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China cracks down on doomsday rumors

China has detained dozens of people, some of whom it terms doomsday cult members, as part of a nationwide crackdown on rumours about a supposed forthcoming apocalypse, state media said. Authorities in five different areas have detained 52 people for spreading predictions of a December 21 “doomsday” linked to the…

Pussy Riot member opens up about prison camp routine

One of Russia’s jailed Pussy Riot punks complained Monday of grey monotony and strict rules in her prison camp in the Urals mountains, in her first detailed account of her experiences. In an article in The New Times weekly, Maria Alyokhina, 24, described her first weeks at Corrective Labour Colony…

Thousands flee as Cyclone Evan batters Fiji

Thousands of people fled to evacuation centres in Fiji on Monday as a powerful cyclone lashed the Pacific nation, causing power outages and flash flooding, officials said. Tropical Cyclone Evan pummelled the main island Viti Levu with winds exceeding 200 kilometres per hour (125 mph) bringing down trees, blocking roads…

Europe must work hard to maintain welfare system: Germany’s Merkel

Europe will have to work “very hard” to maintain its generous welfare system and remain competitive, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a newspaper interview Monday. “If Europe today accounts for just over 7.0 percent of the world’s population, produces around 25 percent of global GDP (gross domestic product) and…

Ecuador declares volcano alert at second-highest warning level

Ecuador issued an orange alert — the second-highest warning level — for towns near the Tungurahua volcano on Sunday, as its level of activity rose, civil defense officials said. The area of the warning covers the adjacent provinces of Tungurahua and Chimborazo, according to the national civil defense agency. Greater…

Chavez resumes governing after surgery, says aide

President Hugo Chavez, who underwent new cancer surgery Tuesday, has resumed actively governing as he recovers, one of his cabinet members said Sunday from Havana. “As of yesterday, El Comandante already resumed communicating with us, giving instructions, governing in fact, giving instructions to be implemented in our country,” said Science…

Tens of thousands rally for same-sex marriage, adoption in France

Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out in France on Sunday to show support for the government’s plans to legalise gay marriage and adoption. Organisers said 150,000 people gathered in Paris at the Place de la Bastille for the “demonstration for equality”. Police said 60,000 took part. They have called…

At least 12 killed in Iraq attacks

Attacks in Iraq including a string of bombings against Shiite places of worship and a car bomb at a Kurdish political office killed at least 12 people and wounded at least 75 on Sunday, officials said. Two car bombs and seven roadside bombs targeted two Shiite places of worship, known…

Dubai festival awards Saudi feminist film ‘Wadjda’

Saudi movie “Wadjda,” a tale of a girl’s quest to own a bicycle in the kingdom where women are deprived of many rights, won the best Arabic feature film at the Dubai Film Festival on Sunday. Directed by Saudi Arabia’s first female filmmaker, Haifaa al-Mansoor, and shot entirely in the…

Syria air strike targets Palestinian refugee camp

Warplanes bombarded a Palestinian refugee camp in southern Damascus on Sunday for the first time in Syria’s uprising, as the army escalated its bid to suppress the rebellion in the capital. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the air strike killed at least eight civilians at Yarmuk camp, which…

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