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Malaysia axes Singapore ballet show over tights

Authorities in Muslim-majority Malaysia have abruptly cancelled a show by a Singapore ballet troupe amid concern that their costumes would be too revealing, a dance group said Thursday. Bilqis Hijjas, president of Malaysian arts group MyDance Alliance, said performers from the Singapore Dance Theatre were denied visas for the performance scheduled for this weekend due to the “indecency of…

Mali slips into chaos as world gropes for response

Fears mounted Thursday that Al Qaeda-linked Islamists were turning Mali into a rogue state despite the announcement by Tuareg rebels that their 10-week military offensive was complete. As the Tuareg trumpeted the success of a decades-old struggle to “liberate” their homeland, their fundamentalist comrades-turned-rivals began imposing sharia in northern Mali, also leaving an…

Snake forces Australian flight to make emergency landing

SYDNEY — An Australian pilot was given the fright of his life when a snake slithered from the dashboard of the plane he was flying, forcing him to make an emergency landing, according to airline officials. Braden Blennerhassett was on a freight run for Air Frontier from Darwin to the…

Poland to ban Monsanto’s genetically modified maize

WARSAW — Poland will impose a complete ban on growing the MON810 genetically modified strain of maize made by US company Monsanto on its territory, Agriculture Minister Marek Sawicki said Wednesday. “The decree is in the works. It introduces a complete ban on the MON810 strain of maize in Poland,”…

Organized crime blamed for 160,000 business closures in Mexico in 2011

Insecurity created by organized crime in Mexico forced the closure of more than 160,000 companies in 2011 alone, according to the country’s employers confederation Coparmex. The warning, late Tuesday, came amid raging gangland-style violence across swaths of the country which is blamed for some 50,000 deaths since 2006. “Organized crime…

18 people killed by Syrian forces’ new offensisve Wednesday despite ceasefire

Fierce clashes in Syria killed at least 18 people Wednesday, mostly in Homs, as regime forces stormed and shelled villages in fresh operations, monitors said. Seven people were killed in the central city of Homs — four rebels who died in clashes with the regular army in the neighbourhood of…

Female suicide bomber in Somalia kills 4, including 2 sports officials

A female suicide bomber blew herself up Wednesday during an address by Somalia’s prime minister in Mogadishu, killing four people, including the country’s Olympic and football bosses. The young woman detonated her suicide belt as Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali was on the podium addressing 200 people at the Somali…

Career criminal arrested after kidnapping two kids in a carjacking

A man described by police as among Britain’s most wanted criminals has been arrested in a vehicle carjacked from a young mother — and found with her two toddlers still strapped in the back seats. West Midlands police rushed to the Birmingham suburb of Erdington on Tuesday following reports of…

Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik demands to be declared sane

Anders Behring Breivik, who is set to go on trial on April 16 for killing 77 people in Norway last July, said in a letter published Wednesday that being sentenced to psychiatric care would be the worst fate imaginable. “To send a political activist to an asylum is more sadistic…

Germany’s cartel office accuses oil companies of price-fixing

Germany’s competition watchdog said on Wednesday it had launched a probe against five major oil companies into allegations they sought to drive independent filling stations out of business. “The Federal Cartel Office has launched a procedure against five petrol companies — Deutsche BP/Aral, ExxonMobil Europe/Esso, ConocoPhilips Germany/Jet, Shell Deutschland, Total…

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