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U.S. Navy fined for ‘illegal entry’ at Philippine coral reef

Philippine authorities said Tuesday they have fined the US Navy for “unauthorised entry” after an American minesweeper went aground on a World Heritage-listed coral reef. Manila announced the initial penalty amid growing anger in the Philippines over the January 17 stranding of the USS Guardian on the Tubbataha Reef, for…

British grandmother gets death sentence for smuggling cocaine in Indonesia

A 56-year-old British grandmother was sentenced to death Tuesday for smuggling cocaine into the Indonesian island of Bali, in a shock verdict after prosecutors recommended 15 years imprisonment. Lindsay Sandiford sobbed as the court in Bali’s capital Denpasar handed down the sentence, over a drugs haul worth $2.4 million found…

Worldwide unemployment hits new high: report

Five years after the global financial crisis hit, unemployment numbers continue to soar, with a record 202 million people worldwide expected to be officially jobless this year, the International Labour Organization said Tuesday. Last year saw a clear resurgence of the crisis, the UN’s labour body said in its annual…

Russia seeks nationwide ban on ‘homosexual propaganda’

Russia could soon adopt a controversial new law that targets lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people, according to the Associated Press. The Russian parliament will vote this week on legislation that would outlaw providing minors with “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism.” The bill would make promoting homosexuality to minors,…

How the Vatican built a secret property empire using Mussolini’s millions

Few passing London tourists would ever guess that the premises of Bulgari, the upmarket jewellers in New Bond Street, had anything to do with the pope. Nor indeed the nearby headquarters of the wealthy investment bank Altium Capital, on the corner of St James’s Square and Pall Mall. But these…

ICC lawyers slam Libya over Kadhafi son’s ‘Kafka-esque’ trial

Lawyers defending Moamer Kadhafi’s son Seif al-Islam at the International Criminal Court on Monday accused Libyan authorities of conducting a “Kafka-esque show trial” after he appeared in a court in his homeland for the first time last week. The latest broadside in the legal tug-of-war between The Hague-based ICC and…

French military condemns soldier for wearing skull mask

The French army regards a photograph of one of its soldiers in Mali shown posing in a skeleton mask as “unacceptable” behaviour, a military spokesman said Monday. “This is unacceptable behaviour,” Colonel Thierry Burkhard told a press conference. The image, which has spread widely on the Internet, was “not representative…

Iran puts U.S. pastor on trial for national security crimes

An Iranian-American Christian pastor charged with plotting against state security appeared in a Tehran court on Monday, but will be released on bail, his lawyer told ISNA news agency. Saeed Abedini, a naturalised US citizen and Christian convert, denied “charges of establishing churches to disrupt national security” in Iran and…

Investigation ordered after Spanish politicians got ‘salaries’ from private companies

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ordered Monday an internal investigation into the finances of his centre-right Popular Party which was shaken by allegations of under-the-table payments to party officials. “To dispel any doubts he has ordered a deep and exhaustive internal investigation regarding the party’s finances and the way that…

Iraq demands U.S. energy giant ExxonMobil abide by constitution

Iraq’s premier Monday called on ExxonMobil to respect the country’s constitution in rare talks with the US firm’s chief, an apparent reference to a deal with the Kurdish region Baghdad says is illegal. Nuri al-Maliki also appeared to once again rule out production-sharing deals that Exxon has signed with Kurdistan,…

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