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Beijing smog continues as Chinese state media urge more action

China’s state media have called for environmental improvements in unusually frank discussions of the country’s pollution problem, as thick smog continues to shroud Beijing and other cities. Stores sold out of masks and the capital implemented its new pollution emergency response plan for the first time after visibility plummeted at…

Bentley launches 202 mph convertible

Luxury carmaker Bentley wants you comfortable in a Force 5 hurricane — the four-seat convertible that it launched Monday can hit 202 miles per hour (325 kph) with the top down. The Continental GT Speed Convertible’s 12-cylinder engine throws out a huge amount of power — 616 horsepower that rockets…

Moulin Rouge president Jacki Clerico dies at age 83

Jacki Clerico, who headed the Paris cabaret Moulin Rouge for 50 years and revived its famed revues featuring plumed can-can dancers, has died at 83, the establishment said on Monday. The Moulin Rouge in Paris’s vibrant Pigalle district has become synonymous with the can-can and was immortalised in the Oscar-nominated…

Cuba scraps ‘exit visas,’ allowing Cubans to travel freely with just a passport

Havana scraps exit visas, but most Cubans won't be going abroad (via The Christian Science Monitor) Havana’s old town is a colorful though faded grid of dilapidated houses punctuated by chess games and 1950s-era American cars. Neighbors chat from their doorways, like Estrella, who sits on a knee-high box in front of her…

Trial: Brother dismembered British actress after arguing about overflowing sink

A former star of the British soap “EastEnders” was beaten to death and dismembered by her brother after they argued over an overflowing sink, a court heard on Monday as the murder trial opened. Tony McCluskie, 35, denies murder but has admitted the manslaughter of his sister Gemma, whose headless…

Russia to require soldiers to wear socks by end of the year

Russia’s defence minister expressed horror on Monday that soldiers were still wrapping cloths around their feet instead of wearing socks, and vowed the historic practice must end this year. “I would like to give an order that in 2013, at least by the end of the year, we forget the…

British PM Cameron denies ‘blackmailing’ EU members

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday denied trying to “blackmail” his European partners by threatening to pull out of the EU if he did not get his way on repatriating powers. Ahead of a long-awaited speech next week in which he is expected to propose a referendum after 2015…

French leaders unmoved by march against marriage equality

France’s ruling Socialists refused to back down on Monday, a day after hundreds of thousands marched against plans to legalise gay marriage and adoption, and as opposition politicians stepped up calls for a referendum on the issue. Despite the massive turn-out in Paris — 800,000 according to organisers, 340,000 according…

Mali Islamists vow to strike ‘at heart’ of France

Islamist forces based in northern Mali vowed Monday to avenge France’s fierce military offensive against them on French soil. “France has attacked Islam. We will strike at the heart of France,” said a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO), an offshoot of Al Qaeda…

Tunisia marks two years since its revolution

Tunisians on Monday marked two years since the flight into exile of veteran dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali amid a climate of uncertainty marked by social tension, a weak economy, threats from jihadists and a political impasse. President Moncef Marzouki, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali and parliamentary speaker Mustapha Ben…

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