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Watchdog set to finalize plan to rid Syria of chemical weapons

The world’s chemical watchdog met Friday to agree a final roadmap for ridding Syria of its arsenal by mid-2014, despite the setback of Albania refusing for the weapons to be destroyed on its soil. Friday is the deadline for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to agree…

Suspected French cannibal ‘ate victim’s heart and tongue’ with beans

A suspected cannibal killed a 90-year-old in a sleepy southern French village then pulled his heart and tongue out with the apparent intention of eating them with white beans, sources close to the case said Friday. The young, homeless man slipped into his victim’s house at the edge of the…

Toronto city council to limit executive powers of crack-smoking mayor

Toronto’s crack-smoking mayor, Rob Ford, faced a new political challenge on Friday from city councillors seeking to limit his powers after his latest obscene outburst. Ford, under fire after admitting to having once used crack and allegedly abusing a prescription drug and other misconduct, drew gasps, giggles and at least…

U.S. thinks nuclear deal with Iran is possible next week

A nuclear deal with Iran is possible at the next round of talks in Geneva, a US official said Friday, but warned tough issues still had to be hammered out. “We are going to work very hard next week. I don’t know if we’ll reach an agreement. I think it…

Jihadists in Syria accidentally behead one of their own

Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists in Syria have admitted beheading a fellow rebel by mistake after believing him to be an Iraqi Shiite fighting alongside regime forces, a watchdog said on Friday. A video posted on the Internet on Wednesday showed two members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)…

British gynecologists say more and more women are seeking labial reduction procedures

British gynaecologists warned on Friday that increasing numbers of teenage girls and women are undergoing genital cosmetic surgery, driven in part by unrealistic images of how they should look based on pornography. The state-funded National Health Service (NHS) performed more than 2,000 labial reduction procedures — labiaplasties — in 2010,…

Some Obamacare state exchanges doing well, but at least one is a disaster

Wednesday, the Seattle Times reported that the Washington Health Benefit Exchange had reported numbers that were even better than those released earlier in the day by Kathleen Sebelius and the Department of Health and Human Services. Between October 1 and November 7, Washington state’s website had enrolled 77,000 people in…

Vatican downplays alleged mafia threat against Pope Francis

The Vatican has downplayed a warning that Pope Francis could be targeted by the mafia because of his reforms to Holy See financial bodies. “There is no reason for concern, and there is no need to feed alarmism,” Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. He added that the Vatican —…

Actor Russell Brand prevented from leaving London over passport problems

British actor and comic Russell Brand was forced to cancel a planned stand-up gig in Johannesburg Friday, after being denied permission to board a flight because his passport was not in order. Brand was prevented by an airline from leaving London after it emerged he did not have two free…

CIA amassing a huge database on Americans’ financial data

The Central Intelligence Agency is amassing a huge database of international money transfers that includes the financial and personal data of millions of Americans, The Wall Street Journal reported. Under the program, the Federal Bureau of Investigation works with the CIA to collect large amounts of data on international transactions…

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