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Same-sex marriages on the rise in Canada: census

OTTAWA — The number of same-sex marriages in Canada nearly tripled from 2006, according to a 2011 census released Wednesday that revealed a dramatic shift in the makeup of Canadian families. The data showed that married couples overall declined as a proportion of all families during the period, but still…

African Union takes over hunt for elusive rebel Joseph Kony

KAMPALA — The African Union has taken control of a regional force hunting brutal rebel chief Joseph Kony across the central African jungles, an AU force commander said Wednesday. “The AU now is in charge of the operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army,” Dick Olum, the Ugandan commander of the…

Counterterror official: Iran ‘more willing’ to attack within the U.S.

Extremist militias connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard are “more willing” than ever before to attack targets within the United States, National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew G. Olsen told a Senate committee on Wednesday. Olsen cited a case brought by U.S. officials against five Iranian men, accused of a plot to…

Pope calls for Christians and Muslims to unite against violence

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday called for Christians and Muslims to unite against violence, following a trip to Lebanon last week in which he condemned fundamentalism in any religion. “I think the time has come… for us together to issue a determined rejection of violence and wars,”…

Sudan blocks YouTube over anti-Islam film

KHARTOUM — Sudan has blocked access to Internet video-sharing site YouTube over the anti-Islam film that has triggered outrage and deadly unrest across the globe, the head of the telecommunications authority told AFP on Wednesday. Ezzeddin Kamel told AFP that the national telecommunications commission imposed the YouTube ban from Sunday…

Japan backs off promise to end nuclear energy by 2040

Japan has effectively abandoned a commitment to end its reliance on nuclear power by 2040 amid pressure from the country’s business lobby, dropping a deadline recommended by a cabinet panel only days ago. The cabinet on Tuesday gave only a vague endorsement of the panel’s report, released last Friday, and dropped any mention of…

Georgia minister quits over jail rape scandal

Georgia’s prisons minister resigned Wednesday over videos showing the alleged beating and rape of convicts that caused outrage ahead of bitterly-contested elections in the ex-Soviet state. Some of the graphic video footage, aired late Tuesday by opposition television station TV9, showed a weeping half-naked male prisoner at a jail in…

Human Rights Watch seeks release of ‘runaway’ Afghan women

A US-based human rights group on Wednesday demanded the immediate release of Afghan women imprisoned for running away from home, welcoming promises from government officials to stop the detentions. Up to 70 percent of the estimated 700 women and girls detained in Afghan prisons are being held for running away,…

Russia expels USAID for ‘influencing politics’

Russia on Wednesday said it had ordered a halt to the work of USAID because the agency was seeking to influence domestic politics, adding that the organisation had until October 1 to halt activities. “The decision was taken mainly because the work of the agency’s officials far from always responded…

Massive worldwide slaughter of farm animals set to push food prices up 14 percent

Farmers who cannot afford feed ‘liquidating’ pig and cattle herds will drive food inflation to record high, says Rabobank report The mass slaughter of millions of farm animals across the world is expected to push food prices to their highest ever levels. As well as hitting consumers’ pockets, the predicted…

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