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India floods displace two million and kill 79

At least 79 people have died and 2.2 million forced to leave their homes over the last week as torrential monsoon rains triggered floods across India’s northeast, officials said Monday. Assam state, which borders Bhutan and Bangladesh, has been worst hit with the massive Brahmaputra river breaching its banks, while extensive flooding has…

Pufferfish a hit in Japan despite the risks

Every year in Japan people are hospitalised after eating pufferfish; sometimes the result is fatal. But despite apparent dangers, strict rules on serving the toxic delicacy in Tokyo are to be relaxed. Aficionados say the tingle that the meat of the pufferfish leaves on your lips — caused by the potent neurotoxin it contains —…

Afghanistan threatens Pakistan with UN Security Council referral

Afghanistan on Monday threatened to report Pakistan to the UN Security Council over what Kabul alleges is the shelling of its villages along the border between the two countries. Authorities in the eastern province of Kunar, a hotbed for Taliban militants, have complained for weeks of being bombarded from across the frontier, blaming the barrage on…

Apple settles Chinese iPad trademark fight: court

US technology giant Apple has paid a Chinese firm $60 million to settle a long-running dispute over the iPad trademark in China, a court said Monday. The government body overseeing trademarks has been asked to immediately recognise Apple’s rights to the iPad name, the High Court of the southern province of Guangdong said on its…

Syria rebels to boycott Cairo opposition talks

Syria-based rebel fighters and activists said they would boycott an opposition meeting in Cairo on Monday, denouncing it as a “conspiracy” that served the policy goals of Damascus allies Moscow and Tehran. The two-day meeting, to be attended by the main exiled opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council, and other smaller groups, is intended forge a common…

Hamas ‘temporarily’ suspends voter registration

The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip said on Monday it has “temporarily” halted voter registration just over a month after granting the electoral commission permission to work. In a statement, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri cited various “obstacles” that needed to be resolved before the electoral commission could resume its work. “Hamas and the government in Gaza have provided the Central Election…

Journalists in Ethiopia jail say held ‘unnecessarily’

Two Swedish journalists in Ethiopia jailed on terrorism charges say they are being detained unnecessarily, one year into their 11-year sentence, Swedish diplomats said Monday. Diplomats last week visited reporter Martin Schibbye and photographer Johan Persson, who have been held in an Ethiopian jail since their arrest on July 1 last year. “I think they’re very bored but physically…

PRI’s Pena Nieto claims victory in Mexico presidential vote

Enrique Pena Nieto, the youthful candidate of the party that governed Mexico for decades, claimed victory in the country’s presidential election. The candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) cited the first official results announced by the independent Federal Electoral Institute (IFE) as proof that he won. The results showed…

Women in combat: U.S. military on verge of making it official

Women in combat: US military on verge of making it official Women in combat: Air Force Col. Jeannie Leavitt (center) talks with Capt. Ryan Roper (l.) and Capt. Jordan Richardson at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro N.C. She is the first female jet fighter pilot in US history…

World has 5 million ‘test tube’ people: estimate

In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) has given the world about five million new people since the first test tube baby was born in England 34 years ago, according to an estimate released on Monday. As the initial controversy over man’s scientific manipulation of nature has faded, about 350,000 babies conceived in petri…

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