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Call us Mexico, not ‘United States of Mexico’: president

President Felipe Calderon has one last wish before he leaves office next week: Please change the country’s name from “United States of Mexico” to just “Mexico.” The country has officially been named the United States of Mexico since 1824, but Calderon said Thursday it was time for the country to…

EU ends shark finning, practice of mutilating, leaving sharks to die

The European parliament on Thursday called a definitive halt to shark finning, the long contested practice of fishermen slicing off fins and throwing the live body overboard to drown. The EU prohibited shark finning in 2003, but an exemption allowed fishermen with special permits to remove the fins from their…

Four Chinese hostages freed in Colombia

Four Chinese oil company employees held hostage since June 2011, allegedly by Colombia’s FARC rebels, have been freed in southern Colombia, their embassy said Thursday. “They released the four last night in the department of Caqueta. They are in good spirits,” said the spokesman of China’s embassy in Bogota. The…

Brazil swears in first black supreme court president

Brazil judge Joaquim Barbosa took the oath of office as Brazil’s first ever black head of the Supreme Court on Thursday, in a historic ceremony attended by President Dilma Rousseff and other top leaders. The son of a bricklayer and a cleaner, Barbosa, 58, pledged in his swearing in “to…

After ceasefire, Israel arrests 55 militants in West Bank

Israeli troops arrested 55 Palestinian “terror operatives” across the West Bank overnight, hours after a truce came into effect in the Gaza Strip, the army said Thursday. “A total of 55 terror operatives, who are affiliated with different terror groups have been detained. Among those arrested were a number of…

Ugandan parliament to debate anti-gay bill

Ugandan lawmakers will debate a controversial anti-gay bill calling for severe punishments for homosexuality in the near future, a parliamentary spokeswoman said Thursday. The proposed legislation could come up for debate in the next few days after it was included as the third item on Thursday’s order paper for parliamentary…

Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system for women

RIYADH — Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements. Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when…

Man with knife takes hostages at bank, demands Japan PM resign

A man armed with a knife took five people hostage at a Japanese bank Thursday, police said, with local media reporting he was demanding Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s cabinet resign. About seven hours after the drama began the man released one hostage, public broadcaster NHK reported. Television footage showed a…

Worldwide rallies planned to protest Japan’s whale and dolphin hunts

Anti-whaling activists said Thursday there would be demonstrations in Tokyo and eight other cities around the world this weekend against Japan’s hunt. Protesters are expected to gather in the Japanese capital to call for an end to the annual state-sponsored whaling mission to the Southern Ocean, due to start in…

Russian ‘dog hunters’ wage death campaign on strays

A shadowy group of “dog hunters” that communicates via the Internet is waging war on packs of feral dogs in Russia’s cities, killing the dogs with poison and airgun bullets. But dog owners and animal rights activists are up in arms, saying the campaign is cruel and ineffective and that…

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