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Thai activist jailed for 11 years for ‘royal slurs’

A Thai political activist was jailed for 11 years Wednesday in the latest tough sentence under the kingdom’s controversial royal defamation law, to the dismay of human rights defenders. The European Union said it was “deeply concerned” by the punishment imposed on Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, 51, in connection with two articles…

Netanyahu wins narrow victory in Israeli elections

Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud-Beitenu list won a narrow victory in legislative elections but was weakened by the unexpectedly strong showing by the centrist Yesh Atid, which campaigned on economic issues. The result is likely to cramp Netanyahu’s room for manoeuvre vis-a-vis his future coalition partners. Television exit polls showed Netanyahu’s…

Israel’s Netanyahu faces coalition challenge

Israel’s rightwing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who narrowly won Tuesday’s election ahead of a new centrist party, now has the complicated task of forming a new coalition government. Despised by much of the local media, and the target of jabs by foreign leaders, the 63-year-old Netanyahu was riding high in…

Taliban retaliates after Prince Harry compares fighting to video games

Afghan militants scornful of Queen’s grandson, saying helicopter co-pilot ‘doesn’t have the brain to know there is a war here’ Prince Harry’s remarks that his job as a co-pilot in an Apache attack helicopter required him to “take a life to save a life” may have disconcerted some squeamish westerners.…

2 million without drinking water as Chilean capital officials turn off supply

More than two million people in the Chilean capital were without drinking water Tuesday because of contamination in a river that supplies the city with water, officials said. Water was shut down to more than 593,000 homes in the metropolitan area, beginning early Tuesday until at least midnight, forcing the…

Chad officials: No link between meningitis vaccines and sick children

Chad’s government on Tuesday said a team of international experts have not been able to find any links between the hospitalisation of 38 children and their recent vaccinations against meningitis. The children fell ill in the northern village of Gouro and were admitted to hospital after being vaccinated in a…

Irish county officials vote to allow some citizens to drink and drive

County officials in southwest Ireland have voted to loosen drunk driving restrictions for certain older, rural constituents. The BBC reported that county councilors in Kerry County, Ireland have backed legislation that would allow police to issue citations exempting certain drivers from normal restrictions on driving under the influence. Councillor Danny…

Iraqi authorities claim to have released 888 prisoners

Iraqi authorities claimed on Tuesday to have freed 888 prisoners in two weeks to placate month-long rallies in the country’s Sunni areas that have hardened opposition against the Shiite prime minister. The demonstrations come amid a political crisis that has pitted Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against several of his erstwhile…

Olympic stadium in London to host rock concerts

A string of live rock concerts will be held in London’s Olympic Stadium in July, music promoter Live Nation announced Tuesday, making them the first events in the Olympic Park since the 2012 Games ended. Wireless Festival and Hard Rock Calling, hitherto held in Hyde Park in central London, will…

EU delays approval of genetically modified crops until 2014

The European Commission has decided to freeze the approval process for genetically modified food crops through the end of its mandate next year while it works towards an agreement with EU member states. “The Commission, if it wants, could launch a procedure to authorise the farming of one GM soya…

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