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Gambling regulations in some Asian countries allows only foreigners to play

The casino industry is booming across Asia, offering anyone looking for high-stakes action a wide choice of venues, from high-tech South Korea to the Himalayan nation of Nepal and communist Vietnam. Anyone, that is, except South Koreans, Nepalese or Vietnamese. For conservative Asian countries, the financial pros and social cons…

French health body probes acne medication linked to deaths

French health regulator ANSM has launched a probe into the drug Diane-35, used to treat acne and also as a contraceptive, after linking it to four deaths over the past 25 years. Produced by the German drugmaker Bayer, Diane-35 is authorised in 135 countries and sold in 116. In 2012,…

The Hitler home movies: How Eva Braun documented the dictator’s private life

Lutz Becker was born in Berlin, he says, “during the anno diabolo, 1941. Mine was the generation that was sent into a dark pit.” Meeting this survivor of the Third Reich, now in his 70s and living in Bayswater, London, it’s hard to suppress the thought that Becker, a distinguished…

Thousands gather in Paris to support same-sex marriage

Thousands of gay rights campaigners packed the streets of Paris on Sunday to call for the legalisation of gay marriage, two days before a key parliamentary debate on the hugely divisive issue. Waving rainbow flags and carrying banners reading “For equality now, against discrimination always”, the demonstrators gathered to promote…

Iran sentences U.S. pastor to eight years in prison

A Tehran court on Sunday sentenced an Iranian-American pastor to eight years in prison over his role in underground churches in the Islamic nation, a US group supporting him said. Saeed Abedini, a naturalized US citizen who converted to Christianity, was convicted of threatening Iran’s national security over underground church…

Berlusconi praises Fascist dictator Mussolini on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Italy’s gaffe-prone former premier Silvio Berlusconi sparked outrage Sunday with remarks praising wartime dictator Benito Mussolini despite Il Duce’s persecution of Jews and allowing thousands to be deported to Auschwitz. “The racial laws were the worst mistake of a leader, Mussolini, who however did good things in so many other…

Syrian civil war leaves ghost towns in Kurdish region

In this green, mountainous part of northwest Syria, the boom of shells vibrates every few hours through dozens of villages abandoned by their terrified Kurdish inhabitants. Small groups of rebel fighters have now taken up position in some of the empty homes, patrolling the rocket-scarred streets in vehicles with markings…

Japan launches new satellites to boost surveillance

Japan on Sunday launched two satellites to strengthen its surveillance capabilities, including keeping a closer eye on North Korea which has vowed to stage another nuclear test. One of them was a radar-equipped unit to complete a system of surveillance satellites that will allow Tokyo to monitor any place in…

Rare trees turned into firewood as Syrian civilians struggle for warmth

Beset by a freezing winter and stifling fuel and electricity shortages, Syrian civilians desperate to stay warm in a northern forest have no choice but to cut down trees for firewood. Once a tourist destination for Syrians and other Arabs across the Middle East, the formerly pristine national park to…

How cigarette smuggling fuels Africa’s Islamist violence

Contrabrand tobacco is a $1bn trade in north Africa, run by extremists including Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who masterminded the attack on the Algerian gas plant. The trade is highly profitable – and very low risk. Jamie Doward investigates For many years Mokhtar Belmokhtar was little more than a footnote in the…

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