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600 cats stuffed in wooden crates saved from cooking pot after truck crash in China

BEIJING — Around 600 cats stuffed into wooden crates and destined for dinner plates in southern China were rescued by animal protection volunteers after a truck crash, a volunteer said on Thursday. Volunteers hauled the felines from the lorry on Monday after the accident in the central city of Changsha,…

Several killed as Algerian troops strike gas complex hostage site

Algerian troops launched strikes on Thursday on a desert gas plant where radical Islamists are holding dozens of foreigners hostage, killing several people, kidnappers said. The Islamists were trying to “ferry some hostages in vehicles to a safer place” when Algerian forces launched air strikes “killing both the hostages and …

Spanish pets to be blessed at Saint Anthony feast

Dogs, cats, parrots and other pets, some dressed in their finest winter coats, entered churches across Spain on Thursday to be blessed on the feast day of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals. Animal lovers lined up outside the main entrance to the Church of San Anton in central…

Notorious Russian mafia boss killed by sniper

Notorious Russian criminal boss Aslan Usoyan, known as Grandpa Hassan, was shot by a sniper in central Moscow from a sixth-floor stairwell in a neighbouring building, investigators said Thursday. Investigators were piecing together the dramatic last moments of Usoyan before he was gunned down on Wednesday, as a bystander caught…

France adopts words of war by vowing to ‘destroy terrorists’

With its talk of “destroying” enemies and confronting “jihadi terrorists”, France has adopted a language of war for its intervention in Mali that few expected from Socialist President Francois Hollande. As French warplanes carry out airstrikes and French troops clash with Islamist rebels in the West African country, Hollande and…

Obama’s Kenyan half brother running for political seat

President Barack Obama’s Kenyan half brother has launched his own political career by announcing his intention to run for a Kenyan county gubernatorial seat in the upcoming March 4 elections. Malik Obama, 54, who shares a father with the US president, told AFP in an interview late Wednesday that the…

American-born Israeli settler convicted of murdering Palestinians

An Israeli court on Wednesday found a US-born Jewish settler guilty of murdering two Palestinians and convicted him on two counts of attempted murder. Jack Teitel, a 41-year-old extreme right religious activist, was found guilty of the killings in 1997 of a bus driver and a shepherd, both Palestinians. He…

Hong Kong LGBT activists blast government’s stalling on anti-discrimination laws

Hong Kong’s gay community on Wednesday blasted the government for refusing to carry out a public consultation on the implementation of anti-discrimination laws to protect sexual minorities. Rights groups hoped chief executive Leung Chun-ying would use his maiden policy speech to launch a debate on the issue, with a view…

Court denies Pussy Riot member request to defer prison time for her 5-year-old son

A Russian court on Wednesday turned down a request by a jailed member of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot to defer serving her jail sentence until her five-year-old son is older. “The court has ruled not to satisfy the petition,” the judge said at Berezniki city court in the…

Estonian president’s Twitter fight with Paul Krugman becomes an opera

A Twitter feud in June between the Estonian president and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who questioned the impact of Estonia’s austerity measures, is being turned into an opera, US composer Eugene Birman told AFP on Wednesday. “Our short opera will be first performed by Iris Oja and the…

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