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U.S. journalist kidnapped in war-torn Syria

A freelance American reporter who contributed videos to Agence France-Presse (AFP) in recent months was kidnapped in war-torn Syria six weeks ago and has been missing since, his family revealed Wednesday. US journalist James Foley, 39, an experienced war reporter who has covered other conflicts, was seized by armed men…

British archbishop abolishes services for LGBT Catholics

By Caroline Davies, The Guardian Vincent Nichols calls time on fortnightly service at Our Lady of the Assumption church in central London amid anti-gay protests Special fortnightly “Soho masses” held for gay and lesbian Catholics at a central London church for the past six years are to end, the archbishop of…

Indonesian city bans women from straddling motorbikes

A city in Indonesia’s Islamic law stronghold of Aceh will ban women from straddling male drivers on motorbikes, its mayor said on Wednesday, dubbing the position “improper”. The move comes after leaders from the country’s only province ruled by strict sharia law drafted a series of new bills including banning…

27 juvenile inmates stage jailbreak at notorious facility in Peru

At least 27 inmates at a notorious juvenile detention facility in Peru escaped, some staging a riot on New Year’s Eve as guards prepared festivities to ring in 2013, officials said. A first group of 13 made a run for freedom on New Year’s Eve, followed by 14 others who…

Delhi gang-rapists tried to run victim over with bus after attack

A gang of rapists who assaulted and murdered a woman on a bus in New Delhi last month tried to run her over with the vehicle after the attack, reports said, citing a grisly police account of the incident. Her boyfriend, who was beaten up and thrown off the bus…

Russia’s 2012 oil output hits post-Soviet high

World energy power Russia said on Wednesday that its 2012 oil output hit a post-Soviet record high level while natural gas production declined amid stalling European sales. The energy ministry’s reporting unit said oil and gas condensate production grew by 1.3 percent last year to reach 518.0 million tonnes (10.4…

Myanmar prison art tells story of repression

Painted on scraps of clothing with carved soap, cigarette lighters and even syringes, Htein Lin’s artworks were his lifeline during years in Myanmar jails — and the spark for an extraordinary love story. “These paintings were really dangerous and also precious,” said the 46-year-old former student protest leader, who produced…

Netanyahu list losing ground to right-wing ‘Jewish Home’ ahead of January 22 election

The joint list being fielded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in this month’s snap elections is continuing to lose ground to the Jewish Home faction, a new poll showed on Wednesday. The survey, published in the daily Haaretz, still puts the list combining Netanyahu’s Likud party and the Israel…

Singapore arrests Indian boy over Facebook bomb threat

Singapore police on Tuesday arrested a 13-year-old Indian boy for posting a Facebook message in which he allegedly threatened to bomb a luxury casino resort in the city-state. The unnamed boy vowed to take “a big big revenge”, “spit everywhere” and “plant bombs on Marina Bay Sands”, a major tourist…

Record 40,000 people jump into North Sea for annual Dutch New Year’s dive

A record 40,000 people braved icy temperatures on the Netherlands’s North Sea coast Tuesday to take a cold plunge, setting a new record for the traditional New Year’s Day dip, organisers said. “There were around 10,000 swimmers in Scheveningen and a record number of 40,000 across the Netherlands,” spokeswoman Jiske…

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