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France’s parliament approves allowing same sex couples to adopt

France’s National Assembly voted Tuesday by a clear majority to adopt legislation allowing homosexual couples to marry and adopt children, and the law will now go for approval by the upper house of parliament. The formal vote came 10 days after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour of its key article…

Obama makes trip to Israel’s West Bank in March

US President Barack Obama is expected to arrive in Jerusalem on March 20 for a three-day trip which will also take him to the West Bank city of Ramallah, media reports and a Palestinian official said. According to a draft itinerary published in Israel’s top-selling Yediot Aharonot, Obama will begin…

Angry fans torch Jerusalem soccer offices over signing of two Muslim players

The torching of Beitar Jerusalem’s offices by fans angry at the signing of two Muslim players has sparked a major outcry which both supporters and ex-players hope could end decades of open racism at the club. Friday morning’s arson attack, which caused heavy damage to a room used as the…

Amazon asks for laxer online shopping rules in India

US online retail giant Amazon said Tuesday it had asked New Delhi to consider relaxing a law that stops its Indian subsidiary from selling directly to customers. The topic was raised when Paul Misener, Amazon’s global vice president, met Indian Trade Minister Anand Sharma in New Delhi. “We talked about…

Banned Iranian director’s film depicts crushing state oppression at Berlin festival

The 63rd Berlinale premiered Tuesday the latest film by banned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, a haunting lament about crushing state oppression and a tribute to the resilience of the creative drive. “Closed Curtain”, which Panahi co-directed with longtime collaborator Kambuzia Partovi, tells the story of two people on the run…

Italian director claims his film foreshadowed pope’s resignation

The Italian director of a film which tells the story of a pope who resigned spoke in an interview on Tuesday of his uncanny foresight after Pope Benedict XVI announced he will step down. “Sometimes cinema can anticipate reality,” award-winning filmmaker Nanni Moretti, whose latest movie “Habemus Papam” starring Michel…

9 Thai couples lock lips for ‘kiss in’ to break 50-hour world record

Nine Thai couples locked lips Tuesday in hope of setting a new record for the world’s longest kiss, but the attempt proved too much for two septuagenarians who dropped out after just one hour. The participants, who must kiss for more than 50 hours, 25 minutes and one second to…

Granddaughters say Nelson Mandela is a ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ fan

Women claim ex-president is fan of pageant series denounced as ‘gaggingly vomitous’, as they launch their own reality show It seemed that Nelson Mandela’s life, from prison on Robben Island to president of South Africa, had been documented from every conceivable angle. Yet on Friday came a fresh revelation that…

Topless women mark pope’s resignation with cathedral demonstration

Eight feminists flashed their breasts in the heart of Paris’s Notre Dame cathedral on Tuesday to celebrate Pope Benedict XVI’s shock resignation announcement. The members of the Femen movement entered the Gothic cathedral dressed in long coats which they whipped off inside while ringing three bells near the altar. “Pope…

Uganda deports British producer behind LGBT-themed play

Uganda has deported a British theatre producer who last year staged a play about homosexuality, which is illegal in Uganda, the British High Commission said Tuesday. David Cecil was arrested in September on charges of disobeying orders to cancel the staging of a play whose main character was a gay…

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