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Philippines stages bloody Easter crucifixions

Roman Catholic fanatics in the Philippines had themselves nailed to the cross Friday in a bloody display of religious frenzy as the Christian world marked the day Jesus was crucified. The gruesome real-life re-enactments of the crucifixion, which are held every Good Friday in the Philippines, are frowned upon by…

China paper tells soldiers to ignore Internet rumors

China’s main military newspaper told soldiers Friday to ignore Internet gossip and close ranks around the government, in the latest sign of official unease ahead of a leadership transition this year. The Liberation Army Daily warned that the 10-yearly handover of power, which begins later this year when President Hu…

Malawi president dies, leaving nation in suspense

Malawi’s President Bingu wa Mutharika has died after a heart attack, a hospital source said Friday, but the government’s official silence has created political suspense over his succession. The impoverished nation was plunged into a long night of intrigue after Mutharika’s heart attack in the capital Lilongwe. He was rushed…

Bosnia marks 20 years since war

Thousands of red chairs stood empty along Sarajevo’s main avenue on Friday as Bosnia commemorated the 20th anniversary of the bloodiest conflict in Europe since World War II. A classical orchestra was to play a concert for the 11,541 empty seats, one for each civilian killed in the city in…

French nuclear reactor shut down after fires

RENNES, France — A French nuclear reactor shut down automatically Thursday after two small fires at the installation in the north of the country that firefighters quickly extinguished, officials said. EDF, the operator of the power plant in Penly on the English Channel near the port of Dieppe, said the…

British gangster on the lam since last July nabbed in Amsterdam

Dutch police have recaptured one of Britain’s most wanted fugitives after a late-night raid on a luxury Amsterdam apartment, detectives in the Netherlands and Britain said Thursday. A specialist squad pounced on the plush penthouse in Amsterdam-Zuidoost in the southeast of the city and arrested 26-year-old Kirk Bradley at 11:30pm…

Bangladeshi matchmaker celebrates 40 years in the business

Kazi Ashraf Hossain’s work colleagues always told him he had a talent for getting couples together, so when he was forced to quit his job as a crane operator, he set up as a matchmaker. Nearly 40 years later, Hossain — known by his nickname “Pakhi Bhai” (Bird Brother) —…

Half of Vietnamese companies admit they ‘bribe officials’

Nearly 50 percent of Vietnamese companies admit to bribing officials in order to bid on contracts, a new survey shows, but experts say the real figure could be far higher. About 80 percent of businesses in the communist country reported that corruption had hurt their operations, according to a Vietnam…

East German fashion designer who fled West returns with stunning vintage collection

When Josefine Edle von Krepl fled East Berlin just before the Wall fell in 1989, she managed to save her vast hoard of vintage clothing by wrapping her china and glassware in it. The fashion designer, journalist and mother-of-two was allowed to take many of her belongings with her to…

Experts say NATO intervention in Libya led to chaos, fighting in Mali

When Western forces helped topple Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi they forced hundreds of well-armed Tuareg fighters to flee home to Mali, tipping another fragile African state into chaos, experts say. And for some observers, the Western powers’ role in helping trigger the crisis now gives them a responsibility to help try…

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