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Skeleton from ‘vampire’ ritual unearthed in Bulgaria

Another centuries-old skeleton of a man who was subjected to a ritual to stop him from turning into a vampire was unearthed in central Bulgaria Tuesday, archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov said. “The skeleton was tied to the ground with four iron clamps, while burning ambers were placed on top of his…

Scientists: China’s soil pollution could be a bigger long-term problem than air or water

Nowhere is the global push to restore degraded land likely to be more important, complex and expensive than in China, where vast swaths of the soil are contaminated by arsenic and heavy metals from mines and factories. Scientists told the Guardian that this is likely to prove a bigger long-term…

Tokyo named world’s most expensive city

Tokyo has regained the dubious honour of being the world’s most expensive city, where a cup of coffee will set you back £5.25, a newspaper £4 and a litre of milk £2. The Japanese capital topped the annual cost-of-living survey by the HR consultants Mercer, which ranks cities according to…

Athens HIV infections rise 1,450 percent after authorities canceled needle exchange program

The head of Médecins sans Frontières Greece has accused the Athens authorities of pursuing a wrong and dangerous public health strategy that ignores the root causes of disease outbreaks and penalises those most at risk. Reveka Papadopoulou, the general director of the medical aid charity’s Greek branch, said cases of…

Industrial music scares off pesky Sydney bats

A huge colony of fruit bats that live in Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens are such a pest that desperate officials have taken to blaring industrial noise and banging sounds to scare them off. And the ploy appears to have worked. A week ago some 5,000 of the large mammals could be seen hanging in trees throughout the park,…

Israel ‘to evacuate Tel Aviv’ in event of missile attack

Israel will evacuate the entire population of Tel Aviv if it is hit by missiles, particularly if they have unconventional warheads, the commander in charge of Israel’s central region told AFP. Colonel Adam Zusman, chief of the Home Front Command in Israel’s Gush Dan region, which encompasses the city of Tel Aviv and its environs,…

Church of England warns against same sex marriage plan

The Church of England objected on Tuesday to government proposals to legalise gay marriage, saying it could harm centuries-old links between it and the British state. The church — whose supreme governor is Queen Elizabeth II — warned that it could be forced out of its traditional role of conducting weddings on behalf of the state. In…

Chavez, after cancer treatment, launches reelection bid

CARACAS — Thousands of supporters thronged the streets of Caracas Monday to join cancer-stricken Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as he registered to seek reelection amid ongoing concerns about his health. The president sought to play down any concerns he might seek to extend his long-ruling socialist government — which has…

Clinton urges immediate end to Myanmar violence

WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday urged an immediate end to religious violence in Myanmar and called for efforts for reconciliation as security forces tried to restore order. At least seven people have died since Friday in western Myanmar in a cycle of apparent revenge attacks…

U.S. fears new Syria massacre as helicopters hit towns

DAMASCUS — The United States voiced fears that Syria’s government is planning a new massacre, as regime helicopters fired on rebel stronghold towns and raging violence killed nearly 90 people on Monday. On the political front, the newly elected leader of Syria’s exiled opposition urged President Bashar al-Assad to hand…

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