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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.…

Austria keeps draft so military can prepare ski slopes

Two weeks after voting to keep the military draft, neutral Austria has discovered why it needs an army: not for defence but to prepare the ski races so beloved in this alpine country. Some 70 recruits were mobilised overnight to help combat severe snowfall on the courses of the World…

Ecuadoran court sentences German tourist to 4 years for smuggling Galapagos iguanas

An Ecuadoran court has sentenced a German tourist to four years in prison for trying to smuggle threatened iguanas out of the Galapagos Islands. Dirk Bender “will serve four years in prison as stated in the judgment reported today by the president and judges” of the criminal court that found…

UK lawmakers approve marriage equality

British lawmakers voted in favour of legislation allowing gay marriage on Tuesday despite a split in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative party. Members of parliament voted by 400 to 175 to approve the draft law allowing same-sex couples to marry in England and Wales. In a late intervention just two…

City workers tow car after painting ‘handicapped parking’ markings around it

A Tel Aviv woman says that surveillance video proves that city workers used paint to designate her car’s parking spot as being reserved for disabled before having it towed. In video posted to Facebook on Monday night, several workers are seen painting white lines around Hila Ben Baruch’s car and…

Nobel peace prize winner predicts political collapse in Yemen

Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakkul Karman warned in an interview with AFP that her country’s transition process is on the brink of collapse and demanded ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh be banned from politics. The activist, who was a leading figure during the youth uprising in Yemen in 2011, also claimed…

‘Cookie Monster’ thief returned 44-pound golden biscuit to German baker

A self-styled “Cookie Monster” thief who took a large golden biscuit from outside a renowned German baked good maker to demand goodies for sick children appeared to have returned the emblem Tuesday. A large golden biscuit wrapped up in a red ribbon mysteriously appeared on a monument in front of…

Saudi cleric urges veils for baby girls to avoid sexual harassment

A Saudi cleric has said baby girls should be veiled to avoid sexual harassment, in remarks broadcast on television that sparked outrage in the conservative kingdom. “Girls should wear the veil from the age of two,” said Abdullah Daoud on Islamic television al-Majd, adding that Saudis should follow the example…

Swedish princess hands out ‘gay of the year’ award

STOCKHOLM — Swedish Crown Princess Victoria made headlines Tuesday after handing out the country’s “Gay of the Year” award to an author whose writings about the 1980s AIDS crisis has gripped the nation. “It’s a true delight for me to be here tonight. To feel your power, your happiness and…

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