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Solar-powered plane attempts first intercontinental flight

MADRID — A Swiss adventurer aims to make the world’s first intercontinental flight in a solar-powered plane Tuesday, taking off from Madrid shortly before dawn on a daring trip to Rabat. Bernard Piccard, 54-year-old psychiatrist and balloonist, is to pilot the Solar Impulse plane, a giant as big as an…

Putin heads to China to cement key alliance

TASHKENT — Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in China on Tuesday for a three-day visit aimed at bolstering a crucial alliance that has seen the giant neighbours block further action against Syria. Both energy and foreign policy cooperation are high on the agenda, with Putin also participating in a regional…

Saudi accuses activist of ‘disrespecting’ judiciary

DUBAI — Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor on Monday accused prominent activist Waleed Abu Alkhair of “disrespecting” the judiciary and contacting foreign organisations, his wife told AFP by telephone. Alkhair was summoned by the prosecutor in the Red Sea city of Jeddah who accused him of “disrespecting the judiciary system… contacting…

Vatican’s number two lashes against ‘ferocious’ leaks

ROME — Vatican’s powerful number two on Monday spoke out for the first time on the continued leaks of Holy See secret documents, denouncing them as a “ferocious, biting and organised” attack on the pope. “Attacks have always existed… this time it seems that the attacks are more targeted, sometimes…

Argentina ‘suing’ British oil companies over Falklands

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina declared British oil exploration off the Falklands “illegal” on Monday and immediately set about suing five companies for pursuing activities around the contested islands. Britain responded almost immediately, saying the islanders were entitled to develop their own natural resources and it was Buenos Aires that was…

Israeli man accused of spitting at two women for their attire

A man in Jersuaslem was arrested Monday afternoon after he allgedly spat at two women, claiming he objected to the inappropriate clothing they wore. According to Y-NetNews.com, 22-year-old Chananya Rabinovitz assaulted two women in the last month and a half after he was charged with hurling his saliva in their direction.…

The Vatican condemns nun’s sex-positive book

The Vatican has condemned a leading American nun for writing a book in which she praises female masturbation and approves divorce and gay sex and marriage, warning that the book must not be used by catholic educators. The Vatican’s criticism of Sister Margaret Farley, a professor emeritus of Christian ethics…

‘Canadian Psycho’ arrested in Berlin

The murder suspect dubbed the “Canadian Psycho” has worked as a bisexual porn star, as a gay prostitute called “Angel,” and is an alleged kitten killer with a string of fraud convictions. Luka Rocco Magnotta, accused of chopping up his lover and filming the attack before mailing body parts to…

11 killed in attack on Mexican drug rehab center

Gunmen using assault rifles have shot their way through a drug rehabilitation center in northwestern Mexico, killing 11 people and wounding at least nine others , police said. Dead bodies were strewn across blood-soaked beds, armchairs and floor at the church-operated rehabilitation center in the city of Torreon after the…

Moroccan activists push to end abortion ban

Hundreds of Moroccan women a day are resorting to backstreet abortions, a leading doctor has estimated, prompting calls for reform in a country where the termination of pregnancies remains illegal. Campaigners say some of those resorting to illegal abortion are the victims of rape, driven at least in part by…

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