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South African miners reject new pay offer

South Africa’s gold miners have rejected a new pay offer secured by their unions and aimed at ending months of industrial unrest that has curbed production of the precious metal. “We gave the offer to the striking mine workers and they said ‘no’,” Kenneth Buda, coordinator of the National Union…

Pope urges Catholics to come back to their faith

The Vatican celebrated the 50th anniversary on Thursday of a Council that changed the face of Catholicism, as it tries to rekindle the religious fervour of the time amid rising secularism. Hundreds of bishops from around the world held a solemn procession through St Peter’s Square, after which Pope Benedict…

EBooks pick up steam in Europe after slow start

Electronic books, which have sparked excited chatter for several years in the publishing world, are now gaining momentum among European readers, despite a late start compared to the US, industry insiders say. The digital share of the book market in European countries still lags behind the United States but publishers…

Spot where Julius Caesar was killed will be open for tourism in 2013

The area among Rome’s ancient ruins where general Julius Caesar was assassinated will be open to tourists starting in 2013 following long-running excavation work, local officials told AFP on Thursday. “Next year we will complete the excavation work and give the area back to visitors,” said Umberto Broccoli, the head…

Germany to re-legalize circumcision

Germany’s Parliament approved a bill on Wednesday that explicitly legalizes circumcision, following months of uncertainty over the law after a court declared the practice illegal. The surgery is one of the most common medically unnecessary procedures performed around the world, and while it is mostly safe, it also carries the…

Right-wing French politician sues over claims he had affair with Socialist first lady

A right-wing politician is to sue the authors of a book on French first lady Valerie Trierweiler that claims she had an affair with him while also seeing the current Socialist president, his office said Thursday. Patrick Devedjian, who was a minister under ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy, is suing the authors…

China calls on U.S. to rescind solar cell import taxes

Beijing on Thursday urged the United States to rescind hefty anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on China’s solar-cell makers amid an intensifying row in the sector dominated by Chinese companies. The US Commerce Department on Wednesday issued a final confirmation of its May finding that Chinese producers and exporters had been…

German analysts warn there is ‘great danger’ of recession

Germany’s leading economic think tanks warned on Thursday there was a “great danger” that Europe’s top economy could fall into recession, as they slashed their growth forecasts for next year in half. The four institutes — Ifo in Munich, IfW in Kiel, IW in Halle and RWI in Essen —…

Arab women launch cyber uprising for equality

Taking their cue from the Arab Spring, but fearing a backlash from Islamists the uprisings brought to power, Arab cyber activists have embarked on a daring campaign urging women fight for equality. “The uprising of women in the Arab World” is the title of the Facebook page where the campaign…

Chinese author Mo Yan wins Nobel literature prize

Chinese author Mo Yan on Thursday won the Nobel Literature Prize for writing that mixes folk tales, history and the contemporary, the Swedish Academy announced. “Through a mixture of fantasy and reality, historical and social perspectives, Mo Yan has created a world reminiscent in its complexity of those in the…

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