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Chinese state media mocks ‘repulsive’ government cliches

Chinese state media turned on the government’s own use of language Thursday, mocking a list of “repulsive” official cliches submitted by social media users. The public shaming of bureaucrat-speak — hosted on the microblog of the Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily — came after China’s new leaders slammed the…

Unusual heavy snowfall hits Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Jerusalem was transformed into a winter wonderland on Thursday after heavy overnight snowfall turned the Holy City and much of the region white, bringing hordes of excited children onto the streets. As temperatures plummeted, the bitter winds and rain that have battered the Middle East since Sunday turned…

EU moves to end state monopolies of railways

In proposals likely to infuriate Germany, the EU executive will this month urge an end to Europe’s last rail monopolies and so open the lucrative passenger market to competition from 2019. The toughest opposition to the European Commission plan is likely to come from Germany and its rail giant Deutsche…

Mexico City officials blame pack of wild dogs for string of gruesome deaths

By Jo Tuckman, The Guardian Official explanation of marauding wild dogs for deaths of five people found with horrific flesh injuries prompts public backlash Crime scene tape strung between trees in a hilly park in the working class Mexico City suburb of Iztapalapa marks the place where a teenage couple…

UN: Developing countries face mercury exposure risks

Communities in developing countries are facing increased health and environmental risks linked to mercury exposure, the United Nations Environment Programme said Thursday. “Mercury … remains a major global, regional and national challenge in terms of threats to human health and the environment,” said UNEP head Achim Steiner. Parts of Africa,…

Car explodes in Tel Aviv near Israeli defense ministry, police say ‘crime-related’

A car exploded near the Israeli defence ministry in Tel Aviv on Thursday, injuring several people, in what police said was a crime-related incident and not linked to militant groups. “A car bomb exploded in Tel Aviv. Apparently it is a criminal incident, a settling of accounts,” police spokesman Micky…

Australian firefighters race to beat rising heat and out-of-control fires

Australian firefighters raced to control a series of blazes on Thursday before a forecast rise in temperatures brings the risk of more infernos, as dramatic accounts of survival emerged. Fires have been raging across southeast Australia for nearly a week. While many have been contained, 120 are still burning and…

63-year-old blind man Tasered by police launches compensation claim

A blind man who was Tasered by police who mistook his white stick for a samurai sword launched a claim for compensation on Thursday. Colin Farmer, 63, was shot in the back with a 50,000-volt Taser stun gun on October 12 last year in Chorley, Lancashire, after police received reports…

Worst storms in decade bring parts of the Middle East to near standstill

The worst storms in a decade left swathes of Israel and Jordan under a blanket of snow and parts of Lebanon blacked out on Thursday, bringing misery to a region accustomed to temperate climates. Freezing temperatures and floods since Sunday across the region have claimed at least 11 lives and…

Almost half of the world’s food thrown away, report finds

Figures from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers show as much as 2bn tonnes of food never makes it on to a plate As much as half of all the food produced in the world – equivalent to 2bn tonnes – ends up as waste every year, engineers warned in a…

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