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Damascus bombs kill 27 as Syria gears up for monitors

Two huge bomb blasts killed at least 27 people in the heart of the Syrian capital on Saturday, state media said, as international envoy Kofi Annan warned of regional fallout from the year-long bloodshed in Syria. The early morning “terrorist” attacks, apparently car bombings timed minutes apart, targeted criminal police…

Ireland leads the global St. Patrick’s party

Parades and festivals were held throughout Ireland for Saint Patrick’s Day on Saturday, while the global diaspora also joined in the party in honour of the Emerald Isle’s patron saint. Debt-ridden Ireland shrugged off economic austerity measures to mark the national holiday, with more than half a million revellers on…

Former Nazi death camp guard Demjanjuk dies

Former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk, sentenced to five years in a German prison last year, has died at the age of 91, police said Saturday. The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk had been found guilty of almost 28,000 counts of accessory to murder during the six months he was a guard…

WikiLeaks’ Assange to run for Australian Senate

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is planning to run for election to the Australian Senate, the organisation announced on Twitter. Assange, an Australian citizen, is on bail awaiting a British court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden on sexual assault allegations. He strongly denies the claims, saying they are…

Swiss end tax breaks, drive out millionaires, bring in more money

GENEVA — The region of Zurich, the home of Swiss banking, has lost nearly half its foreign millionaires two years after scrapping special tax breaks, according to official figures. Of the 201 foreign residents who benefited from the tax breaks which the canton scrapped in early 2009, 97 have decamped…

Air pollution could become China’s biggest health threat, expert warns

Jonathan Watts, guardian.co.uk Air pollution will become the biggest health threat in China unless the government takes greater steps to monitor and publicise the dangers of smog, the country’s leading respiratory disease specialist warned this week. Lung cancer and cardiovascular illnesses are already rising and could get worse in the…

Human rights groups call for investigation into killings of 15 LGBT teens in Iraq

Three major international human rights groups called on Iraqi authorities on Friday to immediately investigate a spate of brutal killings of teenagers widely perceived to be gay. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said in a joint statement that the attacks, which…

Children forced to wear ‘HIV-positive’ ribbons in Tanzania

At least seven schools in Tanzania have taken to forcing schoolchildren with HIV to wear a red ribbon on their clothing that announces their health status, according to BBC News.  Critics say that the decision stigmatizes children whose lives are often already complicated by the disease, whereas some school officials…

Greece develops cashless, Euro-free currency in tight economy

Jon Henley, The Guardian A determination to ‘move beyond anger to creativity’ is driving a strong barter economy in some places In recent weeks, Theodoros Mavridis has bought fresh eggs, tsipourou (the local brandy: beware), fruit, olives, olive oil, jam, and soap. He has also had some legal advice, and…

Archbishop of Canterbury to step down

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the world’s Anglicans, said Friday he will resign at the end of the year after struggling to maintain unity over women and gay bishops. After a decade at the head of the Church of England, Williams announced that he would take…

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