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World’s tallest woman dies in China

A Chinese woman who was certified as the tallest in the world has died, an official from her hometown said. Yao Defen, of eastern China’s Anhui province, was listed as the world’s tallest woman by Guinness World Records in 2010, when she stood 2.33 metres (seven foot eight inches) high,…

Iran tells US to ‘recount’ drones

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are telling the United States to “recount” the drones in its fleet as they insist that — despite US denials — they captured a small US unmanned spy plane over Gulf waters, Iranian media said Wednesday. “Its capture is not an issue the Americans can easily refute,”…

Arab world ‘to bear brunt of climate change’

Global warming will have dire consequences for the Middle East and North Africa, with even hotter and drier conditions devastating everything from agriculture to tourism, a World Bank report said on Wednesday. On current trends, average temperatures in Arab countries are likely to rise by as much as three degrees…

Australian child takes grenade for ‘show and tell’

An Australian school was evacuated Wednesday after a child took a hand grenade into a classroom for a “show and tell” lesson, police said. The grenade resembles a World War II “pineapple” model and was believed to be inert but police said it would not be moved from a teacher’s…

Powerful typhoon leaves 82 dead in the Philippines

The death toll from a powerful typhoon that ravaged the southern Philippines rose to 82 Wednesday, as rescuers battled to reach areas cut off in flash floods and mudslides. Typhoon Bopha churned across the island of Mindanao, toppling trees and blowing away homes on Tuesday before weakening overnight as it…

Rome mayor saves cat colony

Stray cats prowling the ruins of ancient Rome can rest easy on their marble pedestals — a feline colony tucked away near the spot where Julius Caesar was murdered is no longer threatened with closure. “These cats are not up for debate, they are part of the history of Rome,”…

UK’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award celebrates 20 years

One unlucky author was due to be awarded Britain’s “most dreaded literary prize” on Tuesday for the most cringeworthy erotic description penned in 2012. After the “mummy porn” phenomenon gripped the literary world — with “Fifty Shades of Grey” topping international best-seller lists — eight writers are on the shortlist…

Louvre opens new branch in grim northern mining town

LENS, France — The Louvre museum opened a new satellite branch among the slag heaps of a former mining town Tuesday in a bid to bring high culture and visitors to one of France’s poorest areas. Greeted by a group of former miners in overalls and hardhats, President Francois Hollande…

Non-state-owned brands making inroads in China

China’s top firms are increasingly non-state-owned companies, although traditional businesses still dominate, a survey of the country’s 50 most valuable brands showed on Tuesday. The share of non-state-owned enterprises rose to 27 percent from 22 percent the year before, the communications firm WPP and research agency Millward Brown said, releasing…

British company will build Africa’s largest solar plant in Ghana

British renewable energy firm Blue Energy announced Tuesday that it will build a giant solar power plant in Ghana which it claimed will become the biggest in Africa. “Blue Energy is to build Africa’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant”, the company said in a statement, in a move “which…

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