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Filipino company specializes in sending online Valentine’s Day messages to loved ones abroad

Romantic Filipinos abroad have found a way to bridge the gap with loved ones at home on Valentine’s Day — via an online serenade service. Jane Soco, managing director of Harana.ph, said Thursday the company’s professional singers would lift the spirits of those left behind as their partners toil in…

Researchers find new owl species in Indonesia

Researchers in Indonesia unwittingly identified a new species of owl believed to be unique to the country, raising hopes of further new bird discoveries, a scientist said Thursday. The brown-and-white Rinjani Scops owl was first spotted in 2003 on the island of Lombok, while researchers were looking for another nocturnal…

Conservative Indonesian Muslims say Valentine’s Day promotes teen ‘sex parties’

Islamic conservatives in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-populated nation, voiced opposition to Thursday’s Valentine’s Day celebrations, saying they promote teen “sex parties” and premarital sex. After the deputy mayor in the conservative city of Depok on Jakarta’s outskirts urged parents to stop their children from celebrating, local religious leaders voiced…

Nuclear agency talks with Iran fail again

The chief UN atomic inspector said Thursday that talks with Iran had failed again to reach a deal on agreeing enhanced inspections of Tehran’s nuclear programme, and that no new meeting had been set. “We had discussions on the structured approach document but could not finalise the document,” Herman Nackaerts…

Romania abattoir says it has nothing to hide

Opening its doors to prove it has nothing to hide, a Romanian abattoir at the heart of a food scandal that has engulfed Europe insists it has never tried to pass horsemeat off as beef. Located in a snow-covered field in the remote northeastern village of Roma where residents can…

India leads day of ‘One Billion Rising’ for women

Indians were at the forefront of global protests on Thursday in the One Billion Rising campaign for women’s rights, galvanised by the recent fatal gang rape that shocked the country. Flashmobs, marches, singing and dances were planned in about 200 countries as part of the campaign’s day of action, timed…

Russia arming Mali, more Islamist attacks feared

Russia revealed it was supplying guns to Mali’s government, as French troops defused a massive bomb in the north of the country, the latest bid by Islamist rebels to strike back. The head of Russia’s arms export agency said it had delivered small amounts of light weapons for the West…

Poop and death at Australian art museum

Eccentric Australian gambler David Walsh is shaking up the sleepy city of Hobart with an unorthodox new museum challenging visitors to a new pact with fermenting, defecating and dying art. It is an unassuming site for what has fast become one of Australia’s most talked-about tourist attractions, a rusted, hulking…

Oscar ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius arrested after killing girlfriend

South Africa’s Paralympic gold medallist Oscar Pistorius has been arrested after shooting dead his girlfriend having mistaken her for an intruder, media reported. According to the Beeld newspaper, Pistorius was arrested early Thursday following the shooting. Police could not immediately confirm the report. The athlete know as the “Blade Runner”…

Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka says she was sexually abused as a child: ‘Enough is enough. I am rising.’

The daughter of legendary sitar player Ravi Shankar said on Thursday in a video released for a global women’s rights campaign that she had been sexually abused as a child by a family friend. Anoushka Shankar, herself a famed sitar player who used to play with her late father, said…

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