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Exploding hydrogen balloons at Armenian political rally injure many

YEREVAN — More than 140 people were injured on Friday when gas-filled balloons exploded at a governing party campaign concert in the Armenian capital ahead of parliamentary polls on Sunday, officials said. The emergencies ministry said 144 people suffered burns when scores of promotional balloons burst into flames at a…

Canada quits making pennies

Canada’s last penny was struck Friday at The Royal Canadian Mint’s manufacturing facility and will become a museum piece as the one-cent coins are withdrawn from circulation. “For over a hundred years, the penny played an important role in Canada’s coinage system,” said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. “Although the cost…

Colombian prostitute said Secret Service agents withheld $800 for services

One of the Colombian prostitutes involved in a sex scandal with US Secret Service agents broke her silence Friday to tell how she had begged for hours to be paid $800 for her services. “I told him, there’s a problem here. Because if I had come with you to enjoy…

2 arrested in Britain on charges of genital mutilation

Two people were arrested in Britain’s second city of Birmingham on Friday after a media report that medics and alternative practitioners had offered to perform female genital mutilation. West Midlands Police said they had arrested two men aged 55 and 61 on suspicion of offences under the Female Genital Mutilation…

U.S. indicates Chen will be leaving China soon and given ‘priority attention’

The United States said Friday that China had indicated it would let blind activist Chen Guangcheng and his family leave the country soon, raising hopes of a resolution to a damaging diplomatic crisis. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said China would expedite travel documents for the rights campaigner, who escaped…

French socialist candidate Francois Hollande promises gender equity in cabinet positions

He has promised an equal number of men and women in cabinet, and a new ministry of women’s rights. But will François Hollande turn out to the be president who finally took on the pervasive sexism in French politics, if as expected he wins Sunday’s presidential election? The Socialist frontrunner,…

Activists hold SlutWalk rally in Jerusalem

Dozens of Israelis held a SlutWalk rally in Jerusalem on Friday to protest sexual violence and counter claims that women’s attire or behaviour provoke rape and sexual assault, an AFP correspondent said. Predominantly young women and some men marched through central streets of the Holy City in minimal or sexually…

TransCanada proposes new oil pipeline through Nebraska

A Canadian firm has reapplied for a US permit to build a multi-billion dollar Canada-US oil pipeline, after its first proposal was rejected over environmental concerns, both sides said Friday. The US State Department said it is “committed to conducting a rigorous, transparent and thorough review” of the northern leg…

‘Big Bang’ scientist convicted of al-Qaeda terror plot in France

A Paris court sentenced a Franco-Algerian nuclear physicist to four years in jail on Friday after he was convicted of plotting with Al-Qaeda’s north African branch to carry out terror attacks. Police arrested Adlene Hicheur, a researcher studying the Big Bang at the birth of the universe at the European…

Strauss-Kahn facing fresh charge of gang rape

A 25-year-old Belgian sex worker has accused former French finance minister and head of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn of gang rape, saying that he and three other men forcibly restrained and sodomized her in a room at Washington, DC’s tony W hotel. U.K. news daily The Telegraph reports that the…

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