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New Zealand police seize marijuana vending machine

WELLINGTON — New Zealand police said Friday that they seized a marijuana vending machine during a raid on a “cannabis club” in Auckland which campaigns for the drug’s legalisation. The vending machine at The Daktory in suburban New Lynn had been set up to dispense one gram (0.035 ounce) bags…

Nuclear watchdog chief accused of pro-western bias over Iran

Former senior officials warn of parallels between IAEA approach to Iran and mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog at the heart of the growing Iranian crisis, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-western…

300,000 Quebec students protest tuition hike

MONTREAL — Tens of thousands of students protested Thursday against a 75 percent tuition hike at universities in Canada’s mostly French-speaking Quebec province, bringing downtown Montreal to a standstill. “We want to study, not go into debt,” shouted the demonstrators, who converged on the metropolis from across the province, packing…

Protesting natives shut down Ecuador capital

QUITO — Protesting natives supported by opponents of President Rafael Correa brought Ecuador’s capital to a standstill Thursday, demanding an end to policies they say will open the Amazon rainforest to vast mining projects and ravage the environment. Protests were prompted partly by a recent agreement between Ecuador and China…

UNESCO addresses ‘safety crisis’ of journalists covering war

A crucial discussion will take place in Paris today about how best to protect journalists from being murdered. Most importantly, it will touch on the sensitive issue of impunity – the failure of authorities to investigate the killing of journalists, which is seen as an encouragement to murderers. The meeting…

UK beaches blighted by balloons and discarded bags of dog poo

Dog poo wrapped in plastic bags discarded by careless owners has emerged as one of the biggest single threats to the health and safety of beach visitors, a marine conservation charity has warned. The finding is in the latest beach litter data collected by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) last…

Israel says threat of strike on Iran is working

The threat of a military strike on Iran is preventing the Islamic republic from taking the final steps towards developing a nuclear bomb, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday. “We are seeing with our own eyes the reason why Iran, which really wants to achieve a military nuclear…

Mali soldiers claim to have seized power

Renegade Mali soldiers on Thursday claimed they had seized power from an “incompetent regime,” announcing on television they had suspended the constitution and dissolved state institutions. The putschists, calling themselves the National Committee for the Establishment of Democracy, said they had acted due to government’s “inability” to handle a Tuareg-led…

Sperm-hunting women prowl Zimbabwe highways

Susan Dhliwayo was stunned when she pulled her car over recently to pick up a group of male hitchhikers and they refused to get in. The reason? They feared being raped. Sensational reports of gangs of beautiful women picking up male travellers to have sex and harvest their sperm in…

‘Worst is over’ in eurozone debt crisis says ECB chief

The worst is over in the eurozone debt crisis, but risks remain and it is up to governments to resolve them, European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said in a newspaper interview Thursday. “The worst is over, but risks remain,” Draghi told the daily Bild, Germany’s most widely-read newspaper. “Key…

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