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French court to rule on Scientology fraud appeal

A Paris court is to rule Thursday in an appeal against a fine of hundreds of thousands of euros imposed on the Church of Scientology after it was found guilty of fleecing vulnerable followers. A 2009 fraud conviction saw Scientology’s Celebrity Centre and its bookshop in Paris, the two branches…

Clergy rebel against Church of England on same-sex marriage

The Church of England faced a rebellion from its clergy Thursday over a ban on gay civil partnership ceremonies on its premises. Nearly 100 clergy from the London diocese, which has 470 stipendiary priests, signed a letter to The Times newspaper urging that priests be allowed to follow their individual…

Amnesty urges release of South Korean Twitter user

SEOUL — Rights group Amnesty International Thursday urged the release of a South Korean activist accused of helping the “enemy” by re-tweeting messages from North Korea’s official Twitter account. Park Jeong-Geun, a Socialist Party activist, was arrested last month for re-tweeting messages such as “Long Live General Kim Jong-Il”. The…

64-year-old tub of lard found in Germany — still edible

ROSTOCK, Germany — A German pensioner who had kept a tub of lard in his cupboard for 64 years, took it to authorities who pronounced it very much fit for consumption — if a little tasteless. Retired chemist Hans Feldmeier, 87, told AFP he had received the pig fat as…

Mexico police take refuge from Juarez drug gangs

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Some 2,000 police are hunkering down in hotels in Mexico’s most violent city of Ciudad Juarez after a drug gang threatened to kill an officer per day if their chief refused to resign. Eleven police officers, including four commanders, have already been killed in the city…

Islamists admit plot to blow up London Stock Exchange

Four British Islamists inspired by a former al-Qaeda leader admitted in court on Wednesday to plotting to blow up the London Stock Exchange in 2010. The men belonged to a group of fundamentalists who plotted a spate of mail bomb attacks during the run-up to Christmas that year and discussed launching a…

Ad calling mainland Chinese ‘locusts’ runs in Hong Kong

A group of Hong Kongers published a newspaper ad Wednesday calling mainland Chinese ”locusts” and demanding the government take action to stop their “infiltration” into the southern city. The full-page advertisement in widely-read Apple Daily is the latest in a slew of incidents suggesting mounting anger in Hong Kongabout the political and economic influence of…

Wikileaks founder takes case to Britain’s top court

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange took his 13-month fight againstextradition to Sweden to England’s highest court on Wednesday. Seven judges are hearing the 40-year-old Australian’s appeal over two days at the Supreme Court and are not expected to return their judgement for several weeks. Assange, who has been living on bail under virtual house arrest while awaiting the outcome of…

Pakistan condemns NATO leak on Taliban support

Pakistan on Wednesday hit out angrily at a leaked NATO report accusing its spies of secretly aiding the Afghan Taliban, saying that pre-dawn air strikes killed at least 20 local Taliban fighters. Pakistan’s alliance with the United States and NATO plummeted to an all-time low after US air strikes killed…

Aussie boss gives $15 million bonus to staff

An Australian bus operator has stunned his employees by handing out Aus$15 million (US$15.9 million) in thank you bonuses, with workers saying Wednesday they were overwhelmed by his generosity. Ken Grenda, 79, sold his family-run company after 66 years and decided to put a chunk of the profits into the…

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