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Barclays’ Bob Diamond to forgo £20 million bonus

Former Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond will give up bonuses worth £20 million after resigning over a rate-rigging scandal, the bank’s chairman said Tuesday. But chairman Marcus Agius told a British lawmakers investigating the scandal that Diamond, whose pay packages during the financial crisis were fiercely controversial, would still receive…

Quitting smoking adds more pounds than thought: study

Quitting smoking leads to an average weight gain of four to five kilogrammes (nine to 11 pounds) in the first year — “significantly” more than previously thought, a study said Wednesday. Most of the pounds are piled on in the first three months, a team of medical researchers wrote in…

Mexico kills 2.5 million poultry in bid to contain bird flu

Officials have slain 2.5 million birds at poultry farms in western Mexico over the past three weeks in an attempt to contain a bird flu outbreak, the agriculture ministry said. The virus responsible for Mexico’s current bird flu outbreak, H7N3, has occasionally caused human disease in various parts of the…

Irish actor Peter O’Toole ‘chucks in the sponge’

Colorful veteran Irish actor Peter O’Toole, famous for films including “Lawrence of Arabia”, has announced his retirement, saying it was time to “chuck in the sponge” aged 79. The acclaimed stage and screen star said he was taking his last bow “dry-eyed and profoundly grateful” for his half-century long career.…

Taiwan to stage first same-sex Buddhist wedding

Two women plan to tie the knot next month in Taiwan’s first same-sex Buddhist wedding, as gay and lesbian groups push to make the island the first society in Asia to legalise gay marriage Fish Huang and her partner You Ya-ting, both 30, will receive their blessings from Master Shih…

Afghans protest woman’s public execution

Dozens of Afghan women’s rights activists took to the streets Wednesday to protest against the recent public execution of a young woman for alleged adultery, which was captured in a horrific video. The 22-year-old victim was shot dead as dozens of men cheered in a village about 100 kilometres (60…

Thai pardon for U.S. citizen jailed for royal insult

Thailand on Wednesday said a Thai-born US citizen jailed for insulting the kingdom’s revered monarch had been granted a royal pardon, in a move welcomed by the United States. Joe Wichai Commart Gordon, a car salesman from Colorado, was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in December under the kingdom’s strict lese…

Amazon testing new smartphone: report

The online retail giant Amazon is testing a new smartphone and may launch production later this year or early next year, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The story, datelined Taipei, said the company is working with Asian component suppliers to test the new device, which would enter a crowded…

Baby giant panda’s death in Tokyo sparks grief

The death of a baby panda in Japan stopped regular television programming and brought a Tokyo zoo director to tears on Wednesday, a week after its birth sent ripples of excitement across the nation. Newscasts had dedicated a nightly segment to the male cub’s daily activities since his birth on…

Russian parliament to vote on ‘web censorship’ bill

The Russian parliament was Wednesday set to vote into law a contentious bill that activists fear will introduce Internet censorship by blacklisting sites deemed as undesirable. The amendments to an existing information law are being promoted as a crackdown on child pornography, creating a federal register that would rule out…

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