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U.S. think-tank says N.Korea is nuclear test-ready

North Korea has repaired extensive rain damage at its nuclear test facility and could conduct a detonation on two weeks notice, a US think-tank said on Friday, citing satellite imagery analysis. With the UN Security Council debating possible sanctions against the North following the launch earlier this month of a…

Egypt’s Mubarak has cracked ribs, fluid in lungs

Ousted president Hosni Mubarak has a build-up of fluid in his lungs and cracked ribs, Egypt’s official news agency MENA reported after he was transferred from prison to military hospital for treatment. The state prosecutor ordered Mubarak’s transfer on Thursday after his health deteriorated, a prosecution source had said, more…

Belgium claims ownership of French fries

Fries, crunchy, salty, tasty fried sticks of potato are claimed both by Belgium and France as the product of their national gastronomic genius but the true origins are shrouded in popular folklore. “Fries, they are the orphan of street cooking, of low birth. That is why it’s hard to establish…

Pope launches media campaign to re-invigorate the Church

Pope Benedict XVI has galvanised Catholics at the close of 2012 to go on the offensive over key faith issues, forging new alliances and fighting secularism in the West with a media campaign. Damaging sex abuse scandals and growing opposition to the Church’s attitude toward gay marriage and women priests…

World’s smelliest and largest flower blooms in Brazil

Hundreds of visitors are flocking daily to a botanical garden in southeastern Brazil to watch the rare blooming of the Titan arum, the world’s smelliest and largest tropical flower. Also known as the “corpse flower” because of a smell likened to rotting flesh, it began blooming on Christmas Day and…

Indian teen kills self after police pressure her to marry rapist

A 17-year-old Indian girl who was gang-raped committed suicide after police pressured her to drop the case and marry one of her attackers, police and a relative said on Thursday. Amid the ongoing uproar over the gang-rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi earlier this month, the…

Putin vows to sign contentious U.S. adoption ban

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin vowed on Thursday to sign a bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children that has added new strains to the uneasy relations between the former Cold War foes An aide separately raised the spectre of the Kremlin eliminating all foreign adoptions as part of a patriotic…

Human Rights Watch: Kuwait using ‘excessive force’ against protesters

Human Rights Watch on Thursday accused Kuwaiti police of using “excessive force” against opposition protesters and called on the Gulf state’s rulers to respect the right to peaceful assembly. The New York-based group said riot police had on several occasions used “what appears to be excessive force to disperse largely…

6 die in Poland from drinking tainted alcohol

Six people in Poland have died after drinking alcohol that was probably tainted with methanol, and six others remain hospitalised, police said Thursday. Three men aged between 38 and 53 and a 47-year-old woman died in Stargard Szczecinski in northwest Poland after consuming alcohol probably containing methanol purchased at a…

Putin promises to sign ban on American adoptions of Russian children

Russian president says he sees ‘no reason not to sign’ bill named after boy who died after being adopted by Americans Vladimir Putin has indicated he is likely to sign into law a bill that bans Americans from adopting Russian children. The bill was proposed in response to the US’s…

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