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Australians warned to leave Benghazi immediately

Australia on Friday joined three European nations in urging its citizens to leave the Libyan city of Benghazi due to a “specific, imminent threat to Westerners” linked to French action in Mali. The advice followed similar warnings from governments in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, which sparked an angry response…

Egyptians to protest on second anniversary of revolution

Huge crowds were expected to demonstrate in Egypt on Friday for the second anniversary of the revolution that ousted Hosni Mubarak and brought in an Islamist government, at a time of political tensions and economic woes. The secular-leaning opposition called for mass street protests against President Mohamed Morsi and the…

UN to investigate legality of U.S drone strikes

A newly-announced UN inquiry into the rise of drone strikes and targeted killings around the world has drawn measured optimism and concerns from national security experts and the international human rights community. Ben Emmerson QC, UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, announced on Thursday that he will head…

More Sufi shrines torched in Tunisia: witnesses

Two Sufi mausoleums were torched in Tunisia on Thursday, police and media reported, in the latest violence the mystical Muslim sect claims is being carried out by ultra-conservative Salafist Muslims. The Sidi Ali Ben Salem mausoleum in the southwestern region of Gabes was totally destroyed by fire, police said. In…

Exiled Iran lawmakers offer nuclear compromise

Exiled former Iranian lawmakers on Thursday proposed a compromise to avert conflict over Tehran’s nuclear program, calling for an end to sensitive uranium enrichment and an easing of US-led sanctions. In a letter sent to US President Barack Obama, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini and the European Union, the…

Rapping the revolution: Syrian sets war to music

If his words were bullets, Ahmad El-Khalaf would have already brought down President Bashar al-Assad to end the bloodshed tearing apart his family’s homeland of Syria. But for now, this 23-year-old has to make do with setting the revolution to his own rap music, putting his indignation into stanzas slamming…

3 die in central Europe of swine flu

Three people have died in Romania and Macedonia after being infected with the H1N1 influenza strain known as swine flu, the two countries’ health ministries said Thursday. “Two people have died from the H1N1 flu,” Romania’s state secretary of health, Alexandru Rafila, announced on private TV network Antena 3. The…

Missing Matisse to be displayed in Stockholm museum

Stockholm’s Museum of Modern Art said Thursday it will put on display this weekend “Le Jardin”, a Matisse painting stolen 25 years ago and returned to Sweden this week. “We’re going to put it on display for two weeks”, as of Saturday and then take it into the studio for…

Russia to weed out gay soldiers with genital search for ‘penis face’ tattoos

The Russian Defense Ministry is attempting to clampdown on homosexuality with a new handbook that recommends recruits and contractors be checked for genital tattoos, like a the image of a “face” on the recruit’s penis. The Russian newspaper Izvestia on Thursday published details about how recruits would be given a…

Ikea founder surprised at group’s ‘too ambitious’ expansion plans

The founder of Swedish furniture giant Ikea, Ingvar Kamprad, on Thursday told a newspaper that he was surprised by the group’s expansion plans, which he said were too ambitious. “I spoke to my secretary who told me about what was written in Dagens Industri, that we’ve had a record profit…

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