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Putin promises to sign ban on American adoptions of Russian children

Russian president says he sees ‘no reason not to sign’ bill named after boy who died after being adopted by Americans Vladimir Putin has indicated he is likely to sign into law a bill that bans Americans from adopting Russian children. The bill was proposed in response to the US’s…

Egypt’s former dictator Mubarak goes to hospital as health worsens

CAIRO — Egypt’s state prosecutor on Thursday ordered imprisoned former dictator Hosni Mubarak to be transferred to a military hospital after his health deteriorated, a source at the prosecutor’s office said. Mubarak, serving a life sentence over the killings of protesters, was briefly taken to hospital on December 19 for…

Two-thirds of Britons support same sex marriage

Nearly two-thirds of British people support plans to introduce gay marriage, according to a poll published on Thursday which showed growing backing for the reform. Some 62 percent of those questioned for the poll in the Guardian newspaper said same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, against 31 percent who…

Iran president sacks cabinet’s sole woman

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sacked Health Minister Marizeh Vahid Dastjerdi, the sole woman in his cabinet, state television reported on Thursday. The minister had proposed price hikes for a number of medicines due to the plunge of the Iranian rial against the US dollar and Western sanctions imposed on…

Russia puts dead lawyer Magnitsky on trial

Russia on Thursday opened a fraud trial against Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer whose prison death in 2009 led to the biggest US-Russia row in years, despite protests by the defence it was illegal to try a dead man. The Magnitsky family defence lawyers refused to participate in an “unconstitutional” process…

Netanyahu met with Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss Syria: reports

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman recently to discuss violence in Syria and the country’s chemical weapons stock, Israeli media said Thursday. Public radio, as well as several local newspapers, said Israeli and Jordanian officials had confirmed the meeting, which was first…

Alarm company to rent out world’s first ‘autonomous’ private security drone

A Japanese security company plans to rent out a private drone that takes off when intruder alarms are tripped and records footage of break-ins as they happen, a spokeswoman said on Thursday. The helicopter-like device is equipped with a small surveillance camera that can transmit live pictures of a crime…

Indian tea plantation workers burn boss and wife alive

Tea plantation workers torched the home of their boss, killing both him and his wife, following a labour dispute in the northeastern Indian state of Assam, officials said on Thursday. Around 1,000 workers at the privately-owned M.K.B. Tea Estate attacked the plantation owner’s bungalow on Wednesday and set it on…

Italians backed by the Catholic Church aim to stop Sunday shopping

Italians are fighting a government lift of regulations on business operation hours, insisting that the move will eventually hurt the small shops and values that have long been the foundation of the Italian business community.  The deregulation, put into effect January 2012, removes restrictions…  …

Japan’s new pro-business government set to dismantle ‘zero nuclear power by 2040′ goal

Japan’s new leaders set to work Thursday on dismantling plans to rid the country of nuclear power by 2040, pledging to review a post-Fukushima policy. The pro-business Liberal Democratic Party-led government also said they would give the green light to any reactors deemed safe by regulators, indicating shuttered power stations…

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