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Pope Francis: We will not imagine ‘a Middle East without Christians’

Pope Francis on Thursday said the Catholic Church will not accept a Middle East without Christians, who often find themselves forced to flee areas of conflict and unrest in the region. “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians,” he said after meeting with patriarchs from…

Spanish King Juan Carlos gets third hip replacement

Surgeons replaced Spain’s King Juan Carlos’s left hip for the third time on Thursday, the latest in a string of operations that have raised questions about the future of his reign. The 75-year-old king, who has appeared in public on crutches and looking frail this year, could be walking again…

Greenpeace mounts towering protest in Warsaw over Arctic activists

Greenpeace activists on Thursday draped a banner over Warsaw’s highest tower to demand that Russia free fellow members jailed over an Arctic drilling protest. The three activists hoisted themselves down ropes from the observation deck to hang the huge yellow banner that read “Save the Arctic! Free our activists!” onto…

U.S. prepares to mark 50th anniversary of Kennedy assassination

The United States will on Friday mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a dark turning point in the nation’s history and a day many still remember vividly. Church bells will toll. Flags will be lowered. Wreaths will be laid. Children will sing. And in…

Lego-style crime mural becomes hit in Malaysia despite officials’ objections

A street mural that was whitewashed by authorities because it highlighted Malaysia’s crime problem has gone viral, with versions popping up across the country and earning their creator comparisons to UK graffiti artist Banksy. The original mural that appeared on a wall in the southern Malaysian city of Johor Baru…

Venus orbits the Sun inside huge ‘zodiacal cloud’ of space dust

Scientists have discovered that Venus circles the sun embedded within a huge band of dust that is 10-15 million kilometres high and stretches all the way around its orbit. The finding will help astronomers better understand the dust clouds within planetary systems so that they can be taken into account…

Senate Democrats drop the ‘nuclear option’ on Republicans and limit filibusters

The US Senate took the potentially explosive step Thursday of changing its rules to allow executive and lower court nominees to be approved by a simple majority vote. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoked the move, known in Washington as the “nuclear option,” to end what he considered long-standing abuses…

Reporters accuse White House of preventing the public from ‘having an independent view’

White House reporters and photographers on Thursday accused top officials of deliberately blocking access to President Barack Obama and of substituting its own “visual press releases” for independent news coverage. In a letter to White House spokesman Jay Carney, the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) and other news organizations said…

Gaza zoo blames Israel after two lion cubs die

Two lion cubs born in Gaza this week and named in honour of Hamas’ last major clash with Israel died on Thursday, a zoo official said. “The lions named Fajr and Sijil (Dawn and Clay in Arabic) died today due to a deterioration of their health at birth,” Shadi Hamad,…

Potential 2016 contender Marco Rubio urges an interventionist foreign policy

Republican Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 White House contender, urges the projection of US global power in the name of liberty — an interventionist strategy at odds with isolationists in his party. Back home he spearheaded comprehensive immigration reform earlier this year, infuriating hardliners who helped elect him to the…

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