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8-child family defies China’s one-child policy

China’s one-child rule has numerous critics, but perhaps none have so emphatically defied the policy as a couple who have accumulated four boys and four girls — some born to two surrogate mothers. Authorities are calculating how high a fine to impose on the family, described as “rich merchants” in…

French climber Maurice Herzog dies at 93

Maurice Herzog, the French climber who conquered Annapurna in the first recorded ascent of a peak above 8,000 metres, has died at the age of 93, the French Climbing Federation said Friday. Herzog led the ascent of Annapurna in 1950, reaching the Himalayan peak’s summit without oxygen along with compatriot…

Circus elephants survive fire on Serbian highway in freezing temperatures

Russian rescuers saved two circus elephants on a Siberian highway when their wooden van caught fire amid freezing temperatures, police said Friday. The elephants’ wooden truck caught fire on Thursday evening in Siberia’s Novosibirsk region. A petrol-powered heater in the van most likely set fire to their straw, police said,…

Sock thief still at large in Japan

A Japanese high school girl who was tackled by a sock-stealing thief is the latest victim in a series of similar attacks against teenage targets, police said Friday. The 16-year-old was walking in an eastern Tokyo suburb on Thursday when she was wrestled to the ground by a man who…

Second Japanese nuclear plant faces earthquake risk

A second nuclear plant in Japan sits atop a possibly active seismic fault, government-appointed experts said Friday, days after the first facility was said to be at risk. A panel appointed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said fractured strips of earth beneath the Higashidori plant’s compound in northern Japan…

Russia wavers as U.S. deploys troops near Syria border

Moscow backtracked Friday on comments made by a top diplomat admitting that Syrian rebels might defeat its long-time ally Damascus even as Washington ordered 400 troops to near the border with Turkey. A foreign ministry spokesman insisted that Moscow’s controversial support for President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was unchanged and that…

Arab Spring countries still in turmoil two years later

Tunisians, already troubled by the rise of radical Islamists, are eyeing the political and economic paralysis gripping their country with a dismay shared across much of the region two years after the Arab Spring began. In Sidi Bouzid — the central town where Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on…

Man stabs 22 children at China primary school

A man stabbed 22 primary school students in a knife attack in China on Friday, officials said, the latest in a series of assaults. The attacker “has been detained”, said a spokesman for the Guangshan county government in the central province of Henan, where the stabbing happened. “Twenty-two elementary school…

Defiant N.Korea holds mass rally, promises more launches

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans held a mass rally on Friday to celebrate the nuclear-armed state’s rocket launch, as its youthful leader vowed new launches in defiance of US-led outrage. Days before his first anniversary in charge of the isolated country, Kim Jong-Un upheld North Korea’s “unshakable stand” that…

Human rights court: CIA beat and sodomized wrongly detained German citizen

CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday. In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German…

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