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Saudi authorities order shops to erect sex-segregation walls

Saudi authorities have ordered shops employing both men and women to build separation walls to enforce the strict segregation laws of the ultra-conservative kingdom, local press reported Monday. The order that was issued by labour minister Adel Faqih also had the stamp of Abdullatif al-Sheikh, the head of the Commission…

U.S. welcomes Japanese lifting restrictions on American beef

The United States on Monday welcomed news that Japan has eased restrictions on beef imposed due to concerns over mad cow disease, easing a decade-long row between the allies. US officials said that Japan — formerly the largest buyer of US beef — had agreed to allow the import of…

Lebanese Muslim authority issues fatwa against civil marriage moves

Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim authority on Monday issued a fatwa against moves to legalise civil marriages inside the country, where couples of different faiths have to travel abroad to tie the knot. The religious edict came a day after President Michel Sleiman tweeted that he would remain steadfast in supporting…

Dutch Queen Beatrix to abdicate in favor of her son

Dutch Queen Beatrix is expected to announce later Monday her abdication in favour of her son, Dutch media reported Monday. Beatrix, who turns 75 on Wednesday, will abdicate “in favour of her son Willem-Alexander,” after an almost 33-year reign, Dutch news agency ANP said, quoting sources close to the court.…

Garbage piles up at Madrid airport as cleaning staff strikes

Garbage piled up at Madrid’s Barajas airport, one of Europe’s busiest, on Monday due to a strike by cleaning staff over salary cuts and job losses. Papers, empty plastic bottles and drinks cans littered the floor of the airport, Europe’s fourth-busiest by passenger numbers, with 45 million passengers last year.…

Court: Iceland doesn’t need to repay UK and Dutch depositors

Iceland was entitled to refuse to pay immediate deposit guarantees to savers with failed online bank Icesave in Britain and the Netherlands, a European court said Monday. The ruling is the latest twist in a bitter dispute which has clouded negotiations on Iceland’s ambitions to become a member of the…

Islamist insurgents torch library containing ancient Mali manuscripts

Fleeing Islamist insurgents burnt two buildings containing priceless books as French-led troops approached, says mayor Islamist insurgents retreating from the ancient Saharan city of Timbuktu have set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless ancient manuscripts, some dating back to the 13th century, in what the town’s mayor described as…

Low turnout means Bulgarian referendum on building second nuclear plant will likely fail

Low turnout appears to have scuppered a Bulgarian referendum on whether the former Communist nation should build a second nuclear power plant. Some 4.35 million people, about 60 percent of eligible voters, needed to cast ballots for the results to be binding. Although the central electoral committee is yet to…

Sixth New Delhi gang rape suspect to be tried as juvenile

A court on Monday ruled that the sixth suspect in last month’s deadly gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi would be tried as a juvenile, after rejecting calls for tests to determine his age. Ishkaran Bhandari, a lawyer for the teenager who cannot be named for…

Iran claims it sent a live monkey into space

Iran on Monday sent a capsule containing a live monkey into space and later retrieved the “shipment” intact, the Tehran-based Arab-language Al-Alam channel said, quoting an official statement. A previous attempt in 2011 by the Islamic republic to put a monkey into space failed. No official explanation was given. “Iran…

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