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S.Africa big cat expert attacked by tiger

A South African conservationist and filmmaker was in intensive careon Thursday after being attacked by a tiger at a reserve where he breeds the big Asian cats. John Varty suffered several puncture wounds and two broken ribs after being attacked while filming on his Tiger Canyons farm in the central Free State, which he set up to create…

Paris court to rule on Guerlain racism charge

A Paris court was to decide Thursday whether Jean-Paul Guerlain, for decades the “nose” behind the world-famous perfume brand, was being racist when he said that he “worked like a negro.” Asked in an October 2010 television interview about how he had created the Samsara scent, Guerlainreplied using a racial slur —…

Spanish court drops rape probe against Saudi prince

MADRID — A Spanish court has dropped a probe into allegations a Saudi billionaire prince raped a model on a yacht in Ibiza three years ago, according to a ruling seen by AFP Wednesday. The case concerns Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of King Abdullah and one of world’s…

Pope meets revolutionary icon Fidel Castro

Pope Benedict XVI met Wednesday with Cuban revolutionary icon Fidel Castro on the last day of his trip to bolster the Roman Catholic church’s ties with Cuba’s Communist leaders. Shortly after celebrating mass before 500,000 people in the heart of Havana, Benedict met with the 85-year-old Castro for about 30…

Two arrested as Greek police find ‘priceless’ statue

ATHENS — Greek police arrested two men after they allegedly tried to sell a 1,500-year-old statue for 500,000 euros, officials said Wednesday, describing the nearly intact find as “priceless”. The 1.2-metre (3.9-foot) statue of a kore, an archaic maiden, was found hidden in a sheep pen on Tuesday in the…

Georgia toasts tourists with alcoholic fountain

TBILISI — The authorities in Georgia are hoping to intoxicate tourists with their country’s charms by building a fountain which pumps out strong alcoholic liquor instead of water once a week. The fountain being built on top of a new tower in the Black Sea resort of Batumi will pump…

Egypt military warns against interference in its businesses

CAIRO — Egypt’s ruling military has warned against any interference in its murky economic empire amid a burgeoning power struggle with Islamists who control parliament, state media reported on Wednesday. The warning comes as the military prepares to hand power to a civilian leader when presidential elections end in June,…

Colombia’s former president calls America’s drug war a ‘failure’

Cesar Gaviria Trujillo, the former president of Colombia, told a Spanish-language radio station this week that America’s war on drugs has been a disastrous “failure” that the ruling political parties simply refuse to talk about. “Society does not want to accept that people consume [drugs],” he told RCN Radio in…

Chinese twins seek historic sex change

Two young Chinese women undergoing sex-change surgery at a Shanghai hospital are hoping to be the first twins in the country to change their gender, a state-backed newspaper said Wednesday. The 25-year-old sisters from the southwestern province of Yunnan have already undergone preliminary surgery at a military hospital in the…

Italy PM blames Germany, France for Euro debt crisis

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti on Wednesday said the root of the eurozone’s debt woes lay partly in the irresponsible parenting ofGermany and France during the bloc’s infancy. Monti told reporters in Tokyo that because the eurozone’s two largest players had not abided by fiscal rules, they had set a bad example…

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