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Ikea apologizes for removing women from Saudi catalog

Ikea, the global furniture company, has apologised for deleting images of women from the version of its catalogue circulating in Saudi Arabia. The issue was highlighted on Monday by the free newspaper, Metro, which compared the Swedish and Saudi versions of the catalogue and showed that women had been airbrushed out of…

French prosecutors drop charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn

French prosecutors dropped a rape investigation Tuesday against former International Monetary Fund chair Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The Associated Press reports that the key witness withdrew her testimony and now says no rape was involved in a December 2010 encounter with Strauss-Kahn in Washington D.C. Strauss-Kahn and three other men were accused…

Pope’s butler to take stand in ‘Vatileaks’ trial

Pope Benedict XVI’s former butler Paolo Gabriele takes the stand on Tuesday at his historic trial for stealing secret memos in what he said was a bid to battle “evil and corruption” in the Vatican. It will be the first time that Gabriele speaks out since his arrest in May…

Colombian rebels: Peace talks to start Oct. 15

Talks between Colombia’s government and the leftist FARC rebels — aimed at ending one of Latin America’s oldest conflicts — are set to begin on October 15, the group said. The statement sent to reporters in Havana, Cuba, where the parties met to negotiate the terms of the peace talks…

Indonesians hack into beached whales in mass stranding

Locals on a remote island in eastern Indonesia on Tuesday cut up several dead pilot whales for food after a mass stranding that killed at least 41 of the mammals, an official said. A total of 44 pilot whales beached themselves late Monday on the island of Savu in East…

St. Petersburg’s ‘gay propaganda’ law has LGBT Russians wary

St. Petersburg's 'gay propaganda' law has LGBT Russians wary (via The Christian Science Monitor) Eight burly guards in black suits ushered guests into an anonymous building on the bank of the Neva River in St. Petersburg, as activists, artists, and diplomats gathered last month for the opening of the city’s…

Web video shows U.S. journalist missing in Syria

WASHINGTON — An Internet video has surfaced appearing to show a US reporter missing in Syria, in what would be the first direct sign of him since his disappearance in August. Two news organizations which have employed the freelance journalist Austin Tice said the 47-second YouTube video did appear to…

British pop sensation Adele to perform new Bond song

British Grammy-winning singer Adele said Monday she will perform the theme song for the upcoming James Bond movie “Skyfall”, following in the footsteps of artists including Shirley Bassey and Madonna. Adele’s official website announced that it would premiere the song at 12:07 am London time on Friday (2307 GMT Thursday)…

France to cover total cost of abortion

France on Monday unveiled a package of reforms designed to increase access to abortion, including 100 percent reimbursement of medical costs by the state social security system. At present French women are only able to claim back between 70 and 80 percent of the costs, which average between 200 and…

NATO secretary general: Afghanistan withdrawal could come sooner than expected

Exclusive: Anders Fogh Rasmussen admits ‘green on blue’ attacks have hit morale, and raises prospect of accelerated pullout The retreat of western forces from Afghanistan could come sooner than expected, the head of Nato has said as he conceded that the recent Taliban strategy of “green on blue” killings had been successful in sapping morale.…

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