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Spain halts evictions of vulnerable homeowners

Spain announced Thursday a two-year halt to evictions of the most vulnerable home owners as a public outcry mounted over suicides linked to desperate people facing expulsion. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s right-leaning government said it agreed on the moratorium “for humanitarian reasons” and the new measure was restricted to those…

Rooftop gardens growing in popularity in notoriously smoggy Mexico City

A green revolution is sweeping across the car and concrete jungle of Mexico City, an infamously smoggy capital that was once dubbed “Makesicko City” by novelist Carlos Fuentes. Residents are growing vegetables on rooftops, planting trees where buildings once stood, hopping on bicycles and riding in electric taxis, defying the…

Petraeus sex scandal prompts laughter among Taliban

The sex scandal that has brought down CIA chief David Petraeus may be causing heartache in the Washington security establishment but the affair has prompted laughter among the Taliban. Petraeus resigned last week to pre-empt revelations of an affair with his married biographer Paula Broadwell, bringing to an end a…

India ‘concerned’ over pregnant woman’s death in Ireland

India on Thursday expressed “concern” over the death of a pregnant Indian woman in Ireland after doctors allegedly refused her an abortion because it was against the laws of the country. Savita Halappanavar, who was 17 weeks pregnant, died of septicaemia on October 28, a week after she was admitted…

Cambodia arrests eight for ‘SOS Obama’ stunt

Cambodian police arrested eight people Thursday for displaying portraits of US President Barack Obama next to the word “SOS” on their roofs ahead of his much-anticipated visit to the nation. The stunt was carried out by residents living near Phnom Penh airport in protest at their threatened eviction, a local…

Germany to sign new benefits accord for Nazi victims

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said a new agreement he will sign Thursday with the Jewish Claims Conference will help Holocaust survivors who had never received compensation. Schaeuble and JCC chief Julius Berman are to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Luxembourg Agreement in which West Germany…

Doctors Without Borders presses New Guinea government on rampant sexual violence

The president of Medecins Sans Frontieres pressed Papua New Guinea’s new government to address its epidemic levels of sexual and domestic violence Thursday, calling it a “humanitarian crisis”. Unni Karunakara was in the impoverished Pacific nation to visit MSF projects targeting family and sexual violence and met with officials from…

Myanmar frees prisoners before Obama visit

Myanmar began releasing hundreds of prisoners Thursday under a mass amnesty that comes just days before a landmark visit by US President Barack Obama to the formerly military-ruled nation. Relatives of the scores of political detainees still languishing in jails were waiting anxiously to learn whether they would be among…

Cambodia accused of serious graft in malaria fight

A major international aid fund has accused Cambodia of “serious” corruption in the use of money intended to combat malaria and other life-threatening diseases. The UN-backed Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria said a probe into the use of grants “uncovered credible and substantive evidence of serious financial…

Hamas says ‘gates of hell opened’ as Israel kills military leader in Gaza

Israel launched a military operation to eliminate militants and weapon sites in the Gaza Strip , killing the commander of Hamas’s military wing, in a move with potentially serious repercussions beyond its borders. The assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari in a missile strike in Gaza City was the “start of a…

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