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Nepal cracks down on cannabis at Hindu festival

Police in Nepal said they had cracked down on members of the public using cannabis at a major Hindu festival where the drug is smoked legally by thousands of holy men to honour a Hindu god. The wandering mystics — known as sadhus – use an ancient legal loophole to smoke marijuana during a night of…

Pakistanis shout ‘death to America’ in Islamabad

Several thousand Pakistanis poured onto the streets of Islamabad Monday, chanting “death to America” and demanding holy war at a rally whipped up by right-wing, religious and banned organisations. It was the latest show of support for Defence of Pakistan, a coalition of around 40 parties chaired by a cleric dubbed…

Morocco condemns alleged U.S. Capitol bomb plot

Morocco has condemned an alleged plot to bomb the US Capitol over which a citizen of the north African country was arrested, the official MAP agency reported Monday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday arrested Amine El Khalifi, a 29-year-old immigrant from Morocco living illegally in the US state of Virginia, in a sting operation.…

UK government to demand access to all phone and internet user data

The British government is in the process of developing a scheme whereby all phone companies and broadband internet providers will be required to store customer transaction data for a year and hand it over to security services upon request. The databases would also include Facebook communications, Twitter posts — including…

Syrian army besieges world heritage site of Palmyra

The Syrian army has been laying siege to the ancient city of Palmyra, a world heritage site, since early February and shooting at anything that moves from a historic citadel, residents say. “Palmyra is surrounded by the army from all fronts: the Arab citadel, the olive and palm tree groves,…

Human rights activist to be new German president

BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel said her coalition and the opposition had agreed Sunday to nominate former East German rights activist Joachim Gauck as a consensus candidate to become Germany’s next president. The decision came following Christian Wulff’s resignation from the post Friday over a corruption probe and after members…

Mexican prison riot leaves at least 38 dead

MONTERREY, Mexico — At least 38 inmates have been killed in a riot at a prison near the northern Mexican city of Monterrey, officials said Sunday. The clashes broke out overnight between rival gangs at Apodoca prison, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Monterrey. Families were gathering outside the institution,…

Hundreds of thousands protest Spanish labour reforms

MADRID — Hundreds of thousands of people, many waving red and white union flags, protested across Spain on Sunday against sweeping labour market reforms that make it easier to slash pay and lay off workers. Spain’s two biggest unions, the CCOO and UGT, led protests in 57 cities against the…

UN inspector hopes for ‘concrete results’ from Iran trip

VIENNA — The chief UN nuclear inspector on Sunday expressed hope that “concrete results” would emerge from his two-day visit to Iran, but cautioned that progress “may take a while.” “We hope to have a couple of good and constructive days in Tehran,” International Atomic Energy Agency chief inspector Herman…

Iran halts oil sales to France, Britain

Iran has halted its limited oil sales to France and Britain in retaliation for a phased EU ban on Iranian oil that is yet to take full effect, the oil ministry said on Sunday. “Oil sales to British and French companies have ceased,” spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad Rahbar said in…

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