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Gay Cuban man, transsexual to wed on Fidel’s birthday

HAVANA (Reuters) – A Cuban gay rights activist and his transsexual bride plan to marry on former President Fidel Castro’s birthday next month in a move aimed at advancing homosexual rights on the communist-ruled Caribbean island. Wendy Iriepa, 37, who became a woman in Cuba’s first state-sanctioned free sex change…

Iraq to execute Saddam’s half-brothers

Iraq will execute two of Saddam Hussein’s half-brothers within a month along with three other former regime officials, an official said on Friday, after the five were handed over by the US military. The group, transferred to Iraqi custody on Thursday morning, were among 206 high-value detainees still being held by…

Japan may halt shipments after radioactive beef sent out

Japan was Friday considering a ban on shipments of all cattle fromFukushima prefecture, site of its tsunami-hit nuclear plant, as fears deepened about radioactive beef, Kyodo News reported. The move follows news that beef from another 42 cattle has been shipped to Tokyo and other areas over recent months after the animals were…

U.S. sponsors global meet on religious tolerance

International experts will be invited to attend a conference in the United States this year on the free expression of religious beliefs, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Friday. “Later this year, the United States intends to invite relevant experts from around the world to the first of what we hope will be…

Exorcists stage conference in Poland to tackle ‘vampires’

Vampires, the devil’s deceit and mental illness are among the hot topics for some 300 exorcists who flocked to Poland this week from as far away as Africa and India for a week-long congress. Held at Poland’s Roman Catholic Jasna Gora monastery, home to the venerated Black Madonna icon, this year’s congress “examines…

Son of Pink Floyd guitarist jailed over attack on royal convoy

The son of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour was jailed for 16 months on Friday for an alcohol and drugs-fuelled attack on Prince Charles’ convoy during a student protest in London last year. Charlie Gilmour, 21, had pleaded guilty to violent disorder in May but was granted bail until Friday’s hearing at Kingston Crown…

Hundreds of thousands protest against Syrian regime

Hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the streets of Syrian cities and towns on Friday to demand the release of hundreds of people detained in earlier pro-democracy demonstrations, activists said. An estimated 350,000 people demonstrated in Deir Ezzor, saidRami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, while 150,000 others protested in Hama city…

E.U. to release results of stress tests on banks

The European Union this week publishes results of stress tests on Europe’s embattled banking sector amid a dangerous phase in the eurozone debt crisis that threatens to engulf Italy and Spain. The European Banking Authority, the EU’s London-based regulator for the financial sector, has carried out assessments on 91 banks…

World leaders open Libya talks in Turkey

Top officials from major Western and regional powers began talks in Istanbul Friday to discuss strategies to strengthen the Libyan opposition and force embattled strongman Moamer Kadhafi out. The fourth meeting of the Libya contact group opened at an Ottoman palace on the banks of the Bosphorus, with senior officials…

Bin Laden mulled tenth anniversary of 9/11 terror attack

WASHINGTON — Slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and a top lieutenant discussed the make-up of a team of militants to attack the United States on this year’s 10th anniversary of 9/11, a report said Thursday. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed US officials, said the “communications” were recovered from…

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