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Thousands of Taiwanese children set violin record

More than 4,600 Taiwanese schoolchildren came together for a mass violin-playing session on Sunday, breaking a world record that had stood for 86 years. An official from Guinness World Records witnessed the event that brought together 4,645 children aged under 18 at a stadium in central Changhua county, the county…

Strauss-Kahn regrets ‘moral failing’ in sex with maid

Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s assertion that his encounter with a New York hotel maid was “a moral failing” rather than attempted rape has not persuaded her lawyers to drop civil action against the former IMF chief. Strauss-Kahn on Sunday said he had let down both his loyal wife and the French people,…

S. Korea to weigh North risks in gas pipeline plan

Seoul said Monday it would consider all possible risks as it prepares for more talks on a huge project to pipe Russian natural gas to South Korea via North Korea. “We will examine all possible measures to tackle North Korean risks and reflect them in the process of further discussions,”…

U.S. presses Pakistan for action on Haqqani network

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressed Pakistan to take action against Haqqani militants the United States blames for an attack on the US embassy in Kabul, officials said. Clinton met in New York with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for 3.5 hours of “very substantial” and “very candid”…

South Korea sets sights on becoming stem cell powerhouse, again

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s president vowed on Monday a series of regulatory reforms to help regain its place as a stem cell research powerhouse, trying to reclaim momentum five years after a cloning scandal. President Lee Myung-bak said that by breathing new life into the industry, it could become…

MPs call on Cameron to hold EU referendum

MPs from Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party on Monday intensified calls for a referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union. Mark Pritchard, secretary of the party’s influential 1922 committee, called the EU a “burdensome yoke” and warned in Monday’s Daily Telegraph that Tory support for the project…

Closing gender gap will boost growth: World Bank

Women in the developing world have made strides in education, but still lag far behind men in opportunities, a gender gap that is hampering growth, the World Bank said in a report. Calling on countries to work to shrink that gap, the World Bank said gender equality is important in…

Final push begins to head off Palestinian crisis

By Arshad Mohammed and Patrick Worsnip NEW YORK (Reuters) – A last-ditch international push began in New York on Sunday to try to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and avert a crisis over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations. Officials met two days after President Mahmoud Abbas said he would demand…

Pirate Party wins seats in local Berlin elections

When elections were held for the Berlin parliament on Sunday, the established parties generally showed relatively small gains or losses of a couple of percentage points compared to five years ago. The most significant gain was registered by the Green Party, which jumped by over four points to take 18%…

Egypt bans exporting palm fronds for Israeli holiday

JERUSALEM — An Egyptian decision to ban the export of closed palm fronds used in an upcoming Jewish festival is forcing Israel to seek ways to make up the shortfall, its agriculture minister said on Sunday. In the past, Israeli dealers imported between 600,000 and 700,000 fronds, the vast majority…

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