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Facebook ‘prompts teenage pregnancies’ in Indonesia

A religious court official in Indonesia has blamed social networking site Facebook for a rise in teenage pregnancies and under-age marriages, a report said Thursday. Siti Haryanti, a secretary at the religious court in Mount Kidul, a town in Central Java, said young couples were having sex after meeting online…

‘Medvedev Girls’ strip for Kremlin chief

Two young women stripped down to bikinis in central Moscow on Thursday to express support for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in the latest exposure of bare flesh ahead of 2012 polls. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has already inspired an apparently rival group of women to similar acts of naked daring…

U.N. report: Niger Delta oil spills will take 30 years, $1 billion to clean up

For more than 50 years, Shell and associated companies have used the Niger Delta as a dumping ground for toxic oil and drilling byproducts, producing an environmental catastrophe so severe it will take up to 30 years and $1 billion to mitigate, according to a leaked United Nations report published…

DHS calls Anonymous hackers untalented ‘script kiddies,’ warns of future attacks

A Department of Homeland Security threat assessment released publicly this week labels hackers with the online protest group “Anonymous” as possessing only “rudimentary” hacking skills, calling them “script kiddies” who use exploits created by others to break into secured systems. However, the department warns that a more talented faction of…

Air France had policy to protect female employees from Strauss-Kahn

Air France issued orders for only male staff to serve Dominique Strauss-Kahn when the former IMF boss — accused of attempted rape in New York — travelled on its planes, a report said Thursday. Le Parisien newspaper also said that lawyers of Strauss-Kahn’s accuser were calling for testimony from Air…

Rights groups slam terms of British torture inquiry before withdrawing

British rights groups and lawyers withdrew Thursday from an inquiry into alleged secret service involvement in the torture of terror suspects, criticising its lack of “credibility or transparency.” Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and legal charity Reprieve were among 10 groups that said they would not submit any more evidence…

Syria’s Assad decrees multi-party system

President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday issued a decree authorising a multi-party political system in Syria, the official SANA news agency reported. “Assad on Thursday proclaimed a presidential decree on the law of the parties,” SANA reported. The decree allows political parties to be established and to function alongside the Baath party, in power since 1963…

India’s Sonia Gandhi to undergo surgery in U.S.

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Sonia Gandhi, India’s ruling Congress party chief and the country’s most powerful politician, will undergo surgery abroad, possibly in the United States, for an undisclosed medical condition and could be out for two to three weeks. The absence of the 64-year-old figurehead of India’s most prominent…

Japan to fire top nuclear officials in wake of disaster

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan will replace three senior bureaucrats in charge of nuclear power policy, the minister overseeing energy policy said on Thursday, five months after the world’s worst atomic crisis in 25 years erupted at Fukushima. The move comes as Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls for enhanced nuclear safety…

Police hunt for Australian ‘neck bomb’ attacker

A manhunt was under way Thursday for an attacker who attached what turned out to be a fake bomb to a terrified Sydney teenager in a drama described as “like something out of a Hollywood movie script”. Madeleine Pulver, 18, a member of one of Sydney’s wealthiest families, endured a…

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