning that developing nations with lots of young workers may one day find their elderly populations a burden. The study by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and HelpAge International also urged…

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