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South Korea tries to recall a U.S. adoption

South Korea tries to recall a US adoption (via The Christian Science Monitor) The bitter legal struggle of an American couple to adopt a Korean baby is touching on nationalist and ethnic sensitivities in South Korea. The couple, Christopher and Jinshil Duquet, wait at home in Evanston, Ill., to see…

More than 100 children die of measles in Pakistan in 19 days

More than 100 children have died of measles in Pakistan this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday, calling it “an alarming outbreak.” “Some 103 Pakistani children have died from Jan 1 to Jan 19 this year because of the post-measles complications such as pneumonia, post-measles encephalitis and diarrhoea,”…

Australian court clears goat for eating flowers in Sydney

An Australian court Wednesday heard the case against a goat accused of munching on flowers in central Sydney — and found in favour of the peckish beast. Gary the goat waited outside the local court while his owner James Dezarnaulds contested an Aus$440 (US$464) fine issued last August, after police…

Women join ranks of Assad’s new paramilitary force in Syria

At 40 years of age, Abir Ramadan joined the all-female unit of Syria’s new paramilitary force, pledging loyalty to Bashar al-Assad in the armed struggle against those seeking to topple the president. Dressed in camouflage, she marches at a stadium in the central city of Homs, raising her fist and…

Drinking water restored to Chilean capital after 24-hour outage

Water has been restored in Chile’s capital Santiago after a 24-hour pollution-related outage that affected more than two million people, the water utility said Wednesday. The cut-off in the supply of drinking water to more than 593,000 homes from early Tuesday was linked to contamination in a key river that…

Traditional wrestling loses its grip on Pakistan

For decades, their practice ring honed the talent of Pakistan’s most famous wrestling family. Today, it is their graveyard, a fitting symbol of the decline of the sport in the Muslim nation. The Bholu brothers are buried next to a centuries-old Banyan tree to the side of their former ring.…

Russian refugees return to Moscow after fleeing Syria

Dozens of Russians fleeing the violence in Syria arrived back in Moscow on Wednesday, in the first operation organised by the Russian authorities to help its nationals escape. Two planes owned by the emergencies ministry carrying 77 people fleeing Syria touched down at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on a flight from…

Thai activist jailed for 11 years for ‘royal slurs’

A Thai political activist was jailed for 11 years Wednesday in the latest tough sentence under the kingdom’s controversial royal defamation law, to the dismay of human rights defenders. The European Union said it was “deeply concerned” by the punishment imposed on Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, 51, in connection with two articles…

Netanyahu wins narrow victory in Israeli elections

Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud-Beitenu list won a narrow victory in legislative elections but was weakened by the unexpectedly strong showing by the centrist Yesh Atid, which campaigned on economic issues. The result is likely to cramp Netanyahu’s room for manoeuvre vis-a-vis his future coalition partners. Television exit polls showed Netanyahu’s…

Israel’s Netanyahu faces coalition challenge

Israel’s rightwing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who narrowly won Tuesday’s election ahead of a new centrist party, now has the complicated task of forming a new coalition government. Despised by much of the local media, and the target of jabs by foreign leaders, the 63-year-old Netanyahu was riding high in…

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