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Unregulated ‘natural’ label on wine stirs confusion, controversy

Natural wine? Who could possibly object? With a desire for healthy, sustainable food stimulating trends like the farm to table movement and Slow Food, natural wine is positioning itself as the perfect accompaniment. But according to some experts, the unregulated use of the term ‘natural’ is misleading gullible consumers as…

Greek HIV cases reaching ‘epidemic’ proportions, experts say

HIV infection among crisis-hit Greece’s drug users is reaching “epidemic” proportions with recorded cases marking a 35-fold increase from 2010, health experts warned Friday. A Greek study found 487 HIV-positive cases among intravenous drug users in the first ten months of the year compared with 206 in 2011 and 10…

Japanese mayor tweets during campaign despite official ban

A maverick hoping to upset Japan’s political scene has vowed to continue using Twitter throughout a general election, despite a strict ban on all forms of Internet campaigning. Under Japanese election law, candidates and their supporters are not permitted to Tweet, use Facebook, update their websites or even send emails…

Former Last.fm executive blames marijuana for sex assault

Stefan Glaenzer, the former chairman of Internet radio provider Last.fm, pleaded guilty recently to allegations that he sexually assaulted a woman on the London Underground in August. The millionaire and current chairman of the investment group Passion Capital told a British magistrate that he’s used marijuana for years and was…

Cuba to punish musicians producing ‘vulgar’ songs

Musicians that perform songs deemed vulgar or that “violate ethical standards” will now be punished in Cuba, the state-run Institute of Music said Friday. In communist Cuba, most everything — especially the airwaves — belongs to the government. Aside from hotels that cater to foreigners, there is no MTV, VH1…

Senate approves increased sanctions against Iran

The US Senate unanimously approved new economic sanctions Friday aimed at further crippling Iran’s energy, shipping and port sectors, a year after Congress passed tough restrictions against Tehran. The amendment, tacked on to a sweeping defense spending bill being debated by the chamber, passed 94-0, and should sail through the…

Israel to build 3,000 settlements after Palestinian U.N. recognition

Israel is to build 3,000 new settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank after the Palestinians won recognition as a non-member state at the United Nations, an Israeli official told AFP on Friday. Asked if he could confirm a report that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had decided…

Three more babies die of whooping cough outbreak in UK

Three babies died of whooping cough in England and Wales in October in the biggest outbreak for 20 years, health officials said Friday. The resurgence of the highly contagious bacterial infection has surprised doctors, a report on the issue from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said. There are concerns the…

Google and Twitter join U.S. in helping Syrians bypass Internet blackout

Search giant Google said Friday that Syrians affected by the country’s ongoing Internet blackout can dial a series of international phone numbers that will connect them directly to Twitter with a service called Speak2Tweet. The company’s reminder about the service comes just one day after the U.S. State Department said…

‘Holy Grail’ producer sues Monty Python stars over musical royalties

The producer of the cult film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” took its comedy stars to court on Friday in a bid for royalties from a hit spin-off musical, Spamalot. Three of the six Pythons — Eric Idle and Michael Palin, both 69, and Terry Jones, 70 — are…

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