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UK considers filter that requires porn viewers to ‘opt in’

The government is to consider introducing new filters for online pornography, in a move likely to be fiercely resisted by internet service providers. Prime minister David Cameron is expected to consult in the next few weeks on whether ISPs, such as BT and Virgin media, should block adult material as…

South African cat survives spin in washing machine

A South African cat emerged washed and rinsed but unharmed after nearly two hours trapped inside a washing machine, The Star newspaper reported Friday. Karin Bennett, 63, heard muffled meows but searched in vain for her black cat Tabitha for an hour and 45 minutes, until she saw a furry…

Gloves off in battle for French presidency

Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande took the gloves off for the last major rallies of their ferocious battle for the French presidency, three days before their final run-off. The tone for the last days of campaigning was set by a fierce television debate on Wednesday, in which the right-wing incumbent Sarkozy and Socialist challenger…

China says activist can apply to study abroad

China’s foreign ministry said Friday that Chen Guangcheng, the blind activist at the centre of a major row over human rights, can apply to study abroad. Chen escaped from house arrest in eastern China last month and sought refuge in the US embassy in Beijing, prompting China to demand a US apology for…

Letters reveal anxious bin Laden, divided Al-Qaeda

The United States released letters Thursday from Osama bin Laden’s compound that revealed a divided Al-Qaeda and an anxious leader worried about his network’s image among Muslims, even as he yearned to strike again at US targets. A year after bin Laden was killed by US Navy SEALs at his Pakistani hideout, the White House…

Japan to go nuclear-free for first time since 1970

Japan is set to go without nuclear energy for the first time since 1970 from Saturday, when the last operating reactor shuts down for maintenance, heightening fears of a looming power crunch this summer. Only one of Japan’s 50 reactors — at the Tomari nuclear plant in northernmost Hokkaido — is operating at present, but…

Asia’s architectural treasures ‘vanishing’

NEW YORK — Asia’s architectural treasures, from a Buddhist monastery in Afghanistan to an ancient city in China, are in danger of vanishing under a tide of economic expansion, war and tourism, according to experts. The Global Heritage Fund named 10 sites facing “irreparable loss and destruction.” “These 10 sites…

Hollande sees ‘moment of hope’ for Europe in Socialist win

TOULOUSE, France — French presidential favourite Francois Hollande made his final rallying call Thursday in the city of Toulouse where a few weeks ago an Islamist killer brought a brief halt to a bitter election campaign. The Socialist candidate confidently declared that his triumph on Sunday over right-wing incumbent Nicolas…

Two missing photojournalists found dead in Mexico

VERACRUZ, Mexico — Mexican security forces Thursday found the dismembered bodies of two missing news photographers and two others in eastern Veracruz, days after a magazine reporter was killed in the same state. Federal forces found “four bags with the remains of four people, with two of them so far…

Row over dissident threatens broader China-U.S. ties

WASHINGTON — The diplomatic row over Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng could hurt Sino-US efforts to cooperate on Iran, Syria and key economic issues but both sides want to contain the fallout, experts said. The dispute has sent a cloud over the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue that Treasury Secretary Timothy…

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