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Report: Catholic laundries enslaved women and girls in Ireland as recently as 1996

Taoiseach Enda Kenny fails to formally apologise for involvement over female enslavement causing more outrage After more than seven decades of exploitation and a 10-year struggle for justice, Ireland on Tuesday admitted its role in the enslavement of thousands of women and girls in the notorious Magdalene Laundry system, but…

Ancient Pompeii to get 105 million-Euro makeover

The long-neglected Roman city of Pompeii will get a 105-million euro ($142-million) makeover partly funded by the EU starting on Wednesday, a day after former site managers were put under investigation for corruption. The project, which is being funded to the tune of 41.8 million euros from the European Union,…

Chess becomes a source of hope for homeless Ugandan children

Sitting in a dimly lit room in the run-down Kampala suburb of Katwe, Phiona Mutesi stares at the chessboard in front of her as she ponders the next move in her improbable journey. “Chess has changed my life,” Mutesi says, shifting the thick-framed glasses perched on her nose. “Before I…

Indonesian Komodo dragon attack leaves two hospitalized

A Komodo dragon in Indonesia has attacked two employees in one of the giant lizards’ protected island habitats, leaving its victims hospitalised with serious injuries, an official said Wednesday. One victim, a 50-year-old park ranger, was sitting at his desk at the Rinca island front office, where tourists usually check…

Japanese town demands pants for Michelangelo’s ‘David’

A replica of Michelangelo’s Renaissance sculpture David that was erected suddenly last summer is unnerving residents of a Japanese town, with some calling for the naked masterpiece to be given underpants. Okuizumo town in western Shimane prefecture received five-metre (16-foot) replicas of David and of Greek treasure the Venus de…

China ousts police chief ‘who owns hundreds of houses’

A Chinese police chief has been sacked after reports he owned hundreds of houses and a false identity card, state media said Wednesday in the latest scandal to fuel public outrage over corruption. Zhao Haibin was stripped of his public offices for “engaging in business deals using a fake identity…

Tunisian president blames Islamist ruling party for opposition leader’s murder

President Moncef Marzouki has cancelled his participation in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit in Cairo and is heading back to Tunisia after the murder of opposition leader Chokri Belaid, the presidency said on Wednesday. “He returns early this afternoon. It has just been decided,” presidential adviser Ghassen Dridi told…

Quake strikes Solomon Islands, triggering Pacific tsunami

A major 8.0 magnitude earthquake was feared to have flattened villages in the Solomon Islands on Wednesday, and triggered a tsunami with destructive potential for Pacific nations’ coasts, monitors said. A small tsunami wave reached part of the Solomons and watches were in effect as far afield as Hawaii, the…

Ahmadinejad issues challenge to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became Iran’s president seven years ago, he made his presence felt through incendiary statements targeted at Israel and the west. Now, in his dying days in office, he is going out all guns firing. Only this time he is taking aim at the edifice of the political system…

Afghanistan’s Karzai to leave power in 2014

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai confirmed Tuesday in Oslo that he plans to step down next year when his mandate expires. “The question of me staying as the president beyond 2014 is out of the question,” Karzai said when reporters asked about recent speculation that he was keen to stay on.…

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