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Mass ceremony in Brazil’s Rio celebrates same-sex unions

Nearly a hundred same-sex couples in Rio de Janeiro legalized their unions — to a status just shy of marriage in the Latin American country — in a group ceremony Sunday, local media reported. The 92 couples pledged themselves to “stable unions,” though the G1 web site noted the ceremony…

Spree of Porsche headlight thefts blamed on cannabis growers

One would expect the high-power headlights of luxury car brand Porsche to be pretty good at startling deer and blinding other drivers. But according to rumours circulating in Amsterdam, their high-intensity discharge (HID) xenon lamps are good for cultivating cannabis too. At the last count, 35 sets of headlights have…

Man throws paint at Polish ‘miracle’ Virgin Mary icon

Polish police detained a 58-year-old man Sunday after he threw vials of black paint at the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, an ancient Catholic icon of the Virgin Mary believed to work miracles. A protective pane of glass over the painted protected it from any damage, local police spokeswoman Joanna Lazar…

IMF chief Christine Lagarde warns U.S. of worldwide effects of fiscal cliff

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde has warned the US it has the potential to be its “own worst enemy” over the fragile economic recovery and that failure to reach a comprehensive settlement over the fiscal cliff could see growth plummet to zero. In forthright comments over the impending fiscal…

President backs down in Egypt crisis after army ultimatum

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi backed down in a political crisis marked by weeks of street protests, after the powerful army gave an ultimatum to him and the opposition to hold talks. But the initial signs were that his concession would not satisfy an increasingly fierce opposition. The Islamist leader annulled…

Troops rescue kidnapped U.S. doctor in Afghanistan

US soldiers killed seven Taliban insurgents in a successful pre-dawn raid to rescue a kidnapped American doctor in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, the NATO force in the war-torn country said. The mission was launched when intelligence showed that Dr Dilip Joseph was in “imminent danger of injury or death”, NATO’s…

Launch of Russian communications satellite goes awry

Russia failed to put a communications satellite into designated orbit Sunday, in the latest setback for the once-pioneering space industry, officials said. The latest mishap is believed to be linked to a malfunction in the Proton-M rocket’s Briz-M booster stage that earlier this year apparently led President Vladimir Putin to…

Afghans attack Iran consulate over alleged immigrant killings

Hundreds of angry demonstrators tried to storm the Iranian consulate in the western Afghan city of Herat on Sunday in protest at the alleged killing of Afghan immigrants by Iranian security forces. The 200-strong crowd threw rocks and broke consulate windows before security forces drove them back by firing warning…

Hundreds in Morocco form human chain to protest abuse of women

Hundreds of people formed a human chain in Rabat on Saturday to denounce all forms of violence against women, an AFP correspondent reported. “We are here to denounce physical, verbal and moral violence, as well as the harassment of women,” said a member of “Spring of Dignity,” a coalition of…

French PM vows to tackle Corsican ‘spiral of crime’

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault on Sunday vowed that his government will take all necessary means to counter “the spiral of crime,” on the island of Corsica. “What has happened on Corsica is intolerable,” he said in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche weekly, after a night of fresh…

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