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Forensics teams search British home of Alps shooting victims

British police forensics officers on Saturday began an operation to search the home of a family shot dead in France, in company with detectives from across the Channel. Police set up a cordon around the house in Claygate in Surrey, a quiet commuter village some 15 miles (25 kilometres) southwest…

Government backs down on Chinese ‘patriotism’ lessons for Hong Kong schoolchildren

Hong Kong’s government on Saturday backed down on a plan to force school children to take Chinese patriotism classes, after weeks of protests and on the eve of crucial legislative polls. “The amendment of this policy means that we are giving the authority to the schools,” the city’s leader, Leung…

Pakistan Christian ‘blasphemy’ girl freed from jail

A Christian girl accused of blasphemy in Pakistan was released from jail on Saturday, a minister said, in a case that has sparked an international outcry. Rimsha Masih was arrested on August 16 for allegedly burning pages containing verses from the Koran but she was released from a prison in…

In body-conscious Brazil, half are now overweight

One of the world’s most body-conscious countries, Brazil is now threatened by growing obesity rates, with half of the population already overweight. As a result of an unbalanced diet and a rise in more sedentary lifestyles, Brazil, which moved 30 million people out of poverty and into the middle class…

Canada breaks off relations with Iran

Canada has closed its Tehran embassy and ordered Iranian diplomats expelled, in a damning severance of ties in which it accused the Islamic Republic of being the biggest threat to world peace. Canada did not cite a specific incident that caused the breakdown, but issued a strongly worded attack on…

Rescuers hunt for survivors as China quake toll hits 80

Rescuers searching for survivors from twin earthquakes that struck southwestern China battled blocked roads and downed communications on Saturday as the death toll rose to 80. Scores of people were leaving their homes in the mountainous border area of Yunnan and Guizhou provinces, carrying their belongings amid fears of further…

Russia seeks UN backing of Syria peace plan

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia — Russia said Saturday it would ask the UN Security Council to endorse a plan to end the raging violence in Syria, but the United States insisted that any resolution had to have teeth. Russia has been the main diplomatic and military supporter of Syria’s embattled President Bashar…

Nelson Mandela ‘happier’ out of the spotlight in childhood home

South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela is “happier” since he returned to a quiet life in his rural childhood village, the CEO of his children’s hospital project said Friday. “He’s happier where he is now in Qunu. It’s quiet. No one’s bothering him every five minutes to sign something,” said…

‘Highly toxic’ bird flu strain hits Vietnam

A new highly-toxic strain of the potentially deadly bird flu virus has appeared in Vietnam and is spreading fast, according to state media reports. The strain appeared to be a mutation of the H5N1 virus which swept through the country’s poultry flocks last year, forcing mass culls of birds in…

World Bank: Morocco youth unemployment is ‘very serious’

The World Bank on Friday described the problem of youth unemployment in Morocco as “very serious,” with similarities to other countries in the region where youth-led protests brought about regime change. “It is a very serious problem,” Inger Andersen, the bank’s vice president for the Middle East and North Africa,…

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