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EU panel seeks power to fine, censor and fire journalists

A series of recommendations issued Monday (PDF) by the European Union’s “High Level Group” proposes the establishment of “media councils” in every member state that would be monitored by the European Commission and given the power to fine, censor and even fire individual journalists if deemed appropriate. “Media councils should…

UN: Buying ‘funny fruit’ will help feed the world and reduce waste

Make a shopping list and buy “funny fruit,” it will cut food waste and help “shape a sustainable future,” the United Nations Environment Programme and Food and Agriculture Organzation said on Tuesday. The UNEP, FAO and partners unveiled a campaign dubbed “Think-Eat-Save Reduce Your Foodprint” to change global practices that…

China pledges to curb population growth over poor air quality

China’s capital Beijing will strengthen measures to combat pollution, state media reported Tuesday, amid public anger over the dangerous air quality in the sprawling metropolis. Acting mayor Wang Anshun told the city’s legislature that steps will include removing old vehicles from roads, shutting down coal-fired plants and planting more greenery,…

Howls of protest greet New Zealand environmentalist’s proposed cat ban

An environmentalist’s proposal to eradicate New Zealand’s pet cat population drew howls and hisses of protest from cat-lovers in that country, which boasts the highest percentage of cat owners in the world. According to the Toronto Star, Gareth Morgan wants New Zealanders to give up their cats in order to…

Israelis vote in election seen producing swing to right

Israelis voted Tuesday in an election likely to return Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as head of a rightwing coalition that will face the challenges of peacemaking with the Palestinians and Iran’s nuclear programme. After a slow start, the pace of voting picked up, with long queues forming outside some polling…

‘Rotten egg’ stink caused by chemical gas leak wafts over Paris, northern France

Millions of French fretted Tuesday — and some felt sick or got headaches — after a gas leak at a chemical plant cast a strong odour that wafted from northern France as far as Paris. Authorities insisted that the gas, mercaptan, was harmless, but emergency lines were inundated with calls…

North Korea grants rare citizenship to American businessman

The US boss of a joint venture run by North Korea and the Unification Church of South Korea said Tuesday he has been granted rare honorary citizenship by Pyongyang, in a bid to encourage new investment by him. Park Sang-Kwon, CEO of Pyeonghwa Motors told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency…

Prince Harry ends Afghan tour, says he killed Taliban fighters

Prince Harry said he killed Taliban fighters during his stint as a helicopter gunner in Afghanistan, in comments that can be reported after he completed his tour of duty Monday. Harry spent a 20-week posting flying scores of missions over the restive southern Helmand Province in an Apache attack chopper.…

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…

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