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South Korea readies new bid to reach space

South Korea held a final dress rehearsal Wednesday for its third attempt to send a satellite into orbit and join an elite space club that includes Asian powers China, Japan and India. After two previous failures in 2009 and 2010, the 140-tonne Korea Space Launch Vehicle (KSLV-I) is scheduled to…

Bangladesh arrests three factory managers over blaze

Bangladesh police have arrested three managers of a factory where a blaze killed 110 people, following claims they stopped workers from leaving the plant saying an alarm was just a routine fire drill. Dhaka police chief Habibur Rahman told AFP Wednesday the managers were arrested overnight after charges that they…

China paper backpedals after falling for Kim spoof

The Chinese Communist Party’s official mouthpiece on Wednesday deleted a story that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un had been named 2012′s “Sexiest Man Alive”, after it fell for a spoof by US website The Onion. The People’s Daily had run the US satirical site’s gushing quotes about the “Pyongyang-bred heartthrob”…

U.S. clashes with France over Palestinians status at UN

WASHINGTON — The United States publicly disagreed with France, one of its closest allies, on Tuesday, after Paris said it would back a Palestinian bid for enhanced status at the United Nations. “We obviously disagree with our oldest ally on this issue. They know that we disagree with them,” State…

Syrian rebels down helicopter for first time

ATME, Syria — Syrian rebels downed an army helicopter for the first time Tuesday with a ground-to-air missile from newly acquired stocks in what a watchdog said could be a turning point in the 20-month conflict. Meanwhile Russia, which has blocked UN resolutions critical of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, said it…

Gruesome Kosovo probe held under tight security

BRUSSELS — Visitors need 24-hour security clearance, grizzled Belgian guards man the entrance, no phones or cameras please: welcome to the latest, and probably the last, of the big Balkans war crimes probes. The US diplomat and prosecutor leading the investigation into one of the most gruesome and politically sensitive…

Europe’s snakeskin fashions threaten pythons

Europe’s love of snakeskin fashion items could threaten the very survival of pythons, according to a report published Tuesday. Nearly a half million python skins are exported each year — almost exclusively for use in European fashion — in a massive market with a legal value of more than $1.0…

Vietnam refuses to stamp Chinese passports that claim nearly all of South China Sea

Vietnamese immigration officers said Tuesday they were refusing to stamp entry visas into controversial new Chinese passports which feature a map of Beijing’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea. Vietnam has said the computer-chipped passports violate its sovereignty and has demanded Beijing withdraw the documents, which show…

Ethiopian Jews plan to return to ‘Holy Land’

It was one of the most daring operations in Ethiopian history: Israel’s 1991 airlift of Ethiopian Jews, when nearly 15,000 people were crammed into a series of non-stop flights lasting 36 hours. Clutching only a few belongings, in planes with seats removed to make more space, they left a nation…

Chinese newspaper falls for Onion’s ‘sexiest man’ story on North Korean leader

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been named 2012′s “Sexiest Man Alive”, China’s Communist Party newspaper proclaimed Tuesday after treating a spoof award by satirical US website The Onion as genuine. The People’s Daily website published two paragraphs lifted word-for-word from The Onion, along with a photo gallery of 55…

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