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Santas warm up for Christmas in Sweden’s far north

Christmas cheer came early to Sweden’s Arctic mining town of Gaellivare this weekend, where Santas from around the world gathered to compete in one of the world’s most important but little known sporting events, the Santa Winter Games. “We’re getting into shape before delivering all the Christmas presents and we…

‘Cold-blooded’ ice-cream lady in Austrian murder trial

A woman described as “singularly cold-blooded” went on trial in Austria on Monday accused of murdering two men and setting their sawn-up body parts in concrete in the cellar of her ice cream parlour. Dubbed the “trial of the year” in Austrian media, Goidsargi Estibaliz Carranza Zabala, who has joint…

Israeli army takes over Hamas TV broadcasts

The Israeli army on Monday took over programming at a Gaza-based Hamas television station “to broadcast warnings,” as deadly violence between the sides entered its sixth day. Al-Aqsa television, the official station of Gaza’s Hamas rulers, said in a statement the Israeli army “is interfering with Al-Aqsa TV,” with the…

Kuwait detains Twitter users for insulting emir

Kuwait’s public prosecution on Sunday ordered the detention of four Twitter users for 10 days for allegedly insulting the ruler of the oil-rich Gulf state, a rights group said. The four were arrested on Wednesday and remanded in police custody pending further investigation before the prosecution issued its detention order,…

Gaza: four children killed in single Israeli air strike

World News: Gaza: four children killed in single Israeli air strike (0771) GUARDIAN NEWS SERVICE A399612156 Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian www.guardiannews.com STANDFIRST: Attack believed to be aimed at Hamas official increases death toll of military offensive to 67 people At least 11 members of one family, including five women and four…

Gaza braces for ground invasion as death toll mounts

Gaza is braced for a ground invasion by Israeli forces following intensified bombing that included the flattening of the headquarters of the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. As the Israeli military began the emergency call-up of up to 75,000 reservists, leaders from Turkey, Egypt and Qatar met in Cairo to discuss…

Iran warns against arming Syrian rebels

TEHRAN — Iran on Sunday warned against sending weapons to Syrian rebels battling its ally in Damascus, saying that this would threaten regional stability and increase the “risk of terrorism.” “Some countries envisage arming the opposition with heavy and semi-heavy weaponry,” Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a speech…

Moctezuma headdress stirs passions in Mexico and Austria

VIENNA — Steeped in myth and legend, the “Penacho”, a feather headdress supposedly worn by Aztec emperor Moctezuma II, continues to stir up passion in Austria and Mexico as it goes on display again after a years-long restoration. Some say it was brought to Europe by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes,…

New Coptic Christian pope enthroned in Egypt

CAIRO — Pope Tawadros II was enthroned as the new leader of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority on Sunday in a ceremony at Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral attended by Prime Minister Hisham Qandil. Dozens of Coptic clerics in flowing robes took part in the ceremony, the first in four decades, as…

Two rockets intercepted as Hamas targets Tel Aviv

TEL AVIV — Sirens sounded across Tel Aviv for a fourth straight day on Sunday, AFP correspondents said, as Israeli police confirmed two rockets had been intercepted over the city by the Iron Dome defence system. “Two rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome system,” police spokesman Luba Samri told…

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