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Iraqi finance minister’s guards held on terrorism charges

At least nine of the Iraqi finance minister’s guards are being held on terrorism charges, officials said on Friday after the minister demanded the premier’s resignation following their arrest. The dispute threatens to reignite a long-running feud between the secular, Sunni-backed Iraqiya bloc, of which Finance Minister Rafa al-Essawi is…

Europol fears deadly turf wars as biker gangs arrive in Europe

A wave of biker gangs from the US, Canada and Australia arriving in Europe has raised fears of deadly turf battle like the Nordic biker wars of the 1990s, European police agency Europol warned on Friday. Gangs such as the Comancheros and Rebels from Australia, Rock Machine from Canada and…

Georgia rebuilds Stalin monuments

A Joseph Stalin statue went back up in the Georgian village of Alvani on Friday in a sign of the slipping authority of President Mikheil Saakashvili, who had ordered its removal. The pro-Western president is serving out what some are calling a lame-duck term ahead of elections next year from…

Pope says future of mankind at stake over same sex marriage

Pope Benedict XVI on Friday weighed in on a heated debate over gay marriage, criticising new concepts of the traditional family and warning that in the fight for the family, mankind itself is at stake. “In the fight for the family, the very notion of being ? of what being…

Disappointed journalists outnumber doomsayers in Turkish ‘apocalypse haven’ of Sirince

As the village of Sirince waited for what some say is an apocalypse from which the tiny Turkish hamlet will be spared, its streets were teeming not with doomsayers but a hoard of disappointed journalists. Hundreds of reporters were wandering aimlessly around the beautiful town of 570 inhabitants Thursday, hoping…

North Korea confirms arrest of U.S. citizen

North Korea confirmed Friday that it had arrested a US citizen in November, saying legal action would be taken against him but giving no details of the charges. The man, identified as Pae Jun-Ho, entered North Korea on November 3 as a tourist, and “committed a crime” against the country,…

Toddler’s lucky escape as deadly snakes hatch in child’s wardrobe

An Australian toddler had a lucky escape after collecting eggs from one of the world’s most deadly snakes and watching them hatch in his wardrobe, wildlife officials said Friday. Kyle Cumming, 3, found the eggs from the eastern brown snake in the backyard of his Townsville home in Queensland state…

U.K. pays Iraqi torture victims millions in compensation

Lawyers and human rights groups say 400 settlements show ‘systemic’ abuse The Ministry of Defence has paid out £14m in compensation and costs to hundreds of Iraqis who complained that they were illegally detained and tortured by British forces during the five-year occupation of the south-east of the country. Hundreds…

Nations urge environmental activists to steer clear of Japanese whaling vessel

Anti-whaling nations on Thursday urged environmental activists not to take any action endangering human life as Japan’s fleet prepared to set sail for its controversial annual hunt. Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United States said in a joint statement that they respected the right to peaceful protests but…

Argentine woman to marry her sister’s convicted killer

An Argentine woman plans to marry the convicted killer of her twin sister. Victor Cingolani is serving a 13-year sentence for murdering girlfriend Johana Casas, a fashion model, in August 2010 but insists he is innocent and plans to marry her twin on Friday in his prison in Santa Cruz…

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