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Snake charmer releases cobras in Indian tax office as protest

A snake charmer in northern India released up to 40 snakes, including spitting cobras, in an Uttar Pradesh tax office. Hukkul Khan said he was protesting because government officials would not proivide a plot of land for him to keep his reptiles. “[T]here is no provision for such a business,”…

Greenpeace hijacks oil firms’ Greenland talks

Greenpeace activists on Thursday diverted oil executives from a meeting on prospecting possibilities off Greenland and instead gave them a 20-minute environmental lecture, the group said. Eighteen representatives of oil giants like Shell, BP, Chevron and Statoil, had been invited to the Copenhagen meeting by theGreenlandic Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum to discuss prospecting for the black gold in the…

Obama offers Myanmar fresh start in relations

US President Barack Obama offered Myanmar a new era in relations if it reforms and promised democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi his eternal support in letters hand-delivered by his top diplomat Thursday. The high-stakes personal intervention in a country long regarded by the West as a pariah state came during a historic visit…

Shared sacrifices allow Iraq war to end: Biden

US Vice President Joe Biden, in Iraq as the last American soldiers prepare to depart, thanked troops from both sides for their shared sacrifices, saying they helped to end the war. But even as Biden spoke of the conflict drawing to a close, 18 people were killed in attacks in Diyala province,…

Battle begins over ‘refounding’ of Europe

The European Union began a nine-day battle on Thursday over federal-style changes to save the debt-saddled eurozone, withFrench President Nicolas Sarkozy saying that Europe needs to be “refounded”. In a landmark address in front of 5,000 supporters, Sarkozy said he would meet his German counterpart Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday to agree upon and announce…

US, EU impose new Syria sanctions as death toll rises

Europe and the United States tightened economic sanctions onSyria Thursday, ramping up international pressure as the UN said more than 4,000 people have died in a crackdown on dissidents. The violence on the ground spread, and a Syrian human rights group said troops raided towns and villages in the flashpoint provinces…

BBC host on striking workers: ‘Execute them in front of their families’

The BBC has apologized after one their most popular hosts called to have striking public workers killed “in front of their families.” Labor unions claimed Wednesday that as many as two million public workers joined a strike over cuts in pension rights as part of an austerity program by the…

Israeli Defense Minister: No Iran strike ‘for the moment’

Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday ruled out a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities “for the moment,” in remarks to public radio, but said that the Jewish state would keep all options open. “We have no intention of acting for the moment… We should not engage in war when…

Factories stalling worldwide

LONDON/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Manufacturing activity is contracting across Europe and most of Asia, data showed on Thursday, and a Chinese official declared that the world economy faces a worse situation than in 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed. Factory activity shrank even further in the euro zone, reinforcing the view that…

Japan nuclear meltdown ‘maybe worse than thought’

Molten nuclear fuel at Japan’s Fukushima plant might have eaten two thirds of the way through a concrete containment base, its operator said, citing a new simulation of the extent of the March disaster. Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said their latest calculations showed the fuel inside the No. 1 reactor…

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