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Police probe ‘killer’ python in urban Japan

Police in urban Japan were Monday probing the death of a man whose body was found next to a 6.5-metre (21 foot) python. Shoji Fujita, 66, was found dead outside his home in Ushiku city, 50 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of Tokyo, with a reticulated pythonsitting next to him, a local…

Kidnapped penguin ‘Dirk’ rescued from sharks and dogs

Dirk, a fairy penguin stolen from an Australian marine park, has been safely returned, but not before being hounded by a dog and chased by another animal, possibly a shark. Police allege three young men broke into Sea World on Queensland’s Gold Coast on Saturday night, swam in the dolphin enclosure and then stole seven-year-old Dirk as…

UN chief urges ‘maximum restraint’ from Syria regime

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon urged “maximum restraint” from the Syrian regime and cooperation from the opposition Monday as UN military observers began to monitor a fragile ceasefire. “It is very important that the cessation of violence must continue,” he said at a news conference in Brussels. “The Syrian authoritiesmust exercise maximum restraint” and “the opposition forces should…

Norway gunman Breivik pleads not guilty as trial opens

Anders Behring Breivik pleaded not guilty Monday for his massacre of 77 people in Norway last July in a defiant start to his trial that saw him greet the Oslo courtroom with a far-right salute. While families of the victims fought back tears, Breivik showed little emotion and sat stony-faced as…

Taiwan launches drill simulating Chinese invasion

Taiwan kicked off its biggest annual war game Monday, testing its ability to defend of the capital Taipei against a Chinese attack and ward off a blockade of its main naval base. Thousands of reservists reported for the five-day drill, which is codenamed “Han Kuang (Han Glory) No 28″. Hundreds of troops were also deployed…

Philippines hails start of U.S. war games

The Philippines hailed the start of major war games with the United States on Monday as a timely boost to their military alliance, amid a tense territorial dispute with China. More than 6,000 Filipino and US soldiers will take part in the 12 days of exercises across the Philippines, which come as the host nation is embroiled…

Shy Hong Kongers urged to have more sex

Sex experts are urging Hong Kongers to strip off their reputation as some of the least active lovers in Asia to get more out of their sex lives and overcome challenges of privacy in a cramped city. “People say Hong Kongers have the least amount of sexual knowledge in the world. One…

Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei says internet censorship will fail

LONDON — Dissident artist Ai Weiwei warned the Chinese government that its attempts to censor the internet would inevitably fail, in an article published in Monday’s Guardian newspaper. Ai, who was held for 81 days last year as police rounded up dissidents amid online calls for Arab-style protests in China,…

Spanish king’s elephant hunting accident provokes outrage

While ordinary Spaniards cope with harsh austerity, recession and soaring unemployment, the country’s royal family has been enjoying expensive hunting trips, one of which resulted in King Juan Carlos ending up in hospital. The 74-year-old monarch’s fall in a park in Botswana provided an excuse for Spanish newspapers, who normally…

Italians celebrate International Pillow Fight Day

ROME — Some 100 people did battle with feather-filled pillows Sunday in front of central Rome’s Santa Maria in Trastevere church, to celebrate International Pillow Fight Day. The pillow warriors, most between 18 and 30 years old, lined up face-to-face, then unleashed their fiercest pillow-fight moves when the church’s bells…

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