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Mexico to create new police force to fight drug cartels

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto announced the creation of a national police force to crack down on crime and battle the country’s powerful drug cartels. The force — a gendarmerie based on the model of Spain’s Guardia Civil — would be 10,000 strong. Currently Mexico has a patchwork of city…

Russians frantically prepare for Mayan apocalypse

The apocalypse is surely near when Ramzan Kadyrov emerges as the voice of reason. The ruthless leader of Chechnya is among dozens of Russians officials, priests, doctors and psychiatrists aiming to calm an anxious populace frantically preparing for the end of the world later this week. “People are buying candles…

Canada to privatize its medical marijuana industry

Canada’s Conservative government will soon stop producing and distributing medical marijuana, leaving it up to the private sector in a policy change that angered critics on Monday. Canada’s Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq made the announcement on Sunday, claiming current regulations “have left the system open to abuse.” “We have heard…

Russia to vote on banning U.S. adoptions

The Russian parliament will vote this week on a bill banning adoption of Russian children by Americans, in retaliation to the Magnitsky Act passed by the United States last week, lawmakers said Monday. The Russian bill, unofficially named the “Dima Yakovlev bill”, was approved in an initial reading Friday in…

French elephants scheduled for euthanization get Christmas reprieve

Two ailing middle-aged elephants that French officials wanted to put down have been given a Christmas reprieve after an appeal to President Francois Hollande and an Internet campaign to save them. Baby and Nepal, who both have tuberculosis, had been deemed a threat to other animals at their zoo in…

Chinese police say man who stabbed 23 children ‘influenced’ by Mayan doomsday ‘prediction’

Chinese police suspect man who stabbed 23 kids 'influenced' by doomsday rumor (via The Christian Science Monitor) Chinese police said Monday that the man who stabbed 23 children in a rural Chinese elementary school just hours before the Newtown massacre may have been “influenced” by doomsday predictions. A belief that…

World’s oldest person dies in Iowa at 115

The world’s oldest person — an Iowa woman who scrubbed floors until she turned 90 — died Monday at age 115, less than two weeks after earning her venerable distinction. Dina Manfredini, a native of Italy, died at the Bishop Drumm Retirement Center outside Des Moines, Iowa, said its director,…

Charges of necrophilia dismissed against Swedish woman who kept human bones

A Swedish woman who kept human skulls and bones in her apartment was sentenced Monday to probation and ordered to undergo psychiatric care after being convicted of “disturbing the peace of the dead.” The prosecution had argued that the 37 year-old woman, who has a history of unemployment and substance…

Swedish military finds wreck of Soviet sub sunk during World War II

The wreck of a Soviet submarine that was sunk during World War II has been found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea off the Swedish island of Oeland, Sweden’s military said on Monday. The wreck is believed to be that of the S-6, which disappeared in September 1941. “In…

WHO: Slowed fight against malaria threatens to undo progress

The fight against malaria has slowed in the past two years, threatening to reverse progress in combatting one of the world’s biggest killers, the World Health Organisation warned Monday. Funding for efforts to prevent the deadly mosquito-borne disease increased sharply between 2004 and 2009, part of an ongoing drive that…

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