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Military called in as deadly floods batter Australia

Australia ramped up its military response to deadly floodwaters rising in the country’s sodden northeast Tuesday which have killed four people and displaced or isolated tens of thousands. Storms triggered by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald have claimed four lives — the most recent a three-year-old boy killed by a falling tree…

Top Bolshoi ballerina ‘flees Russia’ after threats

One of the Bolshoi ballet’s best known ballerinas has fled Russia for Canada after receiving threats over a business dispute involving her husband, a Russian newspaper reported Tuesday. Svetlana Lunkina told the Izvestia daily she had taken leave from the theatre until the end of the season over troubles stemming…

Most countries do little to combat corruption in arms trade, study finds

Transparency International estimates cost of corruption in defense sector amounts to at least $20 billion a year Most countries, including a large majority of the world’s biggest weapons importers, lack the tools to prevent corruption in the arms trade, according to an unprecedented international study of national defense ministries and…

Guatemala ex-dictator to be tried for genocide

A judge in Guatemala on Monday ordered the trial of former dictator Efrain Rios Montt for genocide in the killings of more than 1,750 indigenous people during his 1982-83 regime. The 86-year-old Rios Montt sat stoically as Judge Miguel Galvez ordered the opening of a trial “for the crimes of…

British lawmaker suggests high heels and mini skirts to blame for rape

Richard Graham: UK lawmaker's rape remarks draw condemnation (via The Christian Science Monitor) A British lawmaker’s suggestion that young women who wear high heels and short skirts put themselves at greater risk of rape has drawn widespread condemnation. “If you are blind drunk and wearing those clothes how able are…

Saudi authorities order shops to erect sex-segregation walls

Saudi authorities have ordered shops employing both men and women to build separation walls to enforce the strict segregation laws of the ultra-conservative kingdom, local press reported Monday. The order that was issued by labour minister Adel Faqih also had the stamp of Abdullatif al-Sheikh, the head of the Commission…

U.S. welcomes Japanese lifting restrictions on American beef

The United States on Monday welcomed news that Japan has eased restrictions on beef imposed due to concerns over mad cow disease, easing a decade-long row between the allies. US officials said that Japan — formerly the largest buyer of US beef — had agreed to allow the import of…

Lebanese Muslim authority issues fatwa against civil marriage moves

Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim authority on Monday issued a fatwa against moves to legalise civil marriages inside the country, where couples of different faiths have to travel abroad to tie the knot. The religious edict came a day after President Michel Sleiman tweeted that he would remain steadfast in supporting…

Dutch Queen Beatrix to abdicate in favor of her son

Dutch Queen Beatrix is expected to announce later Monday her abdication in favour of her son, Dutch media reported Monday. Beatrix, who turns 75 on Wednesday, will abdicate “in favour of her son Willem-Alexander,” after an almost 33-year reign, Dutch news agency ANP said, quoting sources close to the court.…

Garbage piles up at Madrid airport as cleaning staff strikes

Garbage piled up at Madrid’s Barajas airport, one of Europe’s busiest, on Monday due to a strike by cleaning staff over salary cuts and job losses. Papers, empty plastic bottles and drinks cans littered the floor of the airport, Europe’s fourth-busiest by passenger numbers, with 45 million passengers last year.…

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