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Prince of Liechtenstein threatens to quit

The tiny principality of Liechtenstein has been rattled by a war of words between activists who want to revoke the royal veto and the hereditary prince, who has threatened to quit if they do. Liechtenstein owes its very existence as a principality to its royal family and their princes, who…

Fugitive Chinese activist ‘under U.S. protection’

A leading Chinese activist who escaped from house arrest last weekend is now under US “protection” and Washington and Beijing are in talks over his status, an overseas rights group said Saturday. Chen Guangcheng, who has been blind since childhood, fled last Sunday with the help of his supporters from…

Peru finalizing deal for controversial gold mine

LIMA — The Peruvian government is finalizing a deal with US mining giant Newmont about a proposed $4.8 billion gold mine that has sparked violent protests, according to Mines and Energy Minister Jorge Merino. “The agreement, the ratification will come soon,” Merino told reporters on Friday, without providing a target…

Spain to persist in ‘suicidal’ austerity policies despite 25% unemployment rate

Figures released by the Spanish government on Friday show that country with an unemployment rate of 24.4%, the highest in Europe, and a rate of over 50% among 16-24 year olds. But despite the bad economic news, that country’s leadership appears determined to stick with the austerity program it has…

Quebec premier extends compromise after tuition hike protests

Quebec Premier Jean Charest on Friday offered to stretch out a planned tuition hike over seven years instead of five in a bid to end an 11-week student protest that has included violent clashes. The proposals would see students pay $255 extra per year instead of the $325 under his…

Microsoft accused of trying to secretly influence ‘independent’ government expert

Microsoft is accused of trying to exert clandestine influence on a UK government consultation which could slash the software giant’s £700m income from the UK’s public sector. The Cabinet Office has thrown out one “independent” expert who had been helping organise a public discussion on how to introduce free software…

Hungarian home birth activist sent to jail

When the police ring Dr Agnes Géreb’s doorbell, late on a Thursday night, she quickly hunches forward on her sofa in an instinctive gesture of self-protection. Then, with infinite tiredness, she shuffles to the front door. A police officer impatiently demands her signature and disappears into the darkness. Saturday will…

Kenyan activists criticize more than $500 million in unspent HIV funds

Scores of Kenyans living with HIV sang and chanted outside a hotel in central Nairobi on Wednesday, demanding that $500m of unspent funds from the US government’s Aids programme be freed to provide life-saving antiretroviral treatment in Kenya. The protesters’ shouts were meant to reach the ears of US officials,…

Judge approves Dutch ‘weed pass’ ban on drug tourism

Amsterdam, famous for its coffee shops where marijuana and magic mushrooms are dispensed to just about anyone who can pay for it, is about to harsh the buzz of tourists everywhere. A judge ruled this week that the nation’s “weed pass” law, which would restrict drug-buying to Dutch citizens only,…

KFC ordered to pay $8.3 million to Australian girl

Fast food giant Kentucky Fried Chicken was Friday ordered to pay Aus$8 million (US$8.3 million) to an Australian girl who suffered severe brain damage and was paralysed after eating a chicken wrap. Monika Samaan was seven when she suffered salmonella encephalopathy — a brain injury linked to food poisoning that also left her with a blood infection and…

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