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German man offers to bite the head off a lizard at customs to prove exotic animals were for eating

A German man stopped at customs with 49 live exotic lizards in his bag claimed they were destined for the cooking pot and even offered to bite one’s head off to prove it, officials said Wednesday. Customs officials halted the 28-year-old at Munich airport on his way back from Oman…

Bangladesh fights for survival against climate change

Rebecca Sultan’s life has been shattered twice in a few years. First, the 140mph winds of Cyclone Sidr ripped through her village, Gazipara, flattening houses, killing 6,000 people and devastating the lives of millions as it slammed into southern Bangladesh in 2007. Then, 18 months later, as Sultan was recovering,…

Japan bails out plant that caused worst-ever nuclear accident

Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), the company at the centre of Japan’s worst-ever nuclear accident, has been saved from collapse after the government in effect nationalised the firm by agreeing to inject 1 trillion yen ($12.5bn) in fresh capital. Japan’s biggest utility has received at least 3.5tn yen in state support…

Oil prices drop further amid eurozone tensions

Oil prices fell further on Wednesday in line with shares amid tensions over the eurozone’s political and economic problems, although bargain-hunting provided support, analysts said. Crude futures also faced downside pressure following indications by the world’s key oil producers that they may boost output to bring prices down to sustainable levels. New York’s…

Greece sinks in deeper crisis amid rescue deal doubts

Greece could be forced to leave the eurozone if it fails to abide by EU and IMF loan commitments, a government economic advisor warned Wednesday as Athens raised prospects of renegotiating a bailout deal. “If we say no to everything, we leave the eurozone,” said Gikas Hardouvelis, economic advisor to outgoing Prime Minister Lucas…

South African rhinos at mercy of global smuggling network

Petty hunters, corrupt wildlife officials and Asian traffickers have all been snared in South Africa’s crackdown on rhino poaching as special prosecutors battle syndicates feeding the trade in horns. More than 160 people are currently before the courts, exposing the complex supply chain stretching from South African parks to Southeast Asian…

Blind activist challenges China over house arrest

Blind activist Chen Guangcheng challenged China’s central government Wednesday to prove that it had not ordered his illegalhouse arrest, and to punish those who turned his home into a prison. The 40-year-old legal campaigner spent two years in illegal house arrest after serving a four-year jail sentence on charges related to his work exposing forced…

Boy convicted of religiously harassing pagan McDonald’s employee

In what appears to be the first case of its kind, a teenager in the United Kingdom has been convicted of religiously harassing a female pagan who worked at McDonalds, according to the Telegraph. The unnamed 16-year-old boy from Lawford, north east Essex pleaded guilty to religiously aggravated harassment. Pagan…

Air India pilots conduct ‘illegal’ strike

At least 100 pilots from India’s debt-laden national carrier Air India failed to turn up to work on Tuesday in a move the civil aviation minister described as an “illegal” strike. The airline, which loses nearly $2 million a day, is facing mounting problems due to rising fuel prices, competition…

British activists say elderly care is ‘chronically underfunded’

Some elderly and disabled people will be condemned to a life of “misery and fear” unless the government acts now to reform the social care system, campaigners warned Tuesday. In an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, a coalition of 78 campaign groups and charities called for an urgent…

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