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Tehran residents urged to flee ‘dangerous’ pollution

Residents of Tehran were on Wednesday urged to leave the city, if possible, to escape a stagnant stew of choking air pollution that officials warned had reached “dangerous” levels. Health Minister Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi made the appeal as her services recorded a 15 percent increase in hospital admissions in recent…

Trump wars with whiskey company after it gives an award to one of his critics

Furious Trump bans all whiskies by rival distiller that sponsored Top Scot award given to his obstinate neighbour Property magnate Donald Trump has gone to war with one of the world’s largest whisky companies after it sponsored an award given to an arch critic of his controversial Scottish golf course. In…

Rupert Murdoch’s philanthropist mother dies at 103

By Nigel Starck, The Guardian Philanthropist and mother of Rupert Murdoch, she was regarded as a national treasure in her native Australia Despite the many upheavals, setbacks and disputes in his long career as a media tycoon, there was only one person whom Rupert Murdoch regarded with real trepidation: his mother, Dame Elisabeth.…

S. Korea formally dumps ‘scientific’ whaling plan

SEOUL — South Korea confirmed Wednesday that it had formally dropped its fiercely criticised plan to resume “scientific” whaling and adopted non-lethal means to study the mammals in its waters. Under International Whaling Commission (IWC) rules, a formal proposal for the hunt was required by 3 December, but none was…

Israel PM heads to Berlin as settlement dispute grows

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due in Berlin on Wednesday for talks likely to focus on the growing crisis over settlement plans that could torpedo the viability of a Palestinian state. Ahead of his departure on a trip that will take him briefly to Prague and then on to…

China Nobel winner expected to avoid politics

China’s Nobel literature winner Mo Yan heads to Sweden Wednesday to collect his award, but he walks a delicate line with the authorities and is likely to avoid mentioning in his speech jailed fellow laureate Liu Xiaobo. Mo Yan has been hailed as a national hero since the prize announcement…

Japan eyes reduced emission cut target

Japan may backpedal on its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter, an official said Wednesday, dealing a further blow to already deadlocked global warming talks in Doha. Tokyo in 2009 promised it would slash its planet-warming emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by the start of…

N. Korea completes installing rocket: report

SEOUL — North Korea has completed installing a long-range rocket on its launch pad, ahead of its planned launch this month in defiance of widespread international condemnation, a report said Wednesday. All three stages of the Unha-3 rocket have been placed on the pad at the North’s Sohae satellite launch…

Sun rises over Egypt protesters after palace siege

Hundreds of protesters woke up Wednesday in front of the presidential palace, the new focus of protests against President Mohamed Morsi, as an already-polarised Egypt slipped deeper into crisis. “The final warning, the presidency under siege,” read the headline of daily al-Shuruk as the independent Al-Watan declared “Revolution at the…

Japan woman arrested for keeping 160 ‘scrawny’ dogs

TOKYO — A woman who kept 160 starving dogs in her house among tonnes of their own waste has been arrested by Japanese police, an official said on Wednesday. Ten tonnes of animal waste and other rubbish were removed from Noriko Ishii’s house after the dogs were taken away, he…

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