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Britain wants to resume Assange talks with Ecuador

Britain wants to resume talks with Ecuador and find a diplomatic solution to the standoff over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as soon as possible, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday. Addressing parliament, Hague also said Assange could not be extradited from Sweden to a third country without Britain’s consent, which would not be given if there was a prospect of…

‘Smoker’s paradise’ Lebanon enacts smoking ban

A smoking ban in all closed public spaces, including coffee shops, restaurants and bars, went into force in Lebanon on Monday under new legislation that promises hefty fines for lawbreakers. In a country considered a “smokers’ paradise,” the law took effect a year ago in airports, hospitals and schools, but took hold on a wider…

Italy mourns liberal Catholic cardinal who said church was ’200 years behind’

Italy‘s business capital of Milan ground almost to a halt on Monday as the people of the city – believers and non-believers alike – bid farewell to a beloved pastor, and perhaps too to the hope of a more liberal form of Catholicism that he embodied. In a startlingly explicit interview published…

Outgoing Mexico president says the U.S. shares blame for drug violence

MEXICO CITY — Outgoing Mexican President Felipe Calderon blamed loose US gun laws and American addicts for fueling his country’s drug violence as he defended his controversial anti-cartel offensive on Monday. Presenting the final annual report of his presidency, Calderon insisted that his 2006 decision to deploy thousands of troops…

Hillary Clinton condemns suicide attack against U.S. consulate employees in Pakistan

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday denounced the “cowardly” attack against US consulate personnel in Pakistan and praised local authorities’ response to the scene. Clinton, on a visit to Jakarta shortly after the bombing in Peshawar, said that she wanted to “very clearly condemn the attack on our consulate…

Pakistani ‘blasphemy’ girl still imprisoned after bail hearing

A Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy in a case that has sparked international outcry must spend at least four more days in jail after a court adjourned a bail hearing on Monday. Judge Muhammad Azam Khan has repeatedly delayed bail proceedings for Rimsha Masih, who was arrested last month accused of burning papers containing verses…

Marshmallows making foodie comeback in France

Marshmallows roasted over a campfire may be a staple of American childhood, but few realise the pillowy treats were invented in 19th-century France, where they are bouncing back into foodie fashion. Sweet or salty, flavoured with fruit, flowers, vegetables — even fish — classic versions and novel takes on the puffy pastel-coloured…

WHO: Unganda Ebola outbreak ‘coming to an end’

Uganda’s latest outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus appears to be over, the World Health Organisation said Monday, pointing out that no new cases had been confirmed for the past month. “There have been no new confirmed cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever reported in Kibaale district, Uganda, since August 3, 2012, indicating that the outbreak is…

U.S. ramps up pressure on Iran to avoid war

US President Barack Obama’s administration is undertaking “a range of steps short of war” that it hopes will prevent an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The New York Times reported Monday. The measures are designed to force Tehran to negotiate more seriously over its nuclear programand offer Israeli officials a credible alternative to…

India lower house passes sexual harassment bill

India’s parliament, which has been deadlocked for days due toopposition protests, on Monday used a brief break in the uproar to pass legislation protecting women from sexual harassment at work. The lower house passed the bill before business was again abandoned for the day as lawmakers from the main oppositionBharatiya Janata Party (BJP)…

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