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New UN AIDS deputy hails Brazil progress

The newly appointed deputy chief of the United Nations HIV-fighting program, Brazilian Luiz Loures, hailed his own country’s achievements in the fight against the deadly global epidemic in an interview published Saturday. “We are beginning to talk of the end of the epidemic. Scientific progress makes it possible,” Loures told…

William and Kate snub queen for Middletons’ Christmas

Prince William and his pregnant wife Catherine will spend Christmas Day at her parents’ family house, instead of with Queen Elizabeth II, British royal officials said Saturday. The second-in-line to the throne and the former Kate Middleton will be at the Middleton residence in Bucklebury, a village west of London,…

Voters, but few tourists, around Egypt’s pyramids

As Egypt’s voters turned out on Saturday for a final round of a referendum on a divisive, Islamist-backed constitution, workers at Cairo’s pyramids located near some polling stations lamented the turmoil that has caused tourists to flee. “Currently there is no tourism in Egypt,” grumbled Adel Anwar, the 32-year-old owner…

Watch: Gang rape protests in India escalate as cops fire water cannons

Indian police on Saturday tear-gassed, baton-charged and fired water cannon at demonstrators in the sixth and most violent day of protests against the brutal gang-rape of a student last weekend. Thousands of protesters, most of them college students, rallied at the India Gate monument in the heart of the Indian…

Pope pardons butler, expels him from Vatican

Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday pardoned his former butler Paolo Gabriele, who was sentenced to 18 months in jail for leaking secret papal memos, but banished him from the Vatican. “This morning the Holy Father Benedict XVI visited Paolo Gabriele in prison in order to confirm his forgiveness and to…

Drug war leaves 20,000 missing people in Mexico: report

More than 20,000 people have disappeared in Mexico over the past six years of a brutal crackdown on drugs during the government of former president Felipe Calderon, a civic group said. Propuesta Civica (Civic Proposal) released a database on its website Thursday listing 20,851 people who went missing from August…

Argentina disputes Britain renaming a part of Antarctica in honor of Queen Elizabeth II

Argentina summoned Britain’s ambassador Friday to complain about London’s decision to rename a disputed part of Antarctica in honor of Queen Elizabeth II. Buenos Aires expressed its “firm rejection” of Britain’s claim to the territory, which Argentina considers “an area in the Argentine Antarctic sector.” Foreign Minister William Hague last…

Britain’s ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher faces Christmas in the hospital

Britain’s former prime minister Margaret Thatcher was in hospital Saturday recovering from a minor operation to remove a growth in her bladder and may remain there over Christmas, friends said. The 87-year-old “Iron Lady”, Britain’s first and only female premier, was doing “absolutely fine” having been admitted to hospital on…

Queen’s chaplain says Church of England has racism problem

Queen Elizabeth II’s chaplain Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, tipped to become one of Britain’s first women bishops, said Saturday that the Church of England is struggling with “institutional racism”. Jamaican-born Hudson-Wilkin, a chaplain to the monarch and also to parliament’s lower House of Commons, told The Times newspaper that she had…

Syria regime firing ‘Scud-style missiles,’ says NATO

NATO has accused the Syrian regime of firing Scud-style missiles at rebels, amid Russian criticism that the West’s “dangerous” stance risks bringing chaos to the country and beyond. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Friday called the Syrian army’s use of missiles against rebels an act of…

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